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Why e-commerce brands should embrace SMS
SMS really works for e-commerce brands. As a market, SMS is unsaturated and highly profitable — especially when compared to other platforms. High response and conversion rates make text message marketing worth the investment. That’s why, in advance of the busy season, the most savvy marketers are adopting SMS marketing strategies.
Engagement with texts is much higher than with other mediums
Research shows that more than 80% of consumers want to text with the businesses and brands they love. And as a result, engagement rates are much higher with SMS than with other mediums like email marketing. There’s a potential for higher ROI metrics from texting your customers than from the other mediums you may be investing in already.
For example, HubSpot found that the average email click-through rate across all industries is 7.8%. SMS marketing, however, boasts a reported click-through rate of 20-35%.
Texts also feel more personal than emails. By grouping your member list, your company can personalize the messages that are sent to each demographic you hope to reach, which will make your SMS efforts even more targeted.
It’s clear that consumers prefer texting over other forms of marketing communication regardless of their age. If you knew that customers would engage with your SMS efforts more than with emails and potentially bring in more revenue, wouldn’t you want to jump on that train sooner rather than later?
You’ll stand out among the competition
Many e-commerce companies aren’t taking advantage of SMS, so it’s a great option if you want to stand out from the crowd and reach customers first.
U.S. mobile users sent 2.2 trillion messages in 2020, and texts are read within the first 3 minutes 90% of the time.
In contrast, more than 300 billion emails are sent in a given day and 80% of consumers will delete emails if they aren’t optimized for mobile.
Emails have long been touted as the go-to method for businesses to communicate with customers, but maybe that should change. It’s possible that your business will stand out from your competitors if you text your customers instead of email them.
You’ll receive valuable feedback from customers
Texting can be a super convenient way for customers to express their feedback to you, which helps you improve their customer experience. You can learn what your customers want to see from you through real-time text responses and address any problems head-on with a text sequence or by connecting them to a customer success manager through text.
Imagine your customer had a negative experience receiving a product from you (maybe an item was missing from their package, or they received the wrong order). If you’ve promoted your text line well, your customer can choose to send a quick text to notify you of the problem, offer feedback, and connect with a team member who can fix the problem. Your customer can text your customer representative as they go about their day instead of spending 20 minutes on a phone call or scouring your website for product return information. You get to fix the issue without inconveniencing the customer, so you both leave the exchange feeling great.
Community has the functionality to help you manage the feedback at scale. For instance, if you receive similar replies from your customers, Community will group them together automatically so you can respond to them all at once.
Customers are already using their phones (a lot)
Consumers spend 3.8 trillion hours on their phones each year. If customers are already using their mobile phones for hours a day, you’d be missing out if you didn’t meet them where they are by marketing to them through text.
Think about how many emails you get every day about new products or services that pique your interest, not to mention all of the commercials and ads you see on a daily basis. Marketing has become an ever-present part of our lives — to the point that many of us do our best to ignore ads altogether.
Instead of only trying to convert you as a customer through emails or ads, an e-commerce brand could reach you directly through text message marketing. Since you’re using your phone many times throughout the day and most people enjoy getting texts, you’re more likely to actually pay attention to a text from a business than any other form of marketing.
3 use cases for SMS in e-Commerce
The research says that SMS has much potential, but what does that mean for your business specifically? How you utilize SMS marketing will depend on your demographic, goals, and what text content fits your brand. Looking at case studies from a variety of industries can give you an idea of the SMS marketing campaigns you might implement for your business. You might even be inspired to try a completely new tactic.
Sell your product
Since consumers are already looking to buy from e-commerce stores right from their cell phones, SMS is a great way to sell your product directly to them. You can use SMS to boost sales by creating buzz around new products and sending exclusive deals and promos to subscribers.
Say your e-commerce brand is launching a new product or seasonal line. You could encourage social media followers to text you to be included in a “sneak peek” SMS list or presale. Then, you could send them texts and share additional content like high-quality photos, influencer content, and behind-the-scenes videos to create buzz before the launch. You could also address customer questions and share pricing info.
Then, as launch day approaches, you could share an exclusive promo code or discount to thank them for their loyalty. Once your product is actually live, you have a group of excited customers ready to buy.
Community customers Chris and Lori Harder followed a similar strategy to boost sales and signups for their educational Mastermind program.
Using Community, they segmented their audience based on those who expressed interest in the program. They made videos and voice recordings to share with the group to get them interested in the course. As a result, they managed to bring in $324,000 within a day of launch.
Tap into your existing customer base as influencers and advocates for your brand
SMS can be a new way to engage with existing customers and team up to advocate for your brand. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but reaching out to customers through text could be a great way to refresh or deepen their interest in your product and give them incentives to share your products with others.
Since your followers have already opted in to your content once, whether through social media, email, or existing SMS efforts, you can leverage the connections you already have with customers to create conversions.
There are a lot of ways you can “tap in” to the customer relationships you already have to boost your SMS efforts. You can encourage them to advocate for your products by sharing referral codes on social media. You might start a text campaign to ask them to send in user-generated content that you can share (with the perk of being tagged on your social media). You could do a text referral program where all your subscribers get a referral code to share with new people and offer a freebie in return, like a coupon or discount code.
Entrepreneur and public speaker Gary Vaynerchuk didn’t hesitate to promote his text line, and he saw the huge difference it could make in his connection to customers. After using Community for more than six months, he found that it was more impactful to guide his customers’ awareness by texting them rather than simply shouting into the social media void (even with exposure to millions of social media followers, social media can still be a chaotic medium through which it’s difficult to grab viewers’ attention).
Gary leveraged his existing social media following to build a member list that now includes hundreds of thousands of members, a number that has multiplied 37 times after his first week of texting customers.
Advocate for your cause
Customers seek “products and brands that align with their values.” For instance, nearly 60% of shoppers are willing to change their buying habits to reduce environmental impact. Over 70% of consumers who say sustainability is very or extremely important to them would actually pay a 35% premium to shop with brands that align with their values.
If you share information regarding topics you care about or that align with your company’s mission, you can get your audience excited about your cause while building trust and loyalty with the consumers who agree with your activism.
When it comes to e-commerce brands, your cause could be a range of things. If you’re an eco-friendly makeup company, your cause could be ending global warming and animal cruelty. If you’re a fitness clothing line, your cause may be to empower people to be healthier.
Your cause could even be unrelated to your e-commerce product (like encouraging people to vote), but it could still offer an opportunity to create brand awareness and make an impact in your community (two things that could help you create loyal customers in the future).
For example, Actor Michael Behling used Community to segment his audience by age and text them information about registering to vote (customizing his message for each age group to increase his impact). He texted 187,026 of his Members (people who signed up to chat with him through Community) and experienced a 14% click-through rate.
By sharing important voter registration information through Community, Behling and his team were able to share an important message and help others become passionate about voting.
How to set up SMS for your e-commerce business
Okay, so you’ve decided to invest in SMS for your e-commerce business. What’s next?
When you sign up with Community, you become a Community Leader with your own 10-digit phone number. You should promote your number by posting on social media and offering an incentive for customers to text. Offer a limited-time promo code to anyone who responds, or consider automating a voice message from the CEO thanking loyal customers that can be sent to anyone who texts. Mention your incentive when you share your Community number.
Once your customers text the number for the first time, they’ll get a customized message from you and a link asking them to enter their contact information and opt in to your community. You’ll be able to text your SMS subscribers directly to create a personal connection (much more connected than anything you’d get via social media or email!).
Once you’re all set up, you can begin implementing your SMS marketing campaigns for any upcoming events, product launches, or brand initiatives.
How you use Community is up to you and depends on your goals, but once your Community number is set up and your first few texts come through, your ability to connect with and surprise your audience (and get ahead of your competitors) significantly improves.
Take advantage of SMS for e-commerce while it’s hot
SMS is a highly profitable yet unsaturated marketing channel, but it won’t be unsaturated forever. That’s why it’s important to jump in on the benefits now rather than waiting for your competition to catch up. Putting off developing an SMS marketing strategy could mean the difference between riding the revenue wave and leaving money on the table.
To get started with e-commerce SMS marketing for your online store right now, sign up for a Community number and begin reaping the benefits (before your competition does!).