Text message marketing is a massively underutilised method of communication that meets the changing expectations of your customers.
In eCommerce the ability to communicate with your customers is essential. Not least because more and more customers want a personalised experience from the businesses they shop with.
The digital divide makes it difficult to form meaningful relationships with customers. Unlike staff in physical stores, you can’t chat to customers and build that all-important rapport.
This is a major challenge for eCommerce businesses that, thanks to rising cost prices, are losing their competitive edge. Not to mention the growing competition in the marketplace as a whole.
Customers who want more from their shopping experience are returning to the high street. Making it harder for eCommerce businesses to win and retain customers using tried and tested methods.
In reality, customer expectations haven’t really changed. Rather they have matured and become more defined. Customers have always wanted great customer service, it’s just historically that meant free, next day, shipping.
While most customers still want a quick turnaround, they want great customer service to be closer to a great customer experience.
That means a personalised shopping experience, a sense that you know who they are and any communications reflect that.
Text message marketing allows you to do that very thing while driving traffic to your site and boosting sales.
How to use Text Message Marketing
Text message marketing is something that businesses have been using ever since mobile phones became popular. With varying degrees of success.
Businesses from banks to parking apps use text messages to nudge customers in an attempt to change their behaviour. Because of this, text message marketing is more intrusive and interruptive than email marketing.
But this is largely down to how businesses choose to deploy it.
The important thing to remember is most people feel personal connections to their phones. It’s not surprising, as they are used for contacting friends and family.
With this in mind, if you’re going to contact customers using a device they feel protective of, it needs to be worth it.
That is to say, your communications need to be relevant, personalised and timely.
Relevance is the watchword of digital marketing. Everything you do should be relevant to one of your audience personas.
If you are going to use SMS to communicate with your customers, every message should be relevant. It should contain information they will find useful or product offers based on their purchase history.
Text message marketing needs to be personalised. The recipient needs to feel like the message has been crafted specifically for them.
You need to pull together your customer data to make this possible. Without it, you’re reduced to a scattergun approach that will have customers replying STOP in droves.
Timely has two components to it. Firstly any offer or promotion needs to coincide with customer behaviour – such as visiting the site in the last 24 hours. Also, you need to send any text messages at a sensible time.
No customer will thank you for waking them up at 3 am, no matter how good your discounts are.
Why Text Message Marketing Boosts Conversion
Text message marketing can be used in several ways, depending on your business.
For eCommerce companies, text messages are used for promotional purposes as well as notifying customers when orders are on their way.
Communicating with customers in this way will, through the law of averages, move the needle eventually.
But if you want to drive conversions through text message marketing then you need to offer your customers something with a little more substance.
You also need to think a little more commercially about the customer data you have at your disposal.
Bearing in mind how the average customer expects more from the companies they shop with, tailored offers are easy value-add.
All you need is to do is consolidate your customer data with their purchase history and your product data. This allows you to create personalised offers and promotions that your customers will actually respond to.
On the basis that these customers have already purchased with you, they are far more likely to respond to a personalised offer than a generic 20% off everything. If for no other reason than the human brain is lazy, 20% off everything means they have to think about what they might like.
A specific offer gives the thought process a jump start and makes it much easier to click the link.
If there are users who have given you their data but have not purchased, try teasing them with an intro offer. This could be anything from a discount on their first purchase or an introductory gift.
It’s harder to offer these customers a personalised option because they haven’t purchased yet. However, use what data you have to try to make any offer as relevant to them as possible.
Customers lapse because they no longer see your site as relevant to them. It’s a harsh reality of the space in which you operate.
Inevitably, customers will go where they can find the products at the right price with the service they expect. If they’ve lapsed it’s because they’ve found what they want elsewhere.
However, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be receptive to a personalised offer. Lapsed customer offers can be highly aggressive as they need to bring the customer back. Big discounts, free next day delivery and high-value promotions are all effective ways of getting customers back.
Abandoned Basket Offers
Customers bounce out of your site all the time without purchasing. The majority will do so because they’re not ready to purchase or they’re doing their price research.
If they don’t come back, it could be because they’ve found the product cheaper elsewhere. Or they could have just forgotten. Sending a text message reminding customers of the items in their basket can be all that’s needed to complete the purchase.
If they haven’t taken action after 24 hours you can always sweeten the deal by offering them free shipping.
Limited Time Offers
Creating a sense of urgency in customers is a great way of driving conversions. Limited-time deals, tailored to the customer will drive traffic to the website.
Fear of missing out (FOMO) is one of the most powerful tools in your toolbox. It’s the same psychological principle that drives sales in the closing days/hours of a sale.
Customers hate feeling like they’ve missed out on a good deal. Especially one that’s been tailored to their preferences.
Take advantage of your sales data to hit customers at risk of churn with a limited time offer text message.
Building your Text Message Marketing Campaign
A text message marketing campaign needs to be more than a single text. Especially for lapsed customer campaigns.
Not every customer is going to respond the first time. Not least because they may not be able to. As mentioned, the timing of your campaign can make a big difference.
For this reason, it’s always worth split testing your first few campaigns. This will give you an idea of the optimal send times.
Utilising a journey planner will help you to build the campaign in terms of the number of text messages you send. And the delay between each one.
You can apply conditional logic here to make sure that customers who convert don’t keep getting messages. That is guaranteed to destroy any trust you have built up with your customers.
Take the time to map out your text message marketing campaign considering the following:
- What do you know about your customers?
- To what degree can you personalise your campaign?
- What do you want your customers to do?
- How many text messages do you want them to receive?
- How many days do you want to delay each text message?
- What are you prepared to offer?
- Consider an initial offer and follow up offers to sweeten the deal
- Are you putting a time limit on any promotion or offer to build urgency?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, rather one to get you thinking about how to best engage with your customers.
But the key component is the quality of the data you’re working with. If you’ve got customer phone numbers, that’s great. That shows a high level of trust at the point that information was provided.
Don’t burn that goodwill. Make sure you can consolidate your data into a Single Customer View so you can build campaigns that are as personalised as possible.
Your ability to make your customers feel valued – special even – is what will drive conversions. Both off the back of this campaign and in the future.
Customers who feel valued and trust who they’re shopping with will spend more and more frequently. That not only boosts your revenue but makes you more profitable too.
To learn more about how you can use your data to drive conversions with text message marketing, get in touch and request a demo.
Xtremepush is the world’s leading customer data and engagement data platform. We work with various top brands within the eCommerce industry. Schedule a personalised demo of our platform to learn more about how we can help your brand drive repeat customers and increase revenue.