Build long-lasting relationships with SMS

Many marketing channels have tried—and failed—to connect with customers in a meaningful way. Too many ads on social media, or “creepy” ones that follow you around the web, and an onslaught of emails asking you to come back and purchase that product you looked at (once!)—have all missed the mark.

When it comes to building long-term relationships with your customers, making sure communications feel personal is key.

If you haven’t heard, SMS is THE hottest channel on the marketing block because it provides a direct line of communication to build personal relationships with your customers.

Other channels have achieved some level of effective personalization, like including a customer’s first name or purchase details in an email. However, the advantage of SMS marketing is that it goes a step further and creates an opportunity to build human connections and elicit emotional responses right where customers like to hang out best — their personal devices.

Why use SMS marketing?

Photo by <a target=Photo by Jae Park on Unsplash.

Reach, Speed, Personality 

When was the last time you checked your phone? That’s proof enough that SMS offers a near-instant way to communicate with customers. What’s more, it provides a way to avoid getting buried under inbox clutter (or worse, the spam folder). While our email inboxes have become more crowded than ever, text messages rarely go unread.

Consider this: SMS messages have an average open rate of 98%, while email scores around a 20% average open rate.

When someone does open and respond to an email, it takes an average of 90 minutes or more. Average time for SMS message responses? A speedy 90 seconds. Quick opens and sky-high engagement rates are what marketing dreams are made of, and yet there is still more to win with SMS… 

The way consumers interact with brands is changing, and the value of SMS marketing lies in its ability to be both intimate and immediate. Not only are mobile phones always at arm’s length, but text messages are attention-grabbing, personal, relatable, and to the point - key elements that motivate shoppers to convert. 

Own, don’t rent, access to your customers

The technology landscape is ever-changing and brands are beginning to realize that their social followings and social ad sets are rented, not owned.

That’s a shaky place for any business considering out-of-your-control factors such as consumer privacy regulations, changes in data sharing, and the corporate goals of the social platforms in use.

For example, social media platforms want to drive adoption of their paid advertising solutions and thus organic social reach has been on the decline for business accounts. Owning your customer data and access is more essential than ever, and SMS allows brands to build direct relationships with their customers.

You can connect with your customers any time you want without having to fight an algorithm for control over who sees your content (eh-hem, looking at you Facebook).

But, do customers want my texts?

Yes! Consumers love and depend on their phones; over 95% of Americans now own a mobile device, and over 85% owning a smartphone, making it easier than ever to reach them on their personal devices. Plus, consumers have stated that they want to receive text message communications from brands - it’s easy and when done well, fun!

Consumers' appetite for mobile communications is growing. And Marketers are responding accordingly.

49% of marketers report SMS subscriber list growth in 2021, and 75% plan to increase the number of text communications they send to consumers in 2022*. Brands that invest in SMS early are going to have a clear advantage.

SMS marketing is explicitly opt-in (no purchasing lists or texting customers without consent allowed), thanks to regulations from the TCPA. This means that when someone gives you their phone number, they want to hear from you! 

As long as you set reasonable expectations on the types of content you plan to send, and give subscribers an easy way to unsubscribe, consumers are willing to give up their numbers in exchange for access to exclusive content, like flash sales and new product launches.

SMS Inspo for Ecommerce Brands 

Wondering what to send? People like to be in the know, feel that they matter, and have an inside line, so keep customers informed about offers, events, behind-the-scenes, and other info that provides a “first look” or VIP type of feel.

Providing value to your customers paired with a feeling of exclusive access is how SMS is so effective at boosting customer engagement and loyalty.

Ready to start texting? Here is some inspiration on how to use SMS to build a unique connection with your customers.  

  • Welcome message. Support your email marketing strategy with a personal welcome via text. Get started using Drip’s pre-built SMS Welcome Workflow.

  • Time-sensitive offers. Running a flash sale? Send it via SMS where it’s most likely to be seen the fastest. Or send a follow-up “last chance to get the sale” SMS to customers that open or click an email announcement but haven’t yet converted with a purchase. 

  • VIP offers. Texting with your VIPs is a surefire way to make them feel like VIPs. If you have a regular customer, they already love you and via SMS you can provide even more value to deepen their brand loyalty. Give them exclusive offers, first dibs on restocked products, or early access to a product launch. 

  • Cart abandonment. Send an SMS with a cart URL to capture your customer’s attention, and add the photos of the abandoned products to remind them of what they’re missing. Limit your SMS to one per workflow for cart abandonment. It’s great for that initial message, but you don’t want to overdo it.

  • Seasonal updates. Black Friday/Cyber Monday is a great time to implement SMS into your marketing strategy. Add value for your customers and capture their attention by launching your best offers to SMS subscribers first during the busy holiday season. In the midst of such a busy marketing season, make it easy for customers to snag your deals. 

  • New product launches. Give SMS subscribers exclusive first access to new products to drive long-lasting loyalty within the channel - if they know they get the inside scoop, they’ll be more inclined to engage to “keep” their access.

  • Low inventory alerts. Drive urgency by informing subscribers when products are about to sell out! Especially for VIP customers who are regular purchasers of an item. 

  • Back in stock alerts. Capture quick sales when your most-loved products are restocked, before they sell out again. Another important text to send your VIP customers, especially.

Need more inspiration? Check out our 10 SMS Marketing Campaign Ideas for 2021.

SMS and email - friends or foes?

Photo by Monica Sauro on Unsplash.

Photo by Monica Sauro on Unsplash.

SMS and email are synchronistic and complementary. Building both of these channels is important, and will ensure you have a strong foundation of owned customer access backing your business.

To get the most out of each channel, play to the strengths of each. SMS is great for immediacy and has a more casual, conversational tone. Email is the go-to for information and expanded brand campaigns.

Email is so widely used that customers are slower to read and often miss emails, even from their favorite brands. A well-timed complementary or follow-up SMS can be effective at pique-ing a customer's interest and driving them to click through to whatever was missed in an email. 

Use Email to:

  • Send personalized communications and automations.

  • Present a brand campaign or product launch with rich assets and info.

  • Communicate purchase confirmations and logistics.

  • Build relationships with subscribers through longer-form content. 

  • Communicate need-to-know information.

  • Drive revenue by announcing sales and new products.

Use SMS to:

  • Talk with your customers like friends or family.

  • Share behind the scenes of your business and brand.

  • Make communications feel more intimate and personal.

  • Drive urgency and share time-sensitive information.

  • Expand on your existing email strategy with timely, supportive SMS follow-ups.

SMS offers a unique opportunity to build relationships with customers in a more personal way. Email’s DNA is built on a “batch and blast” approach, while SMS is rooted in two-way, personal conversations.

When executed well, SMS marketing can lead to better engagement, increased conversions, and higher revenue. Here are a few more things to keep in mind as you get into SMS marketing: 

Less is more. Many brands have grown accustomed to sending daily email communications, but SMS is far more frequency sensitive. Use Drip’s powerful segmentation to ensure you thoughtfully communicate with your customers and avoid sending too many messages.

Be mindful of send times. How likely are you to stay subscribed to a brand that wakes you up with a message at 2 am? Not likely. Be considerate when timing your SMS messages, and know that Drip has you covered with compliant waking hours for campaigns and workflows so you never risk sending a “U up?” text accidentally.

Ready to start building your SMS list?

You know what they say, an engaged SMS list wasn’t built in a day! Or was that Rome? Either way, the same logic applies. 

To add SMS into your marketing strategy, you have to start by asking for customers’ phone numbers. Start with updating your existing forms and checkout flow to include the option for subscribers to provide their number, in addition to email address, during the sign-up process.

Also, send an email campaign inviting your subscribers to enroll for text messages - a special deal, access to a new product, or discount can help them make the leap!

Drip SMS will help you connect with your customers at just the right time to increase conversions, brand awareness, and build relationships that lead to long-lasting loyalty.

We’re psyched for you to try out our better-than-ever SMS, it makes savvy SMS marketing a breeze so you can build your customer loyalty and revenue, too!