SMS 101: A Quick-Start Guide For Email Marketers

You've heard the SMS hype, know it's real, and want in (average open rate of 98%? Yes, please). Yet, even for a savvy ecommerce marketer like you, adding a new channel can be daunting. We get it! But opportunity has come calling, so you've got to text back.

Fear not, Ecomm Rebel! This quickstart guide, and our upcoming SMS Webinar, will take you from zero to SMS hero in no time. 

Ready to start texting? Let's go!

It's easy as 1,2,3, ABC, SMS… you get the picture. Here's how to get started:

Step 1: Choose a provider

There are many SMS platforms available, each with different functionalities. Drip lets you sync email and SMS, which is essential for successful ecommerce marketing. With both under one roof, your customer touchpoints will complement and build off one another. When you are running an ecommerce marketing campaign with goals to convert shoppers and build loyalty, that's what matters most. 

Step 2: Ask for those digits! (Nicely, of course)

Haute Hijab's Email and SMS Opt-In Form.

You know what they say, an engaged SMS list wasn't built in a day! Or was that Rome? Either way, slow and steady is the way to an engaged list that consistently converts. 

Update your existing forms and checkout flow (On Shopify? Add SMS consent at checkout) to include the option for subscribers to provide their number during the sign-up process. Then, read through our 8 Ways To Grow Your SMS List for a kickstart guide to start getting those digits! 

Step 3: Set up high-impact workflows

Your forms are ready, but before they go live, make sure your subscribers will get the warm welcome they deserve. Just like with email, you want to have (shorter and sweeter) welcome, abandoned cart, and post-purchase automations in place. More on that now…

Welcome Workflow

New subscriber? Roll out the red carpet and give them a proper introduction to your brand. We've made it easy for you with a Drip pre-built SMS Welcome Workflow.

Example SMS welcome text.

Abandoned cart

Ecommerce marketers love abandoned cart emails because they are so effective, so wait till you see the results when you add SMS into the mix! SMS is appropriate to send much sooner - even within the hour of cart abandonment - but limit your sends to one per cart so that you don't overdo it. Include a cart URL to bring your customer back to where they left off.

Example abandoned cart SMS.

Post-purchase 

Customers love the thrill of a checkout confirmation as much as you do, making it an ideal time to engage. Send SMS messages that:

  • Set expectations on shipping and delivery timelines.

  • Share more of your brand story.

  • Give relevant and interesting product info. 

  • Send tips on how to get started after product delivery. 

Have fun! SMS is a conversational, relationship-building channel, so use your unique brand voice and remind your customer why they love you.

Example post purchase SMS.

 Step 4: Send some campaigns!

SMS messages land in your customers' (digital) personal space, so it makes sense they'd be sensitive to excessive texting. Focus on sending high-value SMS messages without blowing up their phones. In addition to automated workflows, here are some campaigns ideas to work into your send schedule: 

Example promotional campaign.

  • Time-sensitive offers and flash sales: SMS is ideal for promoting a time-bound offer. 

  • Reward your VIP with early access to deals, restocks, and new products. 

  • Product launch? Tell your email list to join SMS for first dips.  

Example promotional SMS campaign.

  • Low inventory alerts are a courtesy (tell your VIPs first) and a way to drive urgency to snag a beloved product.

  • Back-in-stock alerts are the same, let your VIPs refill their supply and then spread the news far and wide. 

  • Content and tips to delight and engage customers. 

Example promotional SMS campaign.

Mo' money, mo' problems. Is SMS expensive?

SMS is a very cost-effective channel, and it has proven efficacy. Upfront costs are minimal when you are getting started and have a small subscriber list. Have a more extensive subscriber list ready and waiting? That is what we call an untapped revenue opportunity (aka goldmine) at your fingertips.

The typical cost for an SMS message is $0.01; we suggest sending four campaigns each month, so here is the cost breakdown with that in mind: 

  • 100 subscribers @ 4 campaigns per month
    • 400 messages = $4
  • 1,000 subscribers @ 4 campaigns per month
    • 4,000 messages = $40
  • 10,000 subscribers @ 4 campaigns per month
    • 40,000 messages = $400

Say What? Different list sizes, different send strategies. 

Your SMS approach will grow with your list, whether you're just getting started or already trying to keep up with a lengthy subscriber list. 

Here are some suggestions on how to approach your communication strategy, no matter what list size you are working with:

100+ Subscribers

With a smaller community, focus on setting up automation and sending high-value texts on a consistent cadence; no need to segment until your list grows and there is more variance to your customer base. Here are a few action items:

  • Set up your welcome, abandoned cart, and post-purchase automations so they are synced with your email automations to boost visibility and reinforce your message across touchpoints. 

  • Tell your SMS subscribers first about updates, sales, restocks, and new products so they feel like true VIPs.

  • Connect with your audience through storytelling that brings your customers into the fold and makes them feel like they are a part of your success story. 

1,000 Subscribers

You're growing! Do all of the above, and start segmenting, testing, and personalizing. 

  • Segment based on customers (have purchased) and non-customers (yet to convert) and tailor your language to drive first-time and repeat purchases. Have some clear VIPs? They're an excellent cohort to send brand and behind-the-scenes content that brings them further into your brand world.

  • Which type of texts do your customers engage with most? Send messages for sales and discounts, product highlights, content and storytelling, and restocks to find out. 

  • Try different copy and see what gets the most clicks and conversions: straight to the point or cute and quippy? Emojis and images or plain text, only?

10,000+ Subscribers

As your subscriber list grows, so does your data. Time to turn those insights into strategy: 

  • Personalize your sends with content that is most relevant to the customer segment. A few groups to consider:

    • VIPs 

    • New purchasers and returning customers 

    • Engaged and unengaged subscribers 

    • Purchasers of specific products 

    • Recent buyers and lapsed buyers

    • Sale only shoppers

  • Test! Split your subscriber list and send separate campaigns with minor changes to copy and presentation, then see what gets the most clicks and conversions. Then apply these insights to future sends as you hone in on what most engages your community. 

Your turn - show them what you've got (via text)!

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

Ready to get started? Join our upcoming SMS Webinar and you'll be well on your way to SMS success.