SMS Strategies

7 Text Messages That Drive Customer Loyalty and Retention

customer loyalty and retention
Published
Oct 6, 2021
Written by
Kayla Ellman
Kayla is a Content Marketing Manager. You can find her hiking, reading, or growing her cookbook collection.

Consumers are using their phones to look in your digital store window. Here are the texts you should be sending to convert them from browsers to buyers.

For brands that want to improve customer loyalty and maximize ROI, SMS is a game-changer. It’s a direct marketing channel that lets you deliver personalized messages straight into the hands of high-intent shoppers and start building long-term customer relationships. 

Not only that, but over 90% of consumers are interested in signing up for texts from their favorite brands, proving that SMS is no longer a “nice to have,” but a critical part of your marketing tech stack. 


What differentiates a happy customer from a loyal one?

A happy customer trusts and enjoys your products and relates to your brand story. A loyal customer keeps coming back for more—and tells their friends to buy from you, too. 

Loyal customers also typically spend more than one-time buyers, which is good for business. In fact, improving customer retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by anywhere between 25% to 95%, according to research by Harvard Business School.

That's why it's so valuable to invest in customer retention channels—like SMS—that nurture happy, returning customers and convert them into brand loyalists. 

Below are seven examples of text messages you can send to drive loyalty and repeat purchases.

1. Welcome series to new subscribers

Your SMS welcome series is an opportunity to introduce new subscribers to your brand, set the tone for what they can expect from you via text, and show them what their experience will be like as your customer. It's the first step to inspiring loyalty and retention.

After a consumer opts in to your SMS program, follow up with an automated text message welcoming them to your SMS channel. If you’re offering an exclusive discount or VIP incentive in exchange for a shopper sharing their phone number, you can use your welcome message to share the discount code or dynamic coupon link, encourage shoppers to save your brand's number as a contact, or thank them for joining your community. 

Lifestyle and accessories brand Thread Wallets uses their welcome series to do all of the above—and they use automation to follow up with a coupon reminder if a new subscriber hasn't redeemed their offer within 24 hours. 

These early interactions, plus the valuable exchange of information, help create the foundation for growing a healthy and engaged SMS subscriber base.

2. Browse and abandoned cart reminders

Adding automation to your SMS program makes it easy to nudge high-intent shoppers at critical points in the buyer's journey, particularly during the consideration phase. By sending targeted text messages based on a subscriber's recent activity, you can re-engage potential customers who browsed for a specific product before navigating away from your site or added an item to their cart but didn't complete their purchase. 

Dolce Vita, a trend-driven women’s footwear brand, optimizes their triggered browse abandonment reminder with an image of the product viewed by the subscriber and includes a direct link back to the product page. 

The brand takes a similar approach with their abandoned cart reminder, including a direct link back to the product a subscriber added to their cart, but you could also drive shoppers back to the cart page for easy, one-click checkout. 

These types of triggered messages are essential for driving customer retention via SMS. Not only do they help you recover otherwise lost revenue, but they also let you stay in touch with shoppers in a more personal way. 

3. Post-purchase messages to recent shoppers

When a subscriber makes a purchase, it opens a window of opportunity for your brand to keep communicating with them, foster customer loyalty, and incentivize second, third, and fourth purchases. 

You can use post-purchase messages to cross-sell or upsell recent shoppers with relevant product recommendations or new arrivals, ask subscribers to leave a review or show off their product on social media, or invite subscribers to join your loyalty or referral program. 

It's typically best to give customers time to use and enjoy the item they purchased before asking for a review or trying to upsell. For Dolce Vita, that means waiting before sending their first automated post-purchase text with a call to action to shop their latest must-haves. 

If a subscriber hasn't returned for another pair of shoes, Dolce Vita sends a second message with a playful discount code, leaning on the conversational tone of SMS to build on that existing customer relationship. 

Use these automated messages to help customers feel more connected to your brand and increase the likelihood of positive reviews, referrals, and repeat purchases. 

4. One-time seasonal campaigns

From back-to-school season to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, events and holidays are the perfect time to send one-time campaigns—like flash sales and product recommendations—that align with your brand story and marketing goals. Chances are there are even some niche holidays that you can celebrate with SMS promotions to keep customers thinking about and buying from your brand.

Revel Nail, an innovator of at-home dip powder and other nail products, took the opportunity to offer a discount on their Pina Colada dip powder in honor of National Pina Colada Day and to promote their Bare with Me collection on National Nude Day. The brand has also created relevant promotions around National Nail Tech Day, National Go Barefoot Day, and many more. 

Whether there’s a strong connection between your core customer and a particular holiday or a new product offer that would make your customer’s lives easier next season, there's no limit to the creativity you can have with these types of campaigns.

5. Loyalty program invitations and promotions

You can use your SMS channel to convert subscribers into loyalty program members, too. If a shopper has signed up for your text messages, they've already shown a more personal interest in your brand and products than consumers who haven't opted in. 

Thread Wallets took this approach to announce the launch of their loyalty program, The Stitch, hinting at the opportunity to earn rewards with each purchase. The brand also shares limited-time offers, like the chance for new loyalty members to earn double points. 

Loyalty programs make it easy to reward your most dedicated shoppers with exclusive perks for making repeat purchases and referring friends and make them feel valued with things like VIP-only offers and special birthday discounts. 

6. Reactivation campaigns to engage lapsed customers

There are two sides to driving customer loyalty: making sure your most active customers are happy and engaged and nurturing the disengaged segments of your audience that aren't brand loyalists yet. 

The latter group includes customers who haven’t purchased recently—in the past 30, 60, 90, 120, 180 days—and those who are opening and engaging with your SMS campaigns but not converting. 

Revel Nail creates and sends text messages to different groups of lapsed customers and uses educational content to recapture these potential nail enthusiasts’ attention. In a recent re-engagement campaign, Revel Nail targeted subscribers who hadn't purchased or clicked in 120 days but had purchased or clicked at least once previously. 

They directed these subscribers to their Revel Nail Beginner Series on YouTube to watch a tutorial on how to prep your nails for the perfect dip powder manicure, effectively driving incremental revenue from these previously lapsed customers. 

Keep in mind: when a customer is disengaged but still subscribed to your SMS program, that means there's an opportunity to recapture their interest in your brand and products. Experiment with different types of content to see what resonates the most with this group—whether it's a discount on a bundle, new product announcements, or stories that provide insight into your brand values. 

7. Non-promotional text messages

While you want first-time purchasers to grow into brand loyalists who trust and rely on your products—and continue buying them—you also want your customers to connect with your brand on a personal level. 

Sending non-promotional campaigns around limited-edition collections and collaborations, store news and updates, or digital and in-person events can help drive customer engagement while building brand alignment and devotion.

Or you can take a cue from Thread Wallets and create branded phone wallpapers with a positive message that subscribers can get for free. This kind of offer gives both potential customers and frequent shoppers a chance to take home something from the brand—without making a purchase.

As a bonus, these wallpapers undoubtedly help keep Thread Wallets top of mind where their customers are already browsing and shopping: on their phones. 

Want more tips and strategies for using personalized text messaging to engage, nurture, and retain loyal customers? Download The SMS Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty and Retention.

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