Blog/Beyond Texting

SMS Marketing Examples for Your E-Commerce Store

With more online retailers trying out SMS, we wanted to guide you on one of the simplest ways to leverage SMS: Promotional texts.

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While you might still come across the odd “How to 10x Your Revenue With Facebook” article, Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) is on the rise. Just take a look at Facebook’s ad revenue growth rate versus the relatively flatlining growth of active users.

The data stops in 2017 in the above, but the figures are much the same for 2018. Translated into plain English: More advertisers are vying for the same audience. It’s not just paid channels like Google and Facebook, the same can be said for SEO too.

Smart e-commerce retailers realize this. They know there hasn’t been any new, game-changing digital marketing innovation in the last five years or so. As these channels and skillsets grow in maturity, the gap between those who are incredible at, for example, Google Shopping Ads, and those that are good, is increasingly narrow. 

Against this backdrop, the humble text message is experiencing a renaissance. Often mistaken as either old-fashioned or, worse still, only for large enterprises with deep pockets, it’s climbing up the priority list of most online retailers. To understand why all you need to do is take a look at these two stats:

Its effectiveness is no longer a well-kept secret. With more online retailers dipping their toes in the water, we wanted to guide you on one of the simplest ways to leverage SMS: Promotional texts. 

Why Should E-Commerce Retailers Send Promotional Texts?

Shoppers across all demographics like to get a good deal. One of the easiest and most popular ways to grab customers’ attention is with a sale event or another special offer. The problem is that some retailers do this.

That’s 13 messages in 8 days, all calling out promotions. At some point, the recipient becomes numb to the sight of another Old Navy email and either unsubscribers or immediately archives it. 

This desensitization doesn’t mean that Old Navy and others are wrong to do this—they may still be making a good profit by bludgeoning their massive list of email subscribers with reduced prices. The problem is that brands like Old Navy flood your customers’ inboxes and drown out your message. 

Your discounting strategy probably isn’t as aggressive, but there is no avoiding the fact that you are competing for the same email real estate. 

SMS is more of a quality over quantity play. Text messaging is a personal and intimate communication method usually reserved for family or friends. This quality creates an opportunity as the SMS field is not chock-full of advertising. 

Plus, this approach suits the majority of promotional strategies. If you send 13 texts in 8 days, you will annoy people to the point that they reply “Stop” en masse. But chances are, you don’t run the kind of evergreen promotions that necessitate this volume. SMS is ideal for 4-6 campaigns per month, with a word limit that leaves room only for the most critical details. 

SMS Marketing Examples

Now that you are, hopefully, convinced that you need to send out promotions via SMS, it’s time to provide some ideas of what that looks like in practice. Without further adieu, here are five effective and straightforward examples of SMS marketing in action.

  1. Hold a Contest
  2. Reward Customers for Their Loyalty
  3. Promote a New Product
  4. Clear Out Excess Inventory with a Flash Sale
  5. Offer Free Shipping

1. Hold a Contest

People like free stuff. So, running a contest is an excellent way to engage existing SMS subscribers or entice new customers to join your text program. The latter is especially crucial if you are new to SMS and looking to build your SMS subscriber list.

While it might sound complicated to set up, a Text-to-Win is easy to run. For example, with SimpleTexting’s Text-to-Win app, you can create a keyword like “win100”. When people message in this keyword, they automatically receive an autoresponse confirming their entry. 

Today 1:00 PM
You’ve been entered to win a $100 shopping spree. We’ll announce the winner by text on 2/7/2020.

Once the deadline for entry passes and it’s time to announce a winner, there’s no need to pick a name from a hat. Our system will randomly shuffle through the entrants and choose the winners for you. All you have to do is write the perfect congratulations message, and our platform sends it out.

We recommend that you also enable “phase two” for the competition. Once you have announced the winners of your contest, don’t miss the opportunity to encourage all participants to purchase. Offering entries a “thanks for participating” promotion, like 20% off, can help to close more sales.

2. Reward Loyalty

Loyal relationships translate into revenue. Bain & Company found a 5% investment increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profits. Thanks to online shopping and price comparisons, loyalty is fluid and requires more strategic thinking.

We wrote a comprehensive guide to building an SMS loyalty program, but you don’t need a full-blown loyalty program to reward your VIP customers. Our segment feature makes it possible to group subscribers based on shared traits, such as repeat purchases, then send out an SMS that rewards them for their custom.

Today 3:30 PM
Hey Mary, thanks for being a loyal customer. Here’s something awesome: Free MAC lipstick with any purchase. Use code MACYES

3. Promote a New Product

One of the best reasons to reach out to customers is when you launch a new product or seasonal line. Most retailers currently use email notifications for new inventory, but a bulk SMS message can be an excellent option.  

A lot of online retailers use SimpleTexting to announce new product lines and seasonal collections. Blu Moon Design, a high-quality handmade clothing brand for girls, uses SMS to launch new products, routinely achieving a 38% click-through rate on its campaigns.

Today 10:25 AM
Xmas is approaching! Have you bought presents for your nearest & dearest? If not, check out our new limited-edition Xmas sweater sale: Promo code “xmas” to receive a 10% discount.

4. Clear Out Excess Inventory with a Flash Sale

One of the reasons that SMS is an exceptional channel for flash sales is its incredible high deliverability. 98% of SMS are opened, and 90% are read within three minutes. This engagement enables genuinely short-term promos that are ideal for, say, clearing out excess inventory.

Plus, your customers will be grateful that they got an opportunity actually to engage with your time-sensitive promo. We all know how frustrating it is to see an email with a promo that ended just an hour ago.

Today 10:25 AM
Flash Sale! – Julie’s Jewels. Sarah, don’t miss out on this 70% off all pearl jewelery. The deal ends tonight @ 8pm. Get shopping before someone nabs that necklace you’ve been eyeing:

5. Offer Free Shipping

Cash discounts, a fixed percentage discount, and free shipping are arguably the three go-to ways to show your customers you appreciate them, attracting new ones, and winning old ones back in the process. The latter of the three, free shipping, routinely ranks as one of the most popular promotions. 

The problem is that a lot of online stores routinely email out free shipping offers, and with the likes of Amazon Prime, it is not the incentive to buy it used to be. With free shipping, it’s vital to match where the customer is in their buy cycle. In most cases, it works best when a user is close to purchasing.

As a result, we recommend pairing your free shipping offer with an abandoned cart SMS. This combination is even more critical if you currently don’t offer free shipping, as some shoppers now expect it.

Today 10:25 AM
Hey Will, it looks like you left something behind! Complete your checkout now to receive free shipping. Code SHIPNOW:

If you want to learn more about how to rescue abandoned carts with SMS, we recommend reading this guide.

Differentiate Your E-Commerce Store with SMS Marketing

With over 820,000 merchants on Shopify in 2019, there is fierce competition for consumer attention. Text message marketing for e-commerce offers a way to differentiate your store from all the others blasting out emails or retargeting ads with promo codes.

Once upon a time, it was a marketer’s pipedream to be able to send sales or special offers directly to a customer’s phone. With SMS marketing, you have that ability. 

As long as you are conscious of your customer’s preferences and don’t flood them with text after text, it is a powerful touchpoint for the savvy online retailer.

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