By Jake Meador | 13 Apr 2020
Think of the early days of your relationship with your customers as being a bit like forming a habit. If you’ve ever tried to form new habits to become healthier or more productive, then you know how difficult those early days can be.
Eventually, of course, you succeed and that new routine or practice you wanted to take up is basically automated—it’s just a normal part of your daily routine. That’s how habits work. But defining those routines takes a great deal of time.
Relationships between businesses and their customers work much the same way.
Why is that?
Well, everyone has horror stories of bad deals they’ve gotten or times they’ve been treated badly by a business. Indeed, for many people ‘business’ is just another word for ‘someone trying to take my hard-earned money.’ As a business, you have to overcome that objection, however strong or weak it is in your prospect or new customer.
There are many ways you overcome that, of course. Some are fairly obvious and straightforward:
Admit when you’ve made a mistake.
Offer a good product at a fair price.
If you aren’t doing these things, then there isn’t anything you can do in marketing to make up for it.
That being said, if you are providing genuine value to customers, marketing can help make it a bit easier to build relationships with customers and to start growing your number of repeat purchases and returning customers.
In particular, SMS marketing can be a great way of doing this. SMS is particularly helpful because it can both help you gain new regular customers, and it can encourage your existing regulars to become more frequent with their purchases.
The hardest sale is almost always the first sale.
But the next hardest is probably the second. If someone buys from you once and then never comes back, you need to figure out what happened.
Sometimes it’s a simple explanation: They moved away from the area. Or perhaps they were simply traveling for work and aren’t going to be back in town again.
But sometimes it is something else: They weren’t wowed by the product. They had a bad experience. You’ve heard these objections before if you’ve been in business for any length of time.
One simple way to improve sales performance is by making it harder for people to say “no” when you ask for the sale. If you’re trying to turn a lead into a first-time customer or a one-time customer into a recurring customer, you need to figure out what their main objection is and act to weaken that objection.
For example, if you are a local brick-and-mortar retailer, perhaps the objection is that they can get a similar good from a big box store or online retailer. The objection, in other words, is about price, convenience, or both.
To counter this, you can consider offering a lower price or free shipping on a product they have previously purchased or expressed interest in. To encourage them to act, you might also put a deadline on the deal: “Visit in the next two weeks to receive 10% off your purchase,” or “order in the next week to get free shipping.”
Why should you use SMS to do this?
Here’s why: Realistically, this kind of direct-to-consumer messaging is going to happen in only one of three ways:
direct mail (it will get recycled)
email (probably will get deleted)
text messaging (99% open rate)
The best offer in the world doesn’t matter if no one sees it. By texting the message to your cold lead or cold one-time customer, you can be sure they’ll see it.
By tying a customer’s phone number to a loyalty program, you can alert people to their rewards status, let them know when you’re offering double points, or simply send out a reminder if they are close to earning a reward.
What makes this method valuable is that it helps encourage people who are already regulars to visit more regularly.
Because repeat customers tend to spend more than infrequent customers, it follows that getting your repeat customers to visit more regularly will be a faster way to grow revenue than increasing your number of total customers.
Growing your number of infrequent customers doesn’t put you on a sustainable path to long-term growth.
It simply means that every month you have to keep trying to find new customers.
Eventually you’ll exhaust your market and that is when the real trouble begins.
But if you can encourage your best customers to become more regular and help your infrequent customers to become regulars, that is how you get on a sustainable path to long-term health. Texting can be an excellent method for helping you get closer to that goal.