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Thursday, January 31, 2013

If you want to keep your business afloat for a long time, there are two things you absolutely must not take for granted: your customers and their brand loyalty. Forging meaningful relationships with your customers so that they keep on coming back means less money spent recruiting new buyers. It’s possible to build trust and brand loyalty with SMS marketing, and in this article, we’ll show you five ways to do it.

1.   Let your customers know their order is ready for pickup. Any business with a lag time between order placement and delivery can use this marketing technique. For instance, a pharmacy can send a customer a text when their prescription is ready for pickup; a restaurant can text a diner to let them know there’s a table ready. Auto shops, dry cleaners and other businesses can use SMS marketing to keep customers up to date on order status. The idea is to give customers something of value, and to get their permission to send additional messages containing discounts and other offers.

2.   Give them VIP treatment. As a business owner, you probably know that the moment of the sale is the best time to engage your customer and begin the trust-building phase. Upselling frequently is ignored here, and can even negate the trust built through good customer service. If done properly, SMS marketing can turn a customer into repeat business. Consider putting together a VIP club that offers customers something extra, such as a coupon on their birthday.

3.   Use social media. There are a variety of ways to link your social media presence with your text message marketing campaigns. For instance, if your store is having a clearance sale, you can use Twitter and Facebook to build excitement ahead of time. Encouraging customers to look for certain code phrases or hash tags, and then texting them to a short code for a discount pass can build buzz quickly.

4.   Set reminders. If you offer a cyclical service such as dentistry or car repair, SMS marketing is an excellent way to remind your customers of upcoming appointments. The above businesses can benefit from the implementation of a reminder service, but so can gift, flower and card shops. Offer every customer who comes in to make a purchase the chance to set up a birthday/anniversary reminder, and then send discount coupons at those times.

5.   Share the love. Your whole SMS selling strategy doesn’t have to be sales goal-oriented. To build brand loyalty and trust amongst your customers, it’s a good idea to send out the occasional message just to show you care about them. A birthday or holiday greeting can be a refreshing change from the multitude of marketing messages the average person receives every day.

For an SMS marketing program to be successful, it should be customer-focused, and it should offer them relevant information and a way to engage with you through their mobile device. Your motivation should be completely transparent, and offers should be clearly stated—or your customers will likely ignore your message.

Author Bio:
James Harper writes about targeted maketing on behalf of Collstream. He writes about ways businesses can use technology to improve  communications with their clients.

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