Thrive in a Recession: 3 Strategies for your Email and SMS Marketing

9 Feb
Thrive in a Recession: 3 Strategies for your Email and SMS Marketing

Okay, so the last few years have been… interesting, to say the least. We don’t have to dive into the specifics because we’ve all just lived through the ups and downs of it all. 

And while there is some normalness in our lives again, there’s been a word many marketers around the world have haunting us in the back of our heads: 


While none of us like focusing on the negative, taking steps as an eCommerce store owner to prepare for the possibility of facing another recession can make the difference between your store thriving or dying in the face of an economic hiccup. 

There are 101 ways you couple prepare, but for our article, we’ll stick to what we know and lay out a few email and SMS strategies to help recession-proof your marketing during a recession. 

3 Strategies to Recession-Proof Your Email and SMS Marketing 

While email and SMS are two different channels, they can be married together to create a synchronized marketing plan where each channel plays to its strengths while working towards the same goals: acquisition and retention. 

Those two things are always important but as you brace or go through a recession, having reliable channels working for you is going to be huge. 

Let’s cover some of the important strategies you should have in place to get your bases covered in this area. 

1. Segment Your Best Customers Using Customer Lifetime Value

You are going to have a lot of segments for your online store, BUT you want to make sure you’re creating segments that have your best customers in them too. 

Who are your best customers? Those would be the ones who not only have a high customer lifetime value (CLTV) but who also buy from you consistently. 

First, it’s good to know what CLTV is. Customer lifetime value is the calculation of how much a business can expect to monetarily earn from a customer during the course of their interactions and it based tracking on purchase behavior. 

You can track this behavior to find your best customers with a high CLTV emails using the 20 - 60 - 20 Rule.  

Every business has a split where 20% of people are generally one-time buyers and therefore have a very low lifetime value. Then there are the 60% who fall right in the middle. And finally, you have 20% repeat customers who spend a lot with you annually. 

Using email marketing automation, you should create segments for each of these Lifetime Values: 

  • Low CLTV. For example, this could be $0-$300.
  • Medium CLTV. This could be $301-$1000. 
  • High CLTV. This could be $1001+. 

Notice I say “could” a lot in the list above. Every business is different; you can adjust this based on your median price point. 

In Sendlane, setting up your segments looks like this. 

Sendlane email segments set up

You can learn how to create your segments right here. Don’t worry. It’s pretty straightforward. 

These segments are your starting point. From there, you want to leverage a strategy that moves people in the lower brackets up to the highest bracket (AKA your best customers) and then keep them happy in that place. 

Each segment needs support to make that happen, so we’ll touch on that next. 


2. Leverage Your Best Customers to Support These 3 Goals 

Let’s start with the Big 3 goals you should have. Every business has these as its baseline. 

They are:

                  1. Acquisition 

                  2. Optimization 

                  3. Retention

As part of your marketing strategy, these three goals keep you in a flow state where growth is possible, which is what you want. 

But to make that “flywheel of flow” happen, you need to keep a strategy behind those goals to keep things running smoothly.

So let’s start with Goal 1: Acquisition

Acquiring new customers should be at the top of your list of goals. And what’s the easiest way to get new customers? If you said email and SMS marketing, then you’re correct!

Getting traffic to your website is one thing. Now you need to convert those browsers into customers. You’ll want to get them on to your email and SMS lists to do that consistently. 

To make that happen, you need opt-in forms and emails/SMS sequences to nurture that relationship.  

ProForm opt-in form with discount

If you use Sendlane, you already have access to our built-in opt-in forms and multiple third-party integrations.

Getting people on your lists supports Goal 2: Optimization

With people constantly adding themselves to your list, you want to test your emails and funnels to optimize email and SMS engagement metrics like clicks and conversions. 

It’s a bit more hands-on as you closely examine what’s working for your audience and what may need improvement. The constant iteration is worth the effort and helps give you a pulse on your customer base. 

And finally, Goal 3: Retention. This is a big one. After all, the effort you put into creating that relationship to turn an interested one into a buyer shouldn’t be a one-and-done deal. 

You want as many people on your list to become your best customers, which takes both your time and attention to learn how to communicate with them effectively. But here are a few tips for increasing your retention: 

  • Cohesive communication. Create a unified, communicative experience from checkout to shipping and throughout your communication. 
  • Share the brand mission and story early and often. You can do this in your welcome email funnel as an excellent place to start. 
  • Be clear and consistent. If you send an email every week, send it on the same day around the same time. 
  • Create value with every message.

Keep these goals in mind now, and you’ll be well-suited to face a recession. 


3. Utilize Hyper-Personalization

Marketers are always talking about personalization, but it’s hard to get done right, especially when trying to get down to the nitty-gritty.

That’s usually because the goal of personalized emails is vague, like “send personalized emails and SMS messages.” 

Hyper-personalized goals need to be a bit more specific than that. 

Here are some goals you should have: 

  • Every email and SMS should have a purpose. Is it to make a sale? Say hello? Have them meet your team? Show them a new product? Whatever it is, you should have a reason and goal for each message sent.
  • The messages should make customers feel unique and appreciated. 
  • Tell them something specific about themselves, like a purchase, recent visit or preference they have. It shows you care and you’re paying attention to them. 
Abercrombie & Fitch personalized product recommendations email

Abercrombie and Fitch do this rather well by offering personalize product recommendations in their messaging to customers. Something they’re only able to do with the help of marketing automation and tracking. 

 Notice how these goals could already make some changes to your next campaigns? It’s good to have a specific aim like these for your messages. 

So that’s what to do, but what about how?

  • Use marketing automation to track your customer's preferences and browsing behaviors. This would include actions like abandoned carts, pages visited, products purchased, and purchase frequency. 
  • Create automated emails and sms that are quick on the draw. When someone visits a product page but then leaves, you could set up a trigger that sends them an SMS or email to bring them back to that page. You can have an abandoned cart sequence do this as well. 
  • Continue to segment your customers based on their preferences and behaviors. You can have broad segments and specific ones with everything in between but let your customer direct where they go and then serve them content and products based on those interests. 
  • Make them feel special. When you write your email and SMS messages, write the copy to make it sound like the message is meant just for them and them alone. It’s a little tricky, but with some practice, you’ll get the hang of it. 

While we use big words like hyper-personalized to make us marketers sound fancy and smart, all it entails is being very personable while using technology to track things and help us automate conversations along the way. 

Thankfully, tools like Sendlane can help you do just that. 

Get Started Before You Need It

You never quite know when we will be in yet another recession. So the best way to prepare for it from a marketing perspective is to execute the strategies you need to thrive through well before you need it. 

These strategies above aren’t just good for facing a recession, but they’re a great strategy to have as part of a well-rounded marketing plan. 

Either way, now is the time to take action and start taking the needed steps to stay one step ahead of things. Your eCommerce store will thank you. 

Want to make these steps easier for you? Feel free to sign up for a free 60-day trial with Sendlane. 

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