How to use automated and customized approaches in your SMS marketing

Research from Zendesk found that 75% of customers who have a good experience with a business are willing to spend more money with that company.

For ecommerce brands, using automation for SMS marketing allows you to create more of these positive customer interactions by helping your customers make a purchase, providing them with after-sales services like returns or exchanges, or helping to promote a new product. 

When you take a more personal approach when addressing your customers’ needs, they’ll feel a stronger connection to you—and your business. 

Including a customized approach in your SMS marketing may take a bit more effort, but it can pay off with better customer retention and loyalty to your brand. 

An automated approach to SMS marketing

Automated SMS marketing can help solve many customer issues without needing to involve an employee. This can reduce the amount you need to spend on customer service. But automation can’t fix every problem, so it’s important to understand its limitations.

Benefits of automating SMS

  • Fast response times: Automation offers a way to respond to customers quickly—and customers have become used to fast response times. 
  • Easy interactions: SMS marketing is a simple way for customers to interact with a brand, and it’s simple to set up so that you don’t have to manually send out messages. 
  • Excellent open rates: Open rates for SMS marketing messages are extremely high. And most SMS messages are opened within just a few minutes.
  • Stand out from competitors: Because SMS marketing isn’t being as widely used as other marketing tactics, it’s a great way to stand out from the competition. 
  • Use data you already have: There are many options for SMS tools and reporting software that can help you personalize the user experience using existing customer profiles.


  • Doesn’t work for every issue: As powerful as automated SMS options can be, they won’t solve every customer service issue. 
  • Humans are preferred: Even if your customers begin their interaction with your business by interacting an automated system, they ultimately want to connect with a human. A study by Userlike found that 77% of respondents felt that having the option to escalate their customer service issue to a real person was the most important thing that a company could do right.
  • Language limits functionality: There can be bias towards specific language styles since software is unlikely to recognize slang and different dialects, which can limit functionality. 
  • Higher cost: SMS marketing can cost more than email marketing. While the actual return on investment can be high, it can be difficult to get a buy-in. 

Customized SMS marketing creates personalized content

A customized, or one-to-one, approach to your SMS marketing means sending your customers personalized content based on the Customer-First DataTM you’ve collected from them. Creating targeted content for your customers can help you build more genuine relationships and increase customer retention.

Using a customized approach to provide customers with more personalized service and product recommendations can result in a memorable shopping experience. With this approach, you can go beyond just customer service and sales. You can share information, advice, or tips with your customers that relate to your product. This can help your customers learn new uses for your products—and spur repeat purchases.

Connecting with customers without pushing sales helps them to see that you care about their experience, even after they’ve completed a purchase. When customers feel that they still matter to you beyond the sale, it promotes a sense of trust in your brand.

When to incorporate a customized approach into your SMS marketing

Automated SMS marketing works well for basic interactions like customer surveys, requests for reviews, and simple returns. Questions that can be resolved quickly, like tracking a package or whether an item is in stock, also work well. 

In these situations, customers prefer automated solutions because it makes it easy for them to get the service and results they need—without having to wait for an email response or a DM on social media.

When taking a one-to-one approach, you have to consider the kinds of situations your customers experience that are too complex for automation. You also want to make sure your team has the ability to respond quickly. Customers expect text conversations to happen fast, and slow response times will impact whether they consider the experience to be a positive or negative one.

Beyond complex customer situations, there are many creative ways to use a personalized approach to your SMS marketing. Think about various ways you can connect with your customers based on the data you’ve collected. 

The team at Proozy, an online retailer, knows that a small—but devoted—segment of its customers are fans of the luxury brand Spyder. Instead of sending messages about Spyder to Proozy’s entire customer base, they kept messages directed to admirers of the brand. 

Consider using individualized solutions to provide customers with extra information tailored to the products they purchase. Think about ways you can recognize and thank customers for their loyalty. Proactively check in on customers after their purchase to see if they have questions you can answer.

Three ways to integrate a customized approach with your automated strategy

If you’re feeling ready to try a customized approach to your SMS marketing with your customers, consider trying one of these ideas.

Provide text tips

Reach out to customers who have made recent purchases to offer tips on how to use your product. If you sell coffee, consider sending tips on the best way to brew ground beans, or coffee-flavored drink recipes. Let your customers know that you’re there for them if they have questions about using your product.

Brand examples: The Sill is a potted plant delivery company that uses SMS to provide tips and educational information about various types of plants to customers. Judy, a brand that specializes in emergency preparedness, sends text updates to customers to help them learn how to prepare their families for emergency situations. 

Show appreciation via text

Send messages to customers who leave positive reviews to say thank you, and consider including a coupon code for their next purchase as a token of your appreciation. Did a customer leave a 5-star review for the jeans they purchased? Did they write that they can’t wait to tell their friends? Surprise them with a thank you and a referral code that they can share. 

Brand examples: The cookware brand Caraway alerts its loyal customers about new product launches before releasing details elsewhere so they can be first to know. Kittenish, an apparel company, found success with their Black Label VIP promotion that was sent out to its repeat customers. 

Answer specific questions

Instead of sending your typical automated abandoned cart message, ask potential customers if they have questions about the items in their cart. Providing this extra information can help them feel confident in their purchase. Let’s say a customer has had a rug in their cart for a few days. They haven’t checked out because they’re worried that the rug will be difficult to maintain. If you provide the customer with rug care tips, you will reassure them that the rug is easy to clean—and they’ll be more likely to complete the purchase. 

Brand example: Beardbrand, a men’s grooming brand, invites customers who’ve made purchases to text selfies to the company so they can provide personal advice and tips from their expert stylists. These tips are tailored to customers’ needs and preferences based on their buying history. 

Create brand ambassadors with customized SMS marketing

There are many ways you can create positive, memorable customer interactions. By showing customers that you’re thinking about them in a proactive way that’s specific to their needs, you can earn their trust and loyalty. This will create enthusiastic brand ambassadors who will eagerly recommend your products to others.

Learn how you can make sure you’re not driving customers away with SMS tips that will make them feel valued or learn about how SMS and Email works together

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