The EZ Texting Playbook for Retail Text Message Marketing

In recent years, thousands of industry-leading businesses have begun to leverage the power of text message marketing to inspire more personalized, targeted, and engaging digital communications with prospects and customers. Why? The data doesn’t lie — text message marketing is one of the most value-driven and cost-effective ways to deploy marketing messages, sales reminders, notifications, and more.

  • 83% of customers open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receipt.
  • 75% of customers prefer SMS communications for deliveries, promotions, and surveys.
  • SMS messages produce engagement rates 6-8 times higher than email marketing.
  • Businesses experience in-store and on-demand coupon redemption rates of 70-80%.

It's important not to let the data blind your better judgment though. Sure, text message marketing works, but what kinds of messages drive the greatest results? What are the components of a high-powered and results-driven text marketing message? What do retail businesses absolutely need to know before investing in a text message marketing service provider?

Use this special playbook to guide your text message marketing efforts. With access to expert text message marketing insights, your retail business has all the "plays" it needs to deploy powerful text marketing messages that deliver immediate and sustained results.

What is Text Message Marketing?

Pro Tip: Don't skip the first step! Take action to get momentum.

Before we check out the best-of-the-best text message marketing plays for your retail business, it's helpful to take a look at text message marketing as a whole. Text message marketing falls under two distinct categories:

Short Message Service (SMS): The biggest benefit of SMS marketing is its accessibility. Pew research shows that 95% of Americans own a cell phone of some kind and 77% own smartphones. Therefore, text messaging is the easiest and most effective way to get in touch with customers while they're out and about. However, SMS messages are limited to 160 alphanumeric characters. As such, SMS messages must move recipients into action quickly.

Multimedia Message Service (MMS): In addition to text, MMS messaging includes photos, audio, and video files. Most MMS messages can contain up to 500 KB of data or enough for a 30-second audio or video file. According to HubSpot, "When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later."

The 6 Best Practices for Retail Text Messaging

Pro Tip: Sending that first test text message will build your confidence, and it's super easy!

1. Segment Customers

You need to know who your customers are and what makes them tick. What triggers a purchase? What do they appreciate about your brand? This kind of information allows you to craft compelling text marketing messages that prospects and customers simply can't ignore. The best way to learn about your customers is to segment text marketing contacts into smaller groups based on the unique characteristics that they share. A well-organized customer database allows you to create deeply personalized and relevant texts.

You can use Groups to segment contacts based on the Keyword they used to join your list, demographics, purchase history, or text message marketing activity.

Extra Point: The best way to segment your text marketing contacts is by their interaction with your business. Is the contact a first-time buyer? Is the contact a monthly shopper? Perhaps the contact hasn't purchased from you in over a year? Keeping contacts organized by their stage in the buyer journey makes it super easy to send the right marketing messages and nurture contacts into high-paying customers.



2. Provide Immediate Value

Each of your text messages must deliver immediate value. When joining a text messaging list, contacts should be given exclusive text-only access to special promotions, offers, sales events, and more. The best way to keep text message marketing contacts engaged is to provide them with special offers via text that they can't receive anywhere else. Access to these kinds of offers is a great way to make text recipients feel valued.e

Extra Point: Try to make it easy for contacts to take the next step. If you're promoting a special sales offer, provide them with a hyperlink to the product or directions to the nearest retail location. As a customer, there's nothing more frustrating than not having all the information needed to capitalize on special offers.


3. Use Keywords to Grow Your List

Your text message marketing campaign is as good as your Keyword promotion strategy. In short, the Keyword is a word or phrase used to promote your text message marketing program. For example, you might promote a message like "Text 'DEALZ' to 313131 to get monthly coupons" on your in-store signs, website, and email signatures.

Keywords serve as the opt-in mechanism that allows contacts to receive ongoing text marketing communications. An effective Keyword promotion strategy will help you grow a massive text marketing contact list.

Extra Point: Try to incorporate your Keyword in all email, social media, and in-store marketing. A great way to remind users to sign up is to add your Keyword on all your printed receipts. Incentivize your customers to sign up by offering a considerable discount on their next in-store purchase.


4. Build Urgency

The best text message marketing campaigns incorporate a bit of urgency. Use verbiage such as "limited" or "one-time-only" to inspire immediate action. SMS and MMS marketing are great for flash sales or quick promotions. Why? Because texting is simple and quick. Instead of waiting days or weeks for marketing contacts to read your marketing email, you can send a text message, get contacts to open the message, and incite an immediate response all in a matter of minutes — it's that easy!

Extra Point: Infusing your text marketing campaigns with a sense of urgency requires scarcity or a deadline. In more precise terms, when an item is perceived as being scarce, its value increases. If you can intentionally limit the number of products that you produce or deliver, you can easily raise demand and encourage your text message contacts to act quickly before supplies run out. You might even be able to get customers to squeeze out some additional cash for that limited or exclusive product.


5. Be Judicious

Try to be judicious in your text marketing. It's easy to want to text your contacts over and over again, but too many text messages can definitely be a bad thing. Don't be afraid to promote a new product or sales promotion, but limit the amount of text messages you send. There's nothing more annoying than receiving a text alert about a product that you have no intention of buying. Be careful to monitor delivery reports and open rates to determine if your text messages are landing and sticking.

Extra Point: If text message recipients aren't responding to any of your messages, it might be a good idea to stop sending them messages or removing them from your database altogether. Sending text messages over and over again is a surefire way to annoy customers and lose them for a lifetime.


6. Follow Up

Finally, send helpful follow-up information related to customers' purchases. For example, if you're selling a technical product, it might be a good idea to send follow-up walkthrough videos on how to use the product. Additionally, there might be an upsell opportunity. If there's a related or complementary product to the one that was just purchased, tell customers about that next product that they need to buy.

Extra Point: Don't be too forceful in your upsell. Savvy consumers can spot this from a mile away. Instead, thank customers for their recent purchase and give them the information they need to make that next buy.

Game-Winning Retail Text Marketing Plays to Run

Pro Tip: A strong text message marketing strategy starts with a great contact list. Make sure you have permission to text your contacts.

1. Sales Coupons

Every great coach has a "go-to" play to call when the team needs to get momentum going. For retailers, the Sales Coupon campaign is often that top producer. People love to get discounts and deals. That's probably the reason most of your contacts signed up for text messages from you in the first place.

Pete's Ace Hardware in Castro, California has had a lot of success with SMS sales coupons. Customers were encouraged to opt-in to the mobile coupon club by texting 'PETES' to the shared short code. In the first month, 190 patrons signed up for coupons using the keyword.

During the company's busy season, Pete's sent out four texts in two weeks, and an astonishing 49% of contacts who received the mobile coupons redeemed them. And they placed bigger orders. Sales receipts from these coupons jumped 411% over regular purchases. Pete's found that this mobile coupon campaign produced 13 times as much revenue as the campaign cost to send through EZ Texting.



2. Visual Promotions

As we mentioned above, messages which are paired with an image can have a much bigger impact and be retained for a longer period of time. So if you have a promotion which could use an extra boost, send it with a high-quality image.

Julep Beauty Products recently deployed a fantastic MMS campaign to promote their new Kai nail polish color. Of course, a picture is the best way to roll out a new color to your lineup, so Julep opted for a combination of text and imagery in their campaign. Their promotion yielded a whopping 34.2% click-through rate and 17.4% purchase conversion rate.

A relatively small investment in high-impact images and MMS delivery can make for a big increase in ROI.



3. Delivery Notifications

What retailer hasn't been impacted by the rise of Amazon? One of the thing that the giant does well is delivery notifications. You can take a page from their book and make your customers happy by letting them know when packages are on the way and when they've been delivered.

In fact, consumers have grown so accustomed to delivery notification texts, that they've come to expect it. If you ship products to your customers and don't offer delivery notifications, your competitors may take the lead.

Make sure to use personalization on your delivery notification texts. Use your contact's name, let them know where the item is being shipped to, and when it is expected to arrive. And don't forget to say thanks for doing business with you.



4. Product Support

While most retailers start using text marketing for the 1-to-many technology by which they can connect with lots of contacts at once, the true leaders have embraced SMS marketing platforms as a means of providing 1-to-1 support for their products.

Studies have shown that 52% of customers prefer communicating with support by text message. And text messaging can cut customer support interactions from $20 by phone to just pennies by SMS.

Our EZ Chat functionality is built with this application in mind. By using a textable number, your customers can call or text the same number to get support in the manner they like best. Chances are, your customers are already trying to text your phone number, so offering this method of communication will make a good number of your customers thrilled with you.



5. Ask for Reviews

If you sit back and wait for reviews of your products to come in, the percentages will skew more negative than they really are. It's crucial that you be proactive in getting reviews of your products from happy customers. The key is, you have to ask at the right time.

Send your requests for reviews within a couple of days of the product purchase and keep in mind what time of day your customers are most likely to have time to leave a review for you. Successful timing is one of the reasons using text messaging is the best way to get reviews. 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt.

Also, make sure to link to the review site and let the customer know which site you're sending them to.


Become a Text Message Marketing MVP

Pro Tip: Use short descriptions to help you and your team identify the types of contacts that are in your Groups. Short descriptions are easily read in the Note column of the interface.

Sure, you can run a few of our a retail text message marketing plays for your business, but what does it take to become a text message marketing MVP? We guarantee that these plays will work for you and your company, but what do you absolutely need to do to dial it up a notch? Call in an assistant coach!

In less than five minutes, you can sign up, upload contacts, and send your first text message. If you get stuck during any leg of your text message marketing journey, our dedicated customer support team of Textperts are available to answer your questions or concerns and position you for rapid text message marketing success.

"We reach hundreds of customers and keep them up-to-date on educational opportunities, promotions, new product launches. The tool works perfectly, and we love their excellent customer service" - Bob Cazet, Alumni Football USA

"We specifically use EZ Texting for employee communications, emergency notifications, weather alerts, reminders, and more. I would recommend EZ Texting for the cost-effectiveness and ease-of-use" - Steve Brownlee, Professional Salon Concepts

"We contact volunteers by text alerting them to time-sensitive volunteer opportunities. EZ Texting is affordable and easy to use" - Sarah Nejdl, Families to Freedom