Bringing your customers into the conversation with inbound SMS

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Omnichannel marketing is all about meeting your customers where they’re at. What better way than letting them come to you with Inbound SMS? In this article, we’ll break down inbound SMS – what it is, why you should be using it, use cases and best practices.

Inbound SMS - what is it?

We know how powerful SMS is as a channel, with an average of 98% open rate. Leverage all that attention into a conversation – and enable your customers to take immediate action – by giving them a quick and easy way to respond to you. 

Inbound SMS is, simply, SMS coming from your customer directed to your organisation. It allows your customers to be a part of the conversation, reply to your communication and make inquiries. Inbound SMS does more than allow customers to respond to your SMS marketing – it allows your customer to engage with you anywhere and anytime, picking up the conversation from any touchpoint – whether through SMS, email, online or even offline advertisements. And with automated responses, you can reply instantly and push them towards conversion.

Use cases

There are a wide range of use cases for inbound SMS; check out some examples below for how you can engage your customers in the conversation.

Opt-in: Use your other channels to invite customers to opt-into your SMS marketing through Inbound SMS. By providing a short-code and a keyword through any other channel (such as email, web, digital or physical ads, in-store material and more), they can opt-in instantly.

Managing bookings or appointments: Use outbound SMS marketing to invite your customers to schedule bookings for appointments, events, and meetings – and enable them to do so immediately with Inbound. You can send them a reminder shortly before the event, and enable them to cancel or modify their booking through inbound SMS. Inbound SMS makes it easy and instant for customers to act on your invitations – starting conversations and boosting conversions.

Feedback: Through Inbound SMS, enable your customers to provide feedback on your products or services. Simply send an SMS requesting their survey participation response, and ask them to reply with keywords such as “yes”, “no”, or numbers in responses to your questions.

Text-to-join: Customers can opt-into marketing deals or offers by providing their SMS permissions in exchange for a special offer. They can also text to request more information about an ad or offer made across your other channels. Incentivise them to opt-in through creative marketing campaigns such as text-to-win competitions or quizzes.

Customer service information: With Inbound SMS, customers can request and manage their account information with your company.

Best practices

There is a lot you can do with Inbound SMS to build the relationship with your customer – but there are a few key actions you should take when using Inbound SMS. Firstly, you should respond quickly. Create triggered instant replies to respond to the customer instantly, or flag a customer to contact manually if necessary. You should always send a disclaimer for the costs they may incur, and what they can expect from whatever campaign they are opting into. Remember that although your characters are limited, you should maintain the tone of your brand – you are building the relationship.