We’re all glued to our phones – at lunch with friends, waiting in line, while watching Netflix, or even while crossing the road.
Our mobile phone addiction may be a bit intense, but the upside for ecommerce marketers is the opportunity to harness the power of SMS marketing.
When you look at the numbers, it’s clear why SMS marketing is such a huge opportunity:
- The global average open rate is 94%
- 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes of being sent
- Text messaging is the most used feature on a smartphone, with 97% of users having texted within the last week
These stats for this type of mobile marketing are huge, especially compared to the average open rates on traditional email hovers around 28%.
Yet, most B2C marketers aren’t yet fully taking advantage of text message marketing and the benefits it can bring. The most common use of text marketing at the moment is shipping notifications, but this is just one way to connect with customers through such an exciting channel.
Ready to try it out? We’ll delve into what kinds of SMS marketing campaigns you can run and the many possibilities to boost your B2C brand’s revenue.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is simply marketing to your buyers via text message. It’s a great way for your brand to connect with customers in a personalized and immediate way.
The advantages of using SMS as a marketing channel include:
- Speed: immediate delivery and fast open times
- Customers favor SMS communication
- Convenience: 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months
- A more personal and informal tone
- A quick way to ask for feedback
SMS marketing use cases
SMS is a particularly useful channel for sending time-sensitive promotions since you can reach customers immediately. If you’re running a flash sale or if a promotion is ending, you can text customers to let them know. You can then direct them to your mobile website or app to complete a purchase. This kind of communication also creates a sense of urgency, which encourages customers to buy for fear of missing out.
Another type of time-sensitive communication you can send customers via SMS is cart abandon or browse abandon campaigns. If a customer abandons their cart or website session, then you want to get in touch with them as soon as possible. Texting customers to remind them provides an immediate reminder of what they were shopping for and increases the likelihood they will complete the purchase.
There are also a variety of other ways to use SMS for marketing messages, such as:
- Order confirmation
- Product or service feedback requests
- Contests or sweepstakes
- Replenishment campaigns for products bought regularly
- General information such as delivery times, store opening hours, and more
Text message marketing best practices
Just like any other marketing channel, you need to have a strategy behind your communications and make sure you’re using it appropriately. This is especially true with SMS messaging because it is so immediate and can be intrusive if done incorrectly. That’s why it’s important to follow these best practices for SMS marketing.
1. Get an opt-in first
Before you start sending customers SMS messages, you absolutely need them to opt-in with their phone number. This can be as simple as requiring them to tick a box on your website stating their communication preferences or asking them to reply yes to an opt-in text. Either way, be sure to ask them to subscribe to receive SMS marketing first.
2. Send at the right time
While the immediacy of SMS marketing might make you think that it doesn’t matter when you send messages, that’s not the case. You need to find the best times to send SMS for optimal response rates, which you can only do by trial and error. It’s especially important to be careful about sending texts by specific timezone. Nobody appreciates receiving a message in the middle of the night.
3. Communicate expectations
It’s important to not overuse SMS as a channel. Use it too much, and you’ll risk customers unsubscribing because they’re annoyed. One way you can do that is by letting people know roughly how often you will be texting them. Communicate expectations clearly, and you’ll be less likely to have buyers unsubscribe.
4. Personalize the message
Much like email, mass texting your list of subscribers is a terrible way to engage buyers. You have to personalize the messages you send via text in the same way you would an email. It’s ideal to include their first name along with some personalized offer that is more likely to resonate. Segmenting your contact list via email is a smart move.
5. Keep it short
SMS marketing should be a small part of your overall omnichannel marketing strategy, which means that you can alternate the channels you use to communicate with customers. You should also tailor the messages to suit the channel. For SMS marketing, this means keeping messages short, snappy and informal – as if you were talking to a friend – with a clear CTA.
SMS marketing campaign examples
SMS marketing is great for shipping notifications, but it can, of course, do more. We pulled together a few great examples of brands using text message marketing effectively to engage buyers.
1. Le Tote drives engagement
First up, rental fashion service Le Tote uses text messages to keep its customers informed about when their next tote of customized clothing is ready to view. It also provides a personalized link that customers can click through to directly from their mobile device. This tactic not only ensures repeat business but is also easy and convenient for customers, keeping them happy and engaged with the service.
2. Wayfair’s simple and clear shipping notifications
The classic example of SMS marketing is this shipping notification from Wayfair. It’s short, sweet, and clear for the buyer. You feel like you know exactly what’s happening, and it includes a link to track your package. This is ideal for any text message.
3. OpenTable’s reservation confirmation
This example of a text confirmation from OpenTable is great because it asks for a simple confirmation from the customer. Again, this is a great example of an SMS-based message because it’s simple and clear. The customer knows exactly what they have to do.
While SMS marketing can be an incredibly useful channel if used well, it’s not right for everyone. Some customers prefer to receive information via email, some via social media, and some love text messages. That’s why it’s important to always make sure it’s an opt-in service and to apply the same principles you would to email marketing. With the right strategy powering SMS marketing, you’ll see impressive results.