SMS Marketing: The Comprehensive Guide to Strategic Text Messaging
What is SMS Marketing?
It’s 2022, and people are using their cell phones now more than ever before. With this uptick in cellular device usage, SMS marketing is a hot topic for eCommerce marketers. So, what exactly is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing stands for Short Message Service 一 or text messaging. Brands are now using text messaging to send promotional messages, updates, company announcements and more to consumers that provide consent. It’s a great strategy for getting your message right in front of your audience.
The Rise in Popularity of SMS Marketing
Let’s go back to over a decade ago. After the recession in 2009, businesses used direct mail less and less due to its cost, and consumers weren’t shopping as much during that time when compared to before the recession. Fast forward, and email marketing was born.
Email was only used by a select few companies before it grew to what we know today, where almost every retailer is using email marketing to reach their target customers. Inboxes are now cluttered with promotional emails from brands, and many consumers are subscribed to dozens of email lists.
In today’s digital world, we now have SMS marketing. According to Voice Sage, 82% of people say they open every text message they receive. Plus, with consumers consistently on their phones for hours on end each day, they’re bound to take a peek at what’s inside the text message.
In this eBook, we’re covering the benefits of using text messaging in business, SMS marketing strategies to drive conversion and the best SMS marketing platforms to invest in.
The Benefits of SMS Marketing
SMS is a direct channel.
One of the key benefits of SMS is that messages are sent directly and immediately to consumers. Smart Insights reports that SMS marketing has a read rate of 97% within only 15 minutes of the message being delivered. Needless to say, deliverability is much more straightforward and consumers are much more likely to become aware of a brand through SMS than through email marketing.
It requires consent, so you’re only sending to an engaged audience.
Did you know that it’s illegal for brands to send text messages to people that don’t provide consent? Since SMS marketing requires consent, and consumers are expecting and interested in receiving messages from their favorite brands, they’re bound to open them. This could explain why deliverability and open rates are so high for SMS.
We encourage eCommerce merchants to ask customers for their consent during the checkout process. Those that respond yes to receiving SMS messages are likely your target audience, so the next time you get your branded content in front of them, they’ll likely be happy to see it!
It is popular across generations.
Some people believe that text messaging is popular only among younger generations, but the data shows otherwise. Although Millennials in the United States spend 300% more time on their cell phones than Baby Boomers, adults from older generations are still using their mobile devices to send texts.
In fact, those who are 55 years and older send about 16 text messages per day, according to Simple Texting. Those who are between the ages of 18 and 24 send about 128 text messages per day 一 eight times more than their elders. Though the data shows that as people age their text message usage decreases, older generations are still using texting to communicate.
It easily integrates with other marketing channels.
From your eCommerce platform to your CRM and third-party apps, it’s critical that all channels integrate together to create the best customer experience possible. That being said, SMS marketing must also integrate well with these other channels in order to work properly and return the best results. If you’re just getting started with eCommerce, SMS is great on its own; however, it can really augment existing strategies, such as email or social media.
It does not require design or development experience.
Many mid market and Enterprise eCommerce merchants that our team has spoken to have little to no design or development experience 一 and that’s okay! When it comes to SMS marketing, there is no technical expertise requirement. The process of writing what’s inside a text message and sending it is so straightforward; marketing teams won’t need any help.
It likely fits within your budget.
Depending on the SMS platform your company uses, each message only costs a few cents to send. Plans can be adjusted based on company needs and the amount of messages you want to send. Scroll down to the SMS marketing tools section of this eBook to read more about two of our team’s favorite SMS platforms: Klaviyo and Attentive.
You can expect high open rates.
We touched on this earlier but want to reiterate its importance. You can expect a seriously high open rate with SMS marketing. This channel of communication is more personal than email marketing and social media, and it’s a way to get your brand in front of the people that signed up to see it. A valuable SMS marketing tool will allow you to see analytics like open rate for each message you send.
With 90% of text messages being read in the first three minutes that they are delivered, text message marketing provides merchants with a significant opportunity to reach and engage with their customers.
Reporting on SMS success is easy.
The best SMS marketing software shows analytics for each text message that your business sends out. Many platforms actually don’t report on open rate since it’s expected to be so high. Reliable platforms report on other metrics, though, such as whether the person received the SMS, clicked a link within the message, consented to receive the SMS, unsubscribed from SMS or if an SMS message failed to deliver. It’s time to see how your text message campaigns play out!
It helps to create a stronger customer experience.
SMS marketing provides better experiences to customers. It is quick and immediate and lets brands and customers communicate back and forth like no other marketing technique can. Think live chat on an eCommerce website. Though you can go back and forth with an automated computer or a real person, it isn’t the same as texting directly from the Messages app on your cell phone.
Plus, 33% of SMS recipients react to CTAs in messages, and 47% of those that click end up purchasing. SMS marketing really is a seamless way to get your content in front of your audience quickly while providing a customer experience that they’ll enjoy.
SMS Marketing Strategies
Use automation to streamline communications.
Rather than sending one-off text messages, leverage your SMS tool’s automation capabilities. Build unique flows for targeted campaigns that send text messages to people after they have (or have not) performed a certain activity. Klaviyo flows, for instance, allow merchants to send SMS messages (and emails) to prospective customers based on their behaviors or contact properties.
If you notice that many people are abandoning their shopping cart, send them a text message reminding them that they left the item behind ー if they provide consent. Build a flow that sends multiple messages over a period of time. Continue sending the messages if they haven’t converted from their shopping cart, and remove the contacts that do purchase the previously abandoned product from the flow.
Cart abandonment reminder emails aren’t the only thing that can be automated. Send discounts, browse abandonment emails, new product announcements and so much more with automation. Remember, automating the texting process elevates your brand when compared to your competitors because customers typically only expect to get an order confirmation, shipping notification and delivery notification after they’ve purchased.
Create a referral program.
A referral program is a smart way to gather more phone numbers. When existing customers refer their friends and family to your brand, your SMS list will grow and you’ll have the opportunity to expand your reach. As long as those referred provide consent to receiving messages from your company, then you can include them in your promotions.
Run a giveaway.
In addition to a referral program, giveaways are great for growing your SMS list. Making texting a requirement for entry is a strategic way to gain more contacts. When Chipotle did this awhile back, it was wildly successful.
As always, if your business is compliant and allows each user to give consent to receiving messages and the option to opt out at any time, then you’re on the right track to growing your SMS list.
Send notifications when a product is back in stock.
Remember how we mentioned earlier that SMS marketing provides a positive customer experience? Well back in stock notifications through texts really help customers feel in the loop. They feel in the know since they’re the first ones in line to know when the product is available again.
Allowing customers to enter their phone number on the product detail page to sign up for notifications when the item is back in stock is a great way to ameliorate any customer dissatisfaction.
Follow up with customers after they’ve purchased.
In addition to growing your SMS list and acquiring new customers, using SMS marketing to follow up with customers post-purchase is a strategic way to retain existing customers. Merchants who sell replenish-able products such as consumer packaged goods or apparel can put themselves at a serious advantage against their competitors if they leverage post purchase SMS marketing.
Our Favorite eCommerce SMS Marketing Tools
From segmentation and personalization to email marketing, SMS automation and more, the features and functionality of Klaviyo make it one of the best SMS marketing platforms for small to enterprise businesses. Between SMS marketing and email marketing, Klaviyo provides merchants with the means to create unique and engaging experiences for their target audiences. Read on to learn why Klaviyo is a preferred SMS marketing software by the Groove Commerce team.
SMS compliance laws in the United States are important to understand to ensure your company remains compliant. Please note that Groove Commerce is not here to provide legal advice on compliance matters, and if you have specific questions regarding the law in your area, we suggest reaching out to a lawyer.
SMS compliance varies by country. If contacts in your SMS list contain international phone numbers, be sure to double check that you’re complying with the laws. With that being said, Klaviyo SMS is compliant with these laws as the platform only sends messages to the subscribers that provide consent. In Klaviyo, all SMS signup forms automatically include the required opt-in language. Merchants may choose whether to use the language as it is written or alter it based on their needs and with the help of their legal counsel.
Klaviyo integrates with a variety of eCommerce platforms in just one click. This allows merchants access to historical and real time data from their eCommerce store. So whether you’re using Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Salesforce, Magento or PrestaShop, Klaviyo has you covered.
Segmentation & Personalization
With over a dozen pre-built, customizable flows, Klaviyo has something for everyone. From the price drop trigger, predictions on when customers will order next and cross-selling and up-selling functionality, Klaviyo offers automated segmentation and personalization. Welcome new subscribers, nudge subscribers who abandon their shopping cart or continuously view a specific product and send notifications when a product is back in stock.
Leveraging real-time behavioral data, Attentive enables merchants to automatically send text messages to their subscribers. From behavioral and transactional journeys to conversational, two-way messages, rich media, smart-engage tools and more, Attentive delivers personalized experiences for all subscribers.
Compliance & Deliverability
Groove Commerce can not provide legal advice; however, Attentive has in-house compliance authorities to help merchants with TCPA and CTIA compliance as well as a carrier relations team that works with leading carriers to ensure guidelines and best practices are followed. Additionally, Attentive has tools with built-in compliance features such as ADA accessibility, litigator defender, audit trails and subscriber opt-out protection.
From integrations with email service providers (like Klaviyo), customer data platforms and customer service platforms, Attentive partners with only the best technologies. These custom integrations make it easy for merchants to quickly launch their SMS marketing campaigns, utilize customer data and streamline workflows.
Segmentation & Personalization
With Attentive, it’s easy for eCommerce merchants to create engaging SMS campaigns to show off their products, new arrivals, promotions and more. Using journeys to create personalized experiences is a great way to really customize each person’s experience with your brand. Journeys can be based on behavioral data, such as whether a person viewed a specific product, or transactional data, such as whether a person purchased a specific product.
I really hope this guide to SMS marketing helps enhance your existing strategy so that you can better engage with prospects, leads and customers. If you have questions about your existing eCommerce marketing strategy or want to learn more about why Groove Commerce loves Klaviyo and Attentive for SMS, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. We’d love to learn more about your mid-market/Enterprise eCommerce store.