Email and SMS marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly.
It’s our fun way of saying that with the 99% average open rate of SMS and email still driving 30-45% of eCommerce revenue, it just makes sense to have these two working harmoniously together.
Especially in the realm of building up awareness around a cohesive brand.
Branding, when done correctly, has a profound impact on everything from retention to customer loyalty to lifetime value and more.
So in this post, we’ll cover…
- The difference between your brand, story, and your mission
- Creating a voice and tone to carry throughout your market
- Using these channels to get your message right and stay consistent
Using Email and SMS For Brand Awareness in 5 Simple Steps
Building out a brand is more than just slapping a logo on your website and calling it good.
Brands provide experiences and have personality; they evoke certain feelings, thoughts, and even memories. There’s definitely more than a logo involved there.
We’re going to help you go a little deeper in defining your brand so you can move forward with building awareness around it.
Step 1: Define your Brand, Story & Mission
On the surface, these can all sound like the same thing, but it’s more like they’re three parts of the same whole that make up what your brand really is.
When defining your brand, ask yourself, how do you want this brand to be remembered? If your brand were a person, what would other people say about it when they weren’t around?
Not sure what people are saying about your brand? Look at reviews and implement a feedback loop into your post-purchase email funnel to collect this information. Both are helpful to get the truest understanding of how you’ll be remembered.
The answers you find will start to create what makes up the soul of your brand and what you’ll stand for.
The next part of this is narrowing in on your story. This is the who, what, when, and why behind what turned this from just an idea into a business. People love a good story, and if you can tell yours in a captivating way, you’ll manage to stick in the minds of people for a long time.
This applies to startups and established companies alike. Take new start-up Masa, for example. They include their founder's story on their main home page as part of their brand awareness efforts and growing their waitlist.
It helps draw people into what they’re starting, which can only help when you’re growing as a new brand.
What is your story? Type it or record yourself talking about it. If you can get someone to ask you questions and pull out more details about the story, that's even better. If you want some help formatting a great brand story, here’s a good blog post to start.
In general, you can have a long version and then a short version of your story where you can sum it up in 2 to 3 sentences.
Now, let’s talk about your brand’s mission. It’s very easy to get this one mixed up with your story or your brand.
The mission is more about, “This is the direction we’re taking this ship AND how we’ll get to X destinations,” and pulls in things from your branding.
Really, it’s where you're going and how. It makes it easier to “map out” this part of things when you think of it in those terms.
Here are some questions to help you define your brand mission:
- What's your goal for your business?
- How will we reach that goal?
- Who are you going to reach and sell to?
- What is your impact going to be?
This is a jumping-off point, but it’s a good place to dig deep. A good example of a great brand mission is Patagonia.
In 2021, they decided their mission was that they’re “... in business to save our home planet.” That’s a big mission, but it aligns with their brand and story. Over time, their mission has shifted to this, but this focus helps their team stay the course and helps new customers with similar values stay close to the brand.
Now that this three-piece puzzle is all put together, you can start using it in your email and SMS marketing.
- For your brand: Ask yourself, how do you want this brand to be remembered? If your brand were a person, what would other people say about it when they weren’t around?
- For your story: Record yourself, type it out or have someone interview you to pull out the struggle, the pivotal moment, and the hero.
- For your mission, what's your goal for your business? How will we reach that goal? Who are you going to reach and sell to? What is your impact going to be? Get clear on these answers, as this is how you’ll “map out” where you’re taking your brand as you expand and grow.
Step 2: Understand your Personality, Tone & Voice, and Content
Do brands have unique personalities?
And that personality affects the overall voice, tone, and content that trickles out through a brand’s marketing.
Consumers today are tired of big faceless corporations being too clunky and robotic in their marketing and “vibe.” People like to connect with brands that are personable and consistent.
Look at these two brands. They’re both niched down into the men’s beard industry. However, you can tell from their websites that their personalities and voices are different.
Beardbrand has a very minimal, almost industrial-style vibe to its branding.
They give a sort of spunky but no-nonsense feel while still keeping up the humorous side of things that carries out in their voice, tone, and content.
This email shows their fun side when throwing out a bit of FOMO to customers. They stick to their branding (minimal; black and white), and the voice/tone of their email marketing in general stays consistent with their “tough on the outside, warm and cuddly on the inside” vibe.
Now, look at The Beard Club. The same industry as Beardbrand with a similar demographic, BUT it has a very different personality.
Here, you get a sense of pizzaz, and the personality feels a bit younger, so the voice, tone, and content match. In the two-step email and SMS pop-up form, you can see them using something as simple as imagery to appeal to their demographic (smart!).
Both personalities work even though they're in the same industry. Why? Because authenticity matters. Branding helps make that personality, but voice and tone bring a whole new level to establishing what that will be.
But voice and tone come down to copy, the words you use, and how those words make people feel. This article by long-time marketing writer Julia McCoy gives some helpful tips for creating your voice and tone for your brand.
Your content is where your voice, tone, and much of your brand’s personality will come to life. How do you know if your content will vibe with your audience? Try asking yourself these questions:
- Does it stand out? Is it exciting?
- Is your content unique or valuable?
- Is it relatable to your audience?
- Is it authentic and stays true and consistent with your personality?
This is by no means a comprehensive overview of content marketing, but no matter what that strategy entails, these answers will help you guide the result of what you're putting out there.
When you understand your brand character, it makes it easier to take it and apply it to your email and SMS as you’re building brand awareness.
SkinTe is a good example of infusing brand personality into email and SMS content.
Their website branding is clear about what they’re offering, and the copy speaks more to a female demographic. SkinTe’s personality translates into their SMS messages.
Their welcome SMS messages start with a bright photo and a little bit of education about the product, followed by a short intro from the founder.
This is a fantastic way of using SMS to build up brand awareness. Their email that is part of that entire welcome funnel follows the overall branding and tells a short story of how the product came to be.
So here you have the branding, story, voice, and tone all coming together in SMS and email content. You can take a page from their playbook and apply the same strategy to your brand.
- For your content, ask yourself: Does it stand out? Is it exciting? Is your content unique or valuable? Is it relatable to your audience? Is it authentic and stays true and consistent with your personality? If the answer is no to any questions, tweak as needed.
- Bring your branding and story into your email and SMS. Welcome emails and SMS are a great place to bring in your story.
Step 3: Building Your Template and Designs
While building your brand isn’t just about the logo and color palettes, those shouldn’t be forgotten.
Remember, your customers and future customers all like it when a business is consistent in its personality, so that includes being consistent with your overall branding.
The easiest way to do that is to know:
- The exact fonts to be used
- The color palette and variations to them (seasonal changes)
- Logos you can use
- What your personality is, and what it is not
You can wrap all of these into branding guidelines as an internal company resource.
The next step to ensure you’re “keeping the beat” is to take your newly minted branding guidelines and create some templated designs for your email and SMS.
SMS is rather easy to template out as you’re limited generally to only one image and have a limited character count. Email is where you’ll need to spend some time getting it right.
There are a few ways to create email templates:
- You can use your email marketing platform's built-in drag and drop editor to piece together some designs (easiest; less design-forward)
- You can get HTML/CSS designs with variations (easy to outsource; hard to DIY)
- You can create image layouts (easy to outsource; can be hard to DIY)
The first two options are generally best, and you’ll want those designs to have some consistency even in their variation. Tattly is a good brand to review in this.
Within their emails, you can see a very templated layout; however, while the branding stays the same, the layout can shift a little from email to email without it feeling like an entirely different brand.
With that being said, they do have templates that carry an entirely different vibe but fit into their aesthetics and depend on the time of year or offering.
Again, these are templated, but the designs fit the branding despite having different layouts and color schemes.
Here are some tips to keep your templates and designs cohesive. Ask yourself:
- Do you have a well-defined CTA placement?
- Does the design create continuity between the template and your website?
- Are you sticking to your branding guidelines?
- Does the email look good on both mobile and desktop devices? (That’s a big one!)
If you can check off those boxes, your designs are heading in the right direction. Next, you need to test them out in an email to see how they convert.
Don’t be afraid to A/B test your designs. Thankfully, Sendlane has multivariate testing built right in, so that part is a breeze.
- Create your email marketing templates. To ensure you have well-branded templates, ask yourself: Are you sticking to your branding guidelines? Do you have a well-defined CTA placement? If you answer yes, then your readings are probably on track.
- A/B test your designs. Great marketing requires reiteration from time to time, and since email drives a lot of revenue, email designs are one of the things you’ll want to test and get right.
Step 4: Nail Your First Message
First impressions matter. They really do. So your first message is, be that an SMS or email, it needs to hit the bullseye.
But how do you do that? Well, you’re already on the right track with the steps above. Building brand awareness through these two marketing channels means you must start your relationships with customers on the right foot, right out of the gate.
That sets the tone for your relationship moving forward. And this is how you do it.
First, get your messages out there as soon as you can. When someone first signs up for your email or SMS list, don’t let it take more than a couple of minutes to get those welcome messages sent to them.
For example, Homesick candles have a two-step email and SMS opt-in.
If you go through the prompts, the SMS message comes to you within a few seconds of signing up.
After opting in with Y, they make good on their offer and send you a discount. All of this happens in less than 30 seconds and right when a customer is ready to make a purchase.
Hot on the heels of that SMS is the welcome email followed up by a string of emails and SMS messages for their funnel.
It’s prompt, which is considerate, and people like thoughtful brands like this. Welcome funnels aren’t the only place to be quick to connect, though.
With the right ESP, you can layer email and SMS seamlessly together to work in tandem.
- Make sure the first message gets out ASAP. The first email and SMS should be sent to new contacts right after they sign up.
- Have email and SMS work in tandem.
Step 5: Keep the Beat; Consistency is King
Yep. There’s that word again.
Something consistent is predictable. So when your brand is consistently on brand and leaving customers with a great feeling repeatedly, that predictable experience makes you a trustworthy brand.
Funny how that works, right?
But there are some nuances to being consistent that are important to note.
Here are some tips:
- When you’re sending emails, keep the “From” name the same or narrow it down to a couple of familiar ones
- Use the same email address when sending
- Use the same number when sending SMS
- Send your emails and SMS around the same time each day (SMS legalities have “Quiet Hours,” and you cannot send SMS during those times, 8 PM-10 AM, unless you wanna get in trouble…)
When your brand brings this level of continuity to the table, you’re only helping yourself by building your brand awareness that much more.
- Schedule the days and times your content is sent. This helps you plan and stick to a consistent schedule that your customers will appreciate.
- Use the same “From” names and emails. ([email protected] or [email protected]) Stick to only a couple.
Take These Steps and Make Them Your Own
Email and SMS are a power couple. They’re great for brand awareness and everything in between.
With the steps we’ve covered here, you have a solid start for getting the ball rolling and using these channels to build out your brand and revenue. Play around with the ideas here; make things your own.
That’s what’s part of branding anyhow.
And if you want a marketing automation tool that weaves together email and SMS for eCommerce marketing, be sure to sign up for our free 14-day trial.