Are you communicating with customers in the right places at the right times? Thanks to the rise of numerous digital communication platforms, marketing conversations have never been easier. However, access to an abundance of online tools makes it rather easy to overlook the former (and proven) methods, text messaging for example.
SMS marketing is adopted by businesses who want to improve customer experiences and develop a mobile marketing strategy. Studies suggest that “More than 50% of customers prefer contacting support through text messaging compared to other channels.” While SMS marketing response rates are 7.5x higher than email – “45% vs. email response rates at 6%.”
Nearly every startup and small business can use SMS marketing to engage with customers and improve key business metrics. Here are three surefire ways to improve your customer experience with SMS marketing:
1. Send online shopping cart abandonment reminders
How many times have you been shopping online and suddenly became distracted by something else? You add a few items to your cart, and then the phone rings, the kids call your name, or there’s a knock at the door. Before you know it, you forget you were in the middle of doing something. Life gets busy.
So, it’s no wonder customers don’t always complete their online purchases and consequently abandon their carts. While some people come back of their own accord to finish shopping a majority do not. In fact, studies propose the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is around 69 percent. At this juncture, a friendly SMS reminder can be both helpful and improve conversions.
Interestingly, online shoppers who later return to their carts spend on average 55 percent more than those who check out in one browser session. For that reason alone, it’s worth sending an automated text to site visitors who have abandoned their carts.
Text messaging platforms like Postscript.io, Keptify, or SaveMySales, can act as a gentle but effective nudge to complete their purchase. It works, in the same way, as a cart abandonment email would notify shoppers about remaining items in a cart.
Given SMS open rates are estimated at 82.1%, it could prove to be a more viable option than an email reminder easily lost in a cluttered inbox.
To encourage online shoppers to return to their carts, offer a time-limited incentive to sweeten the deal. For example, free shipping or a small discount can increase the likelihood of securing the sale.
2. Share order delivery notifications
Give customers an option during checkout to opt-in for SMS delivery notifications. Arguably, sending SMS delivery notifications is one of the easiest ways to engage with customers and add value. These days, consumers expect to know when their orders will be delivered. However, email order updates can easily end up in spam folders accidentally.
Whereas, when you send order updates via text, there’s a better chance customers will receive the message. After all, 95 to 98 percent of texts are immediately read upon receipt. When possible, send real-time SMS messages at each stage of the order fulfillment process. This has a two-fold benefit––you’ll deliver a premium customer experience, and your support team won’t be inundated by concerned customers inquiring about their order statuses.
When you draft your first delivery notification, be sure to include the following information:
- Estimated date and time a customer can expect to receive their order
- A shipment tracking link to track the progress of their order
These details set reasonable expectations and help avoid confusion that could lead to frustrated customers.
3. Create exclusive offers to drive conversions
SMS marketing is a great way to update your audience on sales, exclusive events, and promotional offers.
These messages work best when the timing is urgent and supply is limited.
Union Plus, a consumer benefit discount program, sent a text a message to subscribers to advertise their new mobile app and encourage downloads. As a result, they achieved a 25% conversion rate. More than a quarter of SMS recipients downloaded the app within two days of receiving the text.
Texting was the best communication method here because the request was frictionless and the app was brand new with a strong call-to-action to download the app on their mobile devices. Email may have been less productive as recipients couldn’t download the app from unless they grabbed their smartphones.
The lesson here: Make it as simple as possible for customers (i.e., include a link within the message) to take the desired action.
SMS marketing can work for more than mobile app downloads. For instance, restaurants, spas, and retailers use text messaging to share coupon codes and drive foot traffic to physical locations.
SMS can also support customer service efforts to keep customers updated on the status of delivery or appointment. Meanwhile, service companies with staff in the field can leverage SMS marketing technology, like ServiceTitan, to notify customers when a plumber or painter is arriving. The text can include the name and a photo of the representative to help build trust and lead to positive customer experiences.
Engage customers and win big with SMS marketing
While SMS messaging technology has been around for decades, marketers are finding new ways to deliver exceptional service and create a powerful customer experience.
According to eMarketer mobile time spent is on the rise. “US adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 35 minutes per day on mobile devices in 2018, an annual increase of more than 11 minutes. By 2019, mobile will surpass TV as the medium attracting the most minutes in the US.” Text message marketing can be a great way to reach customers with helpful information and compelling promotions.
A solid SMS strategy is beneficial for customers and businesses who look to create more valuable connections with clients. As you adopt these techniques, test and optimize along the way, to reap the full benefits SMS marketing has to offer.
Matt Shealy is the President of helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.