For many years email was the most widely used medium for delivering marketing messages to consumers. However, with recent advancements in marketing software SMS Marketing is now the top choice for ecommerce companies looking to boost sales.
The power of SMS marketing lies in the fact that your customers have their phones in-hand or at arms length virtually all day long. With the average American spending an average of 5.4 hours per day using their cell phone, your ability to reach them with SMS marketing is quite promising.
If you own an ecommerce business, SMS marketing should be your primary way to send promos and important messages to your customers.
SMS marketing stands for “short message service” or, in layman’s terms, text message marketing. By using an SMS delivery platform, you are able to send texts with a 160 character limit to a list of mobile phone numbers. Recipients receive your messages moments after you send them and will trigger a notification for those with text alerts enabled.
Ecommerce brands use SMS marketing to:
Low setup fees
With email marketing you need to develop content including subject lines and body copy, then pay to have mobile responsive templates designed, coded and integrated into your delivery software. This process can be costly and time consuming.
With SMS you only need to worry about 160 characters of text. Your messages are similar in nature to Tweets, where the economy of words forces you to be direct and efficient, with no fluff. You don’t have to worry about extras like images, animations and videos.
It’s faster than email
As previously mentioned, SMS text messages will be delivered, and likely seen, moments after sending. With email your messages can be sent to spam and never seen, or can sit in a list of dozens of unopened emails, waiting for recipients to take notice.
Your customers are on their mobile phones all day long and most are fast to acknowledge incoming text messages, especially when push notifications put them front and center.
Higher Open Rate than email
Due to the convenience and delivery method of SMS messages, research shows they have a 90% open rate as compared to 20% for email. High opens rates are tied to convenience, immediacy and visibility.
At present there is a much lower volume of text marketing messages sent as compared to email, so you’ll likely be competing for less attention, which means people will be more likely to open your messages.
Higher engagement rate than email
Nearly 50% of the 295 million emails sent each year are spam. Consumers have spam fatigue and are growing less likely to open emails from those they don’t trust, don’t know or don’t engage with regularly.
SMS messages create instant push notifications on your user’s mobile devices, and those messages remain in their notifications until they open them. People check their phones more frequently than they do their email, so you’ll be integrating your marketing into a user behavior that has become not only second nature but obsessive.
Use an SMS Marketing Tool
Just as tools like MailChimp, Campaign Monitor and Klaviyo help to create, send and track your email marketing efforts, there are similar tools for SMS. A good tool will have features and pricing commensurate with the nature of your business, and make it easy to automate the process.
A few of our favorite tools are:
Implement Methods of Gaining Permission
As with email it’s very important to only send text messages to those who have opted in to receiving them. Opt-ins can be added to your website footer, checkout page or pop-ups and work best when you offer something in return. For example, giving customers who sign up a discount on their first purchase.
Determine How to Add Value
If you aren’t adding value to your customer’s lives with your SMS messages, you probably shouldn’t be sending them. Strategically map out why you want to start using SMS and determine what you can offer to entice people to open and engage with your texts.
Create an SMS Calendar
SMS messages can mirror your overarching marketing calendars by being sent around holidays that are known to drive sales volume. Christmas, Cyber Monday, Memorial Day and Labor Day are great ways to start. You can also test more personalized campaigns, such as offering a discount on people’s birthdays. This is a common tactic among big box retailers such as Sephora.
Just like email, you don’t want to send so many texts that people start blocking you or opting out. Once you’ve determined how to add value and have established a calendar, frequency will start to become clear. Bottom line, always have a plan and a purpose.
Schedule Your Sends
Day or the week and time of day should be given careful thought. If you’re planning a sale around a certain holiday, send a few days in advance so your audience is aware and can plan accordingly.
Time of day can also play a factor. You don’t want to send too early in the morning or too late at night as audible alerts could wake someone up and upset them. Just be mindful of the fact that you are inserting yourself into the daily routine of your audience and consider when you think they will most likely be open to reading your message.
Track Your Success
Good SMS tools will have built-in analytics tracking, so be sure to always review your data to determine which messages drove the most engagement and conversions. Once you have determined what works you’ll have a better chance at replicating it for future sends.
SMS has trumped email as the gold standard when it comes to sending marketing messages that drive engagement. The ease of use, low barrier to entry and high open rates make it a must-have component in your marketing playbook.
Sign up for a great SMS tool, develop a solid strategy and start driving sales!