SMS marketing

5 SMS marketing use cases that help scale your strategy faster

Jon Palmer, April 12th 2021

How do pirates find their buried treasure (don’t worry, this isn’t the setup for a corny dad joke)? 

They get in their ship and follow their treasure map.

The pirate ship is your brand’s ability to use text message marketing to communicate directly with your customers. And the buried treasure is the sought after 200x return on investment (ROI) that some brands are seeing on their SMS spend. 

Ghostbed, a Klaviyo SMS client gets 200x ROI

I’ve written this post to serve as your treasure map—a guide to help you find the X that marks the spot, or success with SMS marketing. I encourage you to steal this playbook, like any good pirate would. 

Read on to learn how to:

Grow your subscriber list and land new customers

Every day, anonymous users (who actually make up the majority of your site traffic) come to your website. But on average only one to five percent of them join your email list. 

These anonymous visitors come to you directly, through organic search, referrals, and from paid sources like Google and Facebook.

Every anonymous user that bounces from your website without opting in to a channel your brand owns, such as email or SMS, is a missed opportunity for your brand that may potentially increase your customer acquisition cost (CAC). 

When you offer SMS (in addition to email) as a way for your customers to stay in touch with your brand, you have a higher likelihood of growing your subscriber list. 

Why? Because it’s easy for your customers to communicate over text and it’s something they want. 

Did you know that 54 percent of consumers would like to receive promotions via text message, but only 11 percent of businesses actually do so. Plus studies have shown that 85 percent of customers prefer to communicate directly to their favorite brands via text.

Step one of growing your SMS audience is setting up consent at checkout. By allowing customers to opt in to text messages as part of their initial purchase, you’re able to build strong relationships with your most desirable site visitors—those who buy—from the get-go. 

Get SMS marketing compliance when using a text messaging software

Collect SMS consent at checkout.

Gathering consent through mobile optimized forms is another helpful strategy that you can use to grow your SMS list.  

Choosing a marketing automation platform that supports both email and SMS marketing channels ensures messages aren’t delayed in getting to customers. 

Gather SMS consent with mobile optimized forms and convert prospects into first-time customers with your welcome series.

As you continue to grow your SMS list, cultivating the relationships with your subscribers and one-time purchasers becomes essential. When you prioritize these connections, you can successfully build a loyal customer base and create brand advocates. 

How can you do this? By personalizing texts to your audience with one-click personalization and inviting SMS subscribers to ask questions about your brand or products via text as they go through a welcome or thank you automation. 

Drive incremental revenue through campaigns

Setting up interest-based or behavior-based automations alone probably won’t drive enough revenue to hit your goals. But SMS campaigns built around product launches, holidays, offers, and price changes can help generate incremental revenue and customer engagement.

Email is a strong marketing channel because email campaigns have immediate delivery and an ability to drive high intent traffic to your site at a low cost. 

Sending text message campaigns to your customers or subscribers, in addition to email, will increase the overall performance of your combined campaigns due to SMS’s high engagement rates. 

If you need further convincing, just look at the numbers: 90 percent of all texts are read in the first three minutes and marketing text messages have a 36 percent click rate (CTR), which is 8x the CTR of email.

I know, it’s easy to get excited about the high engagement rates you may receive from your SMS audience, but it’s important to not let that excitement get the better of you. 

SMS is a personal means of communication. If you send too many messages to your customers, your brand could come off as invasive. Initially, try sending two to four text message campaigns per month and potentially increase your sending cadence as time goes on as you keep a close eye on your unsubscribes. 

Some marketing automation platforms offer a Smart Sending feature that will stop a text from going out if a customer has already received a text from your brand recently, helping you ensure you’re not over communicating with your SMS audience.

The final piece to the revenue-driving puzzle is segmenting your SMS audience as you prepare to send your campaigns. 

When designing each campaign, exclude the segments of subscribers who wouldn’t find that content relevant. 

Also, you may want to consider your customer’s past means of engagement. Did they have a preference or engage more with email campaigns over SMS? 

Once you analyze your customer data, you can segment accordingly.  

Engage your best customers

One of the biggest advantages brands that sell directly to consumers have is the ability to drive repeat purchases through low cost channels such as email and SMS. 

For example, once a customer purchases, you can encourage them to purchase multiple times with a nurture campaign and create a high customer lifetime value (CLV).

Choosing an SMS provider with best-in-class segmentation allows you to segment, not only based on the number of purchases a customer has made, but also on what they purchased, what they browsed on your site, and their demographics. 

SMS audience segmentation that allows for more personalization

Leveraging all your customers’ data brought in through pre-built integrations or APIs can help you make better, more personalized marketing decisions. 

For example, when you consider what messages you’re going to send to your best or repeat customers, it’s most likely different than what you plan on sending to your one-time purchasers. 

Brands often consider customers who purchase frequently as VIP customers. If you want to turn your repeat customers into brand advocates, consider texting them:

  • Early access to new product and promotions
  • Requests for referrals
  • Invitations to share content
  • Loyalty program updates
  • Brand or product surveys
Segment customers based on their profile data and behavior.

It’s a bonus when you can find an SMS provider that allows you to leverage data science to better communicate with your best customers. 

SMS data analytics that increase ROI

Segmenting customers based on their predicted customer lifetime value or triggering messages based on a customer’s predicted date of next order can create a dazzling customer experience.

Use predictive analytics to communicate differently with customers that will have the highest CLV.

Recover abandoned sessions

Visitors that come to your site and browse the same product multiple times or add a product to their cart but don’t purchase have shown high intent to purchase. So help these site visitors take the final plunge! Using SMS can help you to turn these abandoned sessions into purchases. 

Many digital marketers are already using email to recapture these lost sessions with a cart abandonment series. But leveraging text message marketing in addition to email could help you increase your conversion rates. 

Brands using Klaviyo see an average revenue per recipient (RPR) increase of 13 percent from their abandoned cart automation after adding text messages to their existing email workflow. Plus, customers tend to prefer SMS over other channels that can be used to convert abandoned visitors, like retargeting and social ads.

Difference between SMS and email for better targeting

Consider splitting your abandonment automations or flows based on the product a customer browsed or the unique cart they created. 

For the abandoned cart flow, consider creating different variations based on the value of a customer’s cart and offering an incentive to those who had higher value carts, such as a code for free shipping. 

For the abandoned browser flow, try creating separate variations based on whether the visitor browsed a best-selling product where a high number of five-star reviews can be referenced in the text message.

The first message in most browse or cart abandonment automations go out within a few hours of the visitor leaving the site. 

Sending an abandonment text message shortly after a customer has already clicked on an email and is completing an order may be off-putting to your customer. For this reason, I recommend choosing an SMS provider that manages both email and SMS together and can stop a message from going out if the recipient has recently engaged on another channel.

Lastly, take the time to ask customers via text if they have any questions about the items in their cart or the product they browsed. It will be worth your time to answer questions from these high intent customers who may need a quick question answered in order to feel confident purchasing your product. 

Reply back to your customers using SMS two-way chat because 72 percent of customers are more likely to purchase from an ecommerce site when they can ask about the products in real-time, with a real employee.

Nurture your customers post purchase

Giving your post-purchase process some love and attention is hugely important for your customer retention. 

The top two text message types customers say they like to receive are updates on their product shipments and order status confirmations. Give the people (i.e., your audience) what they want!

Not only can you send order confirmation messages via text to SMS subscribers, but you can also share their order tracking information with links for customers to track their order. 

If you want to get really fancy, you can also send order delivered texts by pulling that information over from the shipping carrier. 

Once you’re confident that your customer has had enough time to use the product they purchased, send a text thanking them for their order and inviting them to share a picture on social media or via text. 

Ideally, this thank you message would have two variants—one for first-time customers and one for repeat customers. 

To promote a positive customer experience, ask your customer if they have any questions, need anything, or have any issues. It shows your customers a high level of care that will foster brand loyalty.

Collect your SMS bounty

If you’re an ecommerce marketer or entrepreneur, you don’t have to stumble your way through using SMS, like a pirate who’s lost their treasure map. 

When you set up your text message marketing strategy following the outline above, you’ll grow your SMS audience, convert new subscribers, and generate more purchases from existing customers.

Looking for more maps to buried SMS treasure? Check out these additional SMS resources!  

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Jon Palmer
Jon Palmer
Senior product marketing manager
Jon Palmer joined Klaviyo’s Product Marketing Team in 2020 and is based on the West Coast. He is a former Marketing Director who spent 8 years at HYLETE, a fitness apparel brand, where he was a Klaviyo customer. Jon loves taking on marketing challenges and using data to solve problems. Outside of work, Jon enjoys cooking, scotch, fitness, and dogs that weigh over 150 pounds.