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What Data from 100 Accounts Showed Us about SMS Personalization

We explored over 100 accounts who utilize custom fields in messages, then compared their results with over 100 accounts that do not. Here's what we found.

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Marketers around the globe are all in agreement, personalization matters. 88% of U.S. marketers reported measurable improvements due to personalization. 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized.

As promising as these statistics sound, we wanted to know more. Customers might recognize and appreciate personalization, but how much of a difference can it really make?

To help us understand, we researched data points pulled from over 100 accounts across all major industries. We looked at the data from the various custom fields and evaluated how they impacted overall campaign effectiveness.

Follow along with us as we break down our findings and go on to share how you can use our host of tools to start personalizing your own campaigns.

How Are Marketers Across Industries Personalizing Their Messages?

From straightforward use cases to the downright brilliant, here are some of the ways SimpleTexting customers utilize custom fields to add a splash of personalization to their messages.

First & Last Names

Thanks for joining the Baked By Mel Pastry Club! What’s your first name?
Hi Janet! Please enjoy this $5 coupon on us!

75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name! But even if your messages don’t push a purchase, the results of name recognition can benefit your brand.

  • For one religious organization, messages that included the first name custom field were the only ones to receive 0 unsubscribes.
  • For schools and nonprofits, including a first name or a formal last name (Ms. Tocci, Ms. Smith etc.) set a tone of formality that was rewarded with high response rates.
  • Another nonprofit who used first names in their messages saw impressive metrics. We can assume that by including a name in their CTA they created stronger, more compelling messaging. This deduction was reiterated by the higher unsubscribe rates across messages without custom fields.
  • For a client in the event and entertainment industry, the average number of unsubscribes for customized messages was .9%. Messages lacking the name personalization, however, had an average unsubscribe rate of 5%.
  • Another entertainment group saw that messages including the recipients’ names drew more attention and action. Their average click-through rate (CTR) for messages including the first name custom field was 71%. Non customized messages had an average CTR of 55%.

💡The Conclusion: The use of names within text messages makes them feel more personal and relevant to each contact. This turns out to be better for retention and more triggering/inviting for responses.


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A lot of the time text marketing is used as tool in conjunction with other digital marketing practices. Most commonly, email marketing. By allowing people to simply text a keyword to your number, you can automatically gather their other contact information. And this quick step gets everyone connected without a need for stopping, filling out forms, or playing telephone tag.

SMS is like the world’s biggest, most agile net for capturing contact info. Many of our clients use email collection custom fields as a way to beef up their overall data collection strategy.

They could then go on to theoretically use it in ways like this:

  • For a hypothetical political client, campaigners out in the field could discuss platform issues with folks and have them text in a keyword relevant to their interests. That initial message could prompt them to share their email addresses and receive info regarding their candidate’s stance on that particular issue.
  • Or perhaps a real estate agent could use texting as a way to make an initial connection with potential clients and employees while on the go. They could text out quick information on listings regularly, and use automated email collection as a way to more formally connect with leads looking for more detailed information. This way, they continually turn around cold leads while actively closing warm ones through two platforms.

💡The Conclusion: Texts are an easy gateway to gathering more information about a contact. By pairing these two together you can continue short-form communication over text and follow up with long-form messaging via email.

Custom Fields- Notes

Welcome to LifeChurch. If you’re comfortable sharing, what brings you to us?
I’ve been very ill and I’m looking to reconnect with my faith.
Thank you for sharing and for trusting us with your spiritual journey.

At least 1/3 of the accounts whose raw data was evaluated created their own field that allowed them to further personalize their messages in a way that was specific to their line of business or their customer’s needs. And for their efforts, they were all handsomely rewarded.

After all, 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences.

Here are some of the interesting ways organizations made use of their own custom fields:

  • An entertainment organization set up a custom field titled event ratings.
  • An HR/Recruiting group created a custom field for asking what radius recipients would like to receive job listings for. That data could then theoretically be used to customize the positions they would text to their clients.
  • A political campaign created a custom field titled polling questions. An approach like this could be used to ask recipients if they would pledge to vote a certain way on an upcoming ticket item.
  • A church created a custom prayer field. A field like this would allow parishioners who texted in the chance to share what brought them there as well as what they would like prayed for.
  • An e-commerce retailer created a custom field asking what a customer purchased. You could use that information to do things like send directions and product follow-up tips/reminders based on the item purchased.
  • One college used a custom field as a space for students to share programs and activities of interest.
  • A life coach used a similar custom field asking clients what motivated them and what areas of improvement the program should focus on. As a result, they’ve collected more than 3.8K data points from those contacts!
  • A quick-service restaurant used custom fields for hours and availability. This would be a great way to vet potential applicants before moving them on to the next round of the application process.
  • A zoo made a field inquiring about contacts’ annual membership status.
  • Another church created a field asking if a contact was an existing parishioner or a visitor attending an event. This approach would create two new funnels of engagement branched based on responses.
  • A variety of banks, media companies, and churches used zip codes as a way to separate their audience. Now, they can be sure the most relevant texts are sent for each area.

💡The Conclusion: Many businesses work their custom field into their marketing funnel. They create a keyword, collect information, and market accordingly.

General Personalization Outcomes

In addition to the qualitative data we’ve shared, we were also able to gather some quantitative outcomes regarding personalization as well. Here are some of our final findings:

  • A nonprofit saw campaign success rates that were up to 14% higher when they included personalization.
  • An e-commerce retailer saw a small boost with their average success rate for customized coupon messages being 98% and non-customized text coupon campaigns being 96%.
  • A brick-and-mortar retailer saw that messages with a name always saw an unsubscribe rate of 0%.
  • For an entertainment venue, the average number of unsubscribes from personalized messages was .5%, and 2% for non-personalized messages.
  • The average CTR for a sports marketing organization was 56% with personalized messages.
  • Another events-based e-commerce group had an average unsubscribe rate of 3% with personalized messages and 8% with non-personalized messages.
  • A professional service provider saw an average CTR of 49% with personalized content and 23% without it. Similarly across the ratios, an e-commerce company of comparable size had an average CTR of 32% with personalization and 16% without.

How to Start Customizing Your Messages

If you’re interested in personalizing your text messages, either through preset custom fields or by creating your own, here’s the good news. It only takes a few quick steps.

For those of you eager to jump right in, here are two articles and videos that walk you through the process step by step:

But as a general overview, the process breaks down like this:

  1. First, create a field where you’ll store info about contacts. All you have to do is go to the Contacts panel, click Custom fields, then give your field a name. These fields can be as simple as first and last name, or as detailed as a user’s preferred product or service.
  2. Next, you’ll need to create a keyword that will trigger the data collection sequence. You can link any number of information-gathering questions to automatically send to all new contacts who text in this keyword to your number or short code. That information is then atomically input whenever a {custom field} is added to your campaign! It looks a little something like this:

And just like that, you’re on to sending smarter, more targeted messages that your audience will surely take notice of.

Meghan Tocci
Meghan Tocci

Meghan Tocci is a content strategist at SimpleTexting. When she’s not writing about SaaS, she’s trying to teach her puppy Lou how to code. So far, not so good.

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