Three ways to improve engagement through SMS marketing

As the marketing landscape becomes more competitive, the task of effectively engaging with customers becomes more challenging. SMS marketing has long been used by SMEs for its cost-effectiveness and strong return-on-investment. However, SMS has now evolved beyond simple text messages, with technology that has the potential to deliver maximum engagement with your customers.

Earlier this year, MessageMedia surveyed 1,000 consumers from Australia about consumer attitudes to SMS. The results revealed that a staggering 87 per cent of Australians have opened an SMS from a business, with a further 83 per cent having clicked through to a business from a link within an SMS.

While these numbers are continuing to grow, reaching your audience is only half the battle for SMEs – getting customers to act is the other. Below are three ways that SMEs can achieve real and measurable results with SMS marketing to not just reach your customers, but also encourage them to click through.

Personalised, targeted experiences

With so much competition, businesses must distinguish themselves with superior customer experiences. Customers buy more from a company that knows their name and personal preferences. They will also leave a business they feel isn’t providing sufficiently relevant experience.

New SMS technologies like mobile landing pages are personalised, interactive mobile interfaces that go beyond simply greeting the customer by name. Mobile landing pages can display your business logo, high-resolution images and call-to-action (CTA) buttons, tailored for your audience so they know the message has been designed for them.

Impressive click-through rates are being seen using personalised mobile landing pages, particularly in retail. The Athlete’s Foot is one of these, using mobile landing pages to offer vouchers to new, existing or lapsed loyalty club members. This saw their recent campaign achieve an impressive 13 per cent average click-through rate.

Integrated, automated communications

Customer technology systems can’t exist in isolation anymore. To capitalise on your investment in systems such as Adobe, NetSuite, HubSpot, Magento and others, your communications must co-exist and integrate with these systems and workflows – regardless of platform. The integration of SMS into your existing system expands your communications capability and brings the immediacy of SMS to your business.

By integrating SMS into existing automation workflows, such as triggered customer updates and offers, businesses can elevate their marketing campaigns and other messaging to create highly personalised and targeted text messages.

For example, an online retailer on Shopify can now send automated SMS reminders every time a shopper abandons their cart to recover a potential lost sale. This not only increases customer engagement levels but also addresses a $29 billion cart abandonment problem in Australia.

Two-way conversational messaging

We already know that customers prefer to contact businesses via a digital channel. However, despite the fact that most of us (especially millennials) won’t call a business, we still expect a fast response that resembles a two-way conversation.

Two-way SMS delivers this. Features such as dedicated (or virtual) numbers means that all your messages originate from the same number. Customers can save your dedicated number and use it to contact you, as these numbers support inbound SMS.

An automated SMS service goes a step further, turning a one-way message into an engaging, automated two-way SMS conversation with customers, providing real-time delivery and responses through rules which trigger a desired action.

When Rich Communication Services (RCS) becomes available in Australia, it will provide an even greater, app-like experience of two-way conversational messaging through its richer functionality. Increased response rates and better engagement are the result, as already demonstrated by successful trials by major US brands, including Subway, MGM Resorts and Walgreens.

Tara Salmon, Chief Marketing Officer, MessageMedia

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