Today’s article on How to Increase Your Ecommerce Business ROI Using SMS Marketing is brought to you by Shane Barker, a digital marketer with 20+ years of experience.
Let’s welcome Shane Barker in our blog, and learn from his invaluable experience
The e-commerce industry is booming.
By 2023, the e-commerce market size is expected to reach $6.5 billion by Statista’s estimates. That’s huge by any standards. And, with the pandemic restrictions changing buying patterns for good, the curve is expected to continue northward.
For online store owners, the heightened demand can mean improved ROI.
But, is there a catch?
Yes, there is.
Research proves that the pandemic has made consumers more discerning and wary of brands. More than ever before, they are buying based on trust. They expect businesses to fulfill their needs, interests, and aspirations at every step of the buyer journey. This means businesses that are able to earn buyer trust during this period will become the preferred brands as things return to normal.
That’s why e-commerce brands are turning to SMS marketing in a bid to provide personalized messaging to people in an unobtrusive way.
Are you behind the curve?
Fret not. I have you covered.
In this post, I’m going to discuss all the benefits of SMS marketing, along with the best practices, tools, and strategies. By the end of the post, you will be armed with all the information that you need to do SMS marketing like a pro.
So, let’s get started.
Why SMS Marketing?
One of the biggest roadblocks for e-commerce businesses is to get their products in front of the right people at the right times. That is where SMS marketing comes in handy. Sadly, it’s an underutilized marketing channel.
Now, imagine getting a read-rate of 98% within minutes of hitting “Send,” that too without an internet connection. That’s SMS marketing for you.
Then, take a look at the top eight rewards of SMS marketing below.
Consumers Are Hooked to Their Mobile Phones
Mobile phones have become like an extension of our bodies.
Do you think I’m kidding?
According to Adweek’s survey, 79% of people aged 18-44 years are on their phones 22 hours every day. Clearly, text messages are the best way to reach these hyper-connected consumers.
SMS messages are Read Faster Than Emails
According to a Gartner study, SMS messages have a read rate of around 98%, while emails languish at 20%. Even if people find the time to go through their cluttered mail inboxes, they take 90 minutes or more to respond to an email. The average response time for text messages is just 90 seconds!
Obviously, text messages are a more efficient way to communicate in-the-moment offers and critical business information.
SMS Marketing Lets You Reach a Wider Audience
If you think that texting is restricted to younger people, you’re way off the mark here. Pew Research found that texting is the preferred activity of most mobile users. This makes SMS marketing intergenerational. You can reach people of all age groups, genders, professions, races, and nations through text messaging.
The best part?
You can even reach people in remote corners of the world that are yet to be internet-wired. For e-commerce businesses with a global presence, SMS marketing offers huge opportunities in this way.
SMS Messages Are Delivered Fast
Since texts are ISP-agnostic, they are delivered super-quick. This makes them an ideal channel for delivering time-sensitive information like flash sales or end-of-stock deals.
Not only are text messages delivered fast, but they are also received better too. Their average response rate is 45%, with most messages responded to within 3 seconds. That’s effective marketing communication!
SMS Marketing Can Be Integrated with Other Marketing Forms
Most consumer journeys are distributed between online and offline channels. That means brands need to offer a homogeneous and seamless experience across channels if they want to retain customers.
SMS marketing can be integrated with emails, social media, and advertising to provide an omnichannel experience to consumers.
SMS Marketing Boosts Customer Engagement
Customers like it when businesses shower them with personalized attention. If you keep your customers informed about news, offers, and updates that matter to them, you strengthen the bond between you and your consumers. All of this boosts customer loyalty and engagement in the long run.
SMS Marketing Keeps Customers in a Controlling Position
Permission-based systems like SMS allow customers to opt-in and out at any time. At first sight, this might seem like a risky deal to you. But do you really want to waste your marketing budget nurturing customers who don’t want to hear from you?
Since customers are managing their text communication preferences independently, you can be sure that your service subscribers are actually interested in your products and services. You will neither be alienating potential customers nor intruding on anybody’s me-time with your texts.
6 SMS Marketing Tactics to Grow Your Ecommerce Brand’s ROI
Now that you know how potent SMS marketing is, you need to understand how to utilize it to the hilt. Here are some proven SMS marketing strategies that can sky-rocket your ecommerce business ROI effectively:
1. Combine Emails with Text Messaging
There are email marketing platforms that allow you to send text messages in response to your subscribers’ actions on sent emails. For example, if a person signed up for your newsletter, you can welcome them to the club by sending them a warm welcome message.
When email marketing and SMS marketing work in tandem, you create a harmonious user experience, which can play a big role in customer retention and loyalty. It can also boost brand affinity and recognition.
2. Send Post-Sale Order Updates
As of January 2020, 3.5 billion people owned smartphones. Add to that, 1.3 billion that don’t have smartphones, but have a working mobile number. That mammoth population is within your reach, thanks to SMS marketing.
You can keep in touch with your customers by informing them about their order and shipping status and delivery timelines. This way, you can keep them in the loop after they have converted.
Asking for feedback through texts is another way to endear yourself to customers, especially new ones. Make it super easy for them to submit their feedback. A simple rating system will find more takers than a redirect link that takes them to a lengthy form.
3. Broadcast About New Product Arrivals
If your customers have activated push notifications, you can send them product updates from time to time.
By monitoring your customers’ and visitors’ browsing histories and cart additions, you will get insights into their interests and needs. Leverage this information to send alerts when similar products arrive in your store or when prices of carted items fall. This way, you can retarget lost customers and earn repeat sales.
If you power your SMS platform with AI, you can also send replenishment reminders to existing customers like Kiehl does below:
4. Drive Urgency through Flash Sale Messages
Along the same lines, you can ping your customers about flash sales and deals. Sometimes, all a one-time customer needs is a timely nudge to buy from you again.
Worried about annoying customers with marketing messages? Don’t be. Research proves that 54% of them actually look forward to sales-oriented messages, yet only 11% of businesses are taking the hint.
But, make sure that your messages are crisp, relevant, and well-timed so that they get traction. To drive urgency, include words like “limited stock,” “ending soon,” “early-bird discount,” etc. in your messages.
5. Nurture Customers through Content-Driven Communications
Modern consumers expect their favorite brands to serve them content tailored to their needs, interests, and aspirations. That’s why content marketing can be a game-changer for modern brands.
Brands that adopt content marketing witness 6x more conversions than brands that don’t.
When it comes to nurturing customers through content marketing, SMS is a perfect channel. It is direct, fast, and convenient, both for brands and consumers.
Marketers can send content that offers valuable information, solves questions, and pushes people down the sales funnel efficiently.
6. Ask for Referrals Through SMS Messages
You can anchor your referral program on SMS marketing and boost your customer lifetime value. Since text messages are not interruptive, you are less likely to annoy customers this way than if you asked for referrals via calls.
If you are lucky enough to have loyal brand advocates that never turn down your referral requests, incentivize them through exclusive deals and freebies. Make it easy for them to approach their friends and families by providing them with offer event templates, like shown below:
Ready to Turbo-Charge Your SMS Marketing Efforts?
To make the most of your SMS marketing, you need to follow some industry best practices.
Don’t exploit user permissions; send only pertinent messages. Avoid compliance issues by using a robust SMS marketing tool. These tools can automate your outreach, manage your lists, and save you precious time and money. Last but not least, personalize your messages by creating sectioned lists and using your brand voice.
Do you need any more marketing advice, tools, or resources? Let me know in the comments below. I’m always happy to help my readers.
We feel honored to have Shane Barker’s insights featured in our blog, and we are incredibly thankful for the knowledge he has shared with us.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.