COVID-19 will end. The lockdowns will end. And one day we can walk through stores without being in fear of those wearing masks that don’t quite cover the nose.
Until then, though, businesses need to be prepared for lockdowns like the one being enforced right now in the UK. Maintaining close customer relationships becomes all the more important during times like these.
Fortunately, SMS provides businesses with a path from their shuttered stores and businesses directly onto the customers’ phone.
SMS has something special that no other digital marketing tool has. It’s always on, and it lives on the customers home screen on their mobile device.
That alone makes it an ideal channel for at any point in a sales process, at the top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
Quick story. During the first lockdown back in March, my dry cleaner started texting all her customers. She offered home pick-up and delivery services via mobile messaging.
While many business owners sat at home panicking, she found a way to provide empathetic service, maintain her hard-fought customer relationships and generate revenue without putting herself or her customers in harm’s way.
For some, it’s a lesson in innovation. For me, it’s a reminder that any business, no matter how small, can harness texting and use it to drive sales.
One last quick story. A large physical therapy office decided to tap into SMS as well. Each PT was assigned a list of up to twenty patients and was required to text each one a number of times per week.
As the shutdown went on, the text messages contained messages of concern, in addition to home-based therapy techniques that patients could do on their own. These ongoing mobile conversations texts developed a new level of personal relationship between the staff and its patients.
When the shutdown was relaxed, appointments were booked solid by patients who appreciated the efforts of their physical therapists.
Large businesses have embraced SMS as well. Click and pick-up shopping is thriving, but it’s SMS that keeps the process moving smoothly. Drivers arrive at curbside, send messages to stores that they’ve arrived, and receive their packages orders within minutes.
These mobile relationships don’t end there. Over time, stores and brands have started texting promotions to their newfound phone list, upselling products and increasing sales.
However, that’s only part of the SMS story.
Mobile messaging enables two-way conversations, as well as automated chats to answer common questions. It’s the Swiss Army knife of digital marketing, with a feature designed to solve any communication challenge, from lead gen to upselling to answering sales questions at any point in the funnel.
We’ve helped launch a lot of campaigns since the pandemic began, and we’ve uncovered some fascinating messaging data and success stories, including…well, for that you’ll have to wait until my Mad//Anywhere session on November 12 at 12:09 pm UK time (1:09 pm CET).
The time will come when we emerge from the shadow of COVID-19. When we do, businesses that found a way to maintain and deepen their customer relationships will be primed to grow. Talk to you next week at MAD//Anywhere.
Ira Cohen is VP Business Development + Marketing at MMD Smart.