Over the past decade, there have been major changes in the way businesses communicate with customers. With eCommerce sales dropping off on desktop and mobile use rising across marketing channels, mobile migration has significantly impacted business marketing strategies.
Today, SMS coupons provide huge opportunities for boosting lead generation and improving conversion rates. 42% of millennials check their SMS messages more than ten times per day, checking between 1 and 5 minutes after receiving a message. SMS is, therefore, a quick and guaranteed way to catch customer attention.
People check their smartphones constantly, so why not take advantage of this unique marketing opportunity for your business?
What is an SMS coupon?
An SMS coupon is a form of mobile marketing. This involves sending a promotion, like a discount or deal on products in your store, to customers via text. Coupons typically come in the form of a discount code or voucher that can be entered/activated by shoppers when they check out online.
A relatively new trend, SMS coupons are a great way to stand out in competitive markets.
Businesses often use an integrated SMS app or business phone service to send SMS messages to customers. Text marketing platforms can also help create customized text-able coupons with integrated features like QR codes and mobile payment methods.
Why Should Businesses Use Text Message Marketing?
Text messaging or SMS marketing is a great way to win more customers and keep your existing customers engaged. There are five main ways it can benefit your business:
SMS is one of the most immediate marketing channels available to businesses. When you send customers coupons and discounts this way, you know they’ll receive them instantly. This creates opportunities for customers to make immediate purchases.
Another benefit is that SMS messaging creates a direct communication path between you and your customers. This cultivates lasting relationships and promotes brand loyalty.
High Open Rate
The higher the open rate, the more effective your marketing campaign! SMS has a significantly higher open rate than any other form of digital communication, so you have a much greater chance of creating sales from your advertising.
High Conversion Rate
A CTA via text has a more significant impact than email because it is delivered immediately and alerts cellphone users with sounds and vibrations. This means that your SMS coupon gets immediate attention.
In addition, texts are often short, with no images or links. This means it’s easy to understand quickly, and users can act on your offer without reading any long-form content that might cause them to disengage.
The best thing about SMS marketing is how easy it is to customize. SMS coupons, sales, and more can be delivered to consumers in various ways. For example, you can send GIFs, use friendly language, and include video or audio clips to grab customers' attention and drive eCommerce sales.
SMS marketing is relatively inexpensive when compared with other marketing tools. They can also garner a much higher return on investment than comparable communications like email and social media messaging.
What’s more, any business already operating an enterprise cloud communications platform is likely to be able to incorporate SMS into its marketing strategy with relative ease. Typically, SMS is a service offered within your existing suite of tools.
What Is the Difference Between Promotional and Transactional Coupons?
Before you embark on an SMS marketing strategy and begin sending coupons, you must understand the different types of coupons available. You’ll send either promotional or transactional coupons depending on the type of business you run.
Promotional coupons are best suited for businesses that sell goods rather than services. These messages encourage recipients to click a link or button within the text message that then re-directs them to your promoted product. Messages can also contain coupon codes that customers are prompted to enter on your site’s checkout page.
Transactional coupons aren’t for marketing. Instead, they are used to prompt your customers to book an appointment, send out an order confirmation, or convey information. These can drive traffic to your site and increase brand trust and credibility.
15 Ways To Win Customers With SMS Coupons
Once you’ve decided that SMS coupons are the right strategy for your business, there are many ways to win customers.
Here are 15 of the best ways to use coupons:
1. Welcome Rewards
A “Welcome” SMS message greets new customers or thanks them for signing up/subscribing to a service. It’ll inform text recipients of the kind of message they should expect and how to unsubscribe or opt-out.
Ecommerce businesses often include a welcome discount or reward coupon to entice customers to sign up for SMS alerts. This type of code typically offers a limited-time percentage discount on a first purchase.
Make it easy for your customers to claim their welcome offers by including a link to your online store with a code that applies automatically at checkout. For example, you could say:
“Nice to meet you! To welcome you to our community, take 15% off your first order with the code WELCOME15. Click the link below to start shopping!”
2. Abandoned Cart Discount
An eye-catching way to grab the attention of customers who have already shown interest in your products is with an abandoned cart discount. This kind of SMS coupon is prompted to be sent when a customer has all but completed the checkout process and abandoned their basket at the final step.
Bring shoppers back to finish the checkout process by sending them a discount via SMS. Online shoppers often abandon carts to look for cheaper alternatives or because their final order total is too high. You can entice them back with a one-use discount code that expires quickly.
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3. Free Gift
An effective SMS marketing tip is to drive sales with free gift offers. A free gift entices customers to purchase because they believe they’re getting better value for money. You might consider sending a coupon that offers a gift for purchases over a certain dollar amount to incentivize customers to buy more.
SMS coupons are a fast way to send this kind of offer to your customers. Consider messaging something like:
“Hi, Jane! Did you see that our latest collection just dropped? Today, we’re giving a free gift to our first 100 customers. Just follow the link below!”
4. Free or Discounted Shipping
Shipping costs are often a surprise extra expense for consumers. They can be the reason that carts are abandoned. Free shipping is a well-established marketing strategy to get customers over that final checkout hurdle. So, why not offer free shipping via SMS coupon?
With the immediacy of an SMS message, customers are likely to see your offer and act on it. While an email might go to spam or spend days unread in an inbox, your SMS message tells customers loudly and clearly that the shipping is on you.
5. Early Bird Discount
If you’re launching a new product or service and aim to generate buzz, you should consider sending out SMS coupons for an early bird discount.
Early bird discounts are exclusive offers restricted to customers who redeem their coupon code within a specific time. They encourage your customers to take action and buy quickly to take advantage of a good value proposition.
To inform customers about the details of your discount, send them a message like this:
“Hey Jane, we all know the early bird gets the worm…We’re dropping a new collection of designer sneakers today on our website. Order by 5 PM to get 20% off. Make sure you don’t miss out!”
6. Loyalty Rewards
The more time customers spend with a brand, the more money they spend. Returning customers account for 21% of customers but generate a whopping 44% of revenue and 46% of online orders. Use an SMS coupon to reward loyal shoppers with incentives, discounts, gifts, and more.
Segment your customers into different SMS lists based on how long they’ve shopped with your brand. From here, you can send out various offers depending on duration. For example, you might offer an anniversary discount or reward after a year.
7. Limited Time Discount
Just like an early bird discount, the time-sensitive nature of a limited-time discount will give customers the push they need to commit to their purchases. There’s nothing like setting a specific deadline to drive urgency and encourage action!
Your SMS coupon should encourage customers to act now, or they’ll miss out on the deal.
Limited-time discount coupons can offer any special deal — from a basic dollar discount and free shipping to a gift or reward.
8. Reward Referrals
Incentivizing referrals means your loyal customers become brand ambassadors. Set up an SMS campaign that asks customers to invite their family and friends to shop with you and offers a reward for these referrals.
The best way to do this is to target your SMS communications to the customers who frequently shop with you. Tailor your message to your target audience and offer a reward that appeals to them.
9. Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO)
Buy One, Get One Free promotions do what they say on the tin. They allow shoppers to buy one product and get another for free. These offers are particularly successful because customers feel they’re being presented with an enticing value proposition — they perceive that they’re getting an item at a 100% discount when they’re really getting two at a 50% discount.
But running a buy-one-get-one-free offer won’t boost sales unless your customers know about it! Notify them with an SMS coupon. You can do this by sending them a discount code that applies to the offer at checkout.
10. Fixed Dollar Discount
A fixed dollar discount offers money off on purchases that exceed a specific amount. For example, you might offer $500 off any purchase of $2,000 or more. Marketing professor Dr. Jonah Berger has determined these discounts are particularly effective when offered on products over $100.
The high monetary value of such a discount and its immediate and noticeable effect on a customer’s spending makes them particularly appealing.
It’s easy to communicate this to your shoppers via SMS. Send them a coupon code or a link that applies the discount automatically.
11. Percentage Discount
If you’re looking for a tried and tested promotional strategy for selling products under $100, sending out coupons for percentage discounts is just that. Dr. Jonah Berger’s research has also shown that if you’re looking to sell products under $100, percentage discounts will generate the most sales.
So, instead of offering customers $10 off a $40 product, express this as a 25% discount. Although the money saved is the same, consumers focus on the larger number.
12. Volume Discount
This rewards shoppers with a discount for buying goods in large quantities. These promotions are often tiered, with discounts increasing as tiers include more units.
Text your customers the details of your offer in a short and straightforward message. You might offer $5 off when shoppers buy five products. Express this in a message like this:
“Buy a pack of 5, worth $20. Yours for just $15.”
The next tier of your discount might offer customers $15 off when they buy 10.
13. Personalized Discount
Deploy the valuable customer data you have at your disposal and send shoppers personalized discounts. These will help boost sales, enhance customer relationships, and encourage retention.
For example, if you want to grab your customers’ attention, you could offer them a discount to celebrate their birthday.
You could send an SMS coupon with a message like this:
“Hey Jane, Happy Birthday! Enjoy 10% off on your next purchase to get the celebration started!”
SMS coupons are also the most efficient way to send out personalized offers. You can separate customers into different SMS lists according to their preferences and send tailored offers their way.
14. Sales Promotion
Sending a promotional SMS for a limited-time sale ensures customers are aware of offers when they’re running. Include information about discounts, how long they’ll be available, and links to specific products or services.
To encourage site visits, include an SMS coupon that provides an additional percentage discount off sales items. For example, you might say:
“Take an additional 10% off sales items until January 31st!”
Encourage urgency with your message by using phrases like ‘last chance’ and ‘limited time.’ You should also make your text as eye-catching as possible with emojis, images, or gifs.
15. Re-Engagement Coupons
Re-engagement coupons help you to drive sales from inactive customers. Typically, this type of promotion will be directed at people who purchased from your site in the last year or so and have not interacted with your brand since.
This type of customer has already shown interest in your company before, so a discount coupon, limited-time offer, or reward can work wonders to draw them back. SMS coupons are especially effective here because they have fast delivery and high immediate open rates.
The best messages will let recipients know how long it’s been since their last purchase and offer a discount unique to them. For example:
“Hi Jane, we noticed it’s been six months since your last purchase with us! We’d like to offer you a special 25% discount on your next order.”
Increase Your Sales With SMS Coupons
SMS coupons are a reliable and proven strategy for driving eCommerce sales. They work because they grab customers’ attention instantly. Not only do they give your business access to a whole new way to communicate with your customer base, but they also have a higher open rate and conversion than traditional email marketing.
Once you know how to take advantage of text message marketing and SMS coupons, they’ll become an invaluable marketing channel for your business.