Should you stick with email or put all your marketing eggs in the SMS basket? You don’t have to choose just one when planning your marketing campaign. Use both together to optimize your reach and results.
As we saw in Benefits of SMS Marketing for eCommerce, SMS does offer some great marketing advantages, particularly for the type of communication that is meant to grab your customer’s attention quickly to drive a specific type of response. However, that doesn’t mean that email should be abandoned. You don’t have to pick only one way to communicate with your audience regularly.
Why not both? The solution offered by the little girl in the Old El Paso commercial that went on to become a meme applies for your marketing messages, as well.
An understanding of the advantages for each kind of medium allows you to combine them to achieve greater impact as a result of cross-promotion. Adding subscribers to both your email list and your text marketing campaigns gives more points of connection with your customers, which leads to more engagement and sales.
Using one list to build the other
Instead of committing to SMS or email alone, plan on how to use them in complementary ways. The first step is encouraging your customers to opt in for both channels of communication.
Using your email contacts to gain text subscribers
If you’re an established eCommerce business, you likely already have a substantial email list for your customers. You can leverage that to gain text subscribers by sending incentive emails.
Some may opt in even without an incentive because 70% of customers have said, they prefer to be in contact with businesses by text. To catch those all you may need to do include your text subscription authorization with any email.
But if they need a bit of a push you could offer various incentives like promotion codes delivered only via text or a chance to win a substantial gift card or other prize. The incentive can be reinforced by the CTA, as in telling them to text PRIZE to the number.
Using texts to gain email subscribers
Say you have customers who have opted in for SMS, and you’d like them to also give you permission to contact them via email for longer messages. You can send them a text message that offers an incentive to join your email list. There are various ways to do this.
One is by letting them know that email subscribers get the first view of new offerings and special sales offers. But you are more likely to get the action you want if you offer a more concrete and immediate incentive.
Typically that is an offer of a special promotion for new subscribers, typically a discount of 20% or a designated dollar amount off the first order. You increase your odds of response if you make it a limited time offer, so it can be something like this:
“You’ll find our emails enrich your life. Sign up now to get your exclusive gift code to save $15 on your next order. Offer expires June 30, 2020.”
Once you have your customers subscribed on both, you can use them together to effectively drive engagement. Here are some options:
1. Use SMS like a save the date card
Some people send out save the date cards several weeks before they send out the actual invitation to the event. The point is not just to get you to mark the event on your calendar as soon as possible but to get you to be on the lookout for the invitation and pay more attention to it when it does arrive.
You can use SMS the way in sending out a short text message that tells prospects to look for an upcoming email message. This will increase the odds that the people who check their texts more far more frequently than their emails will at least see that email, and the feeling of anticipation raised will likely make them curious enough to actually read it.
So why not just put the point of the email into an SMS? You can do that for simpler things, but for something that cannot effectively be condensed into the character limit of the text, you need the greater flexibility of email. To go back to the analogy, the SMS is the postcard that tells people to save the date for an identified occasion, and the email that follows has all the details included in a full invitation.
2. Use SMS as a follow up reminder
Say you have something very momentous on the agenda, and you made sure to get the word out via email, as well. It’s possible that people may not have paid attention to that update, promotion, or announcement of a special live event, and you want to make sure they know about it. You can send an SMS that refers to the email and has its own link to a specific landing page on your site about it.
3. Pants and suspenders
There are times when communication is more urgent like when it appears a customer’s account may have been compromised. In such a case you’d use all channels to increase your odds of reaching the customer, and certainly using an SMS to alert them to the details of what to do now that may include more details in the email is appropriate.
Confirmation messages assure customers that their orders are received, being processed, being shipped, and have been delivered. They’re also used to alert them to changes made to their account. These can be delivered via email, but if the message is particularly time-sensitive, the customer may appreciate a text. Texts may also be your best bet if one of the changes made to the account is the email address to use.
Why settle for just one mode of communication when you can have the best of both worlds? That’s what integrating your email and SMS marketing communication allows you to do.