Ahealth drink ecommerce brand has developed a cult-like following and opened a staffless store in Manhattan’s trendy Tribeca. How has a scrappy start-up managed to break through the noise in the saturated wellness beverage market? It’s because of an SMS marketing strategy, and with the right tools and a bit of planning, any small business can implement a similarly powerful text marketing strategy.
Why SMS marketing?
Dirty Lemon has about 100,000 customers and sells mainly online. It’s now grown to the point where it has opened unstaffed stores: in this case, all customers browse and purchase digitally and engagement is carried out via text messaging. Dirty Lemon’s business model shows us that SMS marketing is enduringly popular. Automated marketing with SMS offers an affordable way to reach your customers.
SMS marketing is a source of significant business exposure because it:
- doesn’t cost your customer a cent
- is an affordable option for small businesses
- has eight times the response rate of email
- enjoys a 98 percent open rate
- isn’t device-dependent, ensuring that all your customers can view your marketing messages
- it doesn’t matter where your customer is — all countries provide network coverage for SMS
When you couple this reliability with the shifts in the mobile buyer’s journey, you’re presented with a golden opportunity for marketing your small business.
Ecommerce and SMS marketing
Mobile growth is charging ahead. By 2019, the number of mobile phone users is expected to pass the 5 billion mark. Over the past four years, the share of online traffic from mobile devices has almost doubled.
On top of that, shopping from mobile devices is expected to continue to climb; it’s estimated that smartphones were used in more than $1 trillion U.S retail sales. And the rise of this retail omnichannel experience sees buyers moving across devices as they research, compare, and purchase goods.
SMS marketing and chat commerce
The combination of ecommerce and SMS marketing also provides the ideal foundation for your business to expand into the burgeoning chat commerce space.
Brands like UBA Bank in Nigeria and telecommunications provider MTN in South Africa are already using WhatsApp to allow their customers to make purchases quickly via their favorite chat app — consider that WhatsApp has 1.5 billion active users globally.
Ideally, the most satisfying customer experience is one in which SMS, WhatsApp, and any other messaging channel that the customer prefers are available to them, so ensure you select a provider which offers the ability to scale your business across multiple channels.
Getting started with SMS marketing for your ecommerce store
SMS marketing is a powerful and affordable way to crack the exciting mobile market. But there are a few things you need to consider if you want to take full advantage of automated marketing with SMS.
Choose a provider
There are a few key aspects to take into account when choosing an SMS provider for marketing your small business.
- What will the service cost?
Get the numbers on the operational costs and price per SMS. A provider like Clickatell will give you a detailed breakdown of the costs of your automated marketing service.
- Examine the delivery and bounce rates
Your SMS provider should provide stats on the number of messages delivered. Yes, SMS has a high return on investment but bounced and undelivered messages are a waste of your time and money.
- Which regions do they deliver to?
When you’re running an ecommerce business, you might serve customers in different states and even different countries.
Your SMS provider should also integrate easily with your existing applications. And, it’s also key to get access to analytics to help inform your SMS marketing efforts. For instance, a certain offer might perform better with your target audience.
Decide on your goals
It’s a good idea to start small and simple. Don’t try to chase too many objectives at the start of your SMS marketing campaign.
You might want to focus on driving sales for a specific product, or you may be more concerned with growing a VIP list for your SMS marketing campaigns. Whatever your goal, be sure to keep it focused.
Develop an engagement strategy
The path to higher engagement on any marketing channel isn’t always a straight one. But there are effective tactics that connect with ecommerce customers.
Consider setting up an opt-in on your site at checkout. A mobile number is a coveted resource; give your customers a compelling reason to share theirs — opt-in forms with incentives can attract 600 percent more subscribers than ones without.
If you have a vibrant email list or social media presence, place your keywords on those platforms — along with your incentive — and watch your list grow.
Tactics for marketing your small business with SMS
Now that you’ve done the groundwork for a successful SMS marketing campaign, it’s time to focus on optimizing your messaging. Here are a few proven tactics for marketing your small business with SMS.
Updates and alerts
Has a new product just arrived in your online store? Keep your customers informed with an SMS update.
Allowing your subscribers to sign up for general alerts and updates is an easy way to get started with SMS marketing.
Virtual Designs, a mobile marketing agency, uses SMS marketing to update customers on promotions. Virtual Designs ranks Clickatell’s SMS platform highly for ease of use, reliability, and affordability.
Brick and mortar stores know SMS marketing is an effective way to reach customers about discounts. Exclusive deals and coupons have pulling power for ecommerce consumers, too. Julep, an e-commerce beauty retailer, offered a nail polish coupon via SMS, ending with a 17.4 percent purchase conversion rate for customers who clicked on the link.
Just because you’re using automated marketing to send your messages doesn’t mean you can’t make the experience personal. A Salesforce study found customers were willing to share more personal data in exchange for personalized marketing offers. One simple way to achieve this with automated marketing technology is to send subscribers birthday wishes with a special reward.
Because SMS is a personal channel, it’s a great way to build meaningful customer relationships.
The beverage company Snapple sends random facts directly to your phone.
When you sign up for Snapple’s Real Facts, you’ll get information like:
- Peaches are members of the almond family
- Mosquitoes are attracted to people who just ate bananas
These messages may not convert customers on the spot, but they can create meaningful moments between your customer and your brand.
A benefit of automated marketing is that you can quickly share real-time promotions. Get creative and draw from special events like holidays and special shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Marketing your small business can be hard in the competitive ecommerce world, but automated marketing with bulk SMS continues to beat other channels. Learn more about how to effectively use bulk SMS to set your small business up for success.