SMS Marketing And Why It Matters For Online Retailers
If you run an online retail store, you rely on the internet to run pretty much every aspect of your business and it naturally follows that the obvious way to communicate with your customers is also by online methods such as email or social media, particularly for marketing campaigns. Yet you also know that you and every other internet user out there are both pressured for time and swamped by emails, with the result that many emails go unread and are simply ignored or deleted by the recipient. This means that many of your marketing emails will fall by the wayside and merely represent lost effort. Meanwhile, it may not have even occurred to you to look into the benefits of SMS Marketing.
Email is still an effective and important method of communication in the right time and place but some marketing campaigns may be more effective when channelled through other media. Think about your target audience; if it’s business to business (B2B) then email is still the preferred option for most B2B marketing and communication, but when it comes to business to consumer (B2C) sales, SMS text message statistics show it consistently outperforms email marketing.
If you read MailChimp’s (an industry leading email marketing platform) statistics reports from earlier this year, they report that open rates for emails hover around 20% on average. That’s 1 in 5 emails actually opened in the first place. The click rate? Around 2% average. That’s 1 in 50.
The open rates for SMS messages? Around 98%. This is because people don’t tend to ignore text messages. After all, their phone is usually close to them 24/7 and it takes seconds to read. Although data on click through rates differ depending on what you read, it appears to be around 35% to 40%.
With Ofcom reporting in 2015 that 93% of UK adults owning a mobile phone and 66% of them being smartphones able to access the internet, mobile phones are now the number one device used in the UK above laptops and PCs. And mobile phones usually go wherever their owner goes.
As if these statistics weren’t promising enough, there are other benefits SMS text messaging has over email marketing:
Benefits of SMS Marketing
- Less Work: Emails tend to require more effort in putting them together, they need to be worded well, involve creative design to make them eye-catching and ensured that they are compatible across mail clients. SMS messages have to be kept short, don’t require additional design work and are compatible over all devices capable of receiving texts – whether they are smartphones or just a basic handset.
- Quality Over Quantity: Because SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, you need to get to the point quick. This makes you focus on what’s really important and discard the rest while emails can contain a lot of ‘filler’ content that many readers won’t read through.
- Less is More: The more emails you send, the more likely someone will read and respond. With SMS text messages, you do not want to send too many as this will risk irritating the customer. Most SMS campaigns can keep the client returning on less than 5 messages per month.
Of course, this is all very positive information but how could SMS text messaging be applied practically to boost your online retail business? Here are some tried and tested ideas you could use:
SMS Marketing to boost your business
- Discounts: Customers love feeling like they have special access to a bargain. Send customers a text with a simple discount code to use on their next online purchase through your website.
- Special Offers: Relay offers such as deal of the week, buy one get one free or free gift with purchase over a certain value. Again, all can be summed up in a short text providing a code to enter into your website’s shopping cart.
- Sales: Notify customers of sales, be it end-of-season, stock clearance or a flash sale. A simple text announcing the type and dates of sale can help to direct more customers to the sale website when they otherwise may have missed it from not checking their emails or online recently.
- Loyalty Programs: Keep customers informed of their points tally and send them rewards for being part of the club. Or just reward them for being a loyal SMS subscriber. Customers like to feel that their loyalty is being recognised and rewarded.
- New Lines/Products: Inform regular customers when you have new items due to come in or in stock and give them the website link to view. A simple example would be: ‘’Winter 2017 ladies footwear arriving 1st Sept. Click link for range preview’’ Tap into those who like to be first to have the latest items.
- Order & Delivery Status: As courier companies get ever more tech savvy, customers expect more than ever to be kept informed of their order status. SMS texts can relay the information quickly wherever the customer may be.
- News & Tips: Upsell and provide great customer service by sending links to relevant and interesting topics related to the products you sell. For example, if you sell cycling accessories then you could send something like ‘‘Winter’s coming. Top tips and products to make sure you and your bike are ready, click link (to your website)’’.
SMS Marketing vs Email – Which is Cheaper?
SMS text messaging marketing can seem slightly more expensive than emails, but because it returns higher read and response rates, then the return on investment rates will compare very favourably. As with any other direct marketing, the customer’s consent is required by law, but if you are already emailing customers, you should be familiar with the rules.
Ultimately, what approach will suit you best is for you to decide depending on your type of business and your customer base, but the ultimate goal for any online business is to increase your reach to potential customers and to maximise opportunities for response and conversion rates. Including SMS text messaging within a combined multi-method marketing approach could really help to significantly strengthen your sales and ROI.
At Fastsms, we are passionate about helping businesses of every shape and size succeed with our competitively priced business bulk SMS messaging solutions. To find out more about how we can help you to grow, call now on 0800 945 5305.
In my last blog I looked at five reasons you want to use SMS messaging in your business. In this blog we're looking at the same topic, just from the consumer's point of view. For example, how do you really know your customers want you to send them messages via SMS? Isn't email or a phone call good enough? Is it worth your time to learn how to use SMS messaging in your business?
For many businesses it's often a knee-jerk reaction to create an app, or to run mobile ads, or to start an SMS list. But without really understanding what it’s all about, you can waste a lot of time and money before realising what you actually need to do.
If you are the owner-manager of a UK retail business, then you will know that it’s vital to use every weapon you have available to battle with the big guns on the high street and online. That must include embracing all the advantages modern technology provides, including a communications campaign based on the Short Message Service (SMS) – better known as text messages. Not sure what SMS is about and how it will work for your shop? Then read on, because you are missing a golden opportunity to give your small shop a much bigger presence and outreach.
Mobile marketing offers an unprecedented access to your customers virtually any time, anywhere. This is particularly true for SMS marketing because it is “always on”. Customers don’t have to be surfing the web, or using an app to receive messages. Instead, they see the marketing messages right alongside ones from their friends and family.
If you've considered SMS marketing to new and existing customers by text message but dismissed it, it really is time to think again. SMS continues to outperform and outreach all the newer models of communication designed to replace it. The latest competitor to run into difficulties against business text messaging is mobile internet advertising.
Sometimes bloggers or journalists get a bit carried away. They see some data or fact, and run off to declare there’s a trend you need to know about. The latest one I’ve seen is all about how to reach the generation of “cashless shoppers”. The argument goes that you need to use SMS messaging to reach customers because they are all shopping online – where you obviously can’t pay in cash.
One of the great advantages of SMS: it's completely trackable so you know exactly how your campaigns are engaging your opted in customers and clients. And if you’re a small business, operating in a specific geographical location, then that local knowledge can be invaluable in targeting your campaigns to a local audience.
While brevity might be one of the keys to good advertising, perhaps the most important is to make sure your message reaches the right people. The goal of targeted marketing is not to bombard so many people that some will inevitably listen, but rather to target and nail down your core demographic.
Can SMS marketing increase sales numbers? In the next entry of our Results Series you’ll see the kinds of results that real companies achieved. We’ve rounded up sales numbers and timelines to show you how well, and how fast, SMS marketing can improve your sales.