Text Message (SMS) Marketing

eCommerce Guide
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Text Message (SMS) Marketing

In this chapter

Learn the top SMS strategies for eCommerce brands including the tools, tips, and best practices that you need to implement.

What is SMS Marketing

Text messages are a super powerful marketing channel for eCommerce businesses.

The average open rates for text messages are around 98%.

It’s predicted that 48.7 million consumers have opted in to receive SMS messages from businesses (99Firms).

Also, SMS response rates are 295% higher than phone call response rates.

So text messages are super powerful for eCommerce brands.

And here’s how you create a campaign.

top sms marketing tips in this playbook

What is SMS marketing?

SMS Marketing is sending promotional campaigns or transactional messages for marketing purposes using text messages (SMS). These messages are mostly meant to communicate time-sensitive offers, updates, and alerts to people who have consented to receive these messages from your business.

How do you send out SMS messages?

If you are already using email software for your eCommerce store, chances are you might have the SMS features already built-in.

For example, Klaviyo offers a full suite of SMS features.

Here’s how you go about creating a text message campaign.

Step 1 - Create the campaign

Go to your Klaviyo dashboard and create a new campaign. Name it, choose the right tags, and choose SMS.

Then click on the button that says “Create Campaign”.

create a SMS marketing campaign using Klaviyo

Step 2 - Select your recipients

Select the specific list that you want to send your text message campaign to.

Make sure that you’ve gathered their phone numbers in the checkout or through other marketing campaigns.

It could be that you have an extensive list of email subscribers, but none of them have a phone number. In that case, you would have to first collect that information and then create your SMS campaign.

list of text SMS recepients sms marketing

Step 3 - Write your text message

Here is where you would write the body of your message.

how to start a text message campaign SMS marketing

Step 4 - check the settings and send

Next, check the settings and make sure that everything looks correct.

Make sure that the tracking is right, that you’ve selected the right list (see screenshot below), and that the cost looks right.

ready to send sms text message campaign

Different providers will charge you different rates per text, so it’s a good idea to shop around if you’re not set on using a specific tool.

When everything looks right, click to schedule or send your campaign.

correct tracking settings sms text message klaviyo campaign

Now that you know how to set up your SMS marketing campaign, let’s talk about the different ways that you can grow your list of SMS subscribers.

SMS marketing best practices

Before you send any text message campaigns, you need to have a list of subscribers.

With eCommerce, it’s easier to do than with other businesses because your customers actually want (and expect) to hear from you after the purchase.

Strategy 1: Automate customer communication with SMS

Here’s the minimum communication that customers expect to get from you:

  • An order confirmation
  • A shipping notification with a tracking number
  • A delivery notification
  • A reminder to leave a review 2-3 weeks after purchase
ecommerce growth playbook

These are the standard touchpoints for any eCommerce store and customers love to receive these on their mobile phones, as notifications or text messages.

So you should ask for the customer’s phone number during checkout and explain what you will be using it for (the above-mentioned touchpoints).

Here’s an example of an SMS shipping confirmation from Omnisend:

omnisend sms marketing best practices shipping confirmation

Launch a referral program

Another great way to get phone numbers is by launching a referral program.

A great example is Robinhood’s referral program, where they offer their users a chance to win a free stock if they refer their friends.

robinhood referral program via sms marketing best practices text messaging ecommerce

Robinhood’s robust and enticing mobile referral program is certainly one of the reasons the company has grown to be valued at $11.2B in only 7 years after its founding in 2013.

Launch an SMS giveaway

Another great way to grow your SMS list is by running a giveaway.

You could post about it on your various social media channels, offering people to enter the giveaway by sending you a text message, or by putting in their number on your landing page.

A great example of this is a text giveaway that Chipotle launched back in 2014. The brand has seen a TON of success with SMS marketing since then, and it continues to be a successful marketing channel for them.

Chipotle text message campaign giveaway example ecommerce
ecommerce playbook for growth

SMS marketing strategy

Before you send any text message campaigns, you need to have a list of subscribers.

With eCommerce, it’s easier to do than with other businesses because your customers actually want (and expect) to hear from you after the purchase.

Once you create a way for your customers to opt-in to receive text messages from you (either through checkout or a popup) then you’re ready to develop an SMS strategy that makes sense.

Now, remember, your SMS strategy will be that much more powerful if you combine it with other channels like UGC, push notifications, email marketing campaigns, and chatbots.

Your SMS strategy needs to be a part of a cohesive omnichannel marketing strategy for your business.

ecommerce marketing playbook

Let’s dive in.

Strategy 1: Automate customer communication with SMS

Before you send any text message campaigns, you need to have a list of subscribers.

With eCommerce, it’s easier to do than with other businesses because your customers actually want (and expect) to hear from you after the purchase.

Customers expect to get:

  • An order confirmation
  • A shipping notification with a tracking number
  • A delivery notification
  • A reminder to leave a review 2-3 weeks after purchase

These are the standard touchpoints for any eCommerce store and customers love to receive these on their mobile phones, as notifications or text messages.

So you should ask for the customer’s phone number during checkout and explain what you will be using it for (the above-mentioned touchpoints).

Here’s an example of an SMS shipping confirmation from Omnisend:

omnisend sms marketing strategy shipping confirmation

Strategy 2: Launch a referral program

Another great way to get phone numbers is by launching a referral program.

A great example is Robinhood’s referral program, where they offer their users a chance to win a free stock if they refer their friends.

robinhood referral program via sms marketing strategy text messaging ecommerce

Robinhood’s robust and enticing mobile referral program is certainly one of the reasons the company has grown to be valued at $11.2B in only 7 years after its founding in 2013.

Strategy 3: Launch an SMS giveaway

Another great way to grow your SMS list is by running a giveaway.

You could post about it on your various social media channels, offering people to enter the giveaway by sending you a text message, or by putting in their number on your landing page.

A great example of this is a text giveaway that Chipotle launched back in 2014. The brand has seen a TON of success with SMS marketing since then, and it continues to be a successful marketing channel for them.

Chipotle text message campaign giveaway example ecommerce

Strategy 4: SMS cart abandonment

Another great way to decrease cart abandonment is SMS marketing. When a user abandons their cart and you have their phone number on file you can send them a personalized text message offering a discount or a special offer.

One incredible tool that is bringing this to the next level is LiveRecover. It’s an ecommerce app that actually has live sales agents that interact with your customer on your behalf after they respond to a cart abandonment text.

So literally, when a customer abandons their cart, they get an automated text message from LiveRecover asking them if there’s anything they could do. If the customer responds to this message they begin a conversation with a live person that can answer their questions and offer them a discount on the spot.

This is like building an army of salespeople for the price of a few cups of coffee.

What’s even more powerful are their robust eCommerce customer segmentation features and contextual insights. They can extract specific phrases from your customer’s texts to identify common questions or concerns and segment your customers based on specific cart conditions.

liverecover SMS marketing cart abandonment for eCommerce features shopify app
Use LiveRecover to drastically decrease your cart abandonment
ecommerce marketing playbook

Top SMS Marketing Software

There are a ton of software and tools that you could use for SMS marketing for your eCommerce store.

Here are a few:

Tatango - a great platform for the beginner as well as an experienced marketer. It has a variety of features including messaging, workflows, subscriber analytics, automation and a great API if you really need something advanced.

Klaviyo - one of the most famous email marketing tools for eCommerce. Has a great SMS feature that lets you send text message campaigns. And the great part is that you have all of your SMS + email marketing in one place.

Avochato - a great tool if you don’t want to pay per text. They charge you a flat monthly rate for a certain number of texts that you want to send. They also have a great live chat feature, a shared inbox, templates and a slack integration.

BirdEye - this is a marketing platform that includes not only text messaging but also other chat solutions (web, video, etc.). It’s more geared towards enterprise business.

Birdeye mass text messaging sms marketing software solution ecommerce

HeyMarket - a great affordable tool for all teams large and small. They have some unique features that allow customer service teams to better respond and tag customers.

heymarket shared inbox private comments sms marketing software text messaging tool for ecommerce

And that wraps up our section on SMS Marketing.

Up next is Influencer Marketing.

top sms marketing software playbook for ecommerce

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