Authors: Josh Seddon, Account Director and Olivia Jackson, Senior Account Manager
As a direct, real-time channel, SMS is a great way to engage customers in the moment. Research from 2021 highlights 95% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes of being delivered, and Juniper Research estimate 3.5 trillion business SMS will be sent by 2023. Yet it’s an underused channel – in 2020, it was reported only 39% of companies use SMS to communicate with their customers. Is your brand missing out on an important and real time communication tool?
There is no shortage of tactics marketers can leverage to engage customers digitally. But depending on your campaign aim, more popular tactics may not deliver the real time communication required or be as cost effective.
SMS is an in the moment method of communication, delivered quickly, conveniently and simply, and can still be personalised in the same way an email can, by leveraging past purchase history or using real time indicators as a hook – for example, the weather. Successful SMS campaigns also include a clear call to action (CTA), driving customers to engage with the brand.
SMS Use Cases
- Promote sales & offers - leveraging SMS as a call to action to promote short term offers or sales is a great way of engaging customers who would have otherwise missed out. Eagle Eye’s own clients often see a 25-35% take up from those customers who would have otherwise lapsed when sent an in the moment message
- Send an incentive – sending a targeted message to different customer segments with an exclusive incentive ensures the content is relevant and therefore more likely to drive an action. Research has shown coupons delivered via SMS can yield a 10x higher redemption rate than other types of coupons. A great example of this is to send your VIP segment a coupon for a discount on on a specific product range e.g. ‘Our new burger kit launched online today! Be one of the first to get your hands on it and use code NEWKIT for 20% off’
- Promote new products – alert your shoppers to your new product or service launch via a short message with a relevant CTA e.g. ‘Sign up to be the first to shop when our new collection launches’
- In the moment messaging – taking inspiration from popular pop culture events or the weather is a great way to tailor messages to be in the moment. If you’re in the hospitality business, this could be as simple as; ‘Weather’s looking great today – why not join us in our beer garden? Book your seat by giving us a call.’ Or in retail; ‘It’s looking much warmer this weekend – have you seen our new arrivals? Perfect for a picnic. Check them out now.’
- Real time order monitoring – keep customers informed throughout their order journey from order confirmation right through to a successful delivery
- Reminders – there’s nothing worse when a customer doesn’t show up. Make sure you send them a timely reminder to ensure you don’t lose money and ask them to confirm their attendance using SMS or web-based tools. A great example of this is within the hospitality industry, reminding customers of their table booking
- Gift cards – digital gift cards have exploded in growth over the last 12 months. The GCVA reports a 70% increase in digital gift cards sold in the UK. Sending a gift card via SMS is a great last-minute present, delivered speedily. The perfect pick me up!
SMS is not only a great customer engagement tool; it can also reduce costs within your business. Retailers can leverage SMS to keep the customer informed throughout their order journey, by sending real time order confirmations, order updates, delivery tracking and successful fulfilment, reducing calls to customer service teams and subsequently improving customer satisfaction as they are informed every step of the way. No more dispatch emails getting lost in a junk folder.
However, SMS should be used with caution – too many messages can aggravate a customer, diluting its effectiveness, and therefore can have the opposite effect to what you are trying to achieve. Use SMS as part of your wider marketing toolkit to promote urgency, limited time promotions or keeping a customer up to date with their order.
As with any marketing tactic, measuring ROI against your SMS campaign and assessing the delivery rate will ensure you are getting the most out of the channel and it is being deployed effectively.
If you’re looking to add SMS to your list of marketing tactics, get in touch to find out how Eagle Eye can support.