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What Is SMS Remarketing and How Does It Work?

Learn the in’s and out’s of SMS remarketing as well as some best practices accompanied by tactics in action!

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SMS remarketing is a great tool for retailers who need to capture cold leads, upsell existing customers, or engage with their already active audience.

When it comes to the success of remarketing, it’s all in the personalization.

Learn how and when to try your hand at SMS remarketing with everything you need to know below.

What Is SMS Remarketing?

SMS remarketing is a technique that uses texts as a way to reach consumers with things like:

  • Reminders to purchase goods they’ve left behind or previously saved (aka abandoned carts)
  • Purchase follow-ups
  • Review requests
  • and more!

There are a few types of people you can choose to retarget.

  1. Visitors to your site
  2. Existing customers
  3. Former customers
  4. Subscribers to your brand who have never made a purchase

With existing and former customers, you probably already have their contact information which makes it easy to send them remarketing messages. 

With visitors to your site, it’s a little trickier (but nowhere near impossible!). With something like a PPC ad, you could retarget your site visitors without asking for their number or email.

SMS remarketing, however, requires you to get phone numbers first. In order to legally send marketing messages, you also need express written consent

So, why go through the trouble? 

The short answer, because they’re just more effective.

The conversion rate for display ads is less than 1%. For emails, it’s 3%.

The average SMS campaign conversion rate is 45% with SMS open rates hovering around 98%

If you want your messages heard, it’s worth it to take the extra steps to reach your leads by text. 

How Do I Get Started With SMS Remarketing?

As we mentioned above, the first step in SMS remarketing requires you to get your lead’s phone number and permission to text them. From there, you’ll start to send your messages and track your results.  

1. Get Phone Numbers From Your Leads

There are a few easy ways to collect phone numbers:

Set up a widget
Our free click-to-text buttons, mobile sign-ups widgets, and web forms are easy set-it-and-forget-it methods that live on your website and continually capture new contacts.

Ask for their number at checkout

If you already collect phone numbers with orders, simply add a checkbox indicating consent to receive marketing messages to your checkout field. 

Ask for numbers as an exchange

Does your site have gated content? You can ask for their phone number and permission to text them in exchange for the download! Even if you don’t have gated content, an offer to join a text club to receive discounts can be enticing enough.

Build a creative campaign around texting

Have an idea for a neat digital product or service to offer? Consider how you can incorporate texting into it. For example, the kitchenware brand Equal Parts offers a free text-a-chef service. Customers can text in a list of ingredients and have a professional chef text back with recipe inspiration!

Offer a texting service to capture phone numbers for remarketing campaigns

2. Send Your SMS Remarketing Messages

There are three main tactics most marketers take to approach SMS remarketing.

Abandoned Cart Remarketing Texts

The average shopping cart abandonment rates run between 70-80%. The good news is, if the customer who leaves their cart behind has shopped with you before, you might already have their phone number and permission to text them.

If that’s the case, you can connect with your online retail provider to automatically send texts when carts are abandoned, prompting customers to return and complete their purchase.

The conversion rate for abandoned cart reminders is over 10%, which means your chances are pretty good you’ll see some immediate ROI.

Hey Roger, this is Demi from Green Egg. Do you have any questions about the smoker in your cart? It would sure look good on your back porch! Click here to complete your purchase

Offer Coupons For Prospective Purchases

A great way to incentivize a remarketing sales text is to send a coupon or discount. In the sample text above, you could help drive a conversion by offering a discount for the customer to buy now. 

This urgency placed on either an abandoned cart item, or items a customer has saved in the past, can be a great way to inspire action.

Hey Roger, this is Demi from Green Egg. We think you’d love that smoker in your cart so much that we’re offering you $50 if you buy today! Click here to complete your purchase

Sales Notifications

If you don’t have any data on your customer’s current purchasing habits, not to fear. Another excellent SMS remarketing tactic is to send a text blast when you have a flash or regular sale going on. It creates that same urgency from the previous example, with the added bonus of reaching more folks at once!

Image for sending MMS
Hey Jolly Ball lovers! In honor of Easter weekend, we’re having a flash sale on our best selling jolly eggs. 40% one egg per customer for the next 5 hours!

Step 3. Track Results

You’ll want to measure your campaign results to see what customers are responding to and where you may need to strengthen your messaging. Here are a few metrics to keep in mind. 

  1. Be sure to check all your campaign click through rates to see who’s engaging with your offers. 
  2. Set up Google Analytics to find out how much revenue SMS is driving for you.

SMS Remarketing Best Practices

As we mentioned earlier, the key to success with these tactics is all in how you personalize your messages.

The approach you take is the difference-maker from coming across like a stalker, and appearing attentive.

It’s the fine line between pushy and opportunistic.

Here are a few quick tips to help you land on the latter half of those scales.

  • Piggyback off current events– A great excuse to slide into your customer’s inbox is by using holidays and major current events as conversational anchors. It helps ground customers and makes your messages seem less out of the blue. 
  • Ask questions– If you’re looking to collect information or feedback from your subscribers, try to phrase your message as a question. When you give them a prompt to respond to, it’s far more inviting to answer with the work taken out of what they should say back.
  • Always include links- If your message CTA (call to action) is driving a customer to make a purchase, reservation, leave a review, etc. be sure you include a link. You want to reduce the number of clicks between opening your messages and taking action for the best chance at results.
  • Integrate with third-party tools– In previous examples we’ve mentioned integrating with Shopify to help automate your abandoned cart texts. You can also integrate with BigCommerce, Justuno, Woocommerce, and other popular e-commerce software solutions. 
  • Research timing– A simple personalization you can do with metrics at-hand is to find out when your audience likes to receive messages. Look at previous campaigns and see if morning, afternoon, or evening saw better engagement and favor the winner.

Start SMS Remarketing Today

Now that you know how simple it is to create SMS remarketing campaigns, the next step is to try it out yourself! Sign up for a free 14-day trial and send out 50 personalized texts, on us.

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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