Recent years introduce changes to the consumers’ preferences in their interaction with brands. SMS marketing or text message marketing in commerce as a concept has been around virtually as long as the medium itself has, but its popularity has exploded lately – so there are reasonable grounds to learn about it.
Getting someone’s number in our days has a new meaning. As soon as this happens, plus the person opts-in to hear from you, SMS becomes a way to connect with your current and potential customers. Unlike email, eCommerce SMS notifications are limited to 160 characters and more immediately delivered, often even with a push notification. For the niche, loyal audiences preferring instant updates at the device (which is being checked more than 58 times per day) SMS advertising can generate a very healthy return.
Particularly as post-purchase support and retention channel, text message marketing is quite efficient. 98 out of 100 text messages are read by the end of a day, mostly within the first three minutes from arrival; and one-third of consumers respond. On top of that, the target audiences of digital commerce businesses are youth and young adults who don’t remember their lives without their phones. Leveraging both SMS and email without sacrificing either generates the best results.
Top 5 benefits of SMS marketing for e-commerce projects
One of the modern hardest marketing challenges is presenting a product or service to your target audience. Our inboxes are overflowing, banner blindness is common, ads on our social media feeds are so banal that we already hardly notice them. Here lie the advantages of SMS commerce:
- The immediacy and whopping open rate. Arriving instantly after sending, ecom SMS are read very fast as well. People themselves say they prefer texts. After all, texting does not need the Internet.
- Boosting subscriber engagement. Proximity and format determine texting’s conversational nature. People like to feel important. They often initiate outreach to brands in order to be in-the-know and cared for.
- Brand awareness growth. Interesting information, useful field-specific tips, announcements of offers, events and news that matter keep you top of mind and strengthen the community of your ardent supporters.
- Cost-effectiveness. SMS is a very affordable channel ― between thirty and a couple of hundred USD monthly for thousands of texts. Implemented properly, with carrier lookup by number, it drastically improves your ROI. And, certainly, SMS nurtures your new subscribers to regular customers, smoothly shepherding them through your sales funnel.
- Unique opportunity. As a marketing channel, SMS is still atypical, and it is now in its early days. There is a room for more companies to use it, so they can cut their way through the noise of other overloaded channels.
Effective SMS marketing ideas for E-commerce businesses
Marketers sometimes wonder what they can do to improve their KPIs when it is an off-peak period, when there is no loud occasion for sales and drops, when it is pinochle season and such. Below we have picked 12 bright SMS marketing strategy ideas for digital marketing even when it is all quiet around and nothing is going on.
- Giving customers the best deals and offers
- Notifications about upcoming sales and discounts
- Conducting surveys and quizzes to know your customers better
- Personalized approach for special customers
- Sharing company’s updates and interesting tips
- Congratulating with national holidays and special occasions
- Birthday promos and offers
- Driving social media interactions
- Promoting website content
- Sending order confirmations
- Selling additional products
- Reminding to leave a review about your company or product
Giving customers the best deals and offers
We are quite sure that even in the slackness period, in the dull season, you have something valuable to offer. Especially if such an offer goes nowhere else except for your SMS list (neither for the email recipients nor for the website visitors). Reach out to your customers with the time-sensitive SMS offering them, for example, “buy one, get one free” till the end of the day/week, free delivery, or a free workshop.
- “Searching for a new pair of jeans? Get 25% off for our raw denim collection. Sale ends this Saturday.”
- “Our annual sale launches on [date], but if you will be among the first 30 to respond with [keyword], you will receive early access to the deals immediately. To opt-out reply STOP”
Notifications about upcoming sales and discounts
Announce exclusive forthcoming discounts, drops and sales to the current and past consumers through text. This works particularly well for products that have gone stale, or demand for which has flatlined. Launch such SMS campaigns for specific demographics: for instance, a youth clothing store could offer discounts to students who are likely to have less disposable income. Advertise your hot product drops via SMS marketing messages. Before doing this, make sure to perform the Home Location Register lookup (with MNP check) in order to communicate with only those people who are currently not abroad. 88% of buyers use a discount code at least once a year, so SMS with such codes motivate people to stay on your list (and to return to you).
- “Get 20% discount after showing this text”
- “Use the code ‘SMS’ at checkout for a free upgrade”
- “SMS limited: Save $15 shopping this weekend! Go to https://tinyurl.com/limited”
Conducting surveys and quizzes to know your customers better
Learning more about your customers helps to build accurate consumer personas, spot more people similar to them, and tailor your product or service to their needs. Text survey is a good tool to do that — especially if you ask something like:
- “How do you rate our service on a 1—10 scale?”
- “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”
- “What are the chances that you buy from us again?”
- “What could we improve?”
See how those questions are to the point and concise? Don’t overwhelm your audience. The smaller the task, the more probably they’ll do it.
Another option is inviting your audience to take part in quizzes & polls. Unlike the surveys, such interactive snippets focus not on you but on your customers, in a fun playful manner.
- “Which next product would you like to see released — A, B, or C?”
- “Reply with your favorite emoji!”
Personalized approach for special customers
Take a closer look at the customers who have bought from you before; a well-timed nudge may be all they need to return and order again. VIP and loyalty programs are the proven generators of repeated sales. Here, the conversational nature of SMS marketing comes to play. Customize different eCommerce ad texts for VIP customers, for recurring customers, for customer support. Set up post-purchase support flows such as “How are you enjoying your purchase?”
Send personalized recommendations for future purchases based on what they have already bought from you. The probability of selling to an established customer is 60-70% (against 5-20% for prospects) — a great way to get more revenue from one person. Product reminders via texts might be more efficient than via re-targeted ads or emails, since the phone is on the most people at all times, and texts are checked more frequently.
- “Do you still need a hand with [problem]? Solve it today by calling our specialists.”
- “Still find our [product] interesting? Only 5 pcs. remain. Get yours now [link]”
Sharing company’s updates and interesting tips
You don’t have to be selling all the time. Actually, according to the SMS best practices, your strategy will outperform if you aren’t. Modern users expect uber-relevant content from the brands they like: such that educates, suggests solutions, entertains, generates events and experiences. Utilize the Inbound Marketing methodology: let people decide for themselves when to buy, but remain on their radar by giving them free tips, things they are likely not to know.
Regardless of your company’s scales, an occasional e-commerce text can be a good complement to your newsletter. Reached a milestone? Updated the reward program? Hired a new employee? Been acquired? Keep your audience in the loop! Thus, you will get more value-driven engagements.
- “Did you know that keeping buckets dry when not in use could prevent unwanted mosquitoes?”
- “Free Instagram tip: If your products are related to food, consider posting recipes and making dishes. Learn more at https://bit.ly/3wdjpOl”
Congratulating with national holidays and special occasions
Another great idea for bulk SMS marketing is to look at approaching holidays (including traditional ones in your country) and to try linking them to your messages. Even a quick congratulation contributes to warm relationships with your brand and boosts revenue (especially if you offer some holiday presents). Find some unique holidays that your business can take as a focal point — like Oktoberfest if you’re a brewery, or Checkers Day if you’re a clothing brand.
- “Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We hope you have a great day!”
- “Merry Christmas to our dear Clients! We wish you a great New Year!”
Birthday promos and offers
A person who feels appreciated does more than we expect. Meet customers in their personal important moments. Sending a short and cheerful birthday or anniversary wish paired with an exclusive discount code, offer or freebie will bring the celebrant delight and boost their loyalty. Restaurants and cafes might come up with treats for the visitors during their birth month. Tracking many people’s birthdays and creating many individual congratulations is labor-consuming, so it’s reasonable to use a reliable SMS marketing tool to automate your campaigns. As a result, you’ll stay on top of your audience engagement.
- “It’s your birthday, [customer name]! All of us at [company name] hope you have an incredible year! Reply STOP to opt-out”
- “Happy Birthday month Victor! Show this SMS to your waitstaff and we’ll treat you with a free refreshment. Jordan — Ultimate Sushi”
Driving social media interactions
If social networks are incorporated into your general marketing strategy, then text messages do not have to stick solely within the “Messages” application. Encouraging people from SMS to follow you on social media grows your overall brand image on those platforms. Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn reward posts gaining lots of engagement with prime News Feed spots.
People feel comfortable meeting their favorite brands on their private channels. Your loyal brand advocates can also help in new customer conversions. You can even configure an engaging template they can share with others.
- “Uncertain about our services? Read this Tweet review by Amanda, who hired three people in 10 days using our HR platform.”
- “Reply TEXT to take part in our contests, and like our Facebook Page for 5 extra entries!”
- “Exclusive offer for LinkedIn followers! Receive your code here: [link]”
Promoting website content
Publishing content on your website is only half the work. Then it needs to be distributed. The “publish and pray” approach doesn’t lead to success anymore. Over 4 million blog posts appear daily, and eCommerce marketing solutions rise to the challenge to promote your unique content. Return people to your website with non-obliging SMS. Remember that they do not necessarily have to be associated with the blog posts. You could send links to guest posts, videos, partner websites or podcasts.
- “Latest: What should you do when you discover a bees nest in your house: [link]”
- “We’ve just published our top 5 tips for onboarding the new staff members [link]”.
Sending order confirmations
Typically, order confirmations arrive in the emails. However, not all 3.5 billion smartphone owners worldwide use e-mail or messenger, but all of them have active mobile phones. Transactional messages like SMS order confirmations, delivery timelines and shipping notifications provide the first-rate customer experience today. Verifying the correct delivery of such updates requires a comprehensive text message test; however those expenses are regained, and the resource-consuming customer support operations are eliminated. Buyers are happy when they can keep track of their order, while your advertising text message subscriber list keeps growing with every checkout.
- “Hello [customer name], thanks for placing a delivery order with Mathew’s Pizzeria! Your calzone should arrive at you within around half an hour.”
- “Hey [customer name], we’re glad to inform you that your sneakers are in the mail! They’re supposed to arrive around [estimated delivery date]. Text STOP to unsubscribe.”
Selling additional products
Retailers and online stores usually sell for a certain group or groups of people. But look attentively at all products in your stock: isn’t there anything secondary, or for other target groups, or things you didn’t get around to promote so far? Perhaps the slack period is an opportunity to utilize text messaging for business to introduce them.
Study what people have added to their carts. Knowing which items the customer has already purchased, you can send them SMS text advertising the products that they might be potentially interested in further. Or for the same purpose, you might bundle several products or services into a “package” ― particularly popular tactics with travel companies.
- “Hello [customer name]! Need a protective glass for your new smartphone? Reply ‘glass’ to this message and get a 40% discount.”
- “Hey [customer name], congrats on your new set of cups. Would you like to choose some vintage porcelain plates to go with them? Now with 20% OFF [link]”
Encourage customers to leave online reviews
There is no wrong time to ask your customers to share their opinion about your product or service. And good reviews are essential for any business. The average purchaser reads seven of them before making a decision, and an impressive 90% say reviews impact their choices! Getting a steady flow of positive reviews can be a complex task. However, you can ask the customers who have already purchased from you to respond to your text messages with short feedback.
- “What do you think about our service?”
- “Is there anything you were positively impressed about when shopping from us?”
You can also ask your customers to leave their feedback on platforms like Google, Trip Advisor, Yellow Pages, or Yelp. Again, incentives might be needed to motivate them to share thoughts. And if you have sent advertising SMS in the not-so-distant past, asking the audience their impression about their recent purchases is a must.
The greatest advantage of text messaging marketing is that it is not perceived as advertising at all. It comes in bite-size pieces, and people are accustomed to their phone’s sounds and vibrations ― just like ordinary communication. From this perspective, and using the above listed SMS marketing tips, you can achieve a near-perfect engagement with your customers anytime, even when nothing is happening within your marketing strategy.