Maximize Retention and ROI with Proven SMS Marketing Tactics

Maximize Retention and ROI with Proven SMS Marketing Tactics

Maximize Retention and ROI with Proven SMS Marketing Tactics

Increase customer retention and revenue for your business with advanced SMS strategies.

Repeat sales and subscription-based selling have become the gold standard for revenue generation across virtually every industry, and it’s easy to understand why:

  • A five percent increase in customer retention can increase business revenue by more than 25 percent.

  • It costs six to seven times more, on average, to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

  • Consumers are 82 percent more likely to make a repeat purchase or subscription renewal if they receive value from their interactions with the brand.

Consumers are growing less loyal to brands now than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands that are successfully winning business from the competition are using loyalty programs, competitive pricing, and improved customer success support. And they’re doing all of this through SMS.

Responsive messaging, personalized interactions, and timely automation are modern staples in mobile marketing. 

By the end of this guide, you’ll understand:

  • Effective strategies for deeper SMS engagement

  • How to use automation to deliver personalized experiences

  • The benefits of connecting SMS campaigns with your email and social strategy

Essential best practices in SMS marketing

SMS success begins with building a solid strategic foundation to support your messaging campaigns. Even the most engaging messages in the world won’t be able to overcome flaws in the infrastructure you set up to execute, manage, and optimize an SMS strategy.

From transparent delivery to legal compliance, there are several boxes your business needs to check before you’re ready to launch an SMS campaign. Here are the best practices we recommend for any business:

Secure trust through permission-based marketing

Gaining active consent through messaging opt-ins isn’t only a courtesy to your customers. In many countries, it’s also the law.

An opt-in is confirmation from the consumer that they have chosen to receive text messages from your business. These opt-ins can be gathered through multiple channels: many businesses will promote a number that consumers can text to enroll in SMS messaging, but opt-ins can also be secured through e-commerce checkout processes or other fillable forms featured on your website.

Your business can also perform a “double opt-in” that sends an initial SMS message asking the consumer to confirm their consent. While this often isn’t a legal requirement, it’s a good way to confirm consent—and to verify that the consumer entered their number correctly.

Similarly, your business should make it easy for consumers to opt out of SMS campaigns whenever they want. The most common approach is to auto-unsubscribe consumers who text a stop command, such as STOP or CANCEL, to your branded number. This automates your list management, keeps your messaging in compliance, and makes sure you’re only paying to deliver messages to interested consumers.

Tailor messaging to each audience segment

As you build your SMS messaging list, your strategy will benefit from separating individual consumers into different audience segments. These segments can be created based on many data points, including age, gender, geography, purchase history, and other data points you think are relevant to the audience.

You can even create custom audience segments for specific campaigns. If you want to re-engage past customers who haven’t purchased within the past 90 days, for example, you can create a custom list and send a promo code or other incentive to motivate a new purchase.

Audience segmentation goes hand-in-hand with personalized messaging. By tailoring the content of your messages to specific audiences, you can create a more personalized experience while using SMS marketing to support a wide range of marketing goals. 

A targeted approach to message delivery also ensures that your messages all offer value to their intended audience, instead of blasting your SMS subscribers with irrelevant messages.

Deliver messages through a direct-carrier provider

SMS wholesale aggregators can be attractive thanks to their low advertised cost. But you get what you pay for: these aggregators turn a profit by offloading your SMS messages to other, smaller aggregators, who sometimes take a profit by passing them on down the line again.

This can happen half a dozen times or more. With each exchange, your SMS marketing suffers: technical information can get scrambled or lost, impacting your message delivery, and aggregation can lead to slower, less timely delivery for your messages. The outcomes of your messaging inevitably decline, but so does your ability to evaluate outcomes: delivery receipts may be difficult to acquire, and your business is more exposed to potential SMS fraud.

A direct-carrier provider eliminates these risk factors, improving your campaign results and your visibility into SMS performance. When you send messages through a direct-carrier, your business benefits from fast message delivery, reliable receipts and performance data, and cost-efficient routing across a global network of carrier connections. Your SMS marketing ROI is higher, global compliance is assured, and your messages reach the right consumers at the right time.

Advanced SMS strategies for deeper engagement

With fast message delivery and high open rates, SMS is a natural fit for marketing campaigns aiming to foster deep connections that are the backbone of customer loyalty.

As your business acquaints itself with the capabilities of SMS messaging, consider how the channel’s unique attributes could be used to facilitate experiences and marketing outcomes that aren’t as easily achieved through your other marketing campaigns. 

Here’s a handful of advanced SMS marketing strategies that may make sense for your business:

Craft irresistible (and urgent) SMS offers

Direct-carrier providers enable almost instant message delivery to a global audience. With time on your side, consider testing out flash deals and promotions that require a fast purchase decision.

E-commerce brands understand the value of forcing consumers into making impulse decisions. Flash sales have become a popular selling strategy because they can tap into multiple consumer motivations to make a purchase. The incentive of low prices is obvious. But the time constraint of a single day, or even a few hours, can force a rushed decision if consumers are worried about missing out on the deal—and this fear of missing out (what the kids call FOMO) often works in favor of the seller.

Similarly, the popularity of a product can increase a consumer’s inclination to buy. New product releases, such as shoe drops and limited-run apparel, can influence some consumers even more than prices and product reviews. Businesses can experiment with VIP messaging experiences that give SMS subscribers early notice on new sales or product releases, reinforcing the value of receiving these messages and spurring a hasty purchase decision.

Enrich content delivery through multimedia messaging

While SMS only supports text-based messaging, your business might want to experiment with multimedia messaging, which allows your business to send messages enriched with images, videos, GIFs, and audio files for a more engaging customer experience.

MMS gives you far more latitude in developing high-quality ad creative that your audience will love. Multimedia can be a tool for showcasing your brand’s personality, delivering more information and value to your customers, and driving more engagement with your branded messages.

Currently, MMS messages can only be sent to consumers in the United States and Canada. But MMS content can still be delivered to a global audience through WhatsApp, which boasts more than 2 billion active users around the world and a 75 percent open rate for business messages—meaning there’s no reason not to find out what multimedia can do for your messaging strategy.

Move customers up your brand’s ‘loyalty ladder’

If customer loyalty is a ladder, the first rung is simply becoming aware of your brand. The next rung is becoming a prospect. Reach the next rung and they’ve become a customer.

But the ladder keeps growing from there—and if you’re serious about customer retention, your customer relationships should, too. 

Loyalty programs are part of the post-conversion customer experience that can strengthen brand loyalties and increase the potential for repeat business. Gaining opt-ins into SMS marketing, and then using that messaging for loyalty program communications, can solidify and grow the customer’s affinity for your brand. Over time, this loyalty program will deliver value in the form of discounts, rewards, and other perks that continue to inspire positive sentiments about your brand.

These positive sentiments can move a loyal customer further up the ladder to the level of brand advocate. This type of customer isn’t just a repeat buyer—they’re also a potential source of new customer referrals. Businesses can motivate word-of-mouth promotion through incentives. Unique codes distributed via SMS can be shared by customer advocates to give their connections an exclusive promotional offer, and to reward the referring customer as well.

From loyalty programs to referrals, these SMS communications can be largely automated to support customer engagement at scale and make sure no customer slips through the cracks of your retention efforts.

Harness subscription data to improve customer success 

In addition to demographic and location-based data, subscription-based businesses often have a trove of first-party customer data specific to online browsing, viewing, purchasing, and other behaviors tracked by your website or mobile app. This information can be wielded by SMS marketing to enhance the quality and relevance of your messaging.

Abandoned carts, content recommendations, price drops on recently viewed items, requests for feedback on a recent experience, and other personalized messages can improve customer communications while also building up your first-party data. Trigger-based automation can support granular messaging that improves your brand experience and is proactive in reducing the risk of customer churn.

While these tactics aren’t exclusive to subscription-based experiences, the larger volume of data generated by these experiences creates more possibilities when developing personalized SMS campaigns.

Deliver thoughtful personalization via timely automation

Using trigger-based automation to cultivate a more personal brand experience might sound counterintuitive—especially when you realize how little human labor is required to deliver these personalized messages. 

But personalized SMS experiences are all about understanding what the customer needs and wants from your brand. The right mix of customer data and trigger-based actions can power personalized experiences tailored to individual consumers—a degree of customization that would be impossible without technology.

Here are two scenarios where automated messaging can create value through 1-to-1 communication:

Nurture leads through drip SMS campaigns

Every consumer moves through the sales funnel at their own pace. Drip campaigns offer an automated, time-based approach to nurturing and guiding leads on their own timeline.

Like email drip campaigns, an SMS drip campaign can time message delivery based on when the campaign was initiated by a form submission, purchase, online sign-up, opt-in, or other trigger behavior. Drip messages can be scheduled in line with the typical buyer journey you see among your customers. 

For an e-commerce business, a full SMS drip campaign may unfold over a couple of weeks or less. For a B2B business, the drip campaign may stretch across months to account for the longer buying cycle. 

In either scenario, though, the delivery schedule is specific to each customer. While this tactic is common for lead nurturing, it can be used throughout the post-conversion process to support customer success initiatives, motivate repeat purchases, and improve customer retention through consistent engagement.

Build rapport through celebratory SMS touchpoints

Celebrations of personal milestones can strengthen brand loyalties among your customer base—while also giving your business a good occasion for engaging customers.

Automated SMS campaigns can deliver messages to your customers wishing them a happy birthday, celebrating their anniversary of becoming a customer or subscriber, congratulating them on reaching a new loyalty membership tier, or recognizing other important milestones.

These celebratory moments can also come with purchase incentives or other perks: birthdays, for example, are a great opportunity to share an exclusive promo code or discount that your customer can use to buy something special. 

Integrate SMS with other marketing channels

The engagement you receive through SMS messaging can generate data and other insights to enhance campaigns across other marketing channels.

Whether tracking campaign performance through analytics or gathering customer feedback, your SMS strategy should share and receive insights with campaigns across email, social, WhatsApp, and other communication channels to optimize performance and ROI across your broader marketing strategy.

Cross-channel promotion

Email, social media, WhatsApp, and SMS all represent owned media channels for your business—meaning your brand maintains full control over how these channels are managed.

Owned media is a valuable asset for your business—and as your subscriber lists and social followers grow, the value of these owned channels will only increase. For this reason, your business should use SMS messaging to occasionally refer subscribers to connect via email, social, and WhatsApp to increase your customer touchpoints and strengthen brand loyalty.

Make sure this promotion goes both ways: email and social can help drive opt-ins for your SMS campaigns, giving you more ways to reach customers outside of paid marketing and advertising channels.

SMS-driven feedback

Use SMS to collect feedback from customers regarding recent purchases, customer service sessions, and other aspects of your brand experience. 

This feedback can come through simple SMS responses: the question “Were you satisfied with your experience today?” can prompt consumers to respond with either “YES” or “NO.” Alternatively, SMS messages can refer consumers to a URL where they can fill out a quick survey about their experience.

You can also set up negative response triggers that offer to connect the consumer with a customer service agent, allowing your business to address bad experiences and retain customers who might otherwise abandon your brand.

Tap into the power of SMS marketing with MessageBird

Give your SMS strategy the tools it needs to soar. With pre-built integrations, platform-based analytics, global compliance safeguards, and near-limitless scale, MessageBird is a one-stop solution for planning, executing, and optimizing SMS campaigns that improve customer retention and elevate your marketing ROI.

Our platform also supports omnichannel campaigns across email, WhatsApp, and social media channels, integrating management and insights to deliver better outcomes while centralizing your messaging strategy. With built-in automation tools and an expansive library of official SDKs, MessageBird makes it easy to quickly build and iterate SMS campaigns that maximize the value of this investment.

How MessageBird elevates your SMS performance

The benefits of using MessageBird for SMS marketing begin with our global infrastructure enabling fast, reliable message delivery to your target audience. Our best-in-class platform offers the following:

  • 90% cheaper SMS messaging for marketing automation customers in many countries as SMS is included in your platform subcsription

  • More than 270 direct connections to carriers around the world

  • A 97.3 percent median message delivery rate

  • An average 18 percent improvement in deliverability after switching to MessageBird

  • An average global delivery speed of under 2.5 seconds for SMS

This industry-leading performance is backed by global compliance controls, enterprise-grade security, and cost-optimized pricing to maximize audience reach and your return on investment.

Your new standard in Marketing, Payments & Sales. It's Bird

The right message -> to the right person -> at the right time.

Your new standard in Marketing, Payments & Sales. It's Bird

The right message -> to the right person -> at the right time.