SMS, or text message, marketing is something that seems to really divide opinions. Some hate it, some love it, but the undeniable truth is that most online stores should be using it by now.
SMS never has been, never should be, and probably never will be, a replacement for email marketing, but the question isn’t really a ‘one or the other’ situation. Most ecommerce businesses should leverage an SMS strategy that’s separate from their other channels, but still works as a part of the big picture. There are a lot of ways to crack that nut.
Luckily, we go over all the basics right here!
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First things first, which SMS platforms are out there? Do they work with ecommerce platforms like Shopify?
Short answer: a lot, and most of them do.
Longer answer, it really depends what your preference and budget is. There are a lot of highly rated Shopify apps like SMSBump and Message Mate. They’re generally pretty easy to set up and navigate, especially if you pay attention to the app documentation.
While it’s still a new feature, we think Klaviyo is a bit of a no-brainer, simply because it already does powerful email marketing with Shopify. To me, it makes sense to take advantage of one platform for multiple purposes as long as the functionality is there, and in the case of Klaviyo it is.
So how do I even build a text list?
There’s a couple ways to do this the RIGHT way. If you have a large, existing database of customers, leverage cross channel promotion. Offer a free product, shipping discount, coupon, download, or something else to get users who already follow you to opt in to SMS.
You can also use programs like Privy (among many others) to create pop ups for mobile users that are similar to your email collection pop ups, but for SMS instead. If you don’t want to completely cannibalize your email list building, you can set it to show for portions of your audience too. This is important because taking this approach WILL ding your email signups while you do it.
Note: We never recommend paying for lists of any kind, SMS, email, or otherwise. Build an audience that wants to hear from you instead.
So how do I use it?
There’s not one right answer, just like there’s no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy either. There are a few tactics that I’ve found to be particularly helpful though.
Use it for announcements, but be strategic.
If you have a new product launch or sale, it’s tempting to launch ads, emails, texts, and more all at once. Try not to. Stagger the announcement so that people don’t feel overburdened, and you have the opportunity to cast a wider net.
Another benefit of using something like Klaviyo is that you can segment people who are in your text audience but NOT your email list, and text only them when your email goes out (this way, people get an announcement once, but not twice on different channels).
Time Sensitive Info
There are a lot of use cases for this. Maybe you’ve started a flash sale. Maybe you’ve got a Black Friday weekend sale that has stages throughout the day or week. Whatever the case may be, SMS is more of an immediate notification than waiting for people to catch your ads or check their email. This is often a very powerful way to leverage SMS.
If you have time on your hands, or a team that can back you up, try real time messaging! People are much more used to texting back and forth than emailing, or sometimes even chatting. If you can find ways to engage customers, do it! Stats show that it often makes their conversion potential skyrocket.
This article just scratches the surface of ecommerce SMS marketing, but dip your feet in and see how it goes. Share your thoughts with us in the comments or join the Shipshape Collective on Facebook to talk to us and other like minded business owners about this and much more!
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