SMS: Ideas for Communicating with Customers via Text-Messaging

Kristen Morales, Senior Director of Client Services

Author Bio

As senior director of client services at Bronto Software, Kristen Morales oversees an organization that encompasses professional services, technical support and deliverability. She is responsible for the planning and growth of the services organization, including all service offerings, operations, delivery and sales training. Morales has a multi-channel marketing and consulting background and over 12 years of email marketing experience. In her past Bronto life as a marketing strategist, she spoke regularly at industry conferences and has been featured in industry publications such as Chief Marketer and MarketingProfs.

To the average mobile phone user, the idea of brands interacting via text messages is somewhat of a turn-off. Text messages are more private – usually coming from the people that matter to us most in life with some kind of information we need to process right away. To put that kind of “immediate attention” and interruption power into the hands of major companies is often undesirable.

So, as a marketer, how could you possibly leverage SMS in a way that would be accepted by customers?

Here are some of our ideas – all of which would require a consumer’s opt-in or initiation:

  1. Email Acquisition: Ask people to sign up for email offers in your brick-and-mortar store or on a direct mail piece. We recently wrote a blog post on the benefits of using SMS for sign-up.
  2. Transactional/Customer Service: Give people updates on their orders – especially when it comes to in-store pick-up or delivery of packages.
  3. Promotional: Some people may want to get daily deal alerts sent to their phones, get notifications of flash sales or participate in limited-time events. RedBox ran a 10-days of deals campaign that revolved around texting daily to get your coupon. This kind of approach is annoyance-free as the contact has to initiate the texting themselves.
    RedBox Text Campaign
  4. Text to get your Loyalty Points, Account Balance, etc.
  5. Location-Based Messaging: Alert subscribers walking by your local brick-and-mortar store that a sale is taking place (maybe even on their favorite product).
  6. Poll or Survey: Get quick feedback on a new product or learn more about your subscribers.
  7. Contest/First-come, first-serve promotion: Use SMS to reward the first 200 people who text in with a special promotion code – or reward the 200th participant with a prize.

What do you think? What have you seen work well? How would you as a consumer be interested in using SMS when interacting with a brand?

Kristen Gregory
Manager of Strategic Services at Bronto