Jonathan Morgan, CEO, OpenMarket – March 16, 2016
There are certain times of the year when your customers are online searching for ideal gifts and getaway deals – Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day to name just a few. This is a great opportunity to drive sales and delight your customers with memorable service. SMS marketing is the best way to boost engagement all year round but it’s particularly effective around seasonal events and holidays. This is because your customers are actively looking for hard to find items and last-minute offers on their mobile phones.
Research from RetailMeNot shows an 82 per cent spike in customers using mobile devices to research holiday gifts and deals. Adding seasonal SMS messages is a great way to complement your existing marketing tactics. Here are four ways SMS can help:
DRIVING IN-STORE SALES
Using SMS to send alerts about your sales and seasonal events is a cost-effective way of promoting special offers. Sending offers by text message will increase foot traffic too, as 78 per cent of customers are more likely to visit a store after receiving an SMS deal. If your business is having a one-off sale that only lasts for a short time, this is the best channel to let your customers know, as most text messages are read within three minutes. In comparison, only 20 per cent of emails are read at all, and social media posts will only be seen by a small percentage of your online followers. SMS also reaches customers while they’re out and about, adding relevant context and encouraging them to visit your store.
POWERING ONLINE SHOPPING
While in-store sales are crucial around events, greater convenience is pushing more shoppers online. In fact, when it comes to occasions like Mother’s Day, online vouchers are now one of the most popular gift options, and overseas ecommerce stores are growing in popularity. SMS is a great way to reach customers looking for gift ideas, decorations and supplies, or to send important information like order confirmations and shipping updates. Text messages make it easy to provide visibility so customers don’t have to search for order numbers or find time to call customer service. You can also use SMS to let customers know when the supply of popular products is running low, and when they’re back in stock, to prevent them turning to a competitor.
HELPING LAST-MINUTE SHOPPERS
Many of your customers won’t get themselves organised for upcoming events until the last minute and they’ll be on the lookout for convenient deals. The days before Christmas are notoriously busy but the day before Good Friday now rivals Christmas Eve as one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Tailor your last-minute SMS offers to your business goals and customer habits – this might mean offering free express shipping, a store-wide discount or gift wrapping for all online purchases. Using SMS is a great way to ensure a quick and easy process for customers who have left their shopping to the eleventh hour. Now they can simply click a link in the message and be taken directly to your online store. You can also use SMS to send reminders about sales and delivery cut-off dates, to help people get organised and make sure their gifts arrive in time.
Occasions and holidays are the perfect time to get into the spirit of gift-giving and say thank you to your most valued customers. SMS is an effective way of reaching them because you know they’ll see your message no matter where they are or what they’re doing. You can send a gift, like an exclusive discount, or simply a message thanking them for being loyal to your brand and wishing them well. Don’t just think of Christmas and Easter. If it’s relevant, you can use local holidays and events or even your customers’ birthdays to reward them. Just make sure your message sounds as personal and friendly as possible. You wouldn’t send out cards with no greeting or sign-off, or write the exact same thing to everybody you know. The same goes for SMS. The more your messages feel like a 1:1 conversation, the more your customers will feel valued and appreciated.
There’s no better time to engage your customers than in the lead-up to an occasion or holiday. Use SMS to attract customers looking for seasonal offers, and follow up with helpful content like shipping and order notifications. When they’re busy looking for gifts and organising events, your customers will appreciate how quick and simple it is to communicate with you. By contacting customers with great offers when they’re already out and about, you’ll be able to drive purchases online and in-store while providing a positive customer experience.
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