With the rise of online businesses and the saturation of the communication channels, it becomes harder for smaller brands to shine through. Big corporations (and their bigger budgets) have occupied the most popular marketing channels and leave little air for smaller players.
Still, this does not mean that as a small business owner you are doomed. On the contrary, with a little bit of creativity and personal touch, you can easily win people’s hearts with a few personalized tactics.
SMS marketing is often an overlooked tool in ecommerce, but it could be the perfect solution for you to break through and draw in customer attention in a non-intrusive and personalized way. In this post, we’ll look at a few ways SMS can be beneficial for your ecommerce brand.
SMS will always reach its recipients
There is no such thing as a spam folder when it comes to SMS. All messages will reach their intended recipients, and what’s more important: more than 98% of them will be opened, and 90% will be read within three minutes of being sent.
Having such great open rates makes SMS also cost-effective, as it is certain that your messages will get read by customers, and you won’t end up breaking the bank without having any positive return.
SMS - trendy or old-fashioned?
This all seems promising right? So you might wonder: why aren’t more companies utilizing SMS as a key marketing channel?
The answer is simple—people think it’s something from the past.
Currently only 39% of companies in the US use SMS as a marketing channel, and yet an astonishing 75% of customers state they prefer receiving messages instead of emails.
This gives small businesses a head start and a more-direct way to reach customers. Notifying your customers about your spring sale with a witty text message will help your brand stand out from the email and social media crowd.
Another reason why SMS is on a rise these days is the fact that life has become more intense than ever. People rarely have time to read a whole article, yet alone a 1000-character long email. Communicating with customers briefly with a clear call-to-action where your product is just a few clicks away is definitely the preferred way to reach them.
So, let’s see when we should use SMS as a small business.
1. SMS and product launches
If you work on a tight budget and you want to make sure sales will increase for a particular product line then careful segmentation is your key.
Target people based on past purchases; if they made a purchase with your brand before, how often are they making these purchases and how much are they spending? All questions can help you create filters, which can help you define your perfect targeted audience. Once you create your segment, make sure to launch an effective text campaign to grab their attention.
Finally, use images of the product to make your offer even more appealing. Combine that with a personalized message and a clear call-to-action, and you are ready for success!
2. SMS for time-sensitive campaigns
When it comes to big retail days, and all hands are needed on deck due to brands offering many promotions, time is of the essence, especially to small businesses. Small brands have the difficult task to gear up in full swing and try to get to customers before the bigger brands steal the show.
Because SMS is so direct, quick, and it reaches people all around the globe, SMS is a power tool when it comes to time-sensitive campaigns.
Remember, regardless of the occasion, you will always have early-birds and procrastinators. So instead of blasting the same campaign to everyone, try scheduling one a couple of days before the big event. Then a week later target all people that did not make a purchase. Let them know that the discount you’re offering will expire by the end of day to encourage them to purchase sooner.
The benefit of these campaigns is that you can manage your stock and shipments better and secure healthy profits for a longer period of time.
3. SMS and sales recovery
No matter the size of your business, target audience, or which part of the world you market—abandoned carts are a merchant’s worst nightmare. Every year the rate of cart abandonment increases. In 2019 it was just shy of 70%.
Still, for smaller scale businesses, which might just be starting out or are on a quest to get their name out there, every abandoned cart means lots of money is lost.
SMS is awesome for reminding people to return back to their cart and finish their purchase. Some text marketing apps such as SMSBump report 25 times higher return on investment when it comes to abandoned cart recovery for these kinds of campaigns.
Mobile messaging is especially effective for recovery because it allows brands to immediately reach their shoppers as soon as they abandon their cart (or soon after) and catch them while they’re still in a shopping mood. Chances are, with the right offer and right timing you will be able to save the majority of your orders and increase conversion.
4. SMS and customer reactivation
It’s a wide-known fact that acquiring new customers is not as budget-friendly as putting some extra effort into retaining existing ones (it’s five times more costly). In addition to that, they are your most genuine source of new customers: If they are happy with your products, they will tell their friends, family, coworkers, and others. Word-of-mouth will work wonders.
Despite all efforts to keep them engaged, customers’ attention shifts constantly and sometimes loyal customers might go “offline” for a bit. It is every brand’s duty to keep a close eye on their inactive customers, and, every once in a while, nudge them to send a reminder that they exist.
What better way to do that than with a personalized message? Quick, brief, to-the-point, garnished with a juicy “we want you back” discount, and a witty call to action will easily remind your customers of your existence and will spark their interest again.
5. SMS and post-sale care
After-sales care is sometimes neglected; although, this is where brands can truly stand out. Whether it is an order confirmation request, a shipping update, or the occasional “How did you like your most recent order?”, these actions show extra care and will make your customers feel happy about choosing you.
Not to mention, some shoppers are anxious when shopping with brands they aren’t familiar with, so keeping them in the loop about their order will assure them that they’ve made the right choice. Since updating customers in a timely manner is important, there is no quicker way than through SMS. With SMS, you won’t risk the notification getting lost, and it allows customers to react instantly.
6. SMS and the extra sale
Let’s say you went through all the steps we just talked about, and your small business had a very great time on the last big holiday, saw some great conversion rates, recovered a bunch of abandoned carts, and grew its base of happy customers with great after-sales service.
Now you’re thinking of going the extra mile and trying to score some extra sales, aren’t you?
If not, you should be. After all, you got your customers’ attention once, so it only makes sense to try and extend that and turn them into loyal, repeat shoppers.
Upsell or cross-sell promotions via SMS are the way to go. They are a very non-intrusive way to just tell your customer “Hey, I think this might go well with what you just purchased.”
Try to make the message sound personal—the same way you’d recommend a product to your friend or relative. Throw in a small incentive, but let them know it’s not going to last long. At the end of the day, if they think what you’re offering is a good fit for what they bought, they won’t think twice.
If you are a small business looking to grow, you should direct your marketing efforts towards a lesser saturated channel where you’d have a stronger opportunity to be noticed. One such channel is SMS:
- SMS has an open rate of 98%.
- It is cost-effective.
- It is direct, quick, and personal.
- SMS is great for product launches, as well as bulk sales on big retail holidays.
- It offers great cart-recovery rates.
- You can use it for successful retargeting campaigns.
- It offers a tool for effective after-sales services.
This blog post was written by Viktoria Philbrick, a Content Creator at SMSBump. If you’re a retailer looking to adopt SMS as part of your marketing solutions and maintain an omnichannel presence, make sure to check out our partners at SMSBump.