SMS Strategies

How Brands Can Use SMS Throughout the Customer Lifecycle

Published
Dec 22, 2020
Written by
Michelle Leung
Senior Content Marketing Manager at Human

This is a guest post from Michelle Leung, a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Human—an Attentive Premier Agency Partner and a full-service inbound marketing agency that helps companies grow smarter through data-driven marketing.

With an average open rate of 99%, there’s no denying the power of SMS. After all, almost everyone opens an unread text message.

But there’s still confusion about how text message marketing can be used throughout the customer lifecycle.

If you’re new to SMS marketing, you may be wondering if there’s more to it than giving your sales numbers a quick boost through coupons and limited-time offers. The short answer is “absolutely.” The personal and immediate nature of text messaging makes it a valuable tool for turning brand awareness into action—but this channel is capable of so much more.

Here are three ways your brand can use text messaging to engage consumers at every step of the customer lifecycle, from top of funnel to post-purchase.

1. SMS marketing for capturing the attention of prospective buyers

Increase the chances of turning browsers into buyers by expanding your acquisition channels.

Just as with email, you can introduce text messaging as a way for your brand to get in touch with shoppers or send them information. Whether you entice shoppers with perks or discounts for signing up on your website, implement sign-up forms on social media, or use in-store signage to promote the benefits of SMS as part of a Text-to-Join campaign—once they’re in your SMS sales funnel, they’re more likely to engage with your messaging compared to other channels. Not only are text messages practically guaranteed to be opened, but they also boast a 30%+ click-through rate.

And with an Email-First sign-up unit, you can grow your SMS and email subscriber lists simultaneously. Website visitors can enter their email addresses on your site, then receive a prompt asking them to complete their sign-up by opting in for text messages. The subscriber simply taps a button to load a pre-populated text message and hits send to begin receiving messages, creating an easy, seamless sign-up process that helps you complement your existing email marketing strategy.

2. SMS marketing for nurturing interest and driving conversions

Text message marketing isn’t a one-and-done business transaction—it’s an opportunity to connect with potential customers and turn them into brand advocates.

When someone subscribes to your text message marketing program, they’re acknowledging they want to hear from you via text. What’s more, because this is a preferred communication channel for many consumers, they’re more likely to engage in two-way conversations: text messaging has a 209% higher response rate when compared to phone calls, emails, and even Facebook messages.

You can nurture shoppers and drive conversions through SMS by:

  • Announcing product updates: Excite shoppers with content related to product launches, back-in-stock merchandise, and best-sellers.
  • Highlighting special promotions: Treat your subscribers like VIPs by making sure they’re the first to know about sales and exclusive offers.
  • Inspiring high-intent shoppers: Automatically remind shoppers who browsed a product or added it to their carts without completing a transaction via triggered text message reminders.
  • Sharing useful information: Businesses that leverage content marketing see 6x higher conversion rates on average, so use SMS to share educational or value-add content such as blog posts and product guides.
  • Humanizing your brand: Put a face to your brand name by spotlighting your employees, sharing your brand story and mission, or showing how real-world customers find joy and satisfaction in your products.
  • Rewarding repeat purchases: Encourage shoppers to keep coming back for more by promoting loyalty programs for repeat buyers or discounts for subscribers who refer their family and friends.

Consider SMS marketing another opportunity to engage, educate, and offer value to prospects in the sales funnel. By using SMS in tandem with other marketing channels, you can ensure you leave a lasting impression on consumers at every possible touchpoint throughout their journey.

3. SMS marketing for boosting customer loyalty

SMS doesn’t just increase incremental revenue—it’s a powerful channel for building brand loyalty.

Think of text messaging as a supplement to website chatbots or email-based support—it’s another way to respond to customer service inquiries and provide immediate assistance. And this way, customers can easily contact you anywhere or anytime from their mobile devices.

By integrating your text message marketing platform with helpdesk software, you can enable your customer support teams to directly respond to customer communications sent via text message. Data shows that when you quickly respond to customers’ inquiries received via text, you drive 31% more spend from customers who receive replies vs. those who don’t.

Additionally, you can use SMS to collect customer feedback–such as by triggering a text message featuring a link to a survey or asking customers to rate their products after they receive them via a post-purchase message. Not only does this show subscribers you care, but it also enables you to gather customer sentiment data (and provides a chance to encourage valuable online reviews).

Text messages can also be used to poll customers on what they most want to see from your products and services–providing you with important insights while deepening customer connections.

And by using real-time behavioral data alongside segmentation tools, you can ensure your messages are always personalized based on subscriber details, such as purchase histories and geolocations.

Start leveraging SMS marketing across the customer lifecycle today

Data shows that while many brands were reducing their marketing spend in 2020, text-based marketing bucked the trend—it was one of the only channels where businesses planned to increase investment. In fact, retailers said they expected their spending on text messaging to grow by more than 50%.

The key to getting a leg up over competitors and maximizing ROI is to use SMS throughout the buyer journey.

SMS marketing presents a unique opportunity to get shoppers into your sales funnel and deliver unmatched customer experiences, from initial welcomes to post-purchase communications. As you get into 2021 planning mode, consider how your brand can use text messaging in tandem with email, paid, social, and other channels to engage consumers across the entire customer lifecycle.

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