Introduction to SMS Marketing for E-Commerce
As an e-commerce business heading towards 2020, you’re positioned for some potentially immense growth. Last year U.S. online retail grew faster than it has since 2011 with sales growing by a whopping 16%.
In order to ensure you continue to stand out amidst such booming enterprises, your marketing efforts must reflect the evolving preferences of consumers. It’s not just our opinion that text marketing is one of the most preferred and efficient methods for reaching customers. To demonstrate just what we mean, let’s explore some of the ways text marketing can remedy common e-commerce pain points.
Marketing Challenges for E-Commerce
Researchers have identified three main barriers facing e-commerce retailers.
1. Price has become the main differentiator for e-commerce businesses
Problem: Consumers are always on the prowl for the highest-quality items at the lowest prices. With more and more online retailers, the pressure rises to keep your prices competitive while remaining profitable.
Solution: Text marketing allows you to deliver a personalized customer experience delivering added value to your product(s). This added service can justify the price differential you’re facing with competitors.
2. E-commerce businesses are struggling to satisfy consumers’ heightened expectations
Problem: E-commerce giants like Amazon have pockets deeper than the Marianas Trench. Their ubiquitous presence and ability to provide “gold standard” customer service can create high standards which are challenging for smaller e-commerce sites to meet.
Solution: Text marketing allows you a direct and personal connection to your customers. You’re able to give each subscriber personalized communications based on their interests and preferences.
3. Customer engagement on e-commerce sites has become transactional
Problem: Similar to the issue of price, consumers are having increasingly negative experiences with online retailers when their expectations aren’t met. There is a lack of personalization that has resulted in a sterile brand relationship.
Solution: Utilize text marketing as both an avenue for sales as well as a customer management platform. The benefit of text marketing is its emphasis on two-way communication. Opening up a personalized platform for their shopping experience can reflect positively on the entire brand.
Useful Text Marketing Features for E-Commerce
Let’s get down to brass tacks. There are a lot of features that come along with SMS marketing, many of which are the tools necessary to create the solutions referenced in the previous section. Here are just a few of our features instrumental to e-commerce domination.
- Segments: They key to creating smarter, and more relevant marketing material. Segments make it easy to add audience targeting to your text marketing strategy.
- Custom Fields: Manage your data and send personalized text campaigns. Our app includes a few default fields, but you can create as many as you need.
- Triggers: Get back to customers with lightning speed. With Triggers, you can automatically respond to common queries and requests for information.
- Tiny Links: Turn even the longest URLs into text-friendly tiny links. Send links to sites, videos, downloadable content, or apps.
- Link Tracking: See how often your shortened links are clicked with our advanced analytics. Send campaigns that are customized for those who did and didn’t click your link.
Examples of SMS or Text Messaging for E-Commerce Businesses
Let’s dive into some more examples of how SMS marketing solutions can help grow your e-commerce business.
Sales and Events
Send information about sales or special offers directly to a customer’s phone. With SMS marketing, you can create a special SMS keyword that your subscribers can text to receive a discount code. When your subscribers text this keyword, they’ll instantly receive an exclusive discount code that they can apply to their next purchase.
Share Order Status Updates or Shipping Notifications
Since most text messages are read in the first 3 minutes, SMS can help you instantly communicate with your customers. For example, send your customers text messages to confirm that their orders have shipped.
Rescue Abandoned Sales
Abandoned shopping carts remain one of the biggest problems for e-commerce businesses. The next time a customer abandons a shopping cart without checking out, don’t let them get away. Send them a text message reminder.
Entice Consumers With Visuals
Text messages aren’t just limited to letters and numbers. Include a shortlink to your mobile site when you’re advertising your next sale. If you’re utilizing MMS, you can even include rich media like photos, videos, and soundbites right in the message.
Get Instant Feedback
Want to follow up with your customers after they make purchases? Text them a poll, asking if they’re satisfied with their items.
Provide Customer Support Instantaneously
As e-commerce businesses know, customer service can often make or break when it comes to maintaining customers. More and more people are choosing texts over phone conversations, so consider implementing an SMS customer support experience.
Allow your customers to text you the next time they need help. Text messages have a reputation for being more instant and personal than emails, so make sure you’re prepared to respond in a timely manner.
In addition, you can set up triggers for questions you’re frequently asked. Triggers are special keywords that “trigger” an autoresponse. When your customers ask a common question, they’ll receive an autoresponse. Their concern will be resolved, and you won’t have to answer the same question again and again.
Personalized Product Suggestions
Reach out to consumers one-on-one with suggested items for purchase or restock alerts for sold-out items they were interested in. Data collection should enable this added personal touch.
Birthday or Special Event Messages
It’s important that there is some versatility to your messages to ensure your subscribers stay interested. Birthday or other milestone event messages are a great way to mix it up and help your customers to feel valued.
Subscription or Customer Reactivation
For some e-commerce businesses, consumers are purchasing items on a semi or regular basis. In order to retain that business and make it as easy as possible for consumers, texting can become a space for automatic reminders to purchase a product.
Follow Up With Buyers On The Fence
If customers reached out to your business with questions regarding a product, there’s a chance it ended up as a dead-end after you helped them out. In order to capture and eventually convert interested parties, use texting as a platform to follow up with undecided customers.
How To Turn Customers Into Subscribers
Text marketing is a great tool, but what’s an amazing band without some fans? Without subscribers you won’t be sharing your top-notch messaging with anyone. As word spreads about your program, odds are more people will join in. Especially if you’re offering unique and engaging information. Here are a few tips to help get your text marketing program off the ground.
57% of people are willing to receive promotional texts according to our research. That number jumps even higher when evaluating the response of 18-24 year olds. Offering an incentive is a great way to start getting people to trust your brand and get onboard with this new form of marketing.
Utilize Web Sign-Ups
Chances are, you probably already have a form on your website where customers can input their contact information to receive updates from your business. With a little adjustment to ensure you’re getting proper consent, you can use those very contact forms to grow your subscriber list!
Brick and Mortar Advertising
Some e-commerce businesses have their products featured in brick and mortar businesses around the country. Encouraging those stores to advertise your opt in keywords with a flyer at the register, bathrooms, or dressing rooms can be a great way to gather new subscribers.
Popup events or conventions are also a great space for you to promote your text marketing services. Hand out business cards with your opt in code or have folks write down their contact information at your booth.
It may seem counterintuitive to market your marketing, but it’s a necessary step. While you’re still getting the word out about your newly text-enabled business, it’s important to include details alongside any other form of traditional advertising you’re already engaging in. Pin your keyword to your social media platforms, or boost a few posts announcing your new program.
Similar to the discount idea, a text to win contest is a fun way to hook your customers. You can also up the ante with a bigger prize or incentive since you’re not offering it to everyone who signs up.
Lots of e-commerce businesses utilize email marketing. Text marketing doesn’t have to replace that. In fact, the two can work together quite nicely. The key is meeting consumers where their preferences reside. Letting your email subscribers know about your text capabilities could convert and re-engage some customers.
Create a Web Banner
As an e-commerce business your website is your lifeblood. If information about your text marketing is visible on your site, people who are interested will take notice.
How Does Text Marketing Work Alongside Other Marketing Strategies
Once the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1999, we entered a new era. Over the next decade many will argue that marketing changed for both the better and the worse. If there’s one consensus everyone can reach, it’s that as businesses we are competing for consumer attention more than ever.
With that rationalization it’s logical to conclude that multiple marketing strategies must be in play for a business to succeed. Whether that’s text marketing, email marketing, social media, cold calls, heck we all even get letters (that aren’t bills) in the mail still.
Our point is, text marketing can stand alone, or it can be used to strengthen your existing marketing efforts. For example…
- Tease promotions with a text message telling folks to check their inboxes for a longer, more robust email that might have otherwise gotten deleted or sent to spam.
- Reward people who are active on your social media platform with random acts of text-kindness and send them a discount or shoutout!
- Send out surveys via text and email to increase response rates.
Before You Begin
The last step before you begin your text message campaign is arguably the most important. You must ensure that you’ve received permission from your customers. This means that you are not legally allowed to text your customers if they have not granted you explicit permission to text them. Doing so without consent is prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and can result in heavy fines.
If you already have an email subscription sign-up on your website, consider also adding an option to the form where people can provide their phone numbers. Make sure to include a disclaimer stating that by submitting the form, clients are giving you permission to contact them at the email and number provided. This kind of interlinking is a powerful marketing strategy and a smart way to capitalize on your existing success.
Try It for Free
Still not convinced that SMS text marketing is right for you? We understand. After all, there were once people who thought combining chocolate and peanut butter was a bad idea too.
To help make the decision easier, we offer a free trial for businesses to experience our services in real time. We’ll provide you with a special keyword and 50 messages to send. No payment information is required, and switching your account from free to paid is easy. We’re here to help you get started!