How can you ensure that customers don’t overlook your brand or business this Valentine’s Day? SMS messages are an efficient way to cut through retail noise. Don’t rely on email or direct mail to get the job done – both are too overlooked for time-critical seasonal events like this. SMS is four times more successful than email in reaching and engaging subscribers because of its open rate of up to 98%. And we just can’t seem to ignore text messages on our phones as we take a peek 85 times per day on average!
Boost your database
You may feel that your current database is serving you well, but there is always room for improvement. Is it up to date and are your subscribers interested in your brand? Are they getting value as a list subscriber? Are you attracting new subscribers? If not, how can you increase your database?
The start of the new year is the perfect time to evaluate and build your database. Everyone is feeling the pinch of holiday season spending, so the promise of exclusive discounts in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day is highly appealing.
Leverage your promotions to entice new customers to opt-in to your SMS marketing messages. Online shopping has become the preferred way to shop for many consumers, so offering SMS reminders, prompts, ideas and easy ways to purchase those last-minute Valentine’s gifts will be attractive to new subscribers.
Consider using these methods to boost your subscriber list:
- Competitions – You can market these in many different ways, including in-store, on social media channels, on business cards and flyers, on products, etc.
- Website data capture – Using your existing website traffic is an easy way to enlist subscribers. Adding a consent check box to a form that already needs to be filled in is one simple solution.
- Email marketing – We know that email marketing is not as effective as SMS marketing when it comes to open rates, but that doesn’t mean the two can’t work well together, especially if your email subscriber list is healthy.
- Social media – Highlight the additional benefits followers will gain by joining your SMS marketing list.
- In-store – It is quite common to promote your SMS campaigns at sales points in stores. Shortcodes are particularly useful here, rather than opting for lengthy form filling as shoppers are usually short on time.
- Feedback cards – Some restaurants leave cards on tables requesting feedback via a shortcode or QR code. The waiting staff can also be incentivized to encourage SMS opt-ins by explaining the benefits of being an SMS subscriber. The customer can then add the name of their waiter to their sign-up which helps staff members receive a reward. This can also work well for retail!
Products such as cards and themed merchandise will usually be purchased based on convenience and price. The market is very competitive now so to maximize sales, you’ll need to attract the attention of busy shoppers and make the purchase experience hassle-free. Put yourself out there with targeted SMS messages to alert your customers to what you have in stock.
Valentine’s Day promotions
Some ideas for a catchy campaign include:
- Voucher codes
- 3 for 2 offers
- Valentine’s day reminders
- Valentine’s day countdowns
- Good-humored Valentine’s day themed texts with funny gifs, images, or memes
- Free delivery
- Free gift
- Valentine’s day hacks or tips to impress
Help shoppers find the perfect gift
Simplify Valentine’s Day shopping for your subscribers with an SMS gift guide. Show them that there is something for every type of person. You could also create a quiz for subscribers to find the perfect gift for their loved ones.
With segmentation, you can select relevant customers who are likely to be shopping for Valentine’s Day.
Do some groundwork with your subscriber list well in advance to establish which of your customers to include in your SMS campaign. Valentine’s Day can be a difficult time for some people, so consider sending out a text to ask your subscribers if they would like to opt out of the campaign.. This has become a common practice for many retailers around seasonal holidays. It shows customers that you care about what they are interested in and are sensitive to their needs, rather than being focused on just turning a profit.
For example, a quick text such as what’s below will help you to segment your audience:
“We know that not everyone wishes to acknowledge Valentine’s Day. If you would rather not receive Valentine’s messages text back “NO” and we will remove you from our seasonal text list.”
Offering your SMS subscribers the opportunity to opt-out of receiving certain text messages will help you to retain them into the future.
Florists have to be one of the busiest businesses of all for Valentine’s day. It can be really hard for them to predict traffic-flow and they’ll usually base their predicted sales on their previous year’s business.
Many of their sales will be last-minute and will largely be in-person rather than shopping online.
Get ahead of the event with targeted SMS messaging! Build your database using all of your traditional marketing channels and send out a Valentine’s day series to your subscribers inviting them to pre-order gifts. Send out incentives for pre-orders or early bird discount codes. Not only can you generate more sales by using SMS marketing, but it will also help you schedule and plan for one of your busiest days of the year.
Transactional SMS messages
One of the advantages of SMS communication is the ability to interact with your customers throughout the sales transaction with online booking via SMS, confirmations, and delivery tracking. Leverage this option for seamless transactions for you and your customers.
Restaurants and the travel industry, hairdressers, beauticians and health spas usually see an upturn in business thanks to Valentine’s Day. To capitalize on the flow of extra business, it is important to let your customers know that you are ready and available for them. Don’t let your competitors take the lion’s share – consider sending text messages such as:
“Only 2 weeks left to book your pre-Valentine’s beauty treatments! Use our SMS appointment booking system to secure your place now. Hurry as places are running out fast”
“Need a relaxing spa day with your other half this Valentine’s Day? We hear you. Click on the link to reserve your oasis of calm.”
Automated SMS for Appointments
Automated SMS helps manage appointments and workloads at busy times to increase efficiency and reduce no-shows.
By using automated SMS, you can allow customers to amend or re-schedule appointments to suit their needs. Additionally, when appointments have been made by whatever means, the platform automatically sends a confirmation that can be added to the client’s calendar. Automated SMS helps manage appointments and workloads at busy times to increase efficiency and reduce no-shows.
Once a booking has been made, automatic reminders can be sent out to the client to reduce the likelihood of no-shows and last-minute cancellations. When last-minute cancellations do occur, with the click of a button you can send out a text to your subscribers to let them know that you have a free slot.
If you enjoy eating out you will have noticed that text communication is the norm now. If you thought there was an overworked maitre d’ punching everyone’s numbers into the restaurant’s mobile phone, you would be mistaken. Savvy establishments are using SMS platforms to streamline communications. It’s very popular with busy customers as the platform has the capacity to send out reminders and allows customers to cancel if they can no longer make the date. Restaurant staff also report that it has reduced their workload as they are spending less time answering phone calls or chasing patrons to confirm bookings.
Text messaging for restaurants is good for:
- Booking confirmations
- Reservation reminders
- Managing cancellations and reserve lists
- Alerting customers to emergency closures
- Confirming dietary requirements
- Getting feedback
- Updating customers on restaurant news
- Advertising for staff locally
Employees Bulk SMS
Valentine’s Day is one of a long list of special occasions celebrated en masse in restaurants. With extra sittings and people arriving to eat as late as 9.30 pm, staffing needs can change by the hour. Using SMS to manage staff schedules is a quick way to reach everyone at short notice.
Staff can pick-up additional shifts, swap with colleagues, or request more shifts by using an SMS messaging system.
The travel industry
The travel industry perhaps doesn’t see the kind of increase in customers that restaurants and retailers do over the Valentine’s period but a romantic getaway for some couples, is the ultimate gift. Bulk SMS is a great way to reach as many subscribers as possible. Holiday bookings require much of the same functionality as restaurants including confirmations and reminders. As well as sending out promotional Valentine’s Day offers, discount codes, and links to dream getaways, travel companies also use SMS messages to:
- Send check-in information
- Send links to online check-in
- Promote upgrades
- Remind passengers to bring passports or to check baggage weight
- Keep travelers updated with flight changes
- Communicate emergency information
- Maintain good customer service
For businesses that don’t trade in hearts and flowers…
Many businesses do not see an uptick during Valentine’s day but can still use the day as an opportunity to have a conversation with customers. Sending out a happy Valentine’s day message and offering themed incentives to boost your sales should be considered.
SMS is an excellent addition to your marketing toolkit
SMS for business is a key marketing tool and has the potential to boost sales across a range of industries. Want to know more about how SMS can help your business and how to get more out of your investment? Get in touch today!