How do you do SMS Marketing for Ecommerce

Growing your ecommerce business using text messages for marketing

Written by

Corey Epstein

Published on

11 Apr, 19

Table of Contents

  • Does Text Marketing work?
  • How to do SMS Marketing?
  • Choosing a service provider
  • Building your distribution list
  • Ensure compliance before you text
  • Sending the right message(s)
  • Keep it direct and simple

Email marketing has long been the bread-and-butter of direct digital marketing, but it is losing ground. Engagement metrics for email have been dropping steadily. According to the 2016 and 2018 edition of a study, open rates for retail emails dropped from 43.8% to 30.3%. Even click-through rates have gone from 30.3% to an abysmal 2.7% in just two years.

(Source: “2016 SendGrid Global Email Benchmark Report”, & “2018 SendGrid Global Email Benchmark Report”, SendGrid)

Email might have been too successful for its own good. 53% of all consumers say that they are receiving too many irrelevant emails, and estimates on the amount of spam stretch from 45% to 73% of all email.

(Source: “DMA Insight: Consumer Email Tracker 2017”, 01/12/2018, The Direct Marketing Association, or DMA)
(Source: “Spam Statistics and Facts”, SpamLaws.com)

In an increasingly mobile-first world, SMS marketing may be the answer.

Does Text Marketing work?

Text Marketing or SMS Marketing refers to brands using SMS to communicate with their audience and works like Email marketing. Its effectiveness is seen in how it comprehensively beats email marketing on the two most relevant engagement metrics –

  • Open Rate – Email Marketing: 20.81%; SMS Marketing: 98%
  • Click-through Rate (CTR) – Email Marketing: 2.43%, SMS Marketing: 36%

In terms of revenue, adding SMS to existing email marketing campaigns was shown to increase revenue by 38%. Overall, text marketing does work – if done effectively, of course.

(Source: “Email Marketing Benchmarks”, MailChimp, updated 03/2018; “What is the open rate of SMS Text Messaging?”, Shift Communications, Christopher S. Penn, Shift Communications, 09/29/2015)
(Source: “Spam Statistics and Facts”, SpamLaws.com)

How to do SMS Marketing?

Here are 5 tips on how to do SMS marketing effectively:

  • Choosing a service provider
  • Building your distribution list
  • Ensure compliance before you text
  • Crafting the right message(s)
  • Keep it direct and simple

Choosing a service provider

There are many platforms providing text messaging for businesses today. Choosing the right one for you involves seeing which features and pricing suit your specific needs best. Things to look out for when making your choice –

  • Does it require coding? Choose a platform with an easy-to-use editor. Your platform should be built for marketers, not for developers.
  • Is it automated? The most useful platforms will allow for automated customer segmentation and building a calendar for a forward-looking plan and campaign.
  • Can you optimize? The best platforms will allow you to track the effectiveness of different messages, as well as collect customer-level data and click information.

Building your distribution list

Once you have chosen a service provider, the next step is building your audience. Most businesses today will ask users to share their email addresses to receive offers or promotions. This usually comes at the end of them making a purchase, or as an opt-in field on the website. However, this doesn’t always have a lot of traction.

Other ways to get opt-ins are the same as with email – nothing gets a customer willing to share his email address or phone number as much as a discount. You can leverage your social media presence as well, offering discount codes to people sharing their phone numbers and email addresses. You can also offer free content, such as a webinar or ebook, to build your distribution list.

Ensure compliance before you text

It isn’t just bad marketing to SMS someone without their permission – it is against the law to send promotional digital communication to someone without them expressly opting in. Therefore, you should make a 100% sure that you have a digital record of customers who choose to opt-in, and that you additionally provide an unsubscribe option with every marketing SMS that you send.

Sending the right message(s)

You should be set to send out your first marketing SMS at this stage. However, it’s important to take a step back and think the whole campaign out first. Think through the user journey and your audience segments – craft campaigns to make leads buy, to get feedback from present customers, and upsell to older patrons. Your goal shouldn’t be too communicate for the sake of building the brand. SMS marketing is purpose-driven, and each message you send should have a clear purpose and a clear expectation from the recipient. Build out your automated campaigns, and keep measuring them for their effectiveness.

Keep it direct and simple

SMS as a medium is somehow more personal than email. People reach for their smartphones as soon as they wake up, and the mobile phone is the default channel for communication for most individuals. The limited character length in SMS also means that brevity will be essential in getting your message across. In other words, keep it short and simple, with a clear CTA that spurs the recipients into clicking or reacting the way you want them to.