SMS marketing is far from a ground-breaking new concept. While SMS marketing for eCommerce has been a niche channel for some time, we saw more brands capitalizing on this channel last year than ever before.
In fact during the recent holiday shopping season:
- Ecommerce brands earned a 14% CTR with SMS
- SMS also earned 592% higher order rates than email
- We saw 21% more orders coming from SMS vs email
- 47.7% of omnichannel campaigns involving SMS ended in conversion
While this was one season, it’s indicative of trends we’ve been seeing year-round. SMS is experiencing a rebirth, a kind of renaissance, and marketers are seeing the value that this channel has to offer.
5 SMS Best Practices
While SMS isn’t a new channel, it’s a channel marketers are only now beginning to use and refine. While there’s a bit more learning curve than the best practices already carved out for email marketing, you don’t have a large margin for error.
Given the proximity of SMS for customers, it’s important to get it right the first time around. Lucky for you, we’ve got some best practices to keep your SMS marketing campaigns relevant.
1. Get Permission (and keep it)
Just like email marketing, it’s important to get explicit permission from your customer for SMS marketing. This is simple enough, as you can add the option of including a phone number with your newsletter subscription field.
The real challenge, however, will be keeping the permission you’ve tentatively earned. Start off with full disclosure: tell your customer what kind of text messages they should expect to receive from you.
Second, don’t abuse the permission granted to you! SMS is intimate, immediate, and overt in getting your customer’s attention. Use your SMS marketing campaigns for time-sensitive and critical information. Overusing this channel is the fastest way to kill it for your customers.
On that note, include a way for customers to opt-out with every message. Just like email, you need to make sure you give customers an unsubscribe link or a number they can text STOP to.
Sending messages to people who don’t want them does nothing for you or your brand.
2. Use an SMS Marketing Tool
SMS marketing might get you excited, but before you whip out your phone and start sending manual messages to your customers, know that you should really be using an SMS marketing software for this.
A great SMS marketing tool can help you really nail your strategy in several ways:
- You’ll be able to automate your SMS marketing messages and send several at once.
- Certain SMS marketing tools will allow you to add SMS directly to your email automation workflows, saving you time.
- SMS campaigns can be triggered the same way emails are, with the same level of segmentation that allows you to target your campaigns.
- If you don’t have SMS permission, you can substitute email or another channel so your customer still gets the message you want to send.
An SMS marketing tool will also afford you important metrics and reporting so you can see exactly how impactful your campaigns are. With that data, you can adjust your campaigns to try different tactics to get the highest ROI possible.
3. Add Value to Your Customer
Before you send your SMS campaign, ask yourself one simple question:
How will this SMS add value to my customer’s life?
If you can’t answer that question, put the phone down. SMS marketing should only be used when you’ve got a good reason.
This is a channel that can burn out very quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you send too many messages too quickly. That’s the quickest way to turn off potential customers.
4. Keep it Short, Sweet, and to the Point
Not only should you keep your SMS campaigns few and far between, but limits on characters and your customers’ attention spans means you need to get to the point, and quickly.
If you have an offer, lead with that. If your message has important information about their order, include it in the message. Always include a link so they can get more detailed information about the offer/update you’ve sent.
Another great practice is to follow up with an email. If you’ve sent something timely and important, make sure you’re sending more complete information via email in case the customer needs it. Emails are less aggressive than SMS, so there’s little risk in sending a follow-up.
5. Personalize Your SMS Marketing Campaigns
While the ultimate goal is to make sure your SMS campaigns are relevant, it’s even better when they’re personalized.
I mentioned earlier that a great SMS marketing tool will allow you to use segmentation for your best SMS campaigns. If you can target them the way you do your emails, you’ll already be one step ahead of your competition.
SMS is a more intimate channel, so maintain that closeness with your customer by using their first name, or personalizing your messages. Send offers that are relevant based on location, or previous purchases.
This helps build and maintain the relationship you have with your customers.
This also means thinking about when your customer will receive their SMS. Remember, many people have their text message notifications enabled on their phones. This means that sending a text message at 3 am is going to result in a very grumpy customer.