How Text Message Marketing Increases Customer Engagement

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In order to grow your business you’ll need engaged customers. It’s always a challenge to hold the attention of your customers and turn them from merely casual consumers into brand evangelists. This task is especially difficult when there are so many other distractions out there competing for attention. That’s where SMS marketing can be a valuable secret weapon. People actually read their text messages. Think about it, how often are you apart from your phone during the day? And while other channels like email and social media are overloaded with messaging, texting is relatively overlooked by brands.

If you’re looking to access a larger audience and increase customer engagement, text marketing is a great tool for your business. 

Customer engagement defined

Customer engagement is a communication strategy used by businesses and organizations to encourage consumer activity both online and in person. Customer engagement strategies can be implemented in a variety of ways. Whatever method a business chooses, the goal is to drive a company’s desire to inform their audience. When rolling out a new product or service, or simply establishing a core brand value, customer engagement is a great tool for business communication. 

Consider the industry your company occupies and what rewards would encourage your customers to engage in special offers. 

Customer engagement examples using SMS 
Text message marketing is an ideal way to start engaging your customers because you can send mass texts to your entire list of people to provide them with exclusive deals solicit their feedback and automatically stay in touch. Statistics are showing that people actually read their text messages — branded text messages have an open rate as high as 98%.

Here are a few examples of customer engagement at work with SMS marketing.

1. Send a mobile coupon
This mobile offer from JoAnn Fabrics is an example of a customer engagement strategy geared toward smartphones. Mobile coupons are a great way to encourage customers to come into the store, or order online. Not to mention, mobile coupons are more accessible than many paper coupons, so there is a higher chance that customers will have the coupon handy when they enter your store. 

With a strong business texting platform you can actually measure who has opened your coupon and when they have redeemed it. You can send automatic follow up texts to customers who haven’t taken action yet to get them to apply the coupon.
What to remember:

•    When you’re creating mobile coupons, make sure you’re offering your customers something truly valuable. They can sense a gimmick.
•    Send an MMS message with a graphic instead of relying just on SMS to get your point across.
•    Include an expiry date.
•    You can choose to give each individual their own coupon code so that you can individually track their redemptions. If you’re using SlickText it’s very easy to upload a file with individual coupon codes directly into your account.

2. Provide educational content
Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has shown how powerful educating your audience can be by launching WineText, a service powered by Wine Library where the company texts you daily information about wines and exclusive wine deals. Readers reply to the text with the number of wines they’d like to purchase and Wine Library handles the order fulfillment. 

Chances are most consumers aren’t going to buy wine every day, but they’ll stay engaged with the content because they’re learning something about wine and getting the earliest heads up about great deals on wine.
What to remember:

•    Stay genuine. Don’t provide information or recommendations that you don’t believe in.
•    Seek to add value. Avoid being overly promotional. Truly try to find a way to make life better somehow for the people on your text list.
•    When your customers sign up for your text list, let them know how many texts they can expect a month and then stick to that. If you say you’ll only text people once a day, don’t start texting them five times a day. That’s a crucial text marketing regulation you should adhere to.

3. Launch a contest
This golf club hosted a text-to-win marketing campaign to increase their customer engagement. Text marketing contests usually include the prize and how to enter in the body of the text. Implementing a text-to-win contest is a great way to engage your audience and promote a new company feature, plus it can help grow your list. 
If you don’t have a lot of people on your text list and need something engaging to kick off your text marketing campaign, launching a contest can be a strong move. 
What to remember:

•    Ask people to opt in to your text list after entering the contest. When they’re entering your contest that doesn’t mean they’re automatically signing up to receive texts from you. Make sure you give them the opportunity to do this so you can capture their numbers for future engagement.
•    Make sure your prize is something people would actually want to win. Also, be clear how a winner will be chosen and let your audience know when they can expect a winner to be announced.

4. Send text reminders
Sometimes customers need to be reminded that it’s time to come in for their next visit. This is particularly helpful if you offer some kind of a recurring service such as oil changes, pet grooming or dental cleaning. You’ll be able to make a strong estimate about when the next time your customers will need to visit. Send personalized text messages that remind customers it’s time to come back in. You can even provide a link so they can book their appointment directly from their phone.

The benefits of sending text notifications like this are twofold — one, it’s genuinely helpful. Sometimes people just forget that they should book another appointment. Two, it helps customers to continue to engage with you as their provider instead of finding someone else.
What to remember:

•    Make it really easy for people to take action after they’ve read your text. Including a simple call to action is crucial.
•    Like the example above, remind people who you are, what the appointment is about, where it is located and the date and time. Don’t assume that they’ll automatically know who is texting them.