SMS is a channel often under utilised by brands. With a 160 character limitation, it’s dismissed as offering limited opportunity for valuable customer engagement. Creatively, SMS is deemed the ugly sister of the ‘sexier’ channels, namely social media, digital and well-executed DM. It’s over-looked for creative marketing campaigns and limited to essential communication, as requested by customers. Granted, SMS has a role to play in reminding customers that their bill is overdue but the channel shouldn’t be limited to such mundane communications.
There are numerous ways to use SMS to create a mobile campaign that genuinely stands out from competitor activity, engages customers and delivers results. Here are Blue Star Direct’s top five:
Create a two way conversation
The beauty of texting is that it provides the opportunity for a dialogue. Think of a consumer going into a store with a coupon they’ve been sent via SMS. When the coupon is redeemed, the store’s system recognises that the customer executed a transaction and they receive an acknowledgement message along with a customer satisfaction survey. A two-way dialogue evolves whereby, the customer’s action triggers a follow-up communication from the brand which then provides an opportunity for the customer to give feedback on their experience and tailor future offers.
Use SMS as a gateway channel
As with providing mobile coupons, links in texts mean that recipients are one tap away from any number of dynamic experiences. As SMS is an opt-in medium, customers are happy to hear from you via SMS and this increases the chance of recipients clicking-thru. Brands can link to their mobile or social media sites, experiential apps, games or landing pages where users interact with the page to reveal an offer. The possibilities are endless and all this from a simple 160 character SMS.
Make rewards personal
SMS is a very personal medium. It’s how we talk to our friends. That’s why rewarding loyalty, via SMS immediately increases engagement to a more personal level. Couple this with the intelligent use of data to highly personalise rewards and you’re beginning to stand-out from competitor brands. Think about mapping point of purchase data. A mum might purchase a specific brand of nappies from the same supermarket chain every two weeks. SMS her an offer on the same brand of nappies the day before she’s set to purchase and you’re achieving cut-through that no generic ‘sale, sale, sale’ SMS is going to achieve.
Understand that timing is everything
If we receive a DM that looks interesting we might scan it and then ‘file’ it for closer review at a later date. The same with eDM. We’ll likely read the subject line and flag it for later when we have more time. The great thing about SMS is it’s immediate. SMS’s are read, there and then, wherever the customer is. As with the example of the mum and her nappy purchasing, when marketers are able to tap into the timeliness of the channel, real opportunities to drive the path to purchase emerge.
Get to know your customer better
Because SMS is such a personal medium, it’s the perfect way to get to know your customer better. At the basic level, this could include providing a link to an incentivised survey via SMS. But, the intelligent use of data from SMS campaigns can provide customer insights to drive more effective communication with each customer in the future. For example, a customer may redeem one type of mobile voucher over another, allowing brands to tailor future offers at a highly personalised level. SMS allows you to easily put in place a test and learn strategy to provide insights into customer behaviour and what makes customers respond at an individual level.