8 Ways to Use Text Messages to Engage Your Clients

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Josh McAllister
Freelance writer and independent business consultant from New York. A regular contributor at Born2Invest.
Today’s effective marketing is about coming down to the customers’ level and engaging in a whole new way. A text message is one of the most effective and influential ways that you can engage your customers. Here are eight ways that you can utilize text messages to help your business.

A text message is one of the most effective and influential ways that you can engage your customers. The average person spends 90 minutes per day on their smartphone. According to Mobile Statistics, that is more than 23 days of surfing, chatting, and texting each year. In your lifetime, you will spend 3.9 years on your phone.

A growing business should use these tools to their advantage. Today’s effective marketing is about coming down to the customers’ level and engaging in a whole new and radical way. Text messages are sent from friends and loved ones all the time. Why not send them a business related text? Here are eight ways that you can utilize text messages to help your business.

1. Promotions and Freebies

Legally, a person must opt-in to receive text messages from your company. However, once you have their consent, you can send them all sorts of promotional items and freebies. It’s just like sending an email to your client base. If you have new products that you want to promote, a simple text can notify all your clientèle at once. Short-term promotions and flash sales are perfectly promoted through a text.

Mention the word “free” and you will get people's attention. Contests are a great way to engage with your existing clients and give them a promotion push. You want to entice people to come to your website and purchase goods or services.

Keep in mind, you want to send the promotions to specific groups. These groups should be based on demographics such as purchase history, behaviors, and geography. For example, if you want to send a code out for 20 percent of all purchased on Sunday, you need to send it out by Friday. You need to give people time to prepare. Most are not going to drop what they are doing and head to your site.

2. Customer Service

Text messaging is a great tool to communicate with your customers or prospective clients. You can send and receive messages from clients, which will save you time. This additional avenue will allow your clients to get in touch with you when they need to.

SMS is quickly becoming one of the fastest and most convenient forms of customer service. Legally, you can protect yourself by having a written record of all conversations between you and the customer. Additionally, you will have a wide-reaching way to keep in touch. Should a person step away from their computer or be out of range of WIFI services, a text message will still get through. How many people leave without their phones?

3. Multi-Channel Marketing

Evaluating all the diverse ways that customers look for and process information is important. As a brand of today, you must use multi-channel messaging strategies in your marketing campaigns. You can use SMS to store or facilitate a loyalty program. What about a nice Facebook competition? Each SMS message that you send out must have a call-to-action. This is instructions that tell the customer what they need to do to take advantage of the offer.

4. Appointment Reminders

Another way that text messaging can be utilized is for appointment reminders. When a missed appointment occurs, it is a hassle for both the business and the client. These little texts can be great ways to make sure that a client shows up. No more playing phone tag with a client and waiting for them to call back. Even if they are in a meeting, they can send a quick response text back. Additionally, they can put these little reminders into the calendars on their phone.

Restaurants are using this technology to tell people that their table is ready. Other businesses are sending out traffic updates that give their clients a friendly reminder about their appointment the next day. An email might get sent to the “trash” bin or sit in an inbox. However, a text is sure to be read.

5. Order Details and Updates

Customers can opt for SMS receipt delivery during the checkout. This will give them confirmation updates as well as any changes they have made to the order. Real-time information about the shipping and delivery is welcomed by most through text messages. When information needs to get to your clients urgently, count on text messaging to deliver.

For instance, most pharmacies are now communicating with their customers through texts. They remind them of refills that are due, tell them when their prescription is ready for pickup, and communicate with them about other medical needs. How does this help? Well, it gets the clerks off the phone. They don’t have to hear about the customer's medical ailments. They have less downtime, and the customer is still being serviced.

6. Feedback and Surveys

Messages along the lines of surveys and polls seem to really get a customer’s attention. These little “games” are a great way to engage with the customer. Plus, it provides you with useful information that allows you to know what they are thinking. Using texts gives you the option to respond at any time, from any place.

What customers like about text polls is that they can express their opinion and give you an opportunity to take action. As a whole, your customer base will feel more invested in your company. Take for instance a restaurant that wants to add a new dish to their menus. They could poll their customers to put a new appetizer or dessert on their menu that they want. By giving the public what they want, the sales will increase.

7. Advice and Recommendations

Merchants find that they can increase their customer service through SMS. By giving customers ways to get product information, discounts, and recommendations through SMS, it is a win-win situation. These texts can include tips and advice that is immediately useful to them.

For instance, an auto mechanic might remind customers to let their cars run for 10 minutes to warm up during a cold snap. They could also put a call to action at the bottom of the text about getting help with batteries and other service needs. By providing targeted and relevant information, the customers will listen, and you can bet that if they have an issue, they will know who to call - or text.

8. Customer Loyalty

As a business, you have different levels of customers. The VIP list is those who are faithful to use your products or services. You can offer exclusive or unique deals to these people. Simply use analytics to divide your customers based on buying habits and demographics. These VIP deals will make your customers feel special.

There is no need to spend money on promotions that may or may not work. Using targeting and personalization, you can hit the mark by marketing to specific customers. Watch your customer loyalty and retention increase, when you treat them as VIP clients.

Using SMS In Your Business

As you can see, an SMS campaign can take your business to a whole new level. Just remember, you need to have your customers opt-in to be included in your SMS list. Also, bear in mind that an opt-out link or "reply with no" should be included with every message sent as certain countries legally require it. 

You don’t want to send your clients too many messages. If you send them too frequently, the client will become annoyed and opt-out. Try it out and limit what you are sending. Test your response and opt-out rates to see how successful you are.

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