Think about how you communicate with customers. You probably use a mix of traditional and digital marketing tactics to generate new leads, chat on the phone during the order process, and maybe even send emails after the fact.
What about text messages? Do you use text marketing to help consumers get to know you or build deeper relationships with current customers?
Since recipients must opt in to your text message marketing, the individuals you communicate with via text are much more likely to be current or past customers than those who’ve opted in to your email distribution list, for example. And with an open rate of 98% within 2 minutes of receipt, you’ve absolutely got to take advantage of that captive audience.
Attributes of Successful, Loyalty-creating Text Marketing
Text message marketing is one of the most effective ways you can nurture current customers into repeat business. With the right techniques and tools, you can use it to create loyalty and grow your revenue over time.
Texting, by nature, is personal. So even though you’re texting from a business number, your text messages should be as personalized as possible, as though you’re messaging a friend. Start by recording every detail you gather on each contact in your customer relationship management (CRM) system or SMS software.
Then, use the data you have, like favorite products or services, buying frequency, average order value and more to segment (or group) your contacts into similar lists of individuals. These groups will become individual text marketing audiences you can target with specific, personalized messaging.
If you want to wow customers, use your SMS software to customize fields like name or location for each individual within your segmented list.
When it comes to nurturing relationships, timely communication is critical. Picture this—you’ve just set up appointment reminders via text. You’re hoping it’ll help reduce no-shows, but the reminders get sent 1 month prior to each customer’s next appointment. What are the chances they’ll actually be effective in helping your customers remember to show up on the day of? I’d say slim to none.
So when you send your text messages is just as important (if not more important) as what you say in them.
We’ll get into the main types of text messages you should send, and when to send them, in a sec.
Pro tip: Only text during normal business hours. Even if someone books an appointment online or requests more information about your business in the wee hours of the morning, throttle your text messages to only trigger once the next business day has begun. It’s common courtesy, and it’s a text message marketing best practice.
There’s an old marketing principle called “The Rule of 7” that some say dates back to the 1930s. Basically, it refers to marketers’ belief that consumers have to hear a marketing message at least 7 times before they’re ready to act.
Hang on before you go sending the same message 7 times hoping for a positive response. For big brands wanting to generate brand recognition (aka “I’m lovin’ it”), that’s not a terrible idea. But for small businesses wanting to appear helpful instead of nagging, sending the same message over and over is text marketing suicide.
Just like any relationship, you have to stay in touch to be remembered. You wouldn’t ignore your friends and family for lengthy periods at a time, so you shouldn’t let customers go long periods of time without hearing from you either. If you’re not communicating at regular intervals, you’re failing to establish relevance and importance with them.
Conversely, if customers are used to hearing from you consistently, they’ll be much more brand loyal and likely to act when you reach out in the future.
4 Text Marketing Messages that Build Customer Loyalty
Text marketing can help you achieve any number of marketing goals you have for your small business. But before you get too creative, start with the basics.
- Appointment Reminders
- Thank Yous
- Promotions and Offers
- Discounts and Coupon Codes
1. Appointment Reminders
In an earlier part of our Lead Nurturing series of blog posts, we went into detail on the level at which no-shows and missed appointments plague small businesses. Spoiler alert: Depending on the business you’re in, it could be anywhere from 12-50%.
Appointment reminders cut down on no-shows in a couple ways. They help you stay top of mind for your more forgetful customers and clients. And, if sent properly, they could include reply capability that would allow customers to let you know if they need to cancel or reschedule.
Send appointment reminders twice before the appointment. Once about a week in advance, and once the day prior.
2. Thank Yous
These are the goodwill messages of text message marketing. While you can certainly include special offers, the main goal of your thank you messages should be to keep in touch after a sale and continue the conversation with a customer. Doing so will leave them with a positive impression of your business, and it will prepare them to receive future messages from you.
Send your thank you texts as soon after a sale as possible, no later than 48 hours after the fact.
3. Promotions and Offers
Here’s when you can have a little fun—when you move from transactional text messages to promotional text message marketing. Sending promotions and special offers regularly is a great way to encourage brand loyalty and win repeat business. Want to really look like you’ve got your stuff together? Incentivize customers to opt in to your text marketing messages as part of a loyalty program.
Send promotional messages as infrequently as monthly or as frequently as weekly.
4. Discounts and Coupon Codes
If you want to get really fancy, start using coupon codes to encourage digital engagement with your business, via actions like online booking or purchase. All you need to make it happen is a keyword and short code (e.g. 12345).
Thryv offers text marketing capabilities (including that keyword and short code) to give you full flexibility in the messages you can send. And it plugs directly into your CRM so there’s no rework when it comes to segmenting your target customers. Explore Thryv today.