Incentivization is a common practice across digital marketing channels:

  • Promoting sales through broadcast messaging
  • Positioning an offer to sign up for email and texts
  • Sending coupons to win back lapsing customers and more

Text Messaging Marketing provides an excellent means of delivering incentives due to both the conversational nature of the channel and the immediacy of engagement. But there are some important considerations and questions you’ll want to ask yourself before hitting ‘send’ on your sweet deal.

Balancing Your Promotional Messaging Calendar

When planning your SMS broadcast calendar, it is tempting to sandbag your sends for when you have a sale, discount, or coupon to give. And while these campaigns can re-engage some contacts who aren’t as active as other segments of your list, you don’t want to train all your subscribers to wait to purchase until they have an incentive in hand. Prioritize a consistent frequency instead, especially if your program is still new, to build channel awareness, tell your brand story, and share as many products and collections as possible. Regularly feature what’s new or trending, and pull content ideas from other owned channels like email and social.

Your messaging should encourage click-through so subscribers make their buying decision on your website vs. in their inbox – Don’t give everything away! Lean into the short message nature of text by teasing just enough, limiting the overuse of emojis, and getting creative with your copy. 

When you do have a sale to feature or a coupon to share, consider using strategic segmentation to reserve your best offers for your best customers. Active Non-Buyers, for example, might need a coupon to push them to make their first purchase, while Inactive Recent Buyers might not (since they just purchased and aren’t clicking). 

Positioning Incentives For Acquisition

A strong offer to join owned email and SMS programs can help accelerate acquisition rates and should ideally be one of the best incentives you can give. A dollar or percentage off, tied to a purchase minimum or otherwise, are the most common tactics, and it’s recommended to leverage dynamic coupon codes instead of static ones. This will help prevent coupon gaming and social sharing by assigning a unique coupon code to each new subscriber to use alone.

Leveraging this incentive in a “gated” approach also helps accelerate acquisition rates by positioning both email and SMS opt-in to receive the coupon. Consumers understand and expect the value-based transaction of providing email addresses and phone numbers to get a discount. Do this through compelling Two-Step popups onsite and Data Acquisition campaigns via text where SMS subscribers can reply with their email address directly in-channel. If you don’t have a dollar or percentage off incentive to promote, consider an evergreen offer like a gift with purchase or free shipping you might have. While those strategies generally don’t bring in the highest acquisition rates, having something to give consistently outperforms a Call To Action without anything. One e-commerce company that offers this sort of promotion is MensWeddingBands which offers free shipping and a free ring box for all customers along with periodic 20% off incentives.

If your business model or goals are focused on encouraging more full-price purchases and running fewer sales throughout the year, consider promoting the various benefits of being your customer throughout your Text Message Marketing program. For example, if you have a loyalty program, pepper in copy and messages that focus on how to earn and redeem points. You can then curate segmentation and automated campaign strategies to deliver targeted messaging based on recent or lapsing purchase activity. Same with any sustainability, charity, or partnership values you have. Consider communicating what sets you apart from your competitors in your Welcome Series and remind your subscribers how their purchases make a difference or help a larger cause. If you have a sweepstakes to promote - whether a one-off or recurring strategy - reach out via text to encourage your subscribers to enter and share (don’t forget compliance rules along the way, and always include your legal team in the campaign planning). Finally, don’t see a lack of incentive opportunity as a reason to slow down sending. As mentioned before, a consistent frequency pays off in spades in the long run by building and maintaining engagement and checking compliance boxes. Not all messages need or should have a coupon or discount to be worthy of sending.

Incentivizing your Text Message Marketing subscribers to join your program, click, and purchase doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective, but it should be strategic. Don’t lean in so hard that your subscribers wait to purchase until they receive a coupon, don’t give away so much that they make their buying decision in the inbox, and leverage unique coupons when you can to prevent abuse or sharing. Remember that even if you can’t use traditional incentives, consider promoting your evergreen offers and benefits to entice less engaged contacts to return and nurture your loyal customers. Rather than giving away a coupon at every turn, balance your calendar and automated campaigns with full-priced products, recommendations, and well-timed outreach. 

Make Incentives Work For You

As always, if you are a current Listrak client, consult your Account Manager with any questions and work with them to determine your best incentivizing strategy. If you aren’t a Listrak client, start the conversation and set you up with SMS quickly.

Download the 2022 Email Trends and Observations Report

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Download the Listrak 2022 Retail Email Benchmark Report
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

You Might Also Like

posted on
April 18, 2024

Strategies For Accelerating SMS List Growth

Subscriber opt-In can and should occur throughout your customer journey – don’t limit it to only your website and its homepage. Use our best-practice strategies to maximize subscriber signs ups across your owned channels.
posted on
March 13, 2024

Q1 To-Do: Prioritize Retention

Retention efforts are an essential marketing strategy all year, but Q1 is the perfect time to prioritize it as a focus. Get tips to reconnect with your best customers, newly subscribed contacts, and recent purchasers.
posted on
March 13, 2024

Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning comes in many forms! For digital marketers it’s time to review the basics of your cross-channel marketing strategies - lists, SMS compliance, and account settings - to ensure maximum performance and efficiency.

Trusted by 1000+ Retailers and Brands

Ready to grow your business?
Let’s talk.