SMS Marketing in Lebanon and the Middle East is a highly ignored goldmine of one-to-one communications, especially in retail. Emails have always been regarded as the most personal channel of pitching to your consumers, but the fact that text messages have a 98% open rate, as against that of email which stands at a 20% open rate, is quite a staggering statistic to prove otherwise.

Emails are popular for being eloquent but SMS coupled with emails takes the effectiveness a notch higher! A coupon code that you receive, the points that get added to your account or even a simple alert updating you about the status of your order or a product is a delightful experience in itself.

SMS, in its basic functionality is quite personal, since users have to first opt-in to receive updates from you. This step where the consumer agrees to receive updates from you is indicative of the fact that he trusts you and would like to hear from you. Here is how you can turn this opportunity in your favour.

Customer Loyalty through SMS Marketing
Now the whole purpose of a “Loyalty” program is to gain loyalty from your customers. Simply put, this is all about nurturing your existing customers and not going after the new ones. Because, your customers already know you! All you have to do is keep in touch with them. There are many ways of going about this. First you need to decide on the frequency of texting your customers based on their shopping habits. Test it. Well, test it because you are going to pay for every message you send. It is always better to have a list of customers who genuinely want to hear from you from time to time.

Over 80% of people would only like to receive a maximum of two marketing messages per month. Promote it well and give them a reason to join your program, like say, daily or weekly shopping tips. Or informing them about a new product before anyone can grab it. Send them codes for special member-only offers.

Text Coupons and Offers
75% of people would like to have offers sent to them via SMS. That’s like music to all retailers out there! Thumb rule here. Get your customers to opt-in first. Either via your website or through the unique opt-in codes that are sent through SMS. Best to stay out of the Spam list. Remember to use keywords like DEAL, OFFER or BOGO (Buy One Get One), SALE or DISCOUNT. Do highlight words like NOW, SIGN UP or ONLY to emphasize on the call to actions. These make SMS opens much more efficient and working in your favour. Finish it with a coupon code or the offer validity.

Product arrivals and text alerts
The activities people with text capabilities would most prefer to do via text are: check order status (38%) schedule or change appointments (32%) and make or confirm reservations (31%). These are very important from a customer’s perspective. Simply because, customers love that whole anticipation of receiving their product. Not only this but text alerts keep them updated and help them monitor their order from time to time. This boosts transparency on the brand’s end and helps you coordinate your email marketing efforts too! Make sure you add the right call to action, link and timeline wherever necessary.

New product arrival and pre orders
Many a times a product is either unavailable or out of stock. Complement the email notification with a simple SMS notification too. Pre-order notifications too add to increased sales volume thereby attracting more new customers.

Now that you how you can plan your SMS strategy for your retail brand, try them out and let me know what worked for you! Would love to know your experiences.