The Complete Guide To SMS Marketing For Shopify StoresJairene Cruz-Eusebio on May 26, 2021 9:56:07 AM When you think about it, the Internet is a strange place. You have to do all the work for your store and make sure it’s well-presented and easy to use, but then there are people who will just come into your store from nowhere without any prompting or invitation. This creates an interesting dynamic where you need to attract new customers while also making sure that those old ones keep coming back. With the number of competitors that any eCommerce store has, finding a way to effectively reach customers can be challenging. Your marketing approach needs to be something the cuts through the noise of all the other options clamoring to draw a potential client’s interest. At the same time, it needs to draw people in, not be something they’ll simply glance at and forget about. Table of Contents
What is SMS Marketing?
How To Integrate SMS Marketing with a Shopify Store
Types of SMS Marketing Campaigns
SMS Marketing Apps Available for Shopify StoresIn order to reach this perfect balance, a number of shops try their hand at email marketing. While this allows you to reach consumers directly, this doesn’t mean your audience is paying attention to what you’re saying. In fact, Campaign Monitor reports that email click-through rates can fall as low as 18.6% during the holiday season – far from ideal. With email marketing showing such low dividends, sellers need to find another path to effective marketing – and that’s where SMS marketing comes in. While it may not seem like it at first glance, SMS marketing can actually be highly effective, with conversion rates reported to be as high as 45%-200% compared to a conversion rate of 3.26% for email marketing and 3.17% for Google Ads. Now, isn’t that something? But before you dive headfirst into SMS Marketing, you must first understand the dynamics of this approach.
What is SMS Marketing?SMS marketing is a relatively new form of communication that has been growing in popularity over the past few years. It stands for Short Messaging Service, which is a way to send messages from one phone to another without broadcasting them on social media networks or other public places. The idea behind this type of marketing is simple: businesses can promote their products and services through text messaging instead of using more expensive forms like television ads. This marketing technique allows you to send promotional and marketing messages to both existing and prospective customers via text message. It is a great way to share time-sensitive updates, such as sales and promotions.
Types of SMS Marketing MessagesThere are two major types of messages that sellers or business owners send via SMS marketing, and these are:
1. Campaigns MessagesThis is essentially used to communicate store information like promotions, sales, updates, new products, etc. They are usually bulk messages that are sent to most, if not all, individuals on your SMS marketing list.
2. Transactional MessagesUnlike campaign messages, these are sent “one-on-one” to specific individuals and include information that only they would need. These messages are triggered by actions and behaviors on the part of the receiver – for example, if someone purchases something from your shop, you may send them an order confirmation or a shipping notification via SMS.
How Does SMS Marketing Work?The idea is pretty simple: you need to have a list of customer contact numbers gathered via legal means. You will then use an automated system that will blast send messages to these numbers. Your messages are sent to your customers in blasts via “shortcodes.” These codes are usually 5-6 digits in length, as opposed to a full phone number, and can be linked to one shop or shared across multiple shops.
Requirements of SMS MarketingIt is always best to send marketing messages to customers who have “opted in” to your SMS service instead of sending cold text messages. This increases the chance of conversion, as you will be targeting people interested in buying what you’re selling. Additionally, opt-in is a legal requirement in several countries, including the U.S., Canada, and the EU, and if you do not have an opt-in policy, you may be falling foul of the law. There are a couple of ways to opt-in. One is via text confirmation. A person will usually be prompted to text a keyword to your shortcode. This keyword can be anything you choose, though you should try and keep it associated with your shop. So, for example, if you are selling hockey equipment, your keyword may be HOCKEY. Another is via registration opt-in. This can happen by the user manually registering an account on your site and adding his contact information. It is also possible for a user to opt-in during purchase, as he will input his delivery and contact details. For both instances, website owners are required to indicate below the form field that the user agrees to receive marketing messages from the seller. Depending on your location, you may be required by law to provide a checkbox so that the user will have a choice whether or not he/she agrees. When using SMS Marketing, make sure that you are following SMS Marketing Compliance requirements to prevent encountering unnecessary legal issues.
Advantages of SMS MarketingThere are several reasons that SMS marketing is a popular option for owners of Shopify stores. These include:
High Engagement Rates
Direct to Intended Audience
Easy to Write
Encourage Customer Relationships
Reach Emerging Markets
Touchbase During Any Point of the Sales Funnel
Segment Campaign Data
- Customer Behaviour
- Order Information
- Customer Attributes:
How To Integrate SMS Marketing with a Shopify StoreEach SMS marketing provider works slightly differently, and you will have to follow the specific steps that your chosen provider indicates. However, in general, here is how to go about integrating your SMS marketing efforts with your Shopify store:
1. Select Your Phone NumberYou’ll need to determine what number you’ll use in connection with your store. There are several different number types available, each with its own benefits. Options include toll-free numbers, long codes or local phone numbers, dedicated shortcodes, and more.
2. Integrate Your Shopify Store With Your ProviderNot all providers require you to integrate their services with your store. If they do, or if you wish to do so, check with their website for a guide on how to go about doing so.
3. Collect NumbersAgain, collection methods differ from provider to provider. However, some options include adding a phone number field to an existing email or sign-up form, announcement bars, sign-up widgets, and more. Another option is to incentivize sign-ups by offering a discount or coupon for doing so. Some SMS marketing services may not be able to connect directly with Shopify. In such a situation, they will likely integrate with Zapier instead. Zapier will then serve as a go-between between the marketing service and Shopify, allowing them to connect with each other. Shopify also has a native option for collecting numbers. You can provide your customers with the option of entering their mobile number when checking out instead of plugging in their email details. By doing so, they receive order and shipping confirmation and updates through text message instead of via email. You can also require phone numbers if the shipping carrier you use for delivering physical products requires this information for successful delivery. Shopify store owners can simply access and edit the checkout form to collect this information. If a customer opts not to include their phone details, you can also enable the opt-in option for order updates. This provides your customers with an alternative way to receive text message updates post-purchase.
Types of SMS Marketing CampaignsThere are different ways to utilize SMS Marketing for your Shopify store, and these are:
Abandoned Cart RecoverySMS marketing can be used to remind shoppers that they have products left in their cart. Abandoned carts are a major challenge for online stores. To date, $4.6 trillion USD are lost eCommerce businesses to this phenomenon. While it is never possible to bring this number down to zero percent SMS marketing can have an effect in bringing the percentage down. Some tips to increase conversion through abandoned cart recovery messages include:
- Include a direct link to the cart to make re-visiting and checkout easier and faster for the customer.
- Experiment to find out how long you should wait before sending a recovery message – most businesses find that short time frames work best. However, your audience may differ, and it’s best to discover what is most effective for your own shop.
- Make sure that the message is short, with a clear call to action to motivate the customer to act.
Updates and AlertsLaunching new campaigns, product lines, and sales without any warning can result in lower than expected conversion rates for your shop. Instead, provide information to customers at least a few days in advance. Updates and alerts give shoppers the time to become excited for and anticipate your shop events. They are more likely to participate, as they will have had time to consider their budget and plan their purchases ahead of time. Additionally, creating excitement means you’re more likely to have an early response from participants than waiting for organic engagement.
Customer Service AlertsAside from promotions and shop updates, customers also benefit from being updated about the status of their order and the shipping status of their package. Additionally, they may require customer service help or other support from your side. Text is a great way to engage customers, especially if you’re looking to communicate important information or need responses from the receiver. People are more likely to respond to texts and can access important information faster, as they are more likely to have their mobile phones on hand. Some types of customer service alert that you can send include:
- One-on-One Support
Welcome Messages and OffersAs soon as someone signs up to receive text messages from your shop, it can be effective to introduce them to your business. Let them known what they can expect from you, and set the tone for messages you will send going forward. Additionally, you can use welcome messages to encourage people to visit your website. It is also a great place to include a welcome discount code that they can use for their next purchase. You can make this code time-sensitive if you want to encourage quicker conversion.
Customer EngagementYou can use text messaging in order to create brand loyalty and increase customer engagement. This should not simply be limited to offering exclusive promotions to SMS subscribers. Other ways to offer value to customers via text include:
- Text an Expert
- Customized Offerings
- Exclusive Moments
Offers for Inactive UsersIf you have website subscribers and users who have not accessed their account with your website for a long time, you can use SMS marketing to try and win them back. This includes reaching out to them with exclusive offers to entice them back to your shop and convince them to make a purchase. Additionally, SMS marketing allows you to stay in touch with your subscribers and send them relevant updates. Thus, if users are inactive due to shop policies such as shipping guidelines, they can be motivated to return to the store in the case of changes to these policies. Keeping them on your SMS marketing list ensures that they receive these updates and can decide to buy from your store if there is a change in circumstances.
Customer ReviewsAmong the biggest challenges that Shopify store owners face is their inability to garner reviews. Even customers who enjoy their experience with your store can feel unmotivated when it comes to leaving a review, whether that be on your own website or on third-party websites. Text messages can serve as a way to further encourage shoppers to leave reviews. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Reduce Steps
- Specific Requests
SMS Marketing Best PracticesWhile your SMS marketing strategy will be unique to your needs and tailored to fit into your overall marketing strategy, there are some best practices that you should keep in mind when opting for this channel. These include:
Make Opting-Out EasySMS marketing requires people to share an extremely personal piece of information with you – their phone number. For it to be successful, it requires that your customers trust you and trust that you have their best interests at heart. One way you show this is by making your SMS marketing service an opt-in one. However, on the flip side, it should also be easy for them to opt out of it. Not only does this put the customer in control, but it also ensures that you’re only spending money reaching out to people truly interested in the information you have to offer and are not wasting money on cold messages.
Choose the Type of Messages You Send CarefullyThere are two broad types of SMS messages that you can send – mass texts and personalized one-to-one messages. It’s important to choose the right type of message for each situation. For example, if you’re looking to inform customers about upcoming promotions, you’re likely going to choose mass texts so you can inform everyone on your marketing list. Customers who reach out to you with customer service queries, on the other hand, want to feel like they are interacting with an actual human and are unlikely to respond well to automated messages. When it comes to one-to-one messaging, you may find it beneficial to integrate your SMS marketing services with a customer service platform. This allows you to streamline communication and respond to customers as soon as possible. The main challenge with direct messaging is response time – you don’t want your customers to wait for hours before they receive a reply. In order to address this issue, it’s recommended that you set up hours during which you’re open to receiving text messages – this way, clients who contact you during your downtime will be aware that they won’t be receiving an immediate response.
Keep it ShortCustomers prefer their text messages to be short, simple, and easy to digest. This isn’t the avenue to use when it comes to promoting a new blog post or going into detail about changes to your business structure. If you do include an outbound link with your SMS message, it should have a purpose – and that purpose, more often than not, should be to convert customer attention into a purchase or a review. Additionally, SMS marketing is not the spot for lengthy introductions. If you’re sending a text message, get straight to the point. For example, if you’re promoting a sale, don’t spend valuable message space explaining the reason for the sale. Instead, give the sale an easily understandable, short name (e.g., CHRISTMAS SALE), and keep the rest of your message concise. Emojis can go a long way in relaying information without taking up space, so you may choose to use them – but, once again, do so sparingly.
Keep an Eye on the ClockPeople tend to check text messages almost immediately. In fact, some people leave their phones on loud at night so that they can be alerted in case of an emergency text. This habit is one of the reasons that SMS marketing is as successful as it is. However, it can also be easy to exploit. After all, consider this situation – someone is waiting for an important message and has gone to sleep with their phone on loud. They wake to an SMS alert at 3:00 AM However, it’s not the message they’ve been anticipating, but instead, is a promotional message for your store. Not only will this cause short-term irritation, but it can also lead to customers opting out of getting your messages and even choosing competitors over your store in the future. This is why it’s key to make sure that you’re sending your messages during the day – aside from reducing the risk of negative reactions, people are also more likely to act on the information in the message during the day than they would be at night. Additionally, some countries have strict restrictions on when you can send SMS marketing messages. For example, France restricts marketing messages after 10 PM, anytime on Sundays, and anytime on holidays. If you are sending messages to customers around the world, you may find this more difficult to follow. However, if you’re selling locally or within a single country, it’s important to keep the time of day in mind.
SMS Marketing Apps Available for Shopify StoresThere are a number of apps available for you to choose from. You should be able to find dozens of options on the app store and even more following a cursory online search. However, if you’re looking to narrow down your options, here are some favorites you can choose from:
WinbackThis app is perfect for businesses looking for a straightforward solution to SMS Marketing. Integration with Shopify stores is quick and easy. Automatically send SMS messages for abandoned checkouts, abandoned browsers, and post-purchase follow-up. You can even integrate with Facebook to enhance subscriber collection, and also create personalized SMS marketing campaigns. Winback pricing plans start at $59 per month.
WizgoThis one offers omnichannel automation, customer segmentation, and easy integration. It can also be used for email and WhatsApp marketing, push notifications, and more. Plans start at $100 per month.
SimpleTextingThis app allows 2-way messaging, MMS marketing, and scheduled texts. Its features also include data collection, segmentation, link tracking, and more. The costs depend on the number of messages sent, with prices starting at $25 per month for 500 messages.
SlickTextSlickText’s features include auto-replies, mass messaging capability, scheduled messages, MMS marketing, a mobile app, drop campaigns, and more. Pricing starts at $29 per month for 500 messages.
PostscriptThis one allows you to track revenue and return on investment, have two-way conversations, and send messages compliant with U.S. TCPA regulations. Other features of PostScript include segmentation, automation, and integration with Shopify data. Prices begin at $25 per month for 2500 messages.
ManyChatThis is one of the most popular options. Manychat’s features include 1:1 messaging with customers, drip campaigns, multimedia messaging, and more. It also provides help with Instagram marketing and Facebook Messenger chatbots. Its plans that include SMS marketing start at $10 per month, though SMS messages are charged separately, on a pay-as-you-go basis.
What are you waiting for?SMS Marketing can be an effective way to promote products and services without breaking the bank on expensive advertising campaigns. So, if you’re looking for a new and innovative way to promote your business with less expense, then SMS Marketing is the answer! We know it sounds like a lot of work at first glance. But we assure you that once you get started, this will be one of the easiest ways to market your product or service. Trust us on this – sign-up for a 14-day trial today so they can show you how easy it really is! Topics: SMS Marketing