Building Communities of Superfans with SMS

4 min read

You’ve probably seen a new job title joining marketing teams in the last few years — Community Manager. This role has its origins in the video game industry, where massive online games played by thousands of players would have specific staff designated to maintaining and growing the player-base, but this has since expanded. If you search for jobs with that title, you’ll see all kinds of companies, from fitness to consumer electronics and even household appliances. But why bother with a community at all?

Building that emotional relationship with your brand and fostering a community around your products and services can be huge for your business. Just look at companies like Apple, Disney and Gymshark — brands that have highly engaged communities that are lining up to give them money for new products, even sleeping on the street for multiple days!

The most important members of your community are your Superfans. These are the people who will not only buy everything you release but also introduce or recommend your products to their friends and family. This has the potential to be huge for your brand because the recommendation of your products earns you a much higher degree of trust from the prospective customer:

81% of customers trust recommendations from family and friends over those from companies. Building Communities of Superfans with SMS
Source: Hubspot

Let’s talk about text

We’ve touched on building communities of Superfans with SMS, but why is SMS the communications channel you should be using? In a word — Intimacy.

Take one look at your email inbox and we imagine you’ll struggle to find an email from somebody you care about. According to Statista, spam email accounts for 47.3% of all email in 2020, and that isn’t counting emails from businesses. Personal email is on a downward trend. But when you look at your SMS messages, who are they from? Mostly they will be family, friends or colleagues. SMS is one of the most intimate digital communication formats, which makes it perfect for fostering that Superfan connection.

The reach of SMS should not be underestimated. According to this article from Bankmycell, 7.1 billion people worldwide have a mobile phone, that’s 89.9% of everyone in the world. These stats even include the very young and very old, who are less likely to own a mobile phone. Every single one of those people can receive an SMS.

Of course, smartphone usage is on the rise. For example, the percentage of people who own a smartphone in the UK has risen to almost 90%. However, their penetration is not 100% — especially in emerging markets where the numbers are much lower. To be globally relevant SMS is more important than ever.

But what about competition from smartphone apps? You might be surprised to learn out that the take-up on such apps isn’t as strong as you’d think. Recent research from Bond Brand Loyalty showed that 57% of people want to engage with a loyalty programme via their mobile device, but only 51% have an app that’s associated with their programme.

“If you build it, they will come…”

But will they? That’s the question. Of course, if your brand is well-liked enough and popular enough, you don’t need to advertise to gain fans, but for the purpose of this article, let’s assume that you’re not the chief marketing officer at a brand like Nike or Apple.

The statistics we’ve already discussed here show that the emotional connection between customer and brand is critical. What you need to do first is foster that emotional connection by making the customer (or prospective customer) feel special. You can do this in a few different ways:

Building Communities of Superfans with SMS

Don’t Reuse Web Content — Many marketing teams will use all the same assets, campaigns and offers across all channels but you cannot treat your SMS subscribers the same way as your email subscribers. These people have so much love and trust for your brand they’re giving you their phone number. Make sure the content you use is exclusive to your SMS subscribers.

Building Communities of Superfans with SMS

Be Relevant — If the recipient in question has an account set up with you for purchasing goods or services, keep track of what they buy. We’ve all had that promotional message suggesting we buy something that we’ve already purchased from a retailer. This gives the impression that you don’t pay attention to your customers. See what they buy and offer complimentary items. For example, if you sell computers, offer them keyboards and mice.

Building Communities of Superfans with SMS

Be valuable — Hand in hand with relevancy is an exchange of value. Don’t spam subscribers with things they don’t need or want — use the data from loyalty programmes to send offers they will value.

Building Communities of Superfans with SMS

Give them control — To create superfans, your subscribers must feel valued. Nothing tells them you value their time like giving them control of the type and frequency of messages they receive. If all they want is offers, let them opt out of the rest of your messages.

Building Communities of Superfans with SMS

Surprise and delight  Keep your customers on their toes. Everyone does back to school offers or January sales, but 60% of customers say unexpected rewards are the biggest reason they’ll stay loyal to a brand. (Source: SAP)

The accessibility and ease of use of SMS messaging cannot be understated. Messaging with your customers via a VIP members SMS list will make them feel special. Making sure that your messages are relevant and have value will keep them subscribed. Contact our experts today to learn more about how you can use SMS to achieve your business goals.

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