How to Create Unique Customer Experiences With SMS That Complement Your Email Marketing Strategy
When you finally find the perfect SMS marketing tool for your business, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the new ways you can communicate with your customers.
Do you use SMS for transactional updates, exclusive promotions, text-only automations, post-purchase follow-up, or some mix of all of the above? There are endless possibilities, but that doesn’t mean you should try to implement them all at once.
You can showcase your brand, your products, and your mission by creating unique experiences with SMS and email marketing. But first, you have to decide where you’re going to start.
Complement email with SMS marketing where it makes sense
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating an SMS strategy; you can start by looking at your current email automations and assessing where you can add in SMS to improve your conversion rates.
Think about the main use case of texts: short copy, immediacy, and a single call-to-action (CTA). Meanwhile, emails are better for longer content with more images, information, and possibly multiple CTAs.
But there are also a few types of communications that might be good for both. You just need to be strategic about who you send your messages to and when. For example, an abandoned cart message could work across either SMS or email, so what’s the best course of action for getting a cart abandonment message to your customer?
Instead of choosing one or the other, 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, if they don’t open it, you could segment a text to go out 24 hours after they abandon their cart, so the information they need to continue shopping is right on their phone, wherever they are.
This method of targeting those who didn’t open the initial email works well because it increases the chances that your customer will complete their purchase without sending them the same email multiple times, which is more likely to come off as annoying or might even start to look like spam.
KontrolFreek applied this abandoned cart technique to their email and SMS marketing strategy, which has allowed them to send fewer text messages that are more effective with subscribers.
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 for the video game accessory brand.
By using SMS to complement your email marketing strategy and reach people who may not have checked their inbox—for an abandoned cart message or another automation—you can make every message go further without over-communicating.
Treat SMS subscribers like VIPs
Phones are a very personal form of communication since texting and calling are how most people stay in touch with family and friends. This is great for your open rates, but it’s also important to remember that not everyone will hand over their phone number in a signup form.
For those who do, you might want to think of them as some of your most valuable subscribers and treat them similarly to a VIP segment by sending them first access to all your best content like product launches, new collections, and sitewide sales.
For example, if you had a product launch, you could text SMS subscribers an hour before it went live, so those customers would be able shop new items before the rest of your subscriber list.
This technique works well with any sort of announcement or news that generates excitement because texting your customers capitalize on the immediacy of the channel, so you could also do the same thing with a flash sale or discount to boost engagement.
By consistently creating value for your SMS subscribers and sending exclusive perks, they’ll feel like real VIPs, which means they’ll keep opening and clicking.
Use SMS for transactional communications
Sometimes SMS is best used for transactional communications like shipping updates, but that doesn’t mean you can’t insert your brand voice and personality into the experience.
Consider using SMS for transactional messages if you’re marketing for a subscription brand that automatically charges customers to avoid surprising them with an order they weren’t planning for.
Alternatively, you could use SMS for a replenishment campaign if your brand offers consumer packaged goods (CPGs) or other products that people typically use up and need to regularly replace.
Talk about unique experiences, Verb Energy takes it a step further than just a transactional text—after you try their free sampler pack, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) energy bar brand will text you before the trial ends to confirm whether or not you want to keep getting shipments.
As opposed to companies that will charge your card in the hopes you don’t notice, Verb puts the customer first by using SMS to remind them to continue their subscription, change it, or cancel their order.
Plus they’ll match you up with a real person you can text in case you have any questions or concerns so you know you’re talking to a human if you need customer support.
By using SMS to embellish the experience of the transactional email, Verb customers are more than happy to continue buying from the brand knowing they can change their subscription at any time.
Create an SMS-only welcome series
Who says your SMS strategy has to have anything to do with your email automations?
Instead of basing your texts on your current email automations, you could experiment with creating a pathway that people can only opt into by submitting their phone number. This works well for common automations that include multiple messages sent over a certain period of time, like the welcome series.
DTC bottled milk tea brand Joy Milk Tea incorporates this technique by encouraging site visitors to sign up for texts on their homepage. Without any other option to submit an email address, you know straight away that the experience will be exclusive to text.
Over the course of a week, Joy Milk Tea texts you to give you a better look into their brand, their mission, and even their bottling process—basically, they take you through an SMS journey to show you why they do what they do.
At the end of the automation, they offer a discount code for ten percent off their site. At this point, the subscriber understands the benefits of tea over coffee, knows about the care that goes into creating the product, and has become familiar with the brand in a very personal way that feels like they’ve been texting a friend.
And because Joy Milk Tea has created this experience exclusively for text, they’re able to optimize the experience for subscribers to consume on their phone and familiarize themselves with the brand before they receive a discount code.
Think outside the inbox when it comes to post-purchase
Instead of using SMS for customer acquisition efforts, maybe you want to use SMS to level up your customer retention game.
That’s exactly how Beardbrand thinks about SMS—the DTC men’s grooming brand offers the option to opt-in to text messages after someone’s 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 for customers, 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 new users.
Alternatively, you can use SMS in the post-purchase stage to collect feedback and product reviews—as long as you make it easy for customers to complete your request over mobile.
Master the art of aligning SMS and email
You can master the art of aligning SMS and email marketing without implementing every possible campaign or automation across both channels.
The key is to start simple and iterate from there—think about what your goals are for your SMS program, how you can use it to amplify your email marketing strategy, and what unique experience you can create on each channel.
Always bring it back to your brand, your mission, and the value you provide, like the brands in these examples do—once you have that down, you’re well on your way to creating loyal customers for life.
Interested in learning more about SMS marketing? Here are six SMS marketing tips.
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