The SMS Marketer’s Guide to Customer Loyalty and Retention

Customer retention is one of the most important KPIs at the center of every business. Research shows that, on average, you can convert 5-20% of visitors into customers, but it’s six to seven times cheaper to nurture returning customers than to acquire new ones. Brands that focus on customer retention strategies increase ROI, boost loyalty, and drive more repeat purchases.

The SMS Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty and Retention

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Which KPIs matter for customer loyalty
  • Why SMS is a crucial channel for engaging and retaining loyal customers
  • How to integrate SMS into your customer retention strategy, loyalty programs, and customer service platforms

Content Summary

A Brief History of Customer Retention
The Rise of E-Commerce
Why SMS Is Key for Customer Loyalty
KPIs for Customer Loyalty
3 Seamless Customer Retention Strategies
8 Best Practices for Using SMS to Support Your Customer Retention Efforts

Happy, returning customers are at the core of every successful business. The best brands make sure to zero in on their most active and engaged customers (with the right tools) so that their business lasts for decades.

We spoke with loyalty and retention experts from SMS, loyalty, and customer service companies and Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands that have grown by 3,363 percent (over three years). We gathered their best advice, top strategies, and key tips to give you a 360° view of how to think about the role of SMS for driving customer retention in the digital era. This loyalty playbook for modern marketers is full of simple tools and tips 
 to help anyone get started—even if you have a marketing 
 team of one.

What differentiates a happy customer from a loyal one?

The answer is the same, no matter the industry:

  • Happy customer: enjoys your product and “gets” your brand.
  • Loyal customer: tells their friends about it

So how do you turn a happy customer into a loyal one, and create a recurring source of revenue?

A Brief History of Customer Retention

Historically, rent and advertising were a business’s biggest customer acquisition costs. In the era of e-commerce, small-time brands can grow into cult classics from a family basement with a steady internet connection and a whole lot of perseverance.

The only problem? Online, every business has to compete with retailers like Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon.

Businesses that can’t win on the speed of shipping, price of products, or advertising budgets 
 have to approach customer acquisition and retention differently than bigger players. 
 They need to find a creative, authentic, and personable edge that keeps people coming back—and keeps them loyal (so loyal that they would ignore other, faster, or cheaper options).

This is why customer retention is key to improving your margins. Research shows that, on average, you can convert 5-20% of visitors (or “window-shoppers”) into customers. But the likelihood of converting customers into repeat purchasers is 60-70%. The lift required to get people to their first purchase is much heavier than it is to get them to their second, third, and fourth purchases.

Loyal customers shop more often, spend 
 more, and stick around longer than one-time-purchasers because there’s something about your brand story that resonates with a piece of their identity—whether it’s who they are in the community, who they want to be seen as, or what they believe and want for the world.

So what can brands do to create more loyal, long-term customers?

Not only that, but it’s six to seven times cheaper to nurture returning customers than to acquire new ones. And when you nurture them well, like if you increased customer retention rates by 5%, you could increase profits by 25% to 95%, according to a study by Harvard Business School. So not only is it cheaper to encourage them to shop and spend more, but the returns from loyal customers are much higher.

Someone who chooses your brand as their go-to choice for a specific product category. You’re their Default Brand for runners, or coffee, or whatever else. – Chris Lavoie
, Technology Partner Manager, Gorgias

Stellar products + exceptional customer experiences = excellent retention. – Chris Lavoie
, Technology Partner Manager, Gorgias

Moving beyond being the Default Brand and building up evangelists or advocates for your products. – Chris Lavoie
, Technology Partner Manager, Gorgias

The Rise of E-Commerce

The global pandemic in 2020 forced businesses to figure out e-commerce faster than ever: businesses that transitioned online (or were already) have seen 5 years of growth in only 
 6 months since the pandemic. So while storefronts sat empty, online stores bloomed 
 in a new, online era.

Businesses that took advantage of new channels, like SMS and organic social, thrived.

  • Instead of storefronts, they focused on phone screens.
  • Instead of store clerks, they onboarded customer service platforms.
  • Instead of discount cards, they turned to loyalty programs.

A hypercompetitive market demands loyalty. – Zach Priest
, Marketing Operations Lead, LoyaltyLion

Salesforce recently found that 80% of customers believe that the experience they have with a brand is as important as the products or services they provide. Businesses that are new to digital have to meet hundreds of customer expectations at once. And because of the influx of businesses trying to survive the pandemic by going digital, consumers have a lot more choices. This has led many brands to struggle with ballooning customer acquisition costs. That makes paid media, social, and search costs a huge 
 barrier to entry

Our current challenge is trying to find more owned channels to focus on, and figuring out how to reach customers we’ve already acquired. New customer acquisition costs are so high. SMS has been profoundly successful for us 
 with this. – McKenzie Bauer
, Co-Founder, Thread Wallets

The answer for many will be a move to organic and owned channels that encourage first-party data offered up by customers in return for discounts or exclusive access, and relying on more personalized marketing channels. This will also help brands stay ahead of changing privacy regulations and prevent further costs down the road.

Between personalized channels like SMS, organic social, and customer communities, there’s only one that beats the other’s heads over tails when it comes to growing a high-value, highly engaged list and converting them directly into sales.

We cater to a wide range of customers, so the biggest question we always had is how do we reach them? Not everyone is on social media anymore. Not everyone checks their emails. So SMS solves that problem for us. – Murphy McPherson
, former Marketing Director at Dolce Vita

Why SMS Is Key for Customer Loyalty

If you could secure a near-100% open rate, make customers feel like they’re getting a personalized message from their best friend (rather than an ad from a business), and create unique selling opportunities that increase your metrics and KPIs—you’d be your team’s new MVP.

SMS Snapshot

  • SMS open rates are as high as 98%
  • The average person checks their phone 58 times per day
  • 90% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes
  • It takes people 90 seconds to respond to SMS (compared to 90 minutes for an email)

Benefits of SMS

  • Two-way communication channel
  • Unfiltered access to customers
  • Segmented and immediate engagement
  • Constant reminder of unread messages
  • Used for all modern communications (personal and business)

For e-commerce brands with quality products and unique value propositions that are looking for direct access to their customers, SMS is a game-changer.

KPIs for Customer Loyalty

Before we dive into strategies, let’s get grounded in the basics. Customer loyalty impacts these crucial KPIs on a day-to-day, year-over-year basis.

Retention and lifetime value: these are the massive metrics that all brands watch closely to measure business health.” – Chris Lavoie, Technology Partner Manager, Gorgias

Here are the ones we recommend tracking— apart from the standard click-through rate, conversion rate, customer acquisition cost (CAC), and average order value (AOV)— especially when it comes to gaining, growing, and keeping customers loyal to your brand:

Repeat Purchase Rate (RPR) is the percentage of customers who come back to place another order. 100% means every customer comes back again. 0% means that no one comes back. According to industry benchmarks, an average business’s repeat purchase rate should be around 30%—which means 30% of customers should come back.

Purchase Frequency (PF) is the number of times a customer purchases in a given period. Understanding how often a consumer purchase within a specific category indicates their level of engagement.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) represents the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend in your business, or on your products, during their lifetime.

CLV = AOV x PF

CLV helps you make decisions about how much money to invest in acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones, as well as who your most profitable customers are and what kind 
 of products they want.

CLV also tells you how much you can spend to acquire a similar customer and profit. If you can’t afford to acquire new customers because your CLV is too low, you must invest in retention strategies to keep your business profitable. The ideal ratio of CLV:CAC is 3:1, meaning that a customer’s lifetime value 
 should be 3x the cost it took you to get them to purchase.

Here are some questions to help center your team when it comes to loyalty:

  • What channels are driving your most important metrics, and which are 
 hurting them?
  • Do you have a good balance (30/70) of returning customers to new customers? 
 Is your CLV:CAC ratio appropriate—or should you invest more (or less) in acquisition vs. retention?
  • How can you encourage people to stick around after their first purchase?
  • What kind of clients need to be nurtured more vs. less?
  • Who are your most loyal customers, and why? How can you make them feel more valued?

3 Seamless Customer Retention Strategies

In the same way that you would plan a dinner party for your friends, you want to mirror that thought process with your brand’s customer experience. Here are our best strategies to 
 do just that with your loyalty and 
 retention marketing.

Retention Strategy #1: Go where your customers are: their phones.

Remember: on average, people check their phones 58 times a day, and 75% of shoppers are shopping more online than they were a 
 year ago.

SMS is no longer “just a marketing tool,” but a must-have channel to integrate with the rest of your marketing mix to improve customer loyalty, maximize ROI, and reduce churn.

Every single marketer asks: ‘Why is the open rate for SMS 100%?’ – Ryan Kermode
, Sr. Client Strategy Manager, Attentive

Tools like Attentive allow for two-way, personalized communication between brands and customers via text message. The platform is filled to the brim with customer data and analytics that help you minimize wasted effort, optimize every customer touchpoint, and 
 find gaps in customer journeys that could 
 be strengthened—all while delighting 
 your customers.

The phone has become the new store window. How do you make sure that your brand is in the window that customers are looking at 8 hours 
 a day? – Ryan Kermode
, Sr. Client Strategy Manager, Attentive

Not only does SMS provide a unique opportunity to reach your customers when 
 you know they’re idle and “looking in your window,” but it also simplifies the checkout experience to just one click. It gives companies a smart, segmented, and automatic way to send a personalized message straight to the hands of high-intent shoppers and reward loyal customers who love your brand while encouraging an ongoing, valuable relationship with your highest-value customers.

You have to remember that you’re not just texting an ATM, but a person. – Ryan Kermode
, Sr. Client Strategy Manager, Attentive

Why SMS will supercharge your marketing:

  • SMS is an intimate, owned channel with direct access to your customers’ eyes and wallets.
  • SMS runs on first party data,
  • which is crucial in a changing privacy landscape.

SMS makes it easy to tell your brand story, target the right people, and offer deals that are sure to be seen at the right time, every time.

In the next section, we’ll offer some tips and strategies for leveraging SMS to drive better business outcomes and achieve your 
 marketing goals.

Automations

Automated messages are a marketing team’s best friend because they’re easy to create, optimize, and audit. They help you stay in touch with customers in a more personal way— without the manual work. Here are some of 
 our favorites:

Welcome Series

Your SMS welcome series is an opportunity to introduce new subscribers to your brand and show them what their experience will be like as your customer. It’s the first step to inspiring loyalty and retention.

  • Even if you already have a customer’s phone number in your CRM, you still need to use explicit and compliant opt-in language when introducing SMS.
  • Consider offering an exclusive discount or coupon code in exchange for a shopper sharing their phone number.
  • After someone opt-ins to SMS, follow up with an automated welcome message. Include a coupon reminder, encourage shoppers to save your brand’s number as 
 a contact, or thank them for joining 
 your community.

This valuable exchange of information helps create the foundation for growing a healthy and engaged SMS subscriber base.

Putting [our list-building sign-up discount] on mobile at first made a lot of sense for us. Then we could roll it out at a pace that worked for us and see ROI before we rolled it out everywhere. We weren’t worried about alienating people after that first success. – Gretchen Sorce
, Digital Marketing Lead, Revel Nail

Thread Wallets grew their SMS list from 0-75,000 in 2020 using a sign-up giveaway pop-up for their coveted cross-body bags.

Browse or Cart Abandonment Messages

Using SMS for e-commerce makes it easy to nudge high-intent shoppers at critical points in the buyer’s journey. Sending automated, targeted messages based on shoppers’ activity can help you re-engage customers who:

  • Browsed for a specific product before navigating away from your site
  • Added an item to their cart but didn’t complete their purchase

You can use browse and cart abandon reminders to:

  • Share a direct link back to the product a subscriber viewed
  • Share a direct link back to the cart page for easy, 
 one-click checkout
  • Provide product recommendations, support, and more

These types of triggered messages are the bread and butter of customer retention. They enable you to “set it and forget it” while still driving cumulative revenue—which can be a gamechanger for marketing teams that want to test the ROI of SMS.

The welcome series, of course, is hugely successful. But that’s low-hanging fruit: so we try to focus more on how our other journeys and campaigns are performing. Our best performing journeys are the abandoned browse and abandoned cart. – Murphy McPherson
, former Marketing Director at Dolce Vita

Segmentation

The brands we spoke with emphasized that they couldn’t run their SMS programs effectively without segmentation. Not only does segmentation help them identify their loyal customers from the first text touchpoint, but it also helps them keep building on that loyalty and reward their most valuable customers via SMS.

Here’s a quick primer on segments you could create to send tailored text messages to different groups of your subscribers:

  • Engaged vs. Unengaged
  • Purchasers vs. Non-purchasers
  • High-intent vs. Lapsed
  • Location-based
  • Tier-based offers for VIPs

Here are some of our favorite examples:

Post-Purchase Series

Sending automated post-purchase messages to recent shoppers is an opportunity to increase customer loyalty while incentivizing repeat purchases. Use your post-purchase series to:

  • Cross-sell or upsell with relevant product recommendations (which account for 10% to 30% of e-commerce revenue)
  • Ask subscribers to leave a review or share their purchase on social media
  • Invite subscribers to join your loyalty or referral program

Customers feel more emotionally connected to your brand after they make a purchase and that bond can boost sales and increase the likelihood of a positive review or endorsement of your product to family and friends.

Customer loyalty is an opportunity to create a shared vocabulary with 
 your customers. – Zach Priest
, Marketing Operations Lead, LoyaltyLion

Reactivation Series for Lapsed Customers

Sometimes, when brands focus on making their most loyal customers happy, they forget to nurture those who aren’t loyal yet. There will always be segments of people who are disengaged in one way or another, and brands are remiss to overlook opportunities to recapture their attention.

Create a series of texts to nurture customers who are either disengaged, haven’t purchased in a certain period of time, or are opening and engaging with your campaigns—but not purchasing. Use these re-engagement messages to:

  • Proactively answer questions around your shipping or return policies
  • Offer bundled products for a discount
  • Share stories about product quality, supply chain, or other brand values
  • Promote collaborations, new products, and events

I think the sweet spot for us is figuring out who needs a little extra nurturing—these people aren’t clicking on the text anymore, but they’re still subscribed. As opposed to the people who already love us, and they just want to hear about the sales pitch. – Gretchen Sorce
, Digital Marketing Lead, Revel Nail

We’ve moved away from focusing solely on just clicks/ conversions with the new iOS update. We’re now targeting people who haven’t purchased in the past 30, 60, 90, 120, and 180 days, and that’s where we’ve seen our best ROI. – McKenzie Bauer
, CMO, Thread Wallets

Revel Nail: SMS Reactivation Campaign. Using data available through Attentive, Revel Nail creates targeted, informational campaigns for subscribers who are opening texts but not purchasing. These campaigns educate customers about Revel Nail’s products—without being overwhelming—and keep the brand top of mind.

One-Time Campaigns

Time-based offers, location-specific deals, and promotions that don’t fit into an automated series are equally important for product-based businesses to keep customers thinking about and buying from your brand.

Seasonal Campaigns

From Back-to-School to Black Friday, events and holidays are excellent opportunities to create one-time campaigns that align with your brand story and focus on customer experiences.

Whether there’s a strong connection between your core customer and a particular holiday, or a new product offer that would make your customer’s lives easier next season, the creativity of these campaigns doesn’t have a limit.

User-Generated Content & Engagement Campaigns

While some UGC campaigns can be included in your postpurchase series, others can be set up as triggered campaigns based on customer behavior.

These campaigns serve as personalized but non-promotional vehicles for brand-building that doesn’t feel like brand-building. Here are some examples:

  • Product review requests
  • Requests for social engagement based on customer history
  • Encouragement to create videos, snap photos, and share their excitement on social, in brand communities, and with friends overall

Non-Promotional Messages & Special Announcements

While many of these strategies are about driving revenue and loyalty at the same time, there should be a good amount of messaging that isn’t promotional. For customers at the beginning of their journey with your brand, these types of campaigns help build alignment and devotion.

Here are some examples of non-promotional campaigns that get engagement:

  • Brand collaborations
  • New location announcements
  • Event announcements targeted to certain area codes

Retention Strategy #2: Show them that you know them.

All customers are people who want to be seen, heard, and understood. But they’re also consumers with rising expectations for catered, personalized experiences that emphasize the values they share with brands. Brands can now easily tap into customer insights to help customers feel included.

Whether that’s receiving a “Did you forget this in your cart?” message or a rewards points balance update, customers expect things to be personalized.

73% of people prefer to do business with brands that personalize their shopping experience. – Zach Priest
, Marketing Operations Lead, LoyaltyLion

But, Priest emphasizes: “Loyalty doesn’t appear like magic. It has to be fostered by positive value exchanges.”

Whether you’re giving shoppers a discount code in exchange for their phone number or adding 100 points for their loyalty account if they input their birthday (more data!), loyalty programs make it simple to reward customers for their actions and build your customer information powerhouse. That’s where companies like LoyaltyLion come in.

68% of shoppers are motivated to return to a brand if they know it shares their values. – Zach Priest
, Marketing Operations Lead, LoyaltyLion

Why loyalty programs grow VIP purchasers:

  • Loyalty programs give you a treasure 
 trove of first-party customer data you can use to personalize all your 
 marketing programs
  • Loyalty programs are an opportunity to create a shared vocabulary and reinforce your brand story with your most loyal customers, so you can turn them 
 into advocates
  • Loyalty programs extend customer lifetime value (CLV) and average order value (AOV) by building customer habits, increasing repeat purchases, and decreasing the time between purchases

Setting up a Loyalty Program

Most brands start their loyalty programs with two or three tiers to encourage certain customer behaviors like providing more personal information or stacking multiple purchases—and increase customer engagement across marketing channels. Revel Nail, a D2C nail care brand that offers nail dip powder, has built up a great program and merged it effortlessly with their SMS marketing.

Their loyalty program, called Revel Rewards, has three tiers: Nail Novice, Devoted Dipper, and Powder Perfectionist.

Actions that earn rewards include:

  • Engaging and liking their brand on social
  • Inviting friends to the program
  • Purchasing products
  • Signing up for email and SMS
  • Leaving reviews
  • Adding their birthday

The more customers spend and engage with the brand, the more points they earn, which they can then use to get vouchers to redeem for more products. It seems like a small gesture, but it leads to a huge change in conversion rate—the LTV increases by 202% when the customer is a member of their loyalty program.

Tiers gamify our customer loyalty program. Customers want to level up, want more valuable rewards, and it acts as a key motivator for them. Our marketing program wouldn’t be the same without it. – Gretchen Sorce
, Digital Marketing Lead, Revel Nail

Next Level Loyalty

Loyalty programs make it crystal clear where customers are in their journey with your brand. Combined with huge swaths of loyalty data, it becomes relatively easy to be intentional with segmenting your messaging and your offers. That means no more guessing about who you should send certain messages to and when.

Your highest value customers, your VIP tier, should get the white-glove treatment from your brand: the best bang for their buck, the most valuable rewards, and the earliest access to sales and new products. As a marketer, you want your most loyal, engaged customers to be excited when they see your brand pop up on their phones. As a business, you should want to reward them for that loyalty.

“Because of the dynamic reporting from LoyaltyLion, we know that members of our loyalty program drop off way less than nonmembers,” says Sorce. “But we also realized that customers were dropping off not just after the first purchase but after the second and third. We never would have realized that we need to support those customers more without looking at that loyalty data.”

Priest from LoyaltyLion echoes that “being able to move your customers from that first purchase to the third, fourth, and fifth purchases is when you start to build behavior and habits.”

When customers start to rely on your product or subscription (thanks to a loyalty program), your brand will see an increase in CLV, 
 AOV, and overall engagement with your messaging, which increases cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Strengthen SMS with Your Loyalty Program

Our keyword for 2021 is segmentation. – Gretchen Sorce
, Digital Marketing Lead, Revel Nail

The highest tiers of a loyalty program are a great fit for your SMS program because those customers are typically more receptive to your messaging, and they’ve already shown that they’ll keep coming back to your brand.

These are the people who want to hear from you, whether you’re sending them tutorial videos, tips, and tricks, or sales and new product announcements.

Because a lot of our products often sell out, we like to offer the first shot at the sale to our VIPs (Powder Perfectionists). It’s a perk that’s a light lift on our part but makes them feel super valued. And we always do the early VIP access messages via SMS—because it’s a time-limited, immediate offer and because it’s how they prefer to shop now. They want to click through and check out right away,” says Sorce.

The rule of thumb for integrating your loyalty program with your SMS program is to increase access, offers, and direct messaging as you get to the higher tiers. This approach creates opportunities to nurture newer customers with non-promotional brand stories and increases their desire to get to higher tiers, which have better sales and more perks.

The rule of thumb for integrating your loyalty program with your SMS program is to increase access, offers, and direct messaging as you get to the higher tiers.

Retention Strategy #3: Support your most engaged customers quickly and proactively.

Speed is the holy grail of e-commerce. – Chris Lavoie
, Technology Partner Manager, Gorgias

One of the biggest opportunities for modern

e-commerce businesses are using existing tools, departments, and strategies in new ways to improve the customer experience and drive customer loyalty. As long as retail has existed, customer service has been viewed as the last line of defense—as well as a cost center that eats into valuable budgets.

We want to transform the idea that customer service is only valuable when things go wrong,” says Lavoie.

Because customer expectations and acquisition costs in e-commerce are so high, brands must focus their attention on customer retention. That means providing a quick and seamless purchasing experience is no longer optional. If customers have any tensions during the purchase process, you could lose their sale.

Brands must excel in every interaction they have with customers, no matter the touchpoint: pre-purchase, during checkout, and post-purchase follow-up. This is where customer service platforms like Gorgias play 
 a critical role.

Why Customer Service (CS) platforms speed up your sales:

  • CS platforms speed up response times—on websites, social, and SMS
  • CS platforms help you exceed customers’ high expectations
  • CS platforms increase repeat purchases by being a friendly, responsive face at important touchpoints to push 
 customers along

Setting up a Customer Service Help Desk

The power of customer service help desks like Gorgias is their ability to integrate with

other marketing platforms: SMS, loyalty, and more. This means that when CS reps get an incoming message from a customer via SMS, email, social, or messenger, they immediately see all of the customer’s information on their screen and can respond to them natively on that platform.

Dolce Vita, a trend-driven women’s footwear brand, relies on its customer service program to support its retention efforts by getting ahead of issues, quickly answering questions, and easily solving tensions to keep customers coming back.

With Gorgias, customer service reps can see everything they need to create a personalized shopping experience at a glance:

  • Purchase history
  • Engagement history
  • Customer service history
  • Loyalty tier, status, and actions
  • Positivity or negativity of past interactions with brand and CS reps

This helps reps quickly support and resolve pre-purchase decisions, like questions about quality, style, and sizing, instead of losing 
 the sale to another brand that might 
 respond faster.

Murphy McPherson, former Marketing Director at Dolce Vita, thinks that “mistakes around 
 e-commerce issues can be a good thing. It’s an opportunity for us to show our customers we care and that we can make things right. 
 So if an issue is going to come up, the way that we fix it is very telling about our brand.”

Using a customer help desk to improve the overall customer experience is a huge revenue driver for brands because it builds the perception that the brand is there to help solve problems before a customer has a negative experience. This is the kind of “above and beyond” approach that turns loyal customers into your biggest advocates.

Integrate CS with SMS

Responsive customer service teams who communicate proactively and natively help shopping experiences feel seamless and build loyalty even before the purchase.

  • 2-5% Standard conversion rate/100 SMS campaigns
  • 31% If customer service responds in 10-20 min

We’re always thinking about how to continuously offer an easier and more enjoyable experience for our customers, 
 and SMS gives us that. – Murphy McPherson
, former Marketing Director at Dolce Vita

Looking to take your CS game to the next level with SMS?

  • Send certain support tickets directly to SMS—to support purchasers with high intent who are having trouble checking out (on mobile or otherwise) and help dissatisfied or frustrated customers
  • Request a star rating for a support request via SMS—so you can continue supporting them in the future with full insight into their past experiences or suggest products based on CS solutions
  • Create automated SMS campaigns for satisfied customers—prompting them to leave a review, provide product feedback, or join a loyalty program
  • Create automated SMS campaigns for dissatisfied customers—to increase discounts or offer free shipping
  • Create “contact cards” for your brand—to make customer support feel even more like talking to a friend over text

When used as a CS tool, not only does SMS make customers feel like they’re getting the red carpet treatment, but as a marketer, you gain hugely valuable insights for segmentation, automation, and overall targeting that will help you retain more customers.

In Conclusion

SMS is a unique channel for building one-to-one connections—and logical addition to your marketing tech stack if you want to improve the customer experience and increase brand loyalty. Its customer and behavioral data, automation possibilities, and segmentation options make it the ideal channel for nurturing customers at key touchpoints in the buyer’s journey.

8 Best Practices for Using SMS to Support Your Customer Retention Efforts

  1. Send messages that add value. Make it easy for customers to enjoy hearing from you and stay opted-in to your communications.
  2. Personalize everything. Use segmentation to make subscribers feel special and familiar to you. Don’t push the same generic messages to a mass of people all the time.
  3. Integrate SMS with other marketing channels to improve customer experience. Customers don’t want to be reminded about an item in their abandoned cart via email and SMS.
  4. Automate, automate, automate. Set your SMS program up to generate consistent revenue—without a heavy lift.
  5. Be generous and intentional with your loyal customers who have opted into your SMS program and who engage with your text messages. They want to hear from you. Reward them for it!
  6. Don’t forget about customers who need a gentle nudge to take the next step in their customer journey. Consider creating an Unengaged or Lapsed segment and think through valuable win-back strategies.
  7. Engage, engage, engage—whether through customer service platforms, loyalty programs, or an informative SMS series.
  8. Prioritize your brand story. Use your SMS channel to share store openings, how-to videos, brand collaborations, and customized loyalty program updates. This kind of content is valuable to the customer and builds trust.