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How To Use SMS Outreach for Customer Education

SMS (short message service) messaging is an essential tool for communication. More and more businesses continue to adopt texting as a primary channel to reach their customers. Many brands use SMS messages for push announcements and to send reminders and SMS updates. However, its potential for ongoing engagement and customer education is often overlooked.

With SMS’ high reach and read rates, it can be a powerful tool for businesses to help their customers navigate their services, encourage more participation, and build lasting relationships.

The Short Version

  • SMS is uniquely suited to ongoing customer engagement and education.
  • However, many brands ignore this potential of SMS, leaving value on the table.
  • Customer education campaigns with SMS can leverage and build your brand, keep you top of mind for customers, and set the stage for renewals, cross-sells, and upsells.
  • To take ongoing engagement to the next level, consider a conversational outreach strategy.

The Power Of SMS

One of the key benefits of SMS is its high open rate, with one SMS marketing study showing that as many as 98% of SMS messages are opened and read within 3 minutes of being received (Mobilesquared). Additionally, the average click through rate for SMS is 20-35% (Attentive). SMS also has a high response rate, with studies showing that 45% of SMS recipients respond to text messages, making it a highly engaging channel for customer interactions (Gartner).

SMS has unique advantages when compared to other marketing channels. Unlike emails, SMS messages don’t get lost in crowded inboxes and SMS push notifications are more likely to get customers’ attention.

We all know social media posts are seeing lower reach each year due to algorithm changes. Meanwhile, SMS messages are delivered directly to consumers’ mobile devices — which they use for an average of 4.8 hours a day (BBC).

Here at Drips, we’ve helped many large brands acquire customers and drive sales using an SMS-based marketing strategy. But we also know that sending messages can be very effective at engaging and educating customers in between those call-to-action text messages.

Graphic showing a progression of multiple steps in SMS outreach. Lables read, "Acquire," "Sell," "Engage"
Let’s talk about how SMS outreach provides ongoing value to your customers and positively impacts your business.

Advantages Of Customer Education Campaigns

While many businesses use text messages for one-time promotional messages (like flash sales) shipping updates, booking confirmations, and appointment reminders, ongoing SMS outreach has several benefits. A major benefit is that it allows companies to keep engaging their target audience even when there is no immediate call to action.

Rather than driving specific actions from customers, such as making a purchase or filling out a form, text messages can also be used to provide relevant information, insights, and updates to customers over time. This helps businesses stay top-of-mind with their customers and strengthen their reputation and visibility, leading to improved brand recognition and recall.

For instance, a lawn care company can utilize SMS messaging to stay connected with their customers year-round, including during the off-season. They can send text messages to provide customers with timely information and tips on winter lawn care, reminders about prepping the lawn for colder weather, and guidance on how to protect the lawn from frost or other winter-related challenges.

The company can also share updates about services the customer may not be aware of, such as spring lawn clean-up or fertilization programs. This information helps customers navigate additional services that they otherwise wouldn’t know about. By incorporating informative SMS messaging into its marketing strategy, the lawn care company can proactively engage customers, drive awareness throughout the year, and lay the groundwork for future cross-sells and upsells.

An example SMS conversation: Helen, it's Joe with Premier Lawn. Now is a perfect time to fertilize and seed your lawn! Can we come out later this week to take care of your lawn? Sure, how's Thursday? Great! We'll come on Thursday, May 9. Estimated time will be 2:00 PM
By building a lasting relationship based on trust, brands can retain their most loyal customers. According to the famous 80/20 rule, these loyal customers provide an outsized 80% of revenue for most businesses (Entrepreneur).

How Your Industry Can Educate Customers With SMS

Nearly every industry can use SMS messaging to educate customers about new products, services, or features. Educational SMS can also share information about upcoming events, webinars, industry news, and trends. Here are just a few ways SMS can enable customer education in some of the largest U.S. industries.

Healthcare Insurers And Providers

Healthcare providers can use SMS outreach to educate consumers about preventive care, share important health information, provide follow up and appointment reminders, and send personalized messages. Payers can use texting to increase medication adherence, help members navigate additional benefits, and to send personalized wellness tips straight to their mobile devices. Healthcare consumers also appreciate the use of SMS for easy feedback surveys and timely information on health screenings and vaccinations.

Insurance Carriers

Home and auto insurance carriers can use SMS customer education campaigns to help policyholders understand additional discounts they may qualify for and to promote safe driving or preventive home maintenance.

Financial Institutions

Banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions can use SMS to communicate important updates on account changes, previous purchases, and fraud alerts. SMS can also be used to provide financial education — such as budgeting tips, investment information, and credit score updates.

Educational Institutions

Colleges, universities, and education services companies can use SMS to send students class schedules, exam reminders, and to encourage participation in helpful programs. Text messages can also be used to provide educational resources, study tips, and career guidance.

Elements Of An Effective Customer Education Campaign

To effectively use SMS outreach for customer education, businesses should consider implementing these best practices.

Targeting And Personalization

Businesses should segment their customer database based on relevant criteria and send targeted and personalized SMS messages that are relevant to each segment. This can include using the recipient’s demographics and psychographics and referencing past interactions.

Value-Driven Content

When looking to educate customers, make sure your SMS messages deliver value to customers by being informative and relevant. They should provide educational tips, exclusive news, and other valuable information in meaningful and concise messages.

Timing And Frequency

The timing and frequency of SMS messages are crucial for successful outreach. Messages should be sent at appropriate times when customers are likely to be available and receptive. The frequency of messages should be carefully managed to avoid the impression of spamming your customers — which could cause them to opt out.

Compliance With Regulations

It’s essential for businesses to comply with relevant guidelines and laws that apply to using SMS for customer education. This includes obtaining express written consent and using customer data properly, as required by regulations such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Find An Outreach Partner For Customer Education

SMS outreach can be a powerful tool for customer education and ongoing engagement, allowing businesses to communicate important information, provide valuable insights, and build lasting relationships with their customers.

To take these benefits to the next level, businesses should consider implementing Drips’ conversational outreach platform to boost customer satisfaction, increase use of your services, and increase customer lifetime value.

Drips’ AI-powered conversational outreach strategy enables brands to start real 1:1 dialogue with consumers using texting, scheduled phone calls, and voicemail messages. Drips allows businesses to gain insights and feedback from customers and engage in meaningful conversations — at every point in the consumer journey. In fact, our clients have seen engagement as much as 55% higher than typical phone outreach.

Want to see how conversational outreach can drive value through informative SMS messaging? Request a demo today.

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