The customers who keep coming back are often the most profitable. The main reason for that is simple – finding new customers can be much more expensive and time-consuming than retaining the customers you already have. This is for the following reasons:
- A repeat customer is likely to shop with you again and again
- It is much easier to sell to a returning customer
- It’s likely that returning customer will spend more every time they make a purchase
- Returning customers can become your brand advocates and will gladly share what you have to offer
But how to ensure customers keep coming back to your store? Let’s look at the facts. On average, mobile phone users spend 87 hours a month on their devices. So why not take this information to strengthen relationships with people who have already shopped with you?
SMS messages are one of the best ways to build strong and personal business-customer relationships. If you have not yet taken advantage of SMS marketing, then buckle up and get ready to do so.
In this article you will learn about the benefits of SMS marketing, how to put it to work, and enhance your communications with existing clients. We will also cover some of the main reasons why people might want to stop interacting with stores and how to overcome these pain points.
Benefitting from SMS marketing and boosting customer retention
Text marketing has proven to be a highly convenient way of communication both for businesses and customers – people can be reached at all times all around the world.
- SMS is compatible with all mobile devices
- Receiving SMS messages does not require internet connection
- There is no need to download any apps to receive simple SMS messages
Besides allowing you to reach your customers wherever they are, SMS provides an option for direct communication. Moreover, the messages can be scheduled, which will give you a peace of mind that the messages will be delivered automatically at the time when shoppers are most likely to take action.
Below you will find the 3 main benefits of using SMS marketing.
You have probably heard that SMS messages have a very high open rate – 98%. Not only is the open rate high for text messages but they are also delivered and read quickly. In fact, 9 people out of 10 open SMS messages within 3 minutes after receiving them. Sounds like a great opportunity to reach out with time sensitive information, doesn’t it?
However, reaching out to your customers via SMS messages comes with one “but”. They will have to opt-in and give you a consent that they want to hear from your brand this way. But not to worry, over half of the consumers (54%) have stated they wish to receive promotional text messages.
TIP: In order to effectively start collecting your customers’ phone numbers, consider adding a simple and rewarding pop-up to your store.
Without a doubt, you know very well from your own experience that there are very few places people go without their phones. On one hand, this gives you a perfect opportunity to reach your customers and grow your subscribers list, especially as the number of phone users is evergrowing.
Let alone in the US there are currently over 280 billion people who own a smartphone. And remember, there are even more people who own a regular phone and can still be reached via SMS messages.
Opportunity to get the timing right
The performance of SMS messages can be easily measured and all the campaigns can be timed to be sent out when customers want to hear from you the most.
TextMarketer has conducted a thorough research, which will give you an in-depth overview when you should be contacting your customers and when it’s best to avoid reaching out.
They have figured that during the week, it makes sense to send SMS campaigns in the morning between 8:00 am to 12:00 pm as people are arriving at work and taking their time to get their day started. Most likely they will have a moment to read messages and even do a little shopping online. Another time when messages are well-received is early in the evenings between 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Tips for winning back customers with SMS messages
Nurturing relationships with your customers is of high importance no matter if they have shopped with your brand just once or a countless times already. Take an extra step to show that customer loyalty is valued and rewarded.
Surprise and delight
Send an irresistible personalised offer with a time limit. Regular discount offers might not entice them enough, it needs to be too good to be missed. And it has to make them feel special and exceed their expectations.
You know what they have been interested in before – use your knowledge to lure them back and make clear that the time is ticking.
TIP: To ensure that people take action, encourage impulse buying. This can be triggered with alluring CTAs like “Don’t Miss Out”, “Only Now”, “Ends Soon” etc.
Complement SMS with other marketing channels
While SMS alone can be rather effective, using the magic of combining multiple channels will definitely help to win back customers too. For instance, SMS messages work very well in combination with email marketing.
As email is one of the best channels to send out visually engaging content, you can entice people with images of new products and get them into a shopping mode.
Try sending an enticing email a few hours of the initial SMS message to motivate customers to spend their new discount code or other offers. This way you are able to use the benefits of each channel and expand the chances of re-activating your customers.
Target high-value customers separately
Set up a VIP loyalty program – this is for the customers that are spending more money and time with you than any other customers. Make sure to target them separately and highlight the exclusivity of your offers.
Some ways to show appreciation to your VIP customers:
- Invite them to shop the next product releases early
- Send them an exclusive access earlier to your storewide sales
- Give them a special offer that they can use themselves as well as share with a friend
- Set up a points system – the more they spend, the more they can save.
Remember that making top customers feel special will help them to further connect with your brand and become your advocates. This will give help to get a positive word out about you.
Act on customer feedback
Collect customer feedback via SMS. Make sure to follow up as soon as a customer has had an interaction with your brand. This way they are most likely to give you an accurate overview of how their experience has been. Plus, they will feel that their opinion is valued and that your brand cares about its customers.
Ideas on when to reach out and what to collect feedback for
- After completing a purchase.
Was it easy to find what they were looking for? How was the check out process? Would they recommend your store to a friend?
- Once their shipment has arrived.
How was their experience with the shipping journey? Was the package delivered on time? Would they have wished to have more updates on their shipping status?
- After a correspondence with your customer service agent.
Did they get the help they needed? Was their issue dealt with a timely manner? Were they happy with the solution?
You could follow up with a SMS survey straight after a certain action is completed to understand what you are good at and what areas need improvement. To entice people in responding, offer them a chance to win a prize once completing the survey.
Remember, you are sending out SMS messages. This means that people are very likely to engage with your brand from their mobile devices. For this reason, you need to make sure your store is designed with mobile navigation in mind.
In fact, 59% of shoppers claim that one of the key factors when deciding which brand to buy from is whether they can make a purchase on a mobile device or not. Therefore, pay close attention to every section of your website to make sure that the shopping experience from mobile is enjoyable.
The most common reasons why customers opt-out from SMS messages
It is important to provide customers with an easy option to opt-out from receiving your messages. You do not wish to obtain subscribers that do not wish to hear from you. This way you will save a significant amount of time and money.
However, if you see a huge and/or a rising number of people unsubscribing from your messages, make sure it is not because of the following:
Too frequent messages
Receiving messages too often can be a huge turn-off. Spamming could be overclouding your content even if it provides value. Upland held a research on the optimal SMS frequency and the results are clear. A company that sent out 4 messages per month had an unsubscribe rate below 4%, yet a company who sent out 29 SMS messages had an opt-out rate close to 40%.
Plan ahead and balance the frequency of messages you are sending. Make sure you are not sending too many SMS messages per week, but also don’t let customers feel like they have been forgotten.
Keep the content personal by studying customer behaviour and changing your strategy accordingly. If the content provided shifts away from their interests, they will shift away from your company and go to a competitor who understands their needs.
Quite often high prices both for products and shipping is what makes customers search for an alternative. Luckily, customers who change their mind because of the price are likely to return if presented with a right offer such as a discount for certain products.
Worse than high prices is bad customer service which can be fatal. Make sure your customer support reps are fast, reliable and helpful in every situation.
The importance of great customer service is backed up by a Salesforce survey which indicates that 78% of customers are likely to forgive a company for their mistake after receiving excellent customer service. Keep in mind that it is much easier to apologize for your mistake or for a delay in shipping than to patch up the harm that can come from a furious customer.
At the end of the day…
Discount codes and special offers alone might not win your customers hearts. More likely it’s the overall experience they get from shopping with you and how they were made to feel.
While automated SMS messages have proven to be a powerful tool in building relationships with customers through targeted and personalised messages, exclusive deals and thoughtful reminders, you should combine all of those with other aspects of your business.
SMS messages together with excellent shopping experience and customer service will boost customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are most likely to become your loyal clients who provide great value to your business.