Email is still one of the most effective channels for eCommerce marketers to engage with customers, drive more traffic, and grow sales.
But here’s the thing — email is just one part of the puzzle!
There’s another channel you might be totally (or partially) neglecting: SMS.
There are over 4.1 billion users globally that use email.
There are more than 7 billion users worldwide that own a mobile device!
Imagine the potential revenue you’re missing out on if you’re not reaching any of those 3 billion users who are walking around with a mobile phone but (for some reason) aren’t using email!
Regardless of what you’re selling, SMS marketing should be an integral part of your eCommerce marketing strategy.
In this post, we’ll help you learn all about SMS marketing and why it’s still one of the most relevant marketing strategies in 2022.
Even better, we’ll share some key best practices for SMS marketing to help you supercharge your eCommerce sales and revenue!
Let’s get started.
8 Benefits of SMS/MMS Marketing
If done right, SMS marketing can bring amazing results for your business. Here are a few reasons you need to start incorporating SMS into your marketing strategies.
- High engagement rates: Text messages not only have one of the highest open rates, but your customers are also willing to engage with those texts. A study found that nearly 80% of consumers are interested in signing up for texts, but not all businesses offer it yet.
- Cost-effective: SMS marketing is cheaper than most other channels, and with its world-class engagement rates, it delivers one of the highest ROIs. Now imagine the magic that would happen when you combine this with email marketing!
- Mobile-friendly: Did you know that nearly 73% of all eCommerce sales happen on mobile? Mobile commerce is more important than ever in 2022. And what better way to reach your customers on the go than via good ol’ text messaging?
- Feels personal: Your customers receive tons of promotional emails from brands every single day. But branded text messages? Those are still rare. That’s why they also feel more personal and help you stand out from your competitors.
- Instant delivery: Unlike most other online marketing channels, your customers don’t need to be connected to the internet to receive text messages. Whether they’re on the road or just not in the mood for checking their email — as long as they have their phone with them, they’ll likely receive your message instantly.
- Wider reach: Around 3 billion people in the world own a mobile phone but don’t use email. By combining email marketing with SMS marketing, you’re able to tap into a wider audience and potentially skyrocket your sales.
- Supports other marketing channels: The coolest thing about SMS marketing is that it works best when combined with other strategies and channels. For example, you can remind customers to check their email for a pleasant surprise (discount, maybe?)
- Easy opt-ins (and opt-outs): It’s not just that customers want to sign up for your text messages (which they do!) It’s also very easy for them to do so. All they need to do is text a keyword to a number, and they’re in. They can also sign up for your SMS list while making a purchase on your store or signing up for your email newsletter, as long as you have a custom field in your form that collects their phone number.
There are many more benefits, but you get the picture: eCommerce marketers need to get on the SMS marketing train ASAP.
Now that we’ve got that covered let’s talk about how SMS works in Sendlane and the various features you can take advantage of to maximize your eCommerce sales.
Introducing Sendlane’s SMS/MMS Marketing!
Say hello to your new eCommerce power couple - Sendlane SMS/MMS Marketing. Our brand new features enable eCommerce brands to provide another layer of communication to their customers on top of existing email campaigns and automations.
The best part? You can do all of this within a single, centralized dashboard!
Even better, Sendlane’s SMS features are 100% usage-based. This means you only pay for what you use! Your toll-free line is free, and your credits don’t expire. Now let’s dive in!
How to boost engagement and conversions with Sendlane SMS/MMS
Reach your entire audience with SMS/MMS in Campaigns:
You can send out SMS to a mass audience just like a bulk blast email (or, Campaigns in Sendlane). Leverage multivariable segments to personalize your texts inside your Sendlane account.
Send the right message at the right time with SMS/MMS in Automations:
Make your email and SMS work in tandem. Weave SMS messages into your new and existing automation funnels to retarget abandoned cart shoppers, recommend or launch new products, and follow up post-purchase.
Leverage all-new features inside Automations:
Send engaging text messaging your contacts will want to open by including GIFS and emojis. Plus, keep tabs on your links with automatic tracking and link shortening!
Never leave a customer on read with Two-Way Reply:
Sendlane now features a Two-Way Reply Center so you can respond back to received messages and maintain a history log. Hold meaningful conversations with customers, answer questions and build profitable relationships — all via text!
Make data-driven decisions with real-time reporting:
Much like with our email campaign reporting, you can access a similar set of data to analyze the performance of your SMS campaigns. Get a 360-degree view of your SMS AND email performance inside your Dashboard.
8 SMS/MMS Marketing Best Practices for eCommerce
When executed properly, SMS marketing can be one of the best things you do for your eCommerce business.
The thing is — not every brand gets it right.
If you don’t want to risk spamming your customers on a new channel, here are some best practices to help you stay on top of your SMS marketing game from day 1:
1. Get permission
First and foremost, get permission! You’ll need your subscribers to opt-in to receive your texts before you can start sending. If you collect phone numbers during checkout, add a checkbox somewhere that allows customers to opt-in for SMS alerts and marketing messages.
It’s also helpful to communicate what customers can expect from your text messages from the beginning. Will you be sending discounts? New product alerts? Sale announcements? Let them know!
We recommend sending out an opt-in form via email to gain consent from shoppers already subscribed to your email list. Here’s an example of the email you could send out. With the VAR_SMS_JOIN tag inside Sendlane, your contacts will get a personalized join link when they click through.
2. Have a purpose behind each message
Don’t just send text messages for the sake of it. Just like with every other marketing strategy, SMS marketing works best when you have clear goals and objectives in mind.
Every single text message you send should have a specific purpose behind it. Think about what action you want people to take after reading your message.
Do you want them to go to a specific product page? Browse your new hat collection? Or would you like them to go check their emails so they can benefit from a time-sensitive discount?
When you have a purpose in mind, you’ll be able to write better copy, add more compelling CTAs, and keep things clear and concise. You’ll also be able to track the performance of your SMS campaigns to see whether they helped you achieve your goals or not.
3. Pick the best time to send text messages
Even though your customers likely have their phones with them at all times, there are rules and regulations to be mindful of.
Since SMS is such a personal channel, you need to be mindful of when — and how often — you reach out to your customers. Because of this, we’ve built-in quiet hours between 8 PM - 8 AM (contact local time) and systems, so shoppers only receive one text per day.
Note: If an automation triggers an SMS/MMS message, the triggered text will still be sent.
When you find a schedule that works, stick to it. Customers always appreciate consistency from brands, and no one likes to be interrupted when they least expect it.
4. Keep your texts short and sweet
Nobody likes reading longer texts. SMS is supposed to be instant and personal — don’t turn it into just another email, or even worse, an essay.
To help you avoid the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read), keep an eye on your character limit for text messages! Make sure you stay within that count or risk driving up your costs by sending multiple texts.
Some brands use SMS shorthand and/or abbreviations to keep their texts short. If you decide to go that route, make sure it aligns with your brand voice.
We recommend using abbreviations sparingly and smartly to avoid appearing unprofessional or unclear.
5. Incorporate personalization
Personalization isn’t just for email. SMS marketing gives you an extra layer of personalization to your marketing, so each message you send resonates more with each subscriber!
Here are some personalization techniques you can use to create better SMS campaigns:
- Segment your contacts: Use the information you already have on your subscribers, such as their purchase or browse activity, demographics, interests, and more, to build targeted segments. Then, tailor your SMS campaigns to each segment to see maximum results, just like with email!
- Personalize the text content: There’s plenty of subscriber information you can use to make your texts feel more personal and human. For example, you can address subscribers by their names, wish them on their birthdays, and leverage any other information you have to make your texts feel as relevant as possible.
- Personalize send times: Not every subscriber has the same sleep schedule. With a little bit of experimentation, you’ll learn your subscribers’ habits in different segments. Use this data to optimize the send times of your texts, so subscribers receive them when they’re most likely to engage.
6. Include a CTA to drive action
If you want subscribers to take some sort of action after reading your SMS, such as checking out a product or revisiting their checkout, make sure you include a compelling CTA in your text.
You’re already short on characters, so keep it short! When it comes to using a URL within your texts, you can use link tagging in both Campaigns and Automations to keep track of engagement (and use it to create custom audiences). Plus, Sendlane will automatically shorten your link to save you space.
7. Get creative by incorporating MMS
Text messages don’t always need to be plain and boring. You can always take advantage of MMS (multimedia messages) to add some color and visuals to your text-based campaigns!
Inside Sendlane, you can include your favorite GIFs and images to make your texts more engaging (and aesthetically pleasing). Sending MMS messaging also increases your character count up to 1000, so you better make ‘em count! Here’s an example of how IKEA uses MMS marketing to grab attention and drive traffic:
Mobile users are taken to IKEA’s online summer flyer by clicking on the link — a snippet of which they can see within the text itself!
8. Add exclusivity to your texts
Don’t always offer the same promotions in your SMS and other marketing channels simultaneously. Consider texting flash sales, SMS-only promos, and more to add an element of exclusivity.
Making your texts feel exclusive will give your subscribers more reasons to be excited about your messages and engage with them.
Plus, it will help your texts stand out from other SMS blasts.
Combine email marketing with Sendlane SMS to create more effective campaigns
Both email marketing and SMS marketing are amazing strategies on their own.
But when you combine these two, you get a powerful, integrated marketing machine that helps you reach more customers and drive up traffic, engagement, and sales!
With Sendlane, you can run integrated campaigns and automations that are more effective and incredibly easy to manage.
Instead of switching between different platforms and tools, you can control and analyze your marketing campaigns from a single dashboard. Fewer login means less time and money spent trying to piece together all your data!
Ready to use the power of email + SMS for your own eCommerce brand? Get started with a free trial of Sendlane's email & SMS/MMS Marketing!