While digital marketing has changed dramatically, the need for businesses to connect with customers at the right time and using the right channel has remained constant. Today, that channel is SMS.
Why are we so sure? The numbers speak for themselves. 79% of people reach for their phone within 15 minutes of waking up and have their phones on them for 22 hours a day. The average mobile user checks their phone 52 times daily, and smartphones have become the preferred devices for online activities.
(Source: IDC Research, Always Connected)
(Source: “Email Marketing Benchmarks”, MailChimp, updated 03/2018 | “Email signup benchmarks”, Sarah Peterson, Sumo, 04/09/2019 | “What is the open rate of SMS Text Messaging?”, Christopher S. Penn, Shift Communications, 09/29/2015)
Is SMS Marketing effective?
In addition to being opened, read, and interacted with more often, SMS marketing has the benefit of connecting you to your audience instantly. With short messages, SMS pushes businesses to be more forthcoming about their offerings making it the best way to offer promotions, discounts, and incentives for quick and easy conversion and sales.
Is texting better than email?
53% of consumers complain about receiving too many irrelevant emails, and email marketing can easily get lost in the inbox or worse, stuck in the spam folder. Since 53.5% of all email traffic worldwide is spam, this isn’t very surprising. SMS is far less likely to be filtered, which means that you can connect in real time with your target audience.
(Source: DMA Insight: Consumer email tracker 2017)
Why should you use SMS Marketing for your ecommerce startup?
82% of marketers spend up to 20% of their marketing budget on email, with monthly spend on email marketing ranging from $500 to $1000. SMS Marketing is more cost-effective than email marketing because SMS is cheaper and easier to create. Your SMS messages are more likely to be opened, read, clicked, and used to make a purchase because this channel is less saturated.
In 2018, 39.6% of total ecommerce retail in the US – totaling $208.1 billion – occurred via mobile. By 2021, over half of all US ecommerce retail sales will be on mobile. Between 2017 and 2019, it is estimated that mobile-driven ecommerce retail sales will be growing at a CAGR of 31.49%. With consumers increasingly using smartphones to make purchases, SMS marketing helps you connect with your audience where they are, and when they are most receptive to you.
(Source: DMA Insight: Consumer email tracker 2017)
(Source: eMarketer, Exploring the Mobile Shopping Habits of US Consumers, 2018)
How can you use SMS Marketing instead of Email marketing?
Ecommerce startups and small businesses can use SMS for:
- Promotions – Drive sales and enhance engagement with discounts, codes, and coupons
- Customer Service – Communicate order confirmations and delivery details instantaneously
- Abandonment Solutions – Reduce abandoned shopping carts
- Drip Marketing – Build automated campaigns that continually engage across the consumer lifecycle
- Remarketing and Upselling – Continue to sell other products and services to your audience
Voyage helps businesses build a distribution list through modals (for both web and Instagram), APIs at checkout, and keywords & short codes. Generally, using a discount or offer to sweeten the deal helps get the opt-ins you need.
As with email marketing, your SMS marketing campaign will be more effective if it is personalized. Voyage can help you collect and analyze data on clicks, purchases, and engagement with each message, so your messaging can evolve to produce the results you want. If you can keep track of your audience and categorize them effectively, you can build extremely effective campaigns with great ROI. Voyage helps businesses do this with automated customer segmentation.
SMS marketing is a great way to drive up sales by sending customers exclusive discounts and coupon codes. Promotions allow you to push past the initial hesitation on the part of the customer and close the sale. During the initial stages, this will be the best way to build your distribution list, drive better brand loyalty, and grow your business’s customer base and audience. Use caution to avoid becoming a one trick pony – get a little creative. Customers respond better to discounts that come as a prize for answering a question or playing a game than repetitive offers of savings.
SMS is already heavily leveraged in ecommerce to communicate useful consumer information such as order confirmations and delivery details. These automated alerts are an ecommerce requirement. By fully utilizing the power of SMS, it becomes a great way to provide responsive customer service and gather customer feedback. Regular check-ins with existing customers as well as short NPS surveys can let you know how your audience is doing and improve your processes to enhance customer experience and satisfaction.
When engaged customers don’t end up completing the sale, a variety of factors could be at play. Abandoned cart solutions via SMS are more effective than email because they are instantaneous. You can remind distracted customers that the products or services they wanted to buy are waiting for them. If there’s no response, a follow-up with an offer can sometimes help you salvage the sale.
Consistency and persistence are critical to building an effective marketing campaign. Drip campaigns are pre-written sets of messages that are sent based on timelines, triggered by user actions, or both. They can make your startup punch well above its weight in terms of being responsive to customer needs. Putting in the effort and thought to organize a comprehensive drip campaign across multiple touch points can help you build a strong and engaged user community around your startup.
Remarketing and Upselling
Startups can greatly enhance their sales without dipping too far into their marketing budgets by continuing to leverage existing customers instead of attracting new ones. Acquiring a new customer is far more time consuming, expensive, and difficult. Combining promotions, drip marketing, and upselling can get your existing customers to buy more expensive products or services from you, and this gives fantastic ROI.
Don’t get us wrong – email marketing is and will continue to remain effective as ever. But the most effective marketing campaign will not leverage just one, but multiple channels. When it comes to engagement now and in the future, SMS marketing should be the channel of choice for ecommerce startups in 2019.