10 Ways To Incorporate SMS Into Your Email Strategy
As we start to work to meet recipients where they are, SMS is used more and more alongside email as a powerhouse communication strategy. This is not an either/or, but instead, complementary channels. In this episode, I share 10 tips on how to incorporate SMS into your email strategy. You'll be able to apply these tactics right after the episode. Take a look.
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10 Ways To Incorporate SMS Into Your Email Strategy
I am pumped about this episode, but before I jump in, I have to say it's crazy that we've been live for over a month. I've enjoyed those of you that have reached out and shared what you've liked in the episodes. Some of the wins are from the tips you've implemented and also the suggestions you've had on topics you'd like to hear about. Keep those coming.
If you have a moment, please rate the show on your platform of choice. This is going to continue to help us reach more folks that need it. As we evolve, there are going to be more and more ways to communicate. I'm currently doing a ton of research on Gen Z, as a matter of fact, trying to understand how brands can connect with them more effectively, especially as they propel into consumers.
They are technically our first glimpse into a new world where meeting your customers where they are, is going to be a key. In that same vein, SMS marketing is coming in hot. If you're selling anything to anyone, you might be wondering how to get SMS started. I am here to share ten ways to incorporate SMS into your email strategy.
Tip #1: Send Targeted Promotions And Discounts
First and foremost, do not think of SMS and email as an either/or situation. These are two complementary channels and they get more traction when they're strategized together. I do think it's important before we talk about the tips to understand some of the big advantages that SMS brings you. Number one is going to be the generous open rates. Text messages are one of the most frequently read forms of communication. They have a 98% open rate. Meaning SMS marketing is extremely effective at getting a message to your subscribers. Up to five times more effective than your email campaigns.
You probably have interacted and texted somebody while you've been tuning in. Next, they have a significant engagement factor. Text messages can elicit more interaction from your subscribers, so their response rate is 209% higher than email, Facebook or phone marketing. People are also quick to respond to text messages within 90 seconds in many cases. Email can take up to 90 minutes. Last, they have strong redemption rates. If your business uses SMS marketing to send coupons, you'll see a higher redemption rate. Consumers redeem text message coupons ten times more often than they do with other types of digital coupons. Text messages also have a 50% conversion rate.
Text messages are one of the most frequently read forms of communication. They have a 98% open rate.
Remember, after this episode, you couldn’t just decide you're going to completely abandon your email strategy and only go into the SMS because you'll see as we progress through, they need to work with one another to be effective. If you went the SMS-only route, blowing up your customers’ phones is a little bit more intimate, and we wouldn't want to do that. I'm going to talk to you about how we can incorporate SMS as a part of your email strategy.
Ten tips are coming at you. Here is number one. Let's focus on sending targeted promotions and discounts. You know that your customers are more likely to redeem coupons sent to them in a text. You want to capitalize this on sending promotional texts that correspond to actions they've taken as a result of your email campaigns. This can include targeted offers because of where they clicked in an email, as well as any site activity.
One of the things I love to do in an abandoned cart flow is if we get all the way through those typical three emails that we send and we have one text message at the end as a fourth touchpoint, looking to see who out of this series has clicked the email, but hasn't unsubscribed. Using that clicking engagement to send the coupon one more time via SMS. You can certainly take that as a win because we get a lot of conversions from that sort of urgent last attempt straight to your phone.
Tip #2: Get Feedback From Your Customers
Tip number two, get feedback from your customers. You can follow up on an email campaign by asking customers to respond to questions or surveys. Since text messages have high open rates and response rates, you're more likely to get legitimate responses than with emails alone. This is also a good way to get feedback about a recent purchase. I also recommend this if you have any ticketing system that's been closed, you could immediately send an SMS to gauge service.
Tip #3: Leverage SMS in A Key Life Cycle Program
Tip number three, leverage SMS in a key lifecycle program when an email bounces. Emails do bounce, but that doesn't need to be the end of your communication. You can build out a step in your life cycle programs, in which, ahead of your next email send, you read for those emails that have bounced. If it is true, you can create an SMS track that will continue the messages and allow you to connect with these recipients. Another type of thought track here is sending out an SMS to have a user update their email address when it's bad. Regardless, these are two useful ways to leverage this same sort of idea.
Tip #4: Use SMS for Product Reviews
Tip number four, SMS is great for product reviews. Having a review tool like Yotpo is great. A product review is a simple message that can be sent via SMS. You can make it easy for your customers to take action, click the link in the SMS and give you a review. The best part you can send a follow-up SMS upon submission to tell them thank you or offer them a special promo code or gifts.
Another thought here is that if you do have a tool like Yotpo, one of the benefits is they send the email on behalf for you automatically at the perfect time, like two weeks after the purchase or whatnot. The second benefit is they have the ability to fill the survey outright in the email, which is like a user interface dream. One of my favorite things to do in that case is let the email still deploy, and then once we read that the submission has happened, we send a thank you SMS to them because that's going to be a more urgent way to encourage the next purchase, especially if you're sending a promo code.
Tip #5: Incorporate Push Notifications
Tip number five, incorporate account notifications into SMS. When we want to send tracking information or shipping updates or even subscribe and save renewals, SMS can be a nice compliment to email. I recommend that these go hand in hand and are not one or the other. You can't rely 100% percent on your recipients opening an email. By sending an SMS, too, you can ensure that your recipients see important information. This is like a customer service solve here.
By getting things like shipping updates and tracking progress to them quickly, you can reduce the likelihood of them reaching out to customer service. This is a great one to add. Also, you can have points on your preference center that asks, "Would you like to receive important account notifications via SMS, email or both?" That would allow them to go down their proper track. You're serving them where they asked to be served.
Tip #6: Use SMS for NPS Surveys
Tip number six, SMS provides the easiest NPS surveys ever. If you're doing NPS, SMS is such an easy way to get your NPS score. All your recipients have to do is reply with their score. No more of this clicking on the email to drive to another page to complete the NPS survey. There are a lot of great NPS tools out there that make this interaction user-friendly and also increase your chances for data collection. This is such a good way to use SMS.
Most people have their phones on them all day, but that doesn't mean you can text them at any time.
Tip #7: Incorporate Customer Service
Number seven for human touch, incorporate it into your customer service. This is one of my favorites. While we want to make sure we are not blowing up our customers' phones, it's a great offer to have a short code customer service option. This makes customers feel like they are speaking to a real person on the other end, which can be nice. You can integrate all of this into a Zen desk, so it's trackable.
It's still a great, easy option for this customer service to be embedded into all emails and your website for a quick and easy way to get help. You can use the short code everywhere. It's even in the email. If they click on it on a mobile device, it is going to open up their SMS, and they can start typing in. It's a nice human touch to incorporate SMS as a part of your customer service strategy.
Bonus Tip #8: Host A Giveaway
The last three tips are going to be bonus examples. Bonus example, tip number eight. Host a giveaway that offers bonus entries for entering on different platforms. Giveaways are an excellent way to spread brand awareness. You can make it simple for people to sign up with their email addresses, then offer them several opportunities for bonus entries. That can include signing up for text messages, as well as following your organization on multiple social media platforms. You can even give people bonus entries for referring friends to the giveaway.
A pro-tip to boost the giveaways' potential, team up with other businesses to put together a full package of products or services. This can get your brand in front of an entirely new audience, which can increase both your reputation and conversions. You can see how we can collect an email address and a phone number in a giveaway. This is a good example.
Bonus Tip #9: Send Exclusive Loyalty Offers
Tip number nine, bonus example. Send exclusive loyalty offers with a clear and compelling call to action. Businesses that have a loyalty program can use SMS marketing to encourage follow-up purchases. You can include exclusive discount codes for online and in-store use, but that's the beginning. You can also offer customers the chance to earn bonus points towards their loyalty rewards.
This is a great way to encourage additional spending, especially if your customers are close to a reward threshold. Pro-tip, include an expiration date to inspire a sense of urgency in your customers. You want them to feel like this is a personal offer that they cannot pass up. A smart strategy is to give them 24 to 48 hours to take advantage of this offer.
Bonus Tip #10: Remind Customers Of Events
Lastly, tip number ten, bonus example. Remind customers about upcoming events and expiring promotions. Text messages don't have to be coupons and requests for more information. They are a practical tool for reminding your customers about things they don't want to miss. If your business offers appointments, you can send reminders about upcoming dates via email and text. You can also use SMS marketing to remind people about email promotions you've sent them.
Rule of thumb, when thinking about your implementation strategy, the main criteria to take into account when incorporating SMS into your existing email program are archival and urgency. If your message requires urgent action or is time-sensitive, SMS is more effective. If your message needs to be saved by your customers for a later date, email may be the right way to go.
In addition, if you have got a lot to say, you definitely want to use an email. You've got to remember that SMS on different carriers can show up a whole bunch of different ways. We make sure we keep the messages under 160 characters. If you can't do that, you need to leverage email, and you could even send a complimentary SMS in that case that's like, "Important update. Check your inbox."
Some final thoughts, be respectful of timing. Most people have their phones on them all day, from waking them up in the morning to helping them wind down for bed. Your subscribers are perpetually connected. That doesn't mean you can text them at any time. You need to find the optimal time to send SMS marketing campaigns based on your audience and industry. This is important.
After this episode, if you're like, "I am going to sit down, and I'm going to carve out my SMS strategy now." Please be respectful of timing and ensure that you know who you're targeting and you have thought through when you should not send them an SMS. I'll tell you while we cannot stand spammy emails, sending an SMS at the wrong time is going to hurt the brand much worse.
Next, include the appropriate disclosures. Unlimited text messaging is common. Some people still have data limits and message rates to consider when they sign up for SMS marketing offers. It's crucial to include disclosures about your campaigns when people sign up. You also want to let people know how to unsubscribe from your text messages.
Last, make it concise and simple. Since you want to be mindful of how many messages you send per month, it's a good idea to make your SMS marketing campaigns as concise as possible. That means getting straight to the offer and staying within standard character limits. Include short links, if you want to expand on the message in your text. If you have any other questions about how to incorporate SMS into your email marketing strategy, please send them my way at Conversations@EmailGrowthSociety.com. In the meantime, happy emailing and SMS-ing.