SMS marketing is currently generating a great deal of buzz in ecommerce, as customers are demonstrating extraordinary engagement on this channel. What advantages do text messages have over other marketing channels and tools?
- This channel is not as saturated as email or social media.
- SMSes are quick to send because almost zero design is required and the copy is brief.
- SMSes are easy to comprehend and have excellent open rates: over 90% of SMSes are read by the recipients within three minutes of receiving them.
- About one-third of SMS recipients engage with the SMS’ CTA. And of that engaged group, 47% will make a purchase.
SMS marketing campaigns are, therefore, ideal for time-sensitive offers.
Even if the phone is not nearby when your text message arrives, it is likely that it will be read shortly thereafter. Mostly, text notifications remain on the screen until they are read.
These are the significant advantages of SMS marketing. Let's examine how to set up and start SMS marketing in five easy steps:
1. Gather customer phone numbers
It is essential to collect and compile a list of customer phone numbers before launching an SMS program or campaign. There are numerous online and offline methods to accomplish this. Here are a few instances:
To get completely new prospects or site visitors to share their numbers:
Add a phone number field to your online registration forms. Thus, you will be able to collect both phone numbers AND email addresses from new site visitors. To increase registrations, offer an incentive similar to what Alastin does here:
Please include the legal data disclaimer in your sign-up form to stay compliant with SMS marketing regulations. This is one of the most important SMS marketing best practices.
Request phone numbers via pop-ups
The simplest method is to include a phone number field in your newsletter sign-up form. Popup forms are also effective. For instance, this pop-up form on B-Wear site:
Request existing customers to enroll for your SMS communication
You can request current customers or previously engaged customers through an email or social media offer in exchange for their phone numbers. This is also highly effective.
For instance, Brooklinen sent out an early bird access to a sale. The email directed recipients to a landing page where their phone numbers were requested:
Request for customers’ or visitors’ numbers at off-site events
Collect SMS numbers at your off-site events or exhibitions, trade shows, etc., by having
customers fill out a sign-up form on a tablet.
SMS marketing follows the same opt-in requirements as email marketing. Before sending marketing communications to customers or subscribers, you must obtain their consent.
Your subscriber list will serve as the foundation of your SMS program and future campaigns, and its maintenance, segmentation, and growth will determine how much revenue and engagement you can generate via SMS.
For optimal results, you should search for an SMS marketing platform that enables you to be everywhere your customers are through a variety of multi-channel data collection tools. You should be able to reach your customers via your website, social media, and other marketing channels.
And that leads us to our next step. :-)
2. Select the right SMS marketing tool
In addition to being compliant, customizable, and proven to convert, the right SMS marketing platform or tool should provide the following features and functionalities:
- Ready-to-launch templates: An SMS marketing platform/tool with an extensive library of beautifully designed templates that are ready to launch and pre-built for compliance will allow you to engage customers with minimal effort and obtain their consent.
With a collection of winning messages at your disposal, you will never experience writer's block again. Choose an SMS marketing platform that provides campaign templates for every occasion, including product launches, flash sales, and holidays, with a ready-to-go copy. Send the message as-is or modify it to match the voice and tone of your brand. In either case, these templates will have you sending timely messages in minutes, allowing you to generate revenue in an efficient and consistent manner.
- Customization: Although these templates may be beautiful by default, it is essential that you have the ability to personalize them. Every template should be fully modifiable to reflect your brand and individuality.
- Conversion: Look for sign-up units/templates/plug-ins that are designed with conversion in mind. For instance, pop-ups that can minimize without closing or reappear during new site sessions to prompt engagement or advanced behavioral display settings to target each visitor based on their intent or location, are indications that the team has constructed these tools to ensure results.
Due to the fact that the customer journey now spans multiple channels and locations, you need an SMS marketing platform that can capture customer traffic anywhere and provide the optimal experience to convert that traffic into SMS subscribers and engage them.
- Scheduling and automation: Ensure that you can schedule and automate your SMS campaigns in advance for a specific time or date or customer behavior or action for greater customer engagement and SMS effectiveness.
- Triggered SMS flows: To maximize conversions, look for an SMS flow builder that can trigger SMS and MMS messages based on real-time events and custom conditions. For instance, when a customer abandons their shopping cart, reaches a new loyalty tier, celebrates a birthday, or places a high-value order, an automated message will be sent to capture their attention and guide them toward a purchase.
Welcome flows, cart abandonment flows, product upsell flows, and customer win-back flows are the most important flows to enable when getting started apart from the most important transactional flows, such as order and shipping confirmations.
If your SMS marketing platform lacks any of these features, you should consider other alternatives.
- Conversational SMS: SMS offers a unique opportunity to engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. The best SMS marketing platform can convert your triggered flows into engaging Q&As, empowering your customers to respond and proactively share their information with you: What are they trying to find? Which item would they choose? Do they have a particular issue that you can resolve?
Based on their responses to your messages, you can suggest the appropriate products to build trust and increase sales.
If an SMS marketing platform only supports one-way messaging, you will lose revenue and the valuable customer data you need to establish meaningful relationships.
To reach customers at pivotal points in their shopping journeys, choose a platform that allows you to synchronize messages with real-time behavior and simulate back-and-forth text conversations on autopilot. These automatons are the backbone of a solid SMS strategy, steadily accelerating your growth in the background.
- Customer support: It should not be necessary to wait until office hours to seek advice or take action. Look for customer support that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that every issue can be resolved quickly.
3. Launch your first SMS campaign
Your SMS subscriber list has grown. Now is the time to send your marketing campaigns. SMS creation is simple. You need only a concise and persuasive message:
SMS messages are ideal for time-sensitive promotions and reminders, such as flash sales and offer expiry reminders, so look for such opportunities to send your first message.
SMS can be used independently or in conjunction with email campaigns. Imagine, for instance, sending text messages to non-openers of an email campaign two days after the initial message; this could significantly increase subscriber engagement:
Obviously, how you use your SMS marketing strategy is entirely up to you.
4. Track your SMS campaign results
After you launch your SMS campaigns, you should start tracking your results. Ideally, your SMS marketing platform or tool should be able to do this for you.
Text message reporting differs slightly from email campaign reporting. For instance, SMS providers may not be able to tell you the open rate. But your SMS marketing platform/tool should display standard SMS metrics, such as the number of messages sent, the click rate, the number of sales generated via that campaign, etc.
See the impact, test and adjust your text campaigns, and try different tactics to get the highest ROI possible.
5. Add SMS messages and campaigns to your automation flows
Incorporating text messaging into your marketing automation strategy is an effective use of SMS messages.
It is already well known that triggered messages, whether emails or texts, are up to 60 times more effective than non-automated emails and texts. In addition, SMSes deployed in tandem with other channels, such as emails, push notifications, etc., perform even better.
Why? Because they reach the right customers at the right time with the right content through the right channel.
An additional advantage of automated workflows is that they reduce your workload. Once set up, they continue to be sent and generate revenue in the background. You just need to monitor their efficacy, and make adjustments only if and when necessary.
Let’s look at a few use cases:
In your welcome email, you may offer a 10% discount on the first purchase. Some customers will use it, while others will not.
To encourage these non-buyers to use the code and make a purchase, you can send an automated SMS reminder that the offer is about to expire.
A simple reminder of an abandoned browse or abandoned cart contributes significantly to marketing revenue as a whole. This type of message may consist of a single text, an email, or both:
Their workflow is:
- About an hour after the cart is abandoned, an email is sent.
- A second email is sent 10 hours later if no activity has occurred.
- A third SMS or web push notification is sent 24 hours later, depending on the customer's subscription, accompanied by a final email.
Continue the conversation (based on intent, driven by content)
Enhance the customer experience by delivering value-driven engagements directly to the customer's device. Ask how they liked the product they purchased or send them a video demonstrating inventive uses for the product. For instance, SMS is an excellent channel for delivering concise, to-the-point content due to its speed, clarity, and directness like how HomeWare did here:
It is simple to set up and start SMS marketing. Determine the nature and purpose of your message, request permission to send SMS messages, and select an SMS marketing platform or tool.
Then, begin communicating with your customers. Keep your texts brief and relevant, and avoid appearing daily on people's mobiles.
SMS marketing can become more effective as you analyze your results to determine how to improve it in the future.