Toward the end of 2018, Instagram rolled out a new feature in its bid to become the platform for social commerce. Business accounts can now tag products in Shoppable Stories and not just static posts. Then in March of 2019, Instagram introduced a checkout feature that allows users who find a product they love to buy it without leaving the app.
While these may seem like isolated feature rollouts from Instagram, they signify the significant consumer shift toward using mobile devices to discover and purchase products. Research from Publicis Sapient found that Q1 of 2019 was the first quarter ever where mobile orders were a majority of all e-commerce orders.
The problem with solely relying on e-commerce focused features from Instagram and Facebook to facilitate your mobile selling is that you are at the whim of the ad auction system, competing against a lot of other brands in the process. Cost-per-click inflation is a thing and explains why your clicks are becoming more expensive year-over-year.
Plus––as you likely know––organic reach is dead.
We are not recommending that you throw your arms up in despair and deactivate your brand accounts. But, there is another way that you can boost mobile sales: Text messaging.
To make a case for using SMS to drive mobile purchases, let’s take a look at four core realities.
In sum, people spend a lot of time on their cellphones and increasingly use this time to make purchases. If you want to communicate with people while they are on their cellphones, ready to purchase, then the best way to do so is via SMS. People won’t mind this and are willing to receive your promotional texts. When you combine these factors, the average SMS campaign conversion rate is 45%.
If you want to make more money online, sending text messages is a no-brainer.
The above is all well and good in theory, but running an e-commerce store is all about the nitty-gritty practicalities. Let’s go through the steps of how an e-commerce store would implement an SMS marketing campaign.
An SMS keyword is a word or phrase that people can text to a 10-digit number or designated text short code. Keywords provide an easy way for people to subscribe to your text messages. Most e-commerce stores use keywords as a way to invite customers to receive exclusive promotions, information about new products, or creative “VIP” perks.
For example, SimpleTexting customer Strands of Faith uses its keyword “SOF” to invite customers to sign up for discounts.
Have you heard of the proverb “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” While you ponder this, we can tell you one thing with certainty: If you don’t advertise your keyword anywhere, no one will sign up for your messages.
Our recently launched mobile sign-up widget is one of the best ways to amass an SMS subscribers list quickly. Take a look at how it works.
You place a customizable button on your site that triggers a pop-up. Inside the pop-up is another call-to-action button that once tapped opens your customer’s native messaging app with the keyword and number prefilled.
You can also advertise your keyword in your product packaging and inserts, your customer support email footer, and social media. The more places you advertise your keyword, the larger your subscribers’ list becomes. Promoting your keyword and growing your subscriber’s list is crucial to driving mobile sales from your SMS campaigns
A question we often get is, “When should I send out my first message to these new subscribers?” The answer is right away. (This is something you can automatically set up when you create your keyword in SimpleTexting.)
If you leave it a week or two until your next promotional event, they may not remember why they initially signed up and then immediately opt-out. The welcome text should be a helpful message that thanks them for joining and reminds them of the content of your text messages. You can also send a thank you for joining coupon to encourage immediate interaction with your SMS marketing.
This blog we wrote for PayKickstart provides five text templates that help you drive online stores. While growing your list is essential, you don’t need to wait until you have a vast subscriber list to send campaigns and attain results. We see e-commerce retailers with a modest subscriber list achieve a 50% coupon redemption rate.
So, even if you have 50 people signed up to your text messages and you send a text blast to them, you could easily see 25 purchases from mobile devices. In comparison to email, on average, you would need an email list of 5,000 people to achieve the same results.
The trick to getting text marketing right? Less is more when it comes to sending text messages. Some e-commerce companies are prone to bombarding customers on social and email, but the same approach won’t work with text marketing.
Conversely, if you use your texts for highly personalized and valuable information, you will see an increase in mobile sales.
If you are not sure if text marketing is really for you, then you can always sign-up for a free 14-day trial with SimpleTexting.