10 Creative Ways to Use Text Marketing for Customer Engagement

Text marketing is a powerful tool for customer engagement and revenue generation for businesses of all sizes. Today, the vast majority of people own a cell phone and spend a lot of time on it. According to the latest research, text messages have a 98% open rate—5 times higher than average email open rates. This makes it the most effective channel for engaging directly with customers. 

At textLIVING, we’ve seen the power of text marketing for customer engagement firsthand. For over a decade, the team at textLIVING has built an industry-leading customer loyalty and text marketing platform that has helped over 10,000 merchants produce over $200 million in additional revenue. Today, we partner with sales professionals, marketing agencies, and technology entrepreneurs to white-label our software so they can sell our proven platform to restaurants, retailers, and small businesses across the U.S. and Canada. 

In this article, we wanted to highlight some of the most creative and effective text marketing campaign ideas that can be deployed using our platform. 

10 Creative Ways to Use Text Marketing for Customer Engagement 

Here are ten of the most effective ways that restaurants and retailers have used the textLIVING platform to engage customers and differentiate themselves from competitors:

  1. An immediate welcome offer after customers sign up

We’ve all received generic text messages after signing up for a loyalty program that are fairly forgettable. But some textLIVING users have successfully used this first contact to build a stronger relationship with customers right from the start. A few of our white-label partners send an exclusive offer a few hours after the opt-in message. What better way to start on the right foot than by offering a compelling, limited-time discount or freebie exclusive to new subscribers? 

For example, textLIVING users can send a message three hours after the sign-up with a text such as, “As a special welcome gift, enjoy 20% off your next meal or purchase with code WELCOMEVIP.”

  1. Follow-up invitation to connect on social media after the second visit

One of the most valuable aspects of text marketing is how often customers interact with their phones. For example, many brands have sent a text message after a customer’s second check-in at a location to invite them to connect on social media. 

By inviting customers to connect on social media after their second visit, merchants capitalize on their audience’s growing interest and create a deeper level of engagement, ongoing interaction, community building, and the potential for word-of-mouth referrals. 

  1. Promotional texts for special events or holiday deals

Text marketing is a powerful tool that can inform customers about upcoming events and make it easy for them to RSVP. We’ve seen tremendous success when merchants use the textLIVING platform to promote special events, such as live music nights, product launches, or holiday-themed promotions via text. 

Using text messaging instead of email is a much better choice to increase engagement. Email invitations can too easily get lost in an email inbox, and retailers may lose out on the chance to interact with a prospective customer. 

  1. Customized animated GIFs to promote new items

Many businesses have found success by including animated GIFs in their text marketing campaigns, especially when offering subscribers early access or pre-order options for new menu items, products, or limited-edition items. 

A restaurant could create a GIF of a new dessert on the menu with an invitation to “Be the first to try our upcoming dessert,” or a retailer could include an animated GIF highlighting several outfit styles for a new outerwear item. Either way, a playful and memorable GIF helps cement the offer in a recipient’s mind. 

  1. Special “rainy day” promotions to brighten someone’s day  

Because the textLIVING platform makes it easy for users to set up and send campaigns quickly, many merchants have succeeded with time-sensitive campaigns like “rainy day” promotions. These messages entice customers to visit and create a positive brand image that customers may remember even on sunny days.  

  1. A lighthearted birthday text with special offers or discounts

Offering a special birthday text offer is a fantastic way for a restaurant or retailer to stand out and create a memorable customer experience. While this has become a standard feature for many customer loyalty programs, textLIVING users have added a humorous or lighthearted animated GIF and a special offer to make their promotions even more appealing.

By offering a special birthday text offer and going the extra mile to make customers feel cherished on their special day, merchants create loyal customers and generate positive buzz around their business.

  1. A meaningful and creative anniversary deal 

Sending a text marketing campaign to celebrate a customer’s anniversary demonstrates a high level of personalization and care. Although it’s less common to capture a customer’s anniversary date, we’ve seen that it can be a valuable customer loyalty tactic for restaurants

There are many creative anniversary-related text marketing campaign ideas to engage and delight your customers. Many restaurants that use the textLIVING platform will send a code for a complimentary drink or discount. Ice cream shops and smoothie bars have shared a BOGO (Buy One, Get One) discount on select menu items or products to celebrate a customer’s anniversary. You can also even offer an anniversary perk to celebrate the anniversary of signing up for your text marketing program! 

  1. Hosting an interactive text-to-win contest

Text-to-win contests are a two-way street—people love prizes, and businesses love to attract new customers. Because it offers such a low barrier to entry, interactive contests have become one of the most effective ways for merchants to expand their text marketing list and gain new insights about their audience. Existing customers may also appreciate the opportunity to participate in a fun contest, which can boost their loyalty and encourage repeat business.

  1. Personalized discounts for non-active customers 

Reaching out to inactive customers can reactivate their interest in your brand, bringing back potentially lost business. The textLIVING platform allows restaurants and retailers to segment their lists and send targeted messages to customers who haven’t visited a location in the past 30, 60, or 90 days.  

Many of our partners have sent personalized text messages with a compelling incentive, such as a discount, a free item, or a loyalty reward, to entice customers to return. In fact, we’ve seen our automated “We miss you” texts drive up to 25% of a merchant’s lapsed customers to re-engage with the brand.

  1. Creative loyalty program reminders and exclusives

Keeping customers engaged with your loyalty program is crucial for its success. While many restaurants and retailers send point balance updates, there are several other creative ways to leverage loyalty program reminders. textLIVING users have created campaigns ranging from double points promotion and referral rewards to sharing spontaneous random acts of kindness with their loyalty program updates. 

Explore textLIVING’s Intuitive Text Marketing Platform

To remain competitive, restaurants and retailers need to explore creative and effective text marketing strategies. As personalization and direct engagement are becoming increasingly important for consumers, text marketing provides an undeniable opportunity for merchants who want to stay top-of-mind with their audience.

At textLIVING, we’ve designed an easy-to-use platform that helps businesses maximize the power of text marketing for customer loyalty. If you know and want to offer them a ready-to-use white-label solution, learn more about our platform or discover how you can become a partner.