When most people get a text message on their phone, they look at it right away. It might be an urgent message from friends or family, an update on your favorite sports team, or some important message. In fact, SMS messages open rates are as high as 98%. 95% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes although most are read within 5 seconds of receipt.
People act on text messages as well. That’s why so many successful eCommerce sites are leveraging SMS and email marketing together for increased sales. SMS, or text message marketing, is continuing to grow because of its effectiveness. Combining SMS with email generates the highest ROI. In fact, a study by McKinsey found that email is 40X better at acquiring new customers than other marketing channels such as social media.
In a world where businesses must compete for the attention of consumers, SMS and email marketing can be a great way to cut through the clutter and get marketing content seen.
Here are 8 ways you can use SMS and email to drive eCommerce sales.
1. Create Custom, Targeted Offers
Not all customers are the same and smart marketers are using SMS and email marketing to send tailored messages to specific customers. A customer is more likely to respond to a custom offer because it will better fit their needs.
Fortunately, using technology, you don’t have to custom write each individual marketing message. Leveraging data and automation tools, the marketing team can automatically create unique, personalized messages for each customer.
Sourced from Lyfe Marketing
To get started, review your customer database to look for patterns and trends. View past purchases and preferences and uncover if some items are often purchased together or by the same person. Then, create offers you believe will most encourage customers to re-engage with you or purchase multiple options. Use customer data to create meaningful and helpful custom offers.
For example, if your database has a group of customers who always buy shoes, send them a discount offer for shoes if they haven’t purchased in the last 60 days. Or, if your data suggests consumers usually buy shoes and socks together, provide a message recommending socks when you see their cart is full with a pair of shoes.
2. Make Customers Feel Special
Everybody likes to feel special. The more personalized you make the message, the better it will be received. Again, hook up your marketing system to your customer database and find opportunities to make the customer feel special.
For example, send a promo code to the customer on their birthday or anniversary. Private promotions, mobile-only discounts, online discount codes, loyalty rewards, and exclusive offers can make them feel part of an exclusive club, which encourages additional purchases.
3. Emphasize Urgency
When you’re trying to leverage SMS and email to drive revenue, it can be helpful to create a sense of urgency. Create limited-time offers and put deadlines on discounts.
A deadline may help motivate customers to buy now rather than later. FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out, is a powerful psychological tool that taps into base emotions, especially in younger adults. Try sending an SMS message with a link to a landing page with a countdown clock to expiration might help to move customers to act now. Ensure you send these text messages at convenient times and when the customer is likely to have their phone with them such as in the morning during commuting hours, or during lunch hours.
4. Send Abandoned Cart Reminders
Abandon carts occur when a customer puts an item in their virtual cart, but never checks out. Often this occurs when the customer gets distracted, wants to do a further comparison, or decides to search for a promo code. It is estimated that the average cart abandonment is around 75% which can be a huge amount of lost sales for an eCommerce business.
Sourced from SaleCycle
Use text and email to re-engage customers and close some of these lost sales. Send a message with a reminded and include a promo code or special perk. Combine that promo code with a sense of urgency to try and drive immediate checkout.
Think of the way that restaurants use email marketing and SMS to convey their offers and get people in the door. Either to stimulate their eCommerce ordering, get them back to visit their site or to generate foot-traffic.
5. Drive Repeat Business
After customers make a purchase, SMS and email are great ways to follow-up. You might want to send a thank-you note, ask for customer feedback, or give them an additional discount offer to share with friends. You might want to give them a coupon code if they want to buy more online or return to your physical store within the next week.
You can also offer compatible merchandise or present upsell opportunities. Amazon’s made a fortune on “Recommended Product” offerings based on its customers’ past purchases. It represents more than a third of the online retailer’s sales revenue.
Finally, consider using SMS and email as ways to build a great customer experience that will ultimately lead to repeat businesses. For example, consider using text messages to update the customer about when the item ships, and when it is expected to be delivered, and then finally, once it arrives at the home. The customer will appreciate being kept in the loop on the delivery and when to expect it at their doorstep. This great, customer experience may lead to more orders.
6. ABC (Always Be Collecting) Contact Info
You can’t send marketing messages to phones or an email account without getting the correct contact information first. Make sure you are always asking for phone numbers and emails to send offers in your other marketing efforts. For example, consider asking for a phone number during the checkout process, or at in-person events. Consider providing small incentives for providing phone numbers and accepting offers or opting-in to text and email campaigns.
While you should always be collecting numbers, also know when it is and isn’t appropriate to text the customer. With new and emerging privacy laws, it is always a good idea to get a positive affirmation for opt-ins rather than subscribing everyone to text messages automatically. Always ensure your text is providing valuable information that is helpful and informative to the recipient. You often only get once chance to add a phone number and if the customer unsubscribes from text messages, that communication avenue may be lost forever.
7. Test And Repeat
SMS and email marketing give you an amazing ability to test and track which offers work best to deliver the results you need. Consider using A/B tests to try various versions to optimize your results. Offering specific discount codes or digital coupons can make it easier to track.
When you find things that work well, do more of that!
8. Respond Quickly
Finally, text message and email marketing offer an opportunity for two-way communication between the customer and the business. When customers respond to your offers, they expect the customer care team to connect with them quickly. Make sure you have a robust customer support system that integrates SMS with your business systems. Make it easy for your support agents to respond quickly whether customers interact with you on text or email. Record common questions and build templated responses to further speed up the process. Also, record all feedback and pass it on to the correct team.
Choose Your Offers Carefully
One final word of advice: choose your marketing offers carefully. Everybody likes a sale, but most of us don’t like advertising. If you overwhelm people with too many texts and emails, they’ll shut you off and may turn off all notification in the future. Use the ability to text and email customers to provide real value and help. Be judicious in what you send and make sure it is providing value.
Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between businesses and more than 7,000 local Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
As a small business expert, Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips, and reliable resources, as well as providing small business advice. She has significant experience with the topic of small business marketing and has spent several years exploring topics like email marketing, social media, and content marketing.