How to Create Unique Customer Experiences With SMS: Complement Your Email Marketing Strategy

woman writing in a notebook

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 6, 2020. It has updated it to reflect current data and insights.

Perplexed by SMS? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating a text message marketing strategy that wows your customers and works alongside your email program.

It may seem daunting to decide what message should go out on what channel. But once you understand how to create an SMS strategy that complements your email sends, you’ll be sliding into your subscribers email and text inboxes in no time. 

And the best part? You probably have marketing automations already in place that you can add text messages to—you just need to be strategic about who you send your messages to and when.

Consider a dual marketing strategy

Instead of choosing between sending an email or text message, consider how you incorporate both into your marketing automations like your abandoned cart or browse abandonment series.

For example, you could send out an email two hours after someone abandoned their cart in the hopes that they’re still browsing and may complete the purchase. Then, you could segment a text to go out 24 hours after they abandon their cart if they still haven’t purchased. 

This method works well because it increases the chances that your shopper will complete their purchase while also diversifying your messaging strategy, which is perfect for that busy customer who’s always on the go but constantly has their phone in their hand.

Alternatively, you could take a page out of KontrolFreek’s playbook and only send abandoned cart texts to subscribers who don’t open the first email. This strategy allowed the brand to send a fraction of the number of text messages they would have if they didn’t segment by open rate.

SMS marketing message for Freek Galaxy

And it’s paying off, literally—this targeted strategy produced both an eight percent increase in attributed revenue and a 38 percent decrease in cost per SMS conversion.

By adding SMS to your email marketing strategy and reaching people who may not have taken a certain action—whether it’s opening an email or buying a product—you can make every message go further without over-communicating.

Treat SMS subscribers like VIPs

Consumers’ phone inboxes are precious. This means, if a shopper subscribes to your SMS program, they’re probably excited to engage with your brand.

For this reason, treat these subscribers similarly to a VIP segment by giving them first access to all your best content.

For example, if you were having a site wide sale, you could text SMS subscribers an hour before it went live, so those customers would be able to shop discounted items before anyone else. Alternatively, if you were launching a new product, you could text subscribers a sneak peek at the look-book a week before you make the items available to shop.

This technique works well with any sort of announcement or news that generates excitement because it capitalizes on the immediacy of the channel. Not to mention, it makes your subscribers feel like one in a million (they don’t have to know how big your SMS list is).

Semi annual sale text marketing message on screen

By consistently creating value for your SMS subscribers and sending exclusive perks, they’ll feel like real VIPs, which means they’ll keep coming back for more.

Create an SMS-only series

I love a good email welcome series as much as the next marketer, but how can you create a unique experience for small screens? 

Experiment with creating a pathway that people can only opt into with their phone number—no email address required. This works well for automations that include multiple messages sent over a certain period of time, like the aforementioned welcome series.

For example, bottled milk tea brand Joy Milk Tea incorporated this technique by encouraging site visitors to sign up for texts on their homepage.

Text message marketing message for the holidays

Over the course of a week, Joy Milk Tea texted subscribers to give them a better look into their brand, their mission, and even their bottling process—basically, they took subscribers through an SMS journey to show them why they do what they do. 

By the end of the series, the subscriber understands the benefits of tea over coffee, knows about the care that goes into creating the product, and feels like they’ve been texting a friend.

Of course, creating an SMS-only automation doesn’t mean you can’t have one for email, too—but consider how the content will differ for each platform. 

An email welcome series gives you room to relay every detail that makes your brand stand out—awards you’ve received, publications you’re featured in, amazing reviews—while text welcome series require you to tell a much more refined story.

Post-purchase? Think outside the inbox

Instead of just using SMS to win over new shoppers, maybe you also want to use it to level up your customer retention game.

That’s exactly how Beardbrand thinks about SMS—the men’s grooming brand offers the option for customers to opt-in to text messages after they’ve already made a purchase. 

With this text message program, customers can send in a selfie and receive advice from Beardbrand’s team of expert stylists.

By creating an exclusive offer post-purchase, Beardbrand creates a one-of-a-kind experience that provides real value to customers as they use the products—whether they’re loyal fans of the brand or they’re brand new.

Alternatively, you can use SMS in the post-purchase stage to collect feedback and product reviews. Perhaps take a similar approach to the abandoned cart example and use SMS to follow up with customers if they haven’t yet completed the ask—just make sure it’s easy for customers to complete your request over mobile.

Email and SMS: Slide into your subscribers’ inboxes

No one likes having to repeat themselves. But you can incorporate both SMS and email marketing without saying the same thing twice. 

So which inbox do you slide into—email or text? The key is to think about how shoppers use each channel and determine which makes the most sense for your message or whether there’s an opportunity to optimize it for both. 

Interested in learning more about balancing text messages with email? Find out how beauty brand Yon-ka Paris approaches their dual marketing strategy.

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