THE BLOG
08/05/2013 12:27 pm ET | Updated Oct 05, 2013

How SMS Text Messaging Retains Customers & Drives Loyalty

Mobile advertising is still in its infancy, but that hasn't slowed the astronomical growth in businesses buying into this powerful consumer touch-point. SMS text messaging is by far one of the fastest growing sectors in mobile advertising with 9.6 trillion messages sent in 2012 alone, according to Portio Research.

With mobile advertising revenue leaping to $8.9 billion in 2012, SMS text messaging has become an effective way to retain customers and drive long-term loyalty, especially for local businesses.

Here is how SMS text messaging can help your business retain customers and drive loyalty:

Accurate Targeting

SMS text messaging allows your customers to sign up for your messaging via text message getting their permission to add their phone number to your list. A list of permission-based subscribers is highly effective for many reasons, which helps make the information on your list more accurate, therefore making the messages you send to your audience more targeted and effective.

If your business has more than one location, different marketing campaigns for certain regions or unique product offerings, then SMS can help target specific messaging to different groups ensuring the targets of your marketing messages are accurate and appropriate. To further improve targeting, some SMS services offer surveys at signup to ensure there is as much data gathered about potential prospects as possible.

Accurately targeted SMS campaigns can help retain customers in the long-term because customers are receiving messages that match their interests and relate to their physical location. Not to mention, mobile users aren't as annoyed with the SMS ads because the text messaging networks haven't been overrun with the advertising and spam that a marketing channel like email has seen over the years. Long-term loyalty is accomplished through personalizing your marketing messages to bridge the gap between your messaging and your audience. Customers are more likely to buy from your business for the long term if the messaging is relevant and personal. SMS text messaging is tapping into the power of personalization.

Cost Effective Campaigns

The multi-channel marketing approach is a huge step in the right direction for consumers and businesses alike. However, with campaigns running across many marketing channels, the budgets of businesses are often stretched to their limit. Luckily, an advantage of SMS text messaging is that it is often an affordable investment with the opportunity to scale to larger audiences overtime.

Since SMS is cost effective, it gives businesses the opportunity to better support a campaign on this channel and ensure it leads to an increase in customer retention. For example, with the low cost of executing an SMS campaign a business can better support their offerings with incentives and offers, as well as connect their efforts to their other marketing channels to ensure there's a strong cohesive strategy across every platform.

It's All About the Proper Context

Again, the level of targeting that SMS offers businesses is powerful with the right strategy in place but it's also crucial to incorporate the right context in your messaging because that is what keeps your customers coming back again and again. Businesses can decide when and how often to message their subscribers based off of a few factors, all of which inform the success of their messaging and its relevancy.

Geofencing is a popular tactic to ensure relevant text messages are sent to subscribers when they're within a virtual boundary like a store location or a certain region. This way if a customer is passing through the mall or near your store, your business can text them your latest coupon, offer or message ensuring a better chance your customers will take advantage of your messaging due to the context in which they received it. This applies to the time of day as well for some businesses like a restaurant for example. If this restaurant was known for their dinner offerings, they would most likely want to send out a text message in the afternoon when subscribers are thinking of dinner plans for that evening in an effort to ensure that the context is just right and the message is effective.

When using SMS in the right context you're able to paint a more compelling picture for your audience and therefore, drive a stronger value and tell a more compelling story to retain them for the future.

How is your business using SMS text messaging to retain customers? What strategies have proven most effective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.