Just like email and social media marketing, Ecommerce SMS marketing has evolved over the past years. SMS marketing has moved away from just being a channel to receive transactional notifications and order tracking details and transitioned into a marketing channel for brands to engage with their customers.
Why did SMS marketing campaigns get renewed interest from Ecommerce/DTC brands?
In fact, the average opt-in for SMS marketing is 96%, compared to the meager 5% opt-in rate for email marketing. This stat further fortifies the confidence of marketers in their best SMS campaigns.
Benefits of optimizing SMS campaigns for Ecommerce brands
The benefit of incorporating SMS campaigns into your Ecommerce marketing strategy include:
1) Improved conversion rates: Apart from a high opt-in rate, SMS marketing also has a high conversion rate of 29%. Again, this rate is almost 10 times more than the average conversion rate of other online marketing channels like email or social media marketing. Even the top instant messaging apps are still playing catch-up and are yet to encroach on the marketing territory marked by native SMS apps.
2) Increased engagement: According to reports, 89% of mobile users read text messages within 30 minutes of receiving them. For most users, text messaging is more personal and encourages them to engage with your Ecommerce brand. The engagement methods are also simple thanks to the shortcode replies.
3) Improved customer service: The best part about successful SMS marketing campaigns is that subscribers can still reach you even without an active internet connection. Consequently, they can call customer support to resolve their issues in any situation. What’s more, personalize your messaging and provide shipping details to build stronger relationships with your subscribers.
4) Better brand awareness: Short and engaging messages can immediately capture the reader’s attention and entice them to take the next step in the buying journey. Some examples of SMS marketing campaigns with a high click-through rate could be: Product launches, holiday sales, flash sales, and more. Increase your brand’s reach with a well-thought SMS marketing strategy.
5) Increased ROI: Improved engagement, conversion rates, and customer experience result in increased sales and ROI for your Ecommerce business.
12 Tips to optimize SMS marketing campaigns
1) Build a targeted subscriber list
The first step in optimizing your Ecommerce SMS marketing campaign is to create a hygienic SMS subscriber list.
SMS campaign best practice: Avoid buying SMS lists from third-party sellers as it will trigger the spam detection tools of the latest messaging applications and reduce the deliverability of your SMS campaign.
DTC brand Joe’s Store uses the double opt-in method to confirm whether subscribers are genuinely interested to interact with the brand and receive updates. In the follow-up message, they included the keyword that the recipient has to message to get them unsubscribed from the list.
2) Segment your audience
The most basic goal of segmenting your audience is to engage them with highly personalized messages. Segregating your SMS marketing list into smaller segments enables you to craft relevant messages that resonate deeply with the readers.
Dividing your customers based on their purchase history is one of the most rudimentary, yet effective, SMS marketing strategies.
For instance, you can target repeat customers with SMS content focusing on upselling and cross-selling products. On the other hand, newer subscribers can be targeted with enticing offers to generate more revenue and expand your customer base.
Similarly, you can segment your customers based on their current location. Geo-fencing allows you to mark territories around your brick-and-mortar store. Now, whenever a customer enters the digitally fenced area, they immediately receive an SMS alert prompting them to visit the nearby store.
Loyalty status, engagement rate, customer intent, and time zone, are a few other segmentation strategies you can adopt for your SMS-based marketing campaign.
Let’s take an SMS marketing campaign example of a DTC brand. Good Counsel is a subscription box for men. What set’s it as the best SMS example is that it segments customers based on their clothing style. Now if the customer could not find his size for a particular product, he could give his contact number and the brand contacts him when his size is in stock.
Also, whenever they receive a new stock of the same size, they automatically send an alert to their SMS subscribers.
What’s unmissable is the discount coupon included in the SMS to improve the click-through rate.
3) Create compelling messages
A single SMS supports up to 160 characters and even fewer if you include emojis. It is imperative that you prioritize crafting short and compelling SMS content. Include more action verbs and back these up with a solid CTA. Use shortened links to save more characters for the actual copy. You can find online SMS marketing templates to make this process easier for you.
Technically, now, mobile networks and modern phones can send and receive longer SMS using a technique called message concatenation. The method entails splitting messages longer than 160 characters into smaller segments and sending them to the receiver. Then, the split message is reassembled into a single larger email. However, this increases your cost to send each message. Therefore, try keeping your messages concise and engaging to boost your SMS marketing ROI.
When a prospect signs up for the SMS subscriber list, Chocomania’s SMS autoresponder immediately sends the welcome SMS campaign. The campaign is short and offers a welcome discount code to encourage the recipient to make their first purchase.
4) Use SMS automation
For novice marketers, Ecommerce SMS automation generally involves optimizing send times. But, the use cases for automation are limitless. To begin with, you can drastically enhance the security protocols for your customer through two-factor authentication. SMS platforms can also be used to send and receive information, such as transactional OTPs and sensitive documents.
Leveraging SMS autoresponder campaigns for Ecommerce to guide customers through the sales funnel is another important use case of SMS automation. Moda’s SMS marketing tools help Ecommerce brand owners set up marketing flows that actively highlight the growth drivers and track ROAS (Return On Ad Spends). Furthermore, clients can establish automated SMS campaigns, like abandoned carts and welcome campaigns, using the pre-build segments offered by Moda.
Ecommerce brand Bushbalm uses an automated messaging system that asks for customer feedback after the delivery of the product. Recipients can directly send their feedback by replying to the message.
5) Time your messages wisely
For most people, the SMS marketing channel is much more personal than emails and social media ads. As a result, you have to be more considerate about the timing of your email campaigns. Sending late-night messages or during the early morning hours is unpleasant for the customers. And, it might push them to unsubscribe from your SMS list. Now, the simplest solution would be to send your emails during the workday. But, this Ecommerce SMS marketing strategy only works when all your subscribers are in the same time zone.
When your subscribers are spread across different time zones, use segmentation strategies coupled with multiple A/B tests to find the perfect send times for your audience.
6) Use urgency and scarcity
Adding a sense of urgency to your SMS helps provide your reader with the impetus to make the purchase. According to reports, a good time-bound discount offer often convinces 50% of the recipients to take decisive actions. In the same vein, you can also use scarcity as an effective motivator to make purchases. For example, flash sales suggest that there is a scarcity of goods, and if the reader doesn’t make the move, they might miss out. Generating scarcity through exclusivity is also common for brands with active loyalty programs.
In the SMS marketing strategy below, Bushbalm uses its SMS channel to inform customers about restocking one of their items. But, to spice things up, they have added that there are only 1000 units currently available for sale. Such numbers create a scarcity mindset and push the customers to make quick decisions. This is one of the more creative SMS marketing campaigns on the list.
7) Personalize your messages
Personalization has transformed from being a marketing gimmick to an absolute necessity. One of the easiest ways to incorporate personalization into your Ecommerce SMS marketing campaigns is to start addressing the readers. Next, you can start to send them reminders about appointments and their favorite wishlist products going on sale. Sending re-engagement SMS to cold customers is another form of personalization strategy that can be employed by the brand.
Let’s take the best SMS campaign example of the authentic Ecommerce skincare brand Super Cosmetics. It uses a simple personalization technique of addressing the subscriber by their first name. The message is short and straightforward. And, it offers exclusivity as a reward for signing up for its loyalty program.
8) Offer exclusive discounts
By now, ecommerce store owners know that offering time-bound discounts can drive customers to engage with the CTA links included in the SMS. But, exclusive discounts and personalized discounts also have the ability to generate similar results. For starters, exclusive discounts make the customer feel like they are part of a closed circle. In the same way, personalized discount coupons for special occasions, such as anniversaries and birthdays, share the same potential for making customers feel valued.
In this SMS marketing campaign example, Ecommerce business Blume offers SMS subscribers early access to its products. The SMS also carries an exclusive discount code that enables them to get free items after completing the purchase. They have used a few emojis in the text message to make it stand out from the rest.
9) Optimize your landing pages
Successful SMS marketing campaigns are capable of instantly capturing the reader’s attention. But, retaining that attention span is a whole new state of affairs. For the latter, you need to create optimized landing pages with responsive designs. Linking dynamic web content to your CTA links ensures that the landing page’s layout automatically adapts to the reader’s device.
Refrain from bulking up your landing with videos and HTML codes as they might increase the loading time and turn away a few customers. Finally, focus on the UI elements to create a cohesive customer experience.
10) Use keyword SMS marketing
Keyword SMS campaigns help you increase your subscriber list. These keywords should be simple and easy to remember. Keywords SMS marketing ensures that customers are providing explicit permission to send them messages. In this way, you are steering away from being reputed as the brand with intrusive marketing campaigns. Remember to A/B test your keywords with a control group before launching the full campaign.
In another welcome SMS campaign, French Ecommerce beauty brand FreshPowder nudges users to use the code “Welcome’ for a 20% discount upon purchasing items worth $150 or more. Like all the other keywords, the revenue generated by this keyword can also be tracked in the SMS marketing platform.
11) Give the choice to opt-out
It is crucial to include a simple opt-out mechanism for your customers. This conforms to the guidelines set under the CAN-SPAM laws and keeps your messages away from spam folders. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act also monitors these mass SMS-based marketing campaigns and flags the ones that are not following the opt-out law.
In most cases, the opt-out keyword is STOP. The recipients have to send STOP to the same number to get themselves unsubscribed. In this SMS marketing example of Apple, the customer opts out of Apple store’s automated feedback campaigns.
12) Measure and analyze your results
Continuously monitor your Ecommerce SMS campaigns to find areas where you can make improvements. Measure the click-through, conversion, and engagement rates. Analyzing the results of your recent campaigns will yield valuable insights into how you can achieve better numbers by changing the customer demographics, message delivery times, and frequency of your messages.
Tips from experts
a) SMS campaigns best practices and tips from the founder of Budai Media
In this short video, Daniel Budai mentions that you should always enter your brand’s name in the SMS to make it more identifiable. Next, he mentions entering the unsubscribe keywords in your messages to make them more compliant with CAN-SPAM laws.
b) Phillip Rivers' insightful SMS marketing Twitter Thread
Phillip Rivers, a marketing guru, lists down 9 tips about SMS marketing that he used to establish his marketing business. He advises marketers to focus more on the clarity of the message. Because, if your text is unclear or misleading, people will simply mark it as spam. Furthermore, he encourages novice marketers to include SMS campaigns in their broader omnichannel marketing campaigns.
c) Attentive’s guide to finding the best time to send the best SMS campaigns
In this video, Attentive’s team did comprehensive research to find out that messages sent after 1 PM had higher open rates than the ones sent before 9 AM. While this may be true in most cases, you should always conduct your own A/B tests to find suitable times for your customer demographic.
Most Ecommerce brands limit the scope of their marketing reach by skipping SMS marketing. But, following these Ecommerce SMS campaign best practices will ensure you are cutting through the noise and focusing only on the essential elements of SMS marketing. What’s more, using the right SMS marketing tools and the tips we’ve shared will help you craft a winning SMS marketing strategy to increase your Ecommerce conversion rates and brand loyalty without being intrusive.