Loyalty programs are an excellent way for businesses to increase return visits and build strong relationships with customers. The best loyalty programs go beyond offering points or discounts and help companies understand their customers better while creating new experiences that drive word-of-mouth.
However, some businesses struggle to gain traction because they don’t customize loyalty programs to the needs of each customer segment. Other companies fail to promote them effectively or provide incentives that customers can get elsewhere. To succeed with your loyalty program, you need to harness the power of personalization, and SMS marketing is the best way to achieve this goal.
PassKit, our digital loyalty platform, helps you develop your loyalty program without coding, designing skills, or designing your app. It allows you to create digital loyalty cards, membership cards, or coupons and distribute them on multiple marketing channels, including SMS marketing.
With PassKit, you also get access to advanced analytics that help you track your redemption rates and optimize your loyalty program accordingly. To see how PassKit works, start your 45-day free trial.
In this article, we will explore SMS marketing best practices for promoting loyalty programs so you can increase brand advocacy, repeat visits, and referrals. We will also show you how to use PassKit and SMS campaigns to grow your redemption rate. But first, let’s start with some basic information.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is a form of marketing businesses use to send text messages to their current or potential customers.
You can use text messages to promote your company and alert customers to upcoming sales, discounts, and more. In addition, text messages are less likely to be ignored than emails or calls. Plus, they’re inexpensive and easy to send out – you don’t need expensive infrastructure or complicated software.
What are the benefits of SMS marketing?
Image source: Finances Online
Currently, 91.54% of people in the world own a mobile phone. It is essential to distinguish between mobile phones and smartphones, as mobile phones cannot access the Internet. Moreover, not all smartphone users have a stable internet connection. Therefore, SMS messages still represent the most secure way of communication.
When compared to other marketing channels, SMS marketing has one significant advantage. As most users carry their mobile devices, SMS marketing allows you to reach your customers right after starting your first SMS campaign.
They can get your text messages and read them instantly even if their devices are not connected to the Internet. On the other hand, users frequently read emails for hours or even days after receiving them, meaning the SMS marketing channel helps you achieve your goals faster.
Are there any drawbacks of SMS marketing?
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Some countries have rules for SMS opt-ins and opt-out. It means you can only contact people who gave you permission to do so. You have to take care of any data protection legislation of the country where your business operates.
If we compare SMS marketing to email marketing, one drawback can be the length of the message. It is usually pretty short, and it cannot offer many details about a certain offer or a product.
You can overcome this downside by combining email and SMS marketing efforts. You can send a short message, followed by a lengthy email that will provide more details to your email subscribers.
Now that we discussed the essentials of SMS marketing, its benefits, and drawbacks, let’s see how you can use the short message service to promote your loyalty program.
SMS marketing best practices for loyalty program promotion
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1. Know your audience
Before you start with your marketing efforts, you should get to know your audience to offer your existing or potential customers something they want or need.
Customer data will help you assess crucial information to gain this knowledge. By gaining data on your customers’ demographics, interests, or purchasing behavior, you can easily segment them into groups and adjust your text campaigns accordingly.
If you know who your customers are, you can help them get what they want more efficiently and, at the same time, increase your revenue. As this article talks about SMS marketing best practices, you should target customers who are not your loyalty program members.
2. Define a goal for each campaign
You need to set the goals for your SMS marketing efforts. Suppose you want to inform your SMS subscriber list about your special deal for loyalty program members this weekend. In that case, a text message should showcase the benefits of this limited offer and your loyalty program in general.
It should be inviting enough for customers to realize the benefits of being a member of your loyalty program. If you want to include a link to the offer, you can measure the success of your campaign by the number of clicks on the link or the number of new loyalty program members.
3. Ensure your customers know about the program
The first step of every successful loyalty program is its development. The second step is loyalty program promotion. If you have a great loyalty program nobody knows about, your results will not be satisfactory.
You can use SMS marketing to inform all your SMS subscribers about the existence of your exceptional loyalty program that provides them with special deals and rewards they would otherwise not have access to.
4. Include an opportunity to join right away
Your text message should give brief information about the existence of your loyalty program to inform customers they can join right away. You also need to provide proper instructions for loyalty program onboarding. Define each step in the process and offer an incentive for the signup.
5. Allow customers to opt-in
The vast majority of people don’t want to receive unsolicited messages from businesses, so if you’re sending them without customer permission, there is a high chance you will create a negative user experience.
Use opt-in as an opportunity to build loyalty and trust with customers who are interested in your products or services. They’re more likely to return to your business when they know you want to keep them up-to-date.
6. Make the program easy to understand
Your customers should easily understand everything you want to communicate. With concise text messages, communication should be specific and to the point.
The loyalty program benefits should be obvious from just a glance your customer gives to a received text message. Complicated wording or explanations will demotivate your customers from joining your program.
7. Be transparent about the terms and conditions
People like to know the rules. The terms and conditions about the program membership and offers availability should be set, defined, and, most importantly, communicated before customers sign up.
If you offer your customers an excellent reward for buying a specific product, you have to mention on time that they have to be loyalty program members to redeem it.
Otherwise, your non-program customers will be disappointed to discover that the conditions don’t apply to them. They will consequently be less motivated to participate in future offers and deals.
8. Send personalized and informative welcome text messages
After segmenting your customers using customer data, you will be more equipped to send them personalized welcome text messages once they join your loyalty program.
Customers nowadays expect a good product and a great experience with your business. With personalization, you will know how to approach each customer.
To strengthen the bond between your business and customers, you should tailor communications to your customers’ needs, identities, and wishes.
With SMS marketing, you usually have your customer’s number, which means you probably also have their first name. Starting a text message with their name is an example of a personalized message.
9. Run exclusive customer promotions to build brand awareness and engagement
For your loyalty program to succeed, it has to offer its members certain exclusivity. If all of your deals are available even to non-members, your loyalty program doesn’t have a point.
You should communicate these benefits through any SMS marketing campaign you create to promote the program.
These programs should also encourage customer engagement, as your loyal customers can be the most significant representatives of your brand and promote it through word of mouth.
10. Use push notifications to remind customers to visit your store
You can push notifications or send SMS messages to customers based on their geolocation to inform them about the proximity of your store and available deals. These notifications can serve as reminders for redeeming a coupon or a reward and increase the foot traffic since customers are close to your business.
11. Leverage the customer data
Aside from their location, customer data can inform you who your customers are, their interests, and how they use your products. This data can be beneficial as it helps you reduce your marketing costs.
Sometimes marketing efforts are generic and not tailored enough to each customer. Leveraging data can help you make a marketing strategy with the most significant impact on your profits.
Knowing your customers will help you design SMS marketing programs with various types of SMS messages, each adjusted to a different customer segment.
12. Make continuous improvements based on results
It is essential to keep track of the results your marketing efforts are making. You can easily measure SMS marketing impact. You can see how many loyalty program members you have gained through each stage of the SMS marketing strategy and adjust it accordingly.
If you see that a particular type of SMS message is not working well enough, you can send a different kind of message in the second stage of SMS marketing. Following the results of each step, you can easily compare them and find out which approach works the best.
SMS marketing best practices: Creating SMS marketing campaigns with PassKit
What is PassKit
PassKit is a digital loyalty solution that helps you design loyalty programs, create digital passes, use omnichannel marketing strategy to promote them, and track redemption rates with advanced analytics.
It integrates with Apple Wallet and Google Pay, enabling your customers to redeem rewards with their mobile devices.
What’s best is that you don’t need coding or design skills and don’t need to develop your app. Our cost-effective solution enables you to create your loyalty program and manage all crucial information in one place.
How to create digital passes with PassKit
- Sign up for a free account
- Choose to make a card for any particular project
- Design your card according to your branding
- Select a barcode or a QR code to make your digital pass scannable
- Include your company logo or hero image
- Fill in the fields with additional information
- Insert links to social media profiles or your official website
- Save your settings and start distributing your digital passes
PassKit and QR code distribution
QR codes started a revolution in getting specific content into people’s smartphones. By turning their camera on and scanning a QR code, your customers will be redirected to a link you want them to visit.
You do not have to invest in making an app for your business, which is expensive and unavailable for small businesses. Even if you have an app, some customers won’t be eager to install it on their phone and use their phone memory for it.
You can print out QR codes on the promotional material near or in-store, and customers can quickly scan them and then tap a link it provides. The link can lead them to different sources, like your website, loyalty program sign-up page, or social media pages.
QR codes can also guide your customers to add passes to their mobile wallets. Here is how it works with PassKit:
- A customer can get a receipt that has a printed QR code on it
- They can scan the code and receive a text message
- The loyalty program card is visible instantly on the screen
- Customers can add the card with one tap to their mobile wallet
- The pass will be automatically updated
PassKit Membership + SMS messages by Zapier
You can seamlessly integrate PassKit and Zapier SMS marketing services to automate the SMS workflow without any coding. It will save you the time to develop your SMS marketing strategy.
To start using this integration, you need to authenticate it, pick one app as a trigger, choose a desired result from the other app, and select data to transfer from one app to another.
Here is how this powerful combo enhances your SMS marketing program:
- New enrollment trigger
- Member check-in with PassKit ID or External ID
- Member check out
- Delete a member
- Enroll a member and grant a membership pass
- Update expiry date for a single member
- Add points to the member account
- Deduct points from a member account
- Update the points balance
- Send a promotional SMS to a specific number
Why you should use PassKit for your SMS marketing campaigns
PassKit enhances your SMS marketing campaigns. Since it integrates with mobile wallets, PassKit offers an opportunity to use customer loyalty data to improve targeting and include personalization.
Moreover, PassKit offers you data on customer behavior. Data acquired through PassKit analytics give you insight into your loyalty program performance.
You can also know which customers react to which offers or different types of messages, increasing the effectiveness of your SMS marketing strategy.
Overall, due to its efficiency and easy integration with SMS marketing automation services, PassKit represents an excellent choice for businesses that want to enhance their relationship with customers.
SMS marketing best practices: Examples from successful brands
When you design a strategy, you want to get inspired by successful brands. Here are the two successful SMS marketing examples we found to save you time.
Image source: Glossy
Peace Out Skincare positioned SMS marketing as the primary sales driver during the pandemic. It was a genius move, as getting personal with customers was impossible due to COVID-19.
The company offered 15% off the first order to each customer who opted-in to receive SMS messages to attract new SMS subscribers. The company’s conversion rate for text messages significantly increased, resulting in increased revenue.
Image source: McDonald’s
McDonald’s indeed represents one of the most famous brands globally. You can learn how to present important information concerning offers in your text messages from this brand.
As SMS messages are short, it would be wise to put the special offer in the first line, which is something a receiver will first see. Following the deal, you should communicate the deal qualifier.
If you communicate a deal qualifier first, for example, you are asking a customer to first sign up for a loyalty program and then receive a coupon, it can demotivate the customer and decrease your redemption rate.
SMS marketing best practices: Wrap up
SMS marketing is a highly successful approach to building loyalty and facilitating communication with your current and prospective customers. Almost everyone nowadays owns a mobile device, so reaching your customers is easier than ever.
SMS marketing works better than email marketing, as most people open their text messages right away. However, for the most holistic approach, it is recommended that you combine SMS and email marketing.
Although not all text messages you send are promotional, for example, you can send orders’ confirmations or shipping details, if written professionally, even transactional messages can be promotional.
If you have a loyalty program that needs additional members, SMS marketing seems an excellent choice for further promotion.
It is essential that you get to know your audience, have clearly defined goals, ensure the visibility of your program, and make sure it is easy to understand. You should include a link to the loyalty program sign-up page and adjust your SMS campaign based on its results.
PassKit provides you two solutions with one software: you can build a loyalty program and automate your SMS workflow thanks to Zapier integration. Additionally, with PassKit advanced analytics, you will gain valuable data on your current or prospective customers you can use to optimize your SMS marketing efforts further and increase the number of sign-ups to your loyalty program.
To start using PassKit, create your free account and start a 45-day free trial right away.
SMS marketing best practices: FAQ
What is SMS marketing strategy?
SMS marketing strategy represents your business’ approach to utilizing text messages for marketing purposes. It helps you build a subscriber list and set up your SMS campaign goals.
The goals of sending messages to your customers can vary, from increasing the number of your loyalty program members to informing current or prospective customers about new products or deals.
Is SMS marketing effective?
SMS marketing represents a highly effective marketing approach, as you can reach your customers right away because most people are constantly carrying their mobile devices with them.
There are certain downsides to SMS marketing, like always considering the importance of customers’ data protection, e.g., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. However, SMS marketing is worth investing in despite certain obstacles.