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How to Build a Text-Based Loyalty Program

Loyalty Program Blog Featured Image
January 19, 2022
David Kovacs
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Reading time about 6 min

Did you know that text marketing strategies can build customer loyalty? Not only that, text marketing is the most affordable and easy-to-implement customer loyalty program available.

But why is it so effective? In short, 2020.

Coronavirus chart

A survey of pre-pandemic retail marketers said they planned to increase investment in messaging or SMS marketing. According to Juniper Research, global mobile business messaging traffic grew to 2.7 trillion in 2020, up 10% from 2019.

At the same time, US eCommerce sales are expected to reach $794.50 billion in 2021, up 32.4% year-over-year.1 With more than 98% of text messages being read, retail SMS messaging has indeed become a significant component of the rapidly expanding retail mobile marketing landscape.

If you’re a retailer, you might want to consider jumping on the text-based loyalty program bandwagon.

What Is a Text-Based Loyalty Program?

A text message or SMS loyalty program is cost-effective for retailers to drive traffic to their business. Less time-intensive or extensive as punch cards or an email program, a text loyalty program’s strength is its simplicity:

  • A consumer signs up by sharing their phone number.
  • The retailer, in turn, sends text messages with loyalty rewards to incentivize consumer purchase or visitation.
  • The more rewards the consumer responds to, the more they save... and the more you earn.

The strength of the program is that the consumer is happy to receive texts from your brand. Your business, in turn, is investing in a cost-effective way to both drive consistent revenue and grow the lifetime customer value of your customer.

What Are the Best Ways to Use a Text-Based Loyalty Program?

Here are some examples of tactics and brand executions that you can emulate with your brand.

Sample Message

1. Personalization

Behavioral targeting and personalization are critical to any marketing strategy, but especially for a method of engagement as intimate as text marketing. SMS Messaging is one of the most personal ways of connecting to a consumer. When building a customer loyalty program, it’s essential to gather as much information as possible on each customer — their shopping habits, interests, location, etc. — so that a company can accurately target customers, successfully connecting specific offers to the specific customers who would find them valuable.


  • Location
  • Current weather
  • Product preference
    Sample Message

    2. Thank You Messages

    When cashiers or eCommerce sites incentivize customers to join their mobile loyalty programs, companies can express gratitude to their repeat customers with special offers for making a purchase or with further information about upcoming products, services, and events. With creative integration possibilities, using applications like EZTexting’s SMS API, companies can automate Thank You messages to customers after they purchase a product. Making consumers feel appreciated and valued is crucial when developing long-term customer relationships.

    Sample Message

    3. Special Offers

    One of the key ways to build a company’s opt-in Mobile Loyalty or Rewards program is to offer membership into an exclusive club in exchange for a phone number. Sending monthly or weekly special offers, exclusive to members in the loyalty program, is a fantastic way to encourage loyalty program sign-ups and incentivize repeat business.

    Sample Message

    4. Coupon Codes

    Regular coupon codes sent via text message using a keyword and short code combination are essential in any brand’s customer loyalty program. Customers who receive reminders to purchase using coupon codes as incentives, have proven to buy more often than when left to their own devices. And with emerging geo-targeting capabilities, now retail-based brands can build systems that automatically send text messages to an opted-in consumer when they have entered a specific radius of a retail location.

    Sample Message

    5. In-Store Incentives

    When customers come to a retail location to browse or make a purchase, it’s crucial to upsell products and services that add value to the products they were already interested in. Advertise a short code throughout the store offering exclusive offers and coupons, or promote targeted keywords on particular items to target interested consumers.

    How Do I Build a Text-Based Loyalty Program

    Consumers must trust that the brands to which they give their phone numbers will use their numbers respectfully and provide significant value in exchange for this intimate opportunity to engage.

    1. Create a List of Loyalty Benefits

    A loyalty or rewards program only works if you provide tangible benefits for the consumer. For instance, a pizza joint might offer a free pie for every ten purchases in the store, or a fashion retailer could offer $10 off a purchase of $50 or more after spending a certain amount of money at the boutique.

    A few other examples could include:

    • Offer discounts (percentage or dollar amount) for reaching certain milestones.
    • Give members early access to discounts or products.
    • Allow members to accrue points toward prizes or coupons.
    • Assign tiers to the loyalty program and increase benefits related to the tiers (such as purchase amount milestones).
    • Create a members-only app or experience that only insiders can download.

    You decide what rewards and benefits you offer, but make sure they are too valuable to ignore!

    2. Decide How to Track Memberships

    Some companies use membership cards — these work best for brick-and-mortar stores — while others use membership numbers, email addresses, or other tracking methods. Whatever medium you choose, make sure it's both secure and accurate.

    Consider porting the double-authentication model over from many online stores and membership sites. For instance, you might give your customers a physical membership card (which can increase loyalty through a tactile experience) and incorporate their phone number or email address onto the card. That way, your customer can still access benefits if they leave the card at home.

    3. Deliver on Your Promises

    If you don't keep the promises you make to your customers, you risk creating the opposite of loyalty. Your customers will realize that you don't honor your loyalty program, and they'll skip next door to your competitor.

    Inform management about the details of the loyalty program, then write out a list of policies and guarantees related to the program. If possible, ask your attorney to review the document. They might point out vulnerabilities or missing information.

    When you launch your loyalty program, make these policies and guarantees available, either in a written document or brochure or as part of your website. Ask your customers to read the policies thoroughly so they understand what benefits they get from the program.

    4. Offer Multiple Sign-Up Methods

    Allow customers to sign up for your loyalty program via multiple mediums. In-store and online signups represent the most common options, but why not allow potential customers to sign up via SMS text messaging? It's an easy way to target impulse memberships among your audience.

    A loyalty program can work wonders for your brand, especially when combined with other engaging marketing methods like text messaging. If you'd like to try SMS marketing for your business, EZ Texting offers the most convenient, intuitive option available on the market today.


    1. SMS Marketing 2021
    2. US Ecommerce Growth Jumps to More than 30%, Accelerating Online Shopping Shift by Nearly 2 Years


    Ready to Start Building Your SMS Loyalty Campaigns?

    Get expert help from the professionals at EZ Texting.

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    Join the 210,000+ customers who have used SMS marketing to connect with their audiences.

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