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How to Use SMS to Grow Your E-Commerce Business

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Bringing customers to your store and keeping them is the kind of challenge that keeps you up at night.

And while technological advancements promise a quick solution (and high ROIs), most tech comes with a steep learning curve.

So, you need a solution that delivers on its promise of a good ROI while keeping things simple for you.

Enter SMS marketing.

Why switch from email to SMS?

For many years, email marketing has been the king of all marketing channels thanks to its phenomenal ROI of $38 for every $1 you spend.

Email was the best way to interact with prospects and customers on a personal level—until SMS marketing came on the scene.

Texting has been around for decades, and now it’s having a renaissance as a marketing tool due to the high speed and flex of SMS.

Now, 89% of people want to text with businesses to escape the massive influx of emails in their inbox.

Only 15% of the 300 emails the average person sends and receives in a day are opened—but 99% of text messages are read.

PC: Conversion Hub

What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing is sharing relevant information about your company through newsletters, promotions, and surveys that arrive via SMS to your audience.

SMS marketing uses the same guiding principles as email marketing, only instead of sending your customers an email, you send a text.

Email is not dead. It’s still performing well. But while the average email can take up to 90 minutes to respond to, if it’s seen at all, it only takes 90 seconds for the average text response. SMS is just faster, and responses are practically guaranteed.

Related: 107 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions

3 Advantages of Using SMS for E-commerce Marketing

1. Wouldn’t you like to use the number one tool to reach your audience?

A study by Statista shows the number of mobile phone users will surpass the 5 billion mark by the end of 2019, and texting is the number one way those 5 billion people prefer to communicate.

This means using SMS marketing gives you a better (and immediate) way to engage with your customers no matter where they are in the world.

2. Master a (virtually) untapped skill.

Many businesses know that texting is the fastest way to reach their customers, but they’re still figuring out how to best utilize the technology for their company’s specific needs.

By starting SMS marketing early, you'll have more time to learn what works for you and see results—which gives you an edge over your competitors.

3. Get the best bang for your buck.

One of the biggest advantages of SMS marketing is its a cost-effective way of engaging with customers.

For customer support, texting is 10 times more efficient than calling and 4 times more efficient than email.

How much will it cost you to implement SMS into your e-commerce store’s growth strategy? It depends on how much volume and which product you’ll need for the amount of customers you serve. For a quick reference, you can check out Text Request’s plans and pricing.

How to Get Started with SMS for Your E-commerce Store

1. What goals do you want to achieve with SMS marketing?

Is it responding to customers within an average timeframe of 15 minutes? Reaching a click-through rate of 40% on your promo links? Achieving an ROI of 20% on customer surveys?

Say you want 480 SMS subscribers in a year. You can break it down further into smaller goals:

  • Quarter: 120 subscribers
  • Monthly: 40 subscribers
  • Weekly: 10 subscribers
  • Daily: 1+ subscribers

So how do you get those subscribers? One good option is to use a clear call-to-action on your site and other web properties (like “‘Sign up for text alerts!”).Text Request even has an SMS Chat tool that lets customers text into you directly from your website.

2. Find the right solution for your needs.

You’ll need to partner with a reliable service provider in order for your SMS marketing to yield the desired results.

The provider you choose to partner with should be reliable, and their services should fit in with your goals and budget. Some features to consider:

  • 2-way conversational messaging
  • MMS, or multimedia messaging
  • The ability to send to lots of people at once
  • The ability to text from your business phone number

3. Maintain compliance while building your subscriber list.

Just like email marketing, SMS marketing only works if you have an engaged list of subscribers. There are several ways to enroll subscribers to your list. Below are the top two methods that comply with anti-spam laws.

Prioritize your customer’s choice with opt-ins. 

This is where you use a checkbox to ask your customers (at check out) if they would like to subscribe to your list. Adding an opt-in option at checkout allows you to collect a lot of valuable data about your customer, which is useful for segmentation purposes.

Use keywords to target your audience.

This is a popular method in which you ask those interested in your company or product to text a keyword to your phone number so they can opt-in to receive the latest updates from your business.

A short code (5 to 6-digit phone number) is best for reaching a large audience with automation, while a long code (a standard 10-digit phone number) is best for 1-on-1 communication and audiences up to several thousand contacts at a time.

PC: U.S. Short Code Directory

You can use these two methods in conjunction to grow your targeted list of subscribers. Be sure to let your customers know that by subscribing to your SMS program, they are joining an exclusive VIP club. Everyone wants special perks, so hyping the VIP club to your audience is key to increasing engagements.

8 Tips to Grow Your E-commerce Store Through SMS

1. Share the news about your great deals.

People love being the first ones in the know about discounts on products they love.

SMS marketing is a great way to grow your e-commerce business by giving you the opportunity to notify VIPs about your promotions.

Use group messaging to quickly and easily send out as many texts as you want to your customers about any deals. You can even make your group message personalized with group merge messaging.

2. Use FOMO.

No one enjoys missing out on a good deal. That’s why FOMO (fear of missing out) works like a charm. Create a sense of urgency in your promotion by making it time-limited or “while supplies last.” Subscribers will take immediate action resulting in more sales for you.

3. Increase sales by directing customers with links.

Provide your subscribers with a link to your product within your SMS message. This will increase conversions because subscribers don’t have to go to your website to look for the product. Click-through rates on texts are around 50%.

It’s a great way to keep their interest and increase sales.

4. Add images and flyers to make your message pop.

People retain 80% of what they see. Your newsletters, promos, and milestone texts will stand out from competitors if you utilize images to make an impression on your audience.

It’s easy to send pictures to all your subscribers through Text Request.

Related: How to Send Pictures (& Other Media) Through Text Request

5. Send personalized messages.

The beauty of collecting data about your customers at checkout is how using that information can help you personalize your SMSs, which results in higher engagement rates. Some examples of personalized texts you can send include:

  • Birthday gifts: Send your customers personalized birthday gifts, such as discounts on their favorite products.
  • Unique coupon codes: Tailor-made coupons make your customers feel like a million bucks. And because people tend to hang around others who value similar things, one loyal customer can lead to several others.

6. Recover abandoned shopping carts.

A simple SMS can do wonders for abandoned shopping cart recoveries.

Some people don’t abandon carts deliberately. They may be distracted while shopping and forget to complete their purchase. A gentle reminder is all you need to get them to complete their purchase. This is where your SMS marketing strategy kicks in.

PC: Optinmonster

Statistics show people open 95% of all text messages within the first 3 minutes of receiving them. So texts are your best bet for cutting through the noise and recovering the 76% of shopping carts that are lost.

You can include an incentive (like free shipping) with your cart recovery emails and SMS to boost responses.

PC: Shopify

7. Send scheduled reminders.

If you sell products that need replenishing, you can integrate your e-commerce store and your SMS marketing platform to send scheduled texts that remind your customers to stock back up.

For example, if you sell pet food, you can estimate when your customer will need to buy more for their furry, feathery, or scaly friend. You can then send them a reminder and a specific timeline to shop for their pet.

Related: 5 Ways to Increase CBD Sales by Texting

8. Provide customer support.

Trust is the foundation of a successful business. You can foster trust by opening a line of communication for customer support.

One aspect of customer support you can do via SMS is real-time shipping notifications and updates. Customers will also be grateful to have a way to easily ask you questions about their package.

By giving customers this kind of support, you will build a solid customer base. You can also add Click-to-Text or SMS Chat to your website, so customers can quickly ask you questions straight from your site.

How to Start Growing Your E-commerce Store (All it Takes is an SMS)

While other marketing channels get you good returns, they cannot compare to SMS in ease of use, open rates, and conversions.

Plus, setting up your SMS marketing doesn’t require as much investment as other channels, like email.

If you’re not using SMS to grow your e-commerce business, there’s no better time than now to start. Your next sale is only a text away.

Related: 4 Ways to Increase In-Store and Online Sales with Cell Phones