The idea of ecommerce SMS marketing is great.
The results, even better: Higher onsite conversion rates. More new customers. Better retention and increased lifetime value. (To name just a few.)
The application, however, can be intimidating. Even a little scary.
Despite being a must-have for growing stores, very few DTC owners and operators know the “rules” of text-message marketing. And we don’t just mean SMS legislation nor how to avoid the dreaded s**** word — spam.
Thankfully, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
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Sounds obvious, right? It’s not.
Text subscribers tend to be high-intent shoppers. The personal nature of SMS combined with direct-message inbox delivery is the duo responsible for its success.
Target high-intent visitors at checkout with this native Shopify feature. (It’ll take you just a few minutes to turn on.)
Your biggest and best SMS list growth results will come from setting up (and optimizing) three types of pop-ups — each designed to meet visitors natively.
Take your subscription methods beyond your website with opt-in keywords and links.
Keywords are quick to set up and are best used successfully in three ways.
SMS subscriptions offer an easy way to opt-in via Instagram Stories and other social platforms as they require only two actions from a mobile phone:
You need expressed consent from your subscribers before sending them SMS messages. This means that your customers opted-in (by choice) and agreed to receive promotional texts from your business.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) governs through two main laws: the TCPA and the CAN-SPAM Act. SMS also has a set of principles called CTIA Guidelines — implemented by a trade association representing the wireless communications industry in the United States.
You need to follow the rules to be compliant. Luckily, any SMS platform worth your investment will have built-in features — such as keyword unsubscribe — to take care of the ins and outs.
These automated messages are triggered immediately after sign-up — the perfect opportunity to greet and engage with your subscribers right away. You can also send any additional info you couldn’t fit into your pop-up along with any opt-in incentive codes.
A sequence of 3–5 texts does the job best — each with conditional splits to exclude anyone who’s made a purchase or has an item in their cart:
Personalized messages are the key to great customer experiences. The best SMS marketing results come from campaigns that are tailored (or triggered) at different stages of your customer’s journeys.
This can easily be achieved through segmentation of your contact list. Your SMS platform should have the capabilities to help you set these up using automation so your segments will scale.
Some key segments to create and test:
SMS automation saves you time and generates revenue on autopilot. These flows should be the bread and butter of your SMS marketing strategy.
Triggered by customers’ actions and segmented through engagement data, automated flows offer personalized experiences throughout the customer journey.
Greet and engage with your subscribers immediately after opt-in with first-purchase incentives, contact cards, brand stories + more
Get your high-intent shoppers back to your store to seal the deal with discounts, deals, or checkout support.
Keep customers in the know and up to date with an automatic order confirmation and shipping + fulfillment notifications.
Send customers relevant campaigns with product suggestions and special offers that correlate to previous purchases.
Based on typical usage, remind customers to stock back up and re-order their favorite products before they run out.
The success of your text message marketing campaigns often depends on the mood of your subscribers, which is often contingent on the timing of your message.
Don’t send a deal past midnight or an early morning text in the middle of rush hour. Your customer is far less likely to engage with the message or check out your promotion if they’re distracted — no matter how good the deal is.
If you’re talking to new mothers … we’re pretty sure early dinner-time texts won’t go down well. If you’re offering a time-sensitive coffee discount, don’t do it at 11 am after most people have already had their cuppa Joe (get them before).
This is one of the most important considerations for SMS marketing as it deals with the dreaded s*** word: Spam. The top issue with frequency? Under-sending!
(You guessed over-sending, right?)
The truth is, people who opt-in to your texts want to hear from you. That’s why it’s so effective. They expect real value from the most intimate B2C channel.
But what is the right number to start with?
There’s no one-size-fits-all rule; it’s all about your audience engagement.
Start slow with one or two campaigns a week + automations. Then follow your customer’s lead to decide the frequency. You’ll quickly notice the trends by watching the click-throughs, sales, and opt-out rates — don’t worry, you won’t get too many of these.
Ditch one-way, no-reply channels and autoresponders. There’s so much hidden value for you and your customers in two-way communication using SMS.
From a support perspective, customers will have a direct line with your brand that will be treated with immediacy. They’ll be able to ask questions, give feedback, and request help.
From a business perspective, you can create data-gathering, content-driven conversations. Delight your customers and prime them for your conversion-focused campaigns with …
This engagement will build stronger relationships and make your customers feel heard (leading to better open rates). And give you the opportunity to learn what works, what doesn’t, and where you can grow as a business.
The personal nature of text messages is a big factor in its marketing success. But this success relies on creating a human-centric approach to your SMS campaigns.
It’s tough but vital to strike a balance between brand representation and creating text campaigns for “humans.”
Well-crafted ecommerce marketing strategies use multiple methods to communicate the right message via the right channel. This makes it important to select tools that integrate with each other and with your ecommerce platform.
Email marketing and SMS are a powerful duo. Align them throughout the customer journey.
Create your digital marketing strategy by identifying where each channel adds the most value. Start by capturing both email and SMS opt-ins.
Then, map out your campaigns.
Use SMS to send time-sensitive deals, direct offers, fulfillment alerts, and automations like abandoned carts. Use email for longer-form content: Guides, how-tos, brand storytelling, etc.
For instance, if you’re hosting a sale in conjunction with an event or holiday your audience cares about:
Avoid content overlapping — don’t create text message versions of your email marketing campaigns. It’s a waste of your marketing efforts and your subscribers will notice.
SMS marketing campaigns shouldn’t be “set it and forget.” Even automations need optimizing.
There’s a lot to learn from how your text message performs. Check your campaign results often and keep an eye on business-critical metrics:
Once a month — or, at least, once a quarter — pull back from the trees to examine the forest; big-picture measurements like …
Many (or even most) ecommerce store owners hesitate with SMS because they’re worried about spamming customers … and best practice guides like this one feel intimidating.
The reality is they’re missing out.
In our mobile-first world, SMS will set you apart. It’s direct so cuts through the notification clutter, it’s personal enough to be read (almost) every single time, and it’s relevant enough to result in high sales conversions.
Get the full guide. The sooner you start, the faster you’ll see results.
Rules + 15 Examples to Send, Sell & Success with Confidence!