Daniel Baltazhar
February 22, 2022

How to Set up an SMS Marketing Campaign Strategy for your eCommerce Store

In our previous lesson, we talked about SMS marketing automation and how it benefits a fast-growing eCommerce business. But automation yields the best results when you have a defined SMS marketing strategy and campaigns planned for your subscribers and customers. 

That’s why in this lesson, we’re going to talk about best practices to follow and how you can create and set up an SMS marketing campaign that helps you boost customer engagement and drive more conversions. 

If you already have a campaign strategy in place, head over to Recart to set up your SMS marketing campaign.

How to set up your first SMS campaign in 7 steps

Just like other marketing tactics, setting up SMS marketing requires you to think through your business goals, target audience needs, and create a strategy that is a win-win for both parties. To help streamline the process of creating an eCommerce SMS marketing campaign strategy, we have documented the key steps you should be following.

1. Define your objectives and goals

The very first step is defining what you want to achieve. Since SMS campaigns can be used for a multitude of purposes, it’s important to identify what business objectives you want to address. For example, it could be something as simple as keeping customers informed and engaged to boost customer engagement and retention, or recovering abandoned carts to increase revenue.

You can even go as far as setting KPIs based on performance of setting specific, metric based targets such as 50% increased revenue via digital channels.

2. Conduct competitor market research

Once you have laid down your objectives and goals, the next step is to look into how similar businesses to yours are leveraging SMS to accomplish them. Take note of the type of campaigns your direct and indirect competitors are running to promote their deals and keep customers engaged. This may require you to subscribe to a few lists to experience the journey they offer to customers. Keep an eye on things like content, how personalized the campaign are, timing and frequency and CTA or campaign goal.

3. Identify the key stages of a buyer journey

After your competitor research, create an ideal customer journey for consumers who interact with your business. Take into account the type of campaigns they’re receiving from other businesses, how those campaigns add value to their buying journey and which of those stages are aligned with your business objectives and goals.

For example, confirming a subscription to your SMS list and following up with a first-purchase discount are two different stages in a customer’s buying journey. Key stages can also have key metric or unique goals so keep these in mind before mapping them out in step 4.

Subscriber marketing journey

4. Shortlist the campaigns you need to run

With your key customer stages identified, take note of the different types of campaigns you will need to run at each stage. The goal here is to see how many different campaigns you need to run in parallel to keep each stage of your funnel fueled. From awareness about your ongoing and upcoming deals, to getting customers to your store, nudging purchases, recovering carts, confirming orders, sending shipping alerts and post-purchase SMS, take every little step into account that may help offer a great customer experience overall.

5. Create your messages for each campaign

Once you have shortlisted your campaigns, the next step is to identify the value your messages will offer . You need to draft your messages accordingly and highlight the value to get the subscriber to take a desired action on receiving the text message. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

6. Invest in SMS marketing automation

There are a number of stages involved in getting a subscriber or a customer to engage with your business. Each stage also includes timely follow-ups to ensure your messages are read, and that’s why it is important to invest in SMS marketing automation. 

Once you have your campaigns defined, look for an SMS marketing tool that equips you with ready to use templates and workflows that you can add your drafted message copy to and get going. The idea here is to be able to set up SMS campaigns at every stage of a buyer journey as quickly as possible. 

A good SMS marketing automation tool should definitely cover the following campaigns:

For instance, Recart comes with pre-built templates and workflows to address the above buyer stages. You can easily customize each with your messages and tailor the workflow using the drag and drop editor to set up your SMS marketing campaigns in no time. 

SMS automation flow

7. Run, measure and optimize your campaigns

The only way to know what works for your business is to run your SMS marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions. 

Once you have your SMS campaigns set up or automated, make sure you’re measuring the performance of each workflow closely. Take a look at metrics such as the number of messages sent, delivered, opened and click throughs, alongside the sales you generate during the campaign period. 

Identify the type of campaigns your subscribers and customers engage with the most, and optimize your strategy to double down on what gets you the results you’re looking for.

SMS marketing CTR

Want to see how leading brands use SMS marketing campaigns? Explore some of the success stories here

While the above steps will help you craft a good SMS campaign strategy, there are some best practices to keep in mind as well. After having run numerous  successful SMS campaigns for eCommerce businesses, we have collated some tips from our Customer Success Managers to help you leverage the learnings.

How to run a successful SMS campaign: Tips from Recart’s customer success managers

Remember, we’re sharing some of our learnings from running SMS campaigns for different businesses and these tips might help you get closer to success from SMS. But it is important to note that what works for one business may not work for yours and the only way to validate a strategy is to run the campaign, A/B test, measure the performance and optimize.

1. Set up a great subscription method

Without subscribers, there’s no one to messaged. That means your very first step to follow, and the most important tip is to set up a full screen, mobile popup with an offer that resonates with your audience in exchange for mobile number subscriptions. These popups are easy to create, quick to set up and are hugely successful.

Take a look at how BulkSupplements got 85k SMS subscribers in just 4 months by applying this tip:

SMS subscriber method

2. Keep your SMS lists well-segmented

No two customers are the same and they may opt-in to your SMS lists at different stages in the buying cycle. Make sure you pay attention to their journey and use their interactions as data to segment your SMS list. Your SMS lists can be segmented into categories like subscribers (no purchase made), first purchase made, two or more purchases made, loyal customers and so on. 

Segmentation is key to understanding your customers better and running personalized marketing campaigns. Learn more about segments and lists here.

3. Add branded links to your SMS campaigns

Many people are cautious about the risks of clicking links in marketing campaigns. To make sure your SMS campaigns lead to the desired results, brand your campaign URLs. Using branded URLs helps win the recipient’s trust and make them feel safe to take action on your SMS campaigns. 

This also helps boost brand recall in the long term! Learn more about branded links here

SMS branded and simple URL links

4. Add unique discount codes to text messages

If you’re running promotions for your SMS list, make sure that you have all the bases  covered to prevent misuse of discount codes. Our Customer Success Managers recommend sending unique discount codes to every subscriber in the list to avoid this. 

Unique discount codes can be used only once and cannot be shared with others, helping you track your campaign performance and sales more accurately. Learn more about setting up unique discount codes in text messages here.

Unique SMS discount codes

5. Set up quiet hours

One golden rule of using SMS is not bothering your subscribers at odd hours. Quiet hours essentially prevent subscribers from receiving promotional texts during a specific time frame (usually at night). 

A good SMS marketing automation tool queues up the texts that need to be sent out when the quiet hours are over (which work based on your subscriber’s time zone). This ensures your messages are delivered at the right time. Learn more about using quiet hours here.

6. A/B test your SMS frequency

While it is important to not bombard your subscribers with too many messages, it is also crucial to not be too inconsistent. Sending very occasional promotional messages can lead to decreased customer engagement and lower brand recall. 

We recommend 8 hours as your message sending period; which means that after receiving a promotional SMS, the subscriber won’t get another message for 8 hours. But you can A/B test the approach easily using an SMS marketing automation tool. 

Smart sending should be applicable on all your key SMS campaigns including welcome, help, receipt, fulfilment, follow-up messages of abandoned cart reminders and promotional campaigns. Learn more about smart sending SMS campaigns here.

a/b testing SMS marketing

Get started with your SMS marketing campaigns today!

Leveraging SMS marketing automation and setting up campaigns for the different segments of your subscribers and customers can be time-consuming. 

But with Recart, you get to choose from pre-built SMS marketing templates and create high-converting campaigns in no time. From welcoming customers to recovering carts or keeping customers engaged post-purchase, the SMS marketing automation app comes with templates and workflows for all that can be customized further as per your brand and its goals!

Ready to set up your SMS marketing campaigns? Book a demo of Recart today

Want to learn more about running high-converting text message marketing campaigns and monitoring their performance? Head over to our next lesson: How to measure the performance of your SMS marketing campaigns

FAQs on setting up SMS campaigns

How often should I be optimizing my SMS campaigns?

There is no golden rule for how often you should optimize your SMS campaigns as it can often depend on the frequency of your campaigns. However, you should be watching the performance of your campaigns closely, taking note of learnings, and optimizing your SMS marketing strategy regularly. When it comes to how often you should be sending SMS campaigns, we find that anywhere between 2-6 messages per month helps keep subscribers and customers engaged, leading to higher revenue.

How long does it take to set up an SMS marketing campaign?

The time it takes to set up automation entirely depends on the tool or app you make use of. If you’re building out workflows from scratch, it might take anywhere between a few weeks to a month to set up your SMS marketing campaigns. But if your automation tool comes with pre-built templates and workflows like Recart, you can go live with your SMS campaigns on the same day.

How many text message marketing campaigns should I be running for my eCommerce store?

The number of campaigns you run entirely depends on your approach to SMS marketing. Apart from the required automations like transactional, shipping and cart recovery campaigns, we do recommend setting up other campaign types such as holiday or tactical campaigns to see what your subscribers engage with the most. The idea is to understand which of your subscriber segments respond to what purchase motivations, and at what stage in the buying cycle. In this case, having an SMS marketing tool that comes with the A/B testing features comes in handy.

Book a demo of Recart today

Want to learn more about ecommerce SMS marketing before getting started? Head over to our next lesson on how to run consistent text marketing campaigns with automation.

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How to Use eCommerce SMS Marketing Automation
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SMS Analytics: How to Track Campaign Performance