Guest post by ChamberofCommerce
Today, customer engagement is vital to expand and grow your business. Customer engagement can be defined in several ways, but ultimately it is an ongoing interaction between the customer and company. When approached correctly, a strong customer engagement strategy can not only lead to more sales but will also keep customers coming back for more.
Customer engagement can come in many forms, including marketing strategies, customer care, and even product enhancements that create a strong connection. However, not all engagement strategies are the same.
In fact, personalized messages have shown the best results in customer engagement. According to an Evergage study, 87% of marketers report a measurable lift from their personalization efforts.
These efforts can take many forms, including personalized sales, marketing messages or product features. Often personalized messaging leverages targeted data to inform how and when you communicate with your customers.
Email marketing has been a solid force in driving customer involvement, but personalized SMS marketing is quickly growing. When both email and SMS are paired correctly, the potential to meet and surpass your ROI goals is a real possibility. In order to truly take advantage of what these mediums have to offer, here’s a rundown of how email and SMS combined can increase your customer engagement by 10X.
How They Work On Their Own
For starters, if you are looking to gain access to leads and want to increase customers, email marketing best helps you achieve that goal. In a Statista study, active email accounts are expected to hit 5.6 billion by 2019. In order to keep up with the times, you’ll want to start prioritizing email marketing and use it as a way to gain access and retain customer engagement.
Additionally, email has the added benefit of being able to deliver messages that are interactive and incorporate multimedia like text, images, gifs and videos. With email marketing, you can pack in many details about your new product or service. You can also leverage images and hero shots to grab the reader’s attention and drive them to action.
It is also possible to test emails and learn over time what type of content drives the most engagement and signups or purchases. Personalizing your email marketing campaigns can make them even more powerful.
Using personalization can help your customers feel like you are looking out for their best interests and respecting their time by only providing information that is relevant to them. Using data about what products or services your customers have signed up for, you can then create emails that are catered specifically to meet their needs and interests. I
n other words, personalization involves more than just knowing your customer’s name and using it as a merge tag in an email header. Rather, personalization should be used to build entire email campaigns.
These campaigns can be built around where a prospect is in the sales funnel, which products a customer has purchased, what industry a prospect works in and other crucial information,s as long as you have the data stored. The right optimization software to fine tune your approach and ensure you know your customers’ habits.
Developing an email campaign that gets results includes a well-thought-out plan, measurable goals like open-rates, click-through-rates, and sign-ups per email. Additionally, every campaign should be centered around a firm knowledge of your target audience or target audiences. It is vital to speak directly to them and their needs. In a time when most mailboxes seem to be overflowing with emails, it’s vital your content is relevant and helpful to build trust with the recipient.
SMS Marketing is relatively new to the game, but can potentially drive big changes. SMS marketing, also known as text message marketing, can be highly effective.
Customers have really opened up to more SMS strategies especially when they are used to communicate time-sensitive information, special offers, important reminders, and new updates. The greatest appeal to SMS marketing is the numbers that SMS strategies generate around open rates and signups. SMS marketing has proven to be a powerful way to build a relationship and communicate with customers.
In fact, for many consumers, texting is the preferred method of contact. According to Customer Think, more than 50% of customers would rather text than call, if given the option between the two. This is even more true for younger customers. Mobile Marketing Watch reports that Millennials would rather communicate via texts about appointments, deliveries, coupons, and other pieces of information.
Not only is text messaging preferred, but it can also increase the number of eyeballs that see your messages. Emails can be ignored or deleted, phone calls can be missed, and direct mail can be thrown away unopened.
In an SMS Comparison study, results showed 98% of texts messages are opened, and of those, 95% of those messages are responded to within 3 minutes. No other delivery method comes close to having the same open rates or response rates to SMS or text message marketing.
Before you kick up the gears and start your SMS marketing campaign, it’s crucial to first read and understand the regulations. Just like email marketing, terms and conditions must be read and acknowledged. Also, keep in mind that it’s the job of the originator to make sure they are in compliance with the local legislation of the receiver.
In the United States, you’ll want to make sure you follow The Telephone Consumer Protection Act, in which the consumer gives permission to receive messages and has the same right to opt out.
Additionally, customers expect professional courtesy with text messages from companies. It is never a good experience for a customer to be texted without signing up for messages. Additionally, SMS marketing isn’t always free like email is. It is vital the customer understand of any fees their phone company may charge them.
Finally, a company should not text too much. If there are too many SMS notifications in a short amount of time, they will unsubscribe or block those messages and the company may not be able to communicate via text moving forward.
Why Email and SMS Works Better Together
It’s best to use email and SMS together to enhance your relationship with customers and boost your sales. Using platforms like ServiceTitan, Campaign Monitor and MailMunch will ensure your customers have easy and fast speed access to the most relevant information.
The biggest, most exciting takeaway is you don’t have to choose one over the other, instead you’ll want to gain an understanding of the many ways email and SMS can work together.
Email and SMS marketing can work together to create a powerful customer experience that leads to life long advocates. For example, you can create personalized messages that leverage both tools. Using data from your email database you can target and personalize your SMS, which establishes a strong text campaign from the first point of contact.
Additionally, email and SMS can be used together to prep your customers and set expectations. You can email about an upcoming appointment in advance and share what they need to do to prep while using text messages to notify customers in real time the day of the appointment.
There are many ways to combine SMS and Email for a powerful customer experience including:
- Power to update Contact Information– SMS can be used to obtain lost or changed contact information faster than an email.
- Ability to secure Customer Relations– You can use email to establish customer relationships and SMS to increase follow through and gain customer commitment. It can also be used to verify phone numbers and email addresses.
- Faster Responses- Email can be used to get information out there, but it doesn’t always guarantee customer response. In some instances, SMS is a great way to follow up, and boost your chances for a response.
- Ensure Reminders Are Read– Use SMS as another secure method to share upcoming deliveries, appointments, cancellations, offers, and in-store deals.
Pairing SMS and Emails can also help your company improve your customer care and marketing services. For example, you can:
- Improve on Metrics that Matter– Use SMS and Email campaigns to determine ways to improve ROI, product quality, customer satisfaction, safety, and time management by sending surveys or single questions to your customers.
- Take Content to the Next Level- SMS is a great channel to gain key information that will help you fine tune and realign email content. By testing different content and measuring click-throughs you can quickly identify what type of content matters.
- Target Recommendations and Upselling- Using data taken from email database, your organization can start SMS campaigns that offer personalized offers to help boost sales and returning customers.
Make it Work For You
Most companies strive for customer engagement because they want to develop a steady incline of consumers. Most people have mobiles and access to the internet, so growth potential from these strategies is limitless. The numbers are staggering, and with the right optimization program and software, you can obtain accurate customer profiles and current information. Needless to say, what you do with this information and how you commit to enhancing customer engagement is key. It’s best to make use of your time, invest in your company, and get started.
Chief Editor, ChamberofCommerce.com