Stewart Townsend
September 8, 2023

Improving Your Customer Engagement Strategy With Conversational SMS Text Message Campaigns that Convert

There are numerous ways to utilise the text messaging channel - you can use it to promote your business, engage with customers, increase click-through rates, and skyrocket response rates.  Here we discuss 9 ways to get maximum response rates from your customers. 

Quality of uptake starts with the quality of your contact list

This may seem too obvious to be included on this list, but you would’d surprised to learn how many companies lose customers and a chance to utilise their SMS marketing budget properly because they are targeting the wrong audience.  

Make sure that contacts have opted into receiving texts (this is also a GDPR requirement) and also make sure that you support and honour opt outs, there’s no point texting someone who doesn’t want to get messages from you. 

Be sure to  use data about your customers to personalise messages but also for targeting so the message is relevant to those who get it, otherwise it’s unlikely to get a response.

Use Messages Across and Between Touch Points 

Making communication an integral part of your customer journey so that the timing is relevant and useful will increase responses.  If they have made contact with your business recently then they are more likely to respond to your comms, especially if they help move them through the customer journey.  It might be encouraging them to book an appointment after an enquiry with a timely offer, thanking them for their loyalty after a number of visits, or asking them for feedback just after an experience. 

You can also use messages to re-engage lapsing customers, tell them they’ve been missed and give them a special offer to encourage repeat custom.

Language Matters 

Your messaging style is as important as the content. Using all caps in a bid to urge your customer to respond usually has a negative effect, messages like “GET YOURS NOW!!” are more off-putting than they are motivating.  Aim to keep your tone natural and conversational, how you would talk to a friend. Adding an emoji  or two will to make your content more attractive and works well in getting more responses 😉👍. ‍

Learn How to Use Call-To-Action Effectively

Your call-to-action needs to guide the customer on what to do next. There is no point in sending well-curated, attention-grabbing messages that don’t tell them what to do for conversion, like asking them to click on a link or reply with a keyword.

There are various kinds of CTAs you can use in your texts:

Click a link : Drive traffic to your website by adding a link  to the message and use the landing page to monitor uptake results. It could be to enter a competition, get a discount code that’s applied straight to their shopping basket or just to find out more about a new product or service.

Encourage Sharing: The reward doesn’t always have to be just for the recipient, encourage a discount code be shared to spread the love. 

Start a conversation: A great interaction can start with a question, whether its about a recent experience or finding out that one thing you don’t stock that everyone wishes you did.  Asking a question to get a direct reply to the message can be insightful for you but also an engaging way of making customers feel more valued.

Give a Keyword: You might want customers to reply with a keyword that sends them more information in another message, or adds them to an RSVP list to take part in something like a VIP pre-sale.  Getting a message back cements the interaction and develops the relationship.

Content Needs to be Personal and Relevant

Make your customers feel special by curating messages that are just for them (even if they aren’t). A simple way to add a personal touch to your messages is to use the customer’s name. Sending blanket messages does not grab attention like a personalised message. 

Go for a personalised message with relevant content. For example, if a customer has recently spent a good amount of money on gardening tools, message them offering discounts on other related products. Your customers will appreciate your effort to send them relevant content that mutually helps both the business and the customer. 

There’s nothing worse than getting a discount code right after you just made a purchase, so for a good interaction in this moment getting some feedback about their new purchase or checking they had a good experience is more valuable to build the relationship. 

Message response is always higher when the number it comes from is recognised by the customer as being yours so always use a dedicated one that is just yours, also include your business name right at the top of the message to increase identification and uptake.

Timing The Message Right 

One big difference between SMS and emails is their response time. While emails may sit on your customer's inboxes for days before they are read, text messages are opened in the first 90 seconds. Time the message right, and you set yourself for receiving a much higher response rate. The right time for any text message depends on its purpose. For example, if you have a sale on the weekend, send a message at the end of the week. For customers who opt-in for reminders, send a message just before the sale to capitalise on all your offers. 

Your response times matter too so if a customer asks a question, respond in real-time as much as possible or let them know you’re on it and will reply soon. Delays in reply reflect poorly on your brand and decrease connectivity. 

Use Link Shorteners With a text message

Text messages are short, and work best when they get right to the point so your links out to your website or social need to be short too. Quality messaging tools will manage this for you and ensure that the shortened link is on brand for your business.  Customers worry about clicking links that might lead to malware so knowing the message is genuine and from a trusted source will increase uptake. 

Analyse Performance and Tweak 

For your business to get more responses through SMS marketing, you need to analyse your campaigns, it’s and essential step towards developing a better marketing strategy.

Try to use a messaging tool with inbuilt CRM (think of CRM as your digital address book) that can manage customer opt in and out, collect and store data for targeting and personalisation.  It should also make it easy to see how your campaigns are performing so you can identify patterns in what works and what doesn’t so you can refine your strategy.

Don’t Swap, Manage Fequency

Your response rates will go down if you contact too often and out of context.  If customers aren’t reconnecting sending more messages won’t help, but perhaps less regular messages with better content will.  Using fewer interactions in a more meaningful and valuable way will get better engagement rates in the long run. 

Final Thoughts

Text campaigns should be easy, it’s such an instant, powerful and personal medium.  If they aren’t working for you check your frequency, content and relevance to make sure they are adding value to your customer relationship not smothering it.  Make sure you have the right tools to guide you in delivering the best interactive experiences and measuring your campaign effectiveness, not all text marketing solutions are built equal, if you need to manually manage lists, don’t have a dedicated number for your business and it lacks CRM capability you’re off on the wrong footing to get the best out of text.

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