By Jake Meador | 19 Jun 2020
If you want to use SMS marketing as part of your customer loyalty program, what tools are most helpful? In this post, we’ll talk through three different SMS marketing features that can help you as you try to build a better customer loyalty program.
Drip campaigns are automated messaging campaigns in which a sequence of messages is released slowly over a long period of time. So you might have a drip campaign that runs over several weeks or even many months.
Usually we think of drip campaigns as a tool for winning customers. So you collect someone’s phone number or email address and you send a series of messages via a drip campaign that is intended to move them from being a lead to being a customer.
But drip campaigns can work in other ways as well. After all, loyal customers are simply people who make purchase after purchase over a long period of time. So if drip campaigns can help a person who has never bought before make a purchasing decision, why can’t they also help people who have bought before make the same decision again?
How do you use drip campaigns with loyalty programs?
There are two different ways you could do it.
First, if you have a more robust loyalty program in which you offer larger perks or superior status in some way for your most loyal customers, then you can use drip campaigns to incentivize people to move toward that higher status. You can do this via sending messages that remind them of how many points they need to hit the next reward level, for instance.
Second, if you have more simple use cases in mind—mostly just trying to get people to keep buying—then it can get a little simpler. The problem you’re trying to solve is still the same as when sending text messages to a lead. You want that person to imagine themselves having a better life because your product helps them solve some kind of problem they deal with on a regular basis.
As marketing guru Joanna Wiebe often says, you’re always selling people a better version of themselves. So you can set up a drip campaign that helps people see how continuing to buy from you helps them become that better version of themselves.
To do that, you can emphasize the ways in which your product helps them in general. You can also talk about how you have other products that they haven’t purchased that can also be helpful.
Reminder alerts are also automated messages, like drip campaigns. But they are a bit simpler. You don’t create a string of messages to slowly ‘drip’ out over a period of time. Rather, you identify specific moments where reminding your customer of something is valuable—and then you set up messages to go out at those times.
So, for example, if you are a restaurant where kids can eat free on Tuesday nights, perhaps you set up an alert to go out on Tuesdays to customers who opt-in to receive alerts from you reminding them that kids eat free that night.
You might also use reminder alerts when a customer is close to a certain loyalty bonus. If they only need to buy one more drink from your coffeeshop to receive a free drink, you can text them to remind them of that.
Finally, if you are a business that helps people with predictable needs, you can send out reminders when they are due to come in again. This could be valuable for dentist offices or autoshops, for example. Tax accountants might also find it helpful come tax season.
One of the ways in which people build a positive relationship with a store or business is by feeling as if they have some personal stake in it.
Surveys can be a way for you to help people build that sense of connection with your business. Are you considering adding a new item to your menu or inventory? Or perhaps you are planning a special holiday event.
In both cases, you can involve your loyal customers in the decision by sending out a survey asking them to share their thoughts on what you should do.
Some customers will ignore the message, of course. But others might read it and start thinking about it for themselves. And at that point they’re relating to you in a new way. Whenever we’re talking to a business, most of us have a fear in the back of our mind that we’re talking to someone who is only trying to part us (unfairly?) from our hard-earned money.
But once a customer starts being curious about the decisions you make and feels as if they have input into those decisions, they’re no longer thinking about you in those terms. You’re no longer suspicious to them. You’re familiar, perhaps even a friend in some sense. And that, ultimately, is by far the best way to build a greater sense of loyalty and trust between you and your customers.