27 May 2020
SMS Integrations 101: Choose the right one for your business
Now, we’ve gotten the basic fundamental about integrations out of the way, let’s see SMS business integrations in practice.
There are boundless possibilities for using integrations in your business such as optimising administrative efficiencies or streamlining ecommerce operations or they can give you back more valuable time attending to customer service queries.
As much as we can discuss and understand them in theory, the challenges or opportunity to use integrations will differ for every business. Seeing their real-life application is where you will get really inspired to start using them too.
Let’s get started.
1. Ecommerce integrations for SMS
Ecommerce rules our shopping habits these days, but nothing whatsoever can replicate the incredible service and experience you get when buying a product from a real human being. Without a store, or in-person service, it can be difficult for many ecommerce retailers to get close or replicate a very personalised service experiences for customers.
That’s where SMS integrations can help. SMS integrations can help resolve a lot of ecommerce challenges including:
- cart abandonment
- lead generation
- win-back campaigns
- back in stock notifications
- re-marketing to existing customers
- customer engagement
When MessageMedia worked with a bricks and mortar retailer who was finally making the move online, they were overwhelmed with the amount of communication channels they could use to talk to customers. They had tried some but many of them were ineffective and driving down online sales when their physical stores could not be open.
RELATED: Check out our write-up on the best ecommerce integrations for SMS right here(LINK)
By helping them understand how SMS could help them beyond confirming in-store sales appointments, the retailer was able to utilise their Shopify and MessageMedia integration to solve a significant problem – cart abandonment.
Automated SMS messages workflows were created via a direct integration with Shopify, reminding customers about items two hours after they had abandoned their last online cart. They were also able to use customer segmentation lists set up in Shopify to better target their SMS marketing campaigns and to encourage regular in-store customers to purchase online via SMS messages with special Shopify sale codes.
2. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERPs) integrations
When you use a popular enterprise resource planning tool like Netsuite, you are likely already trying to simplify your workflows into one simple but manageable system. ERPs, after all, tie together numerous business processes and primarily aim to automate businesses systems for struggling enterprises who already have multiple protocols and databases. With an SMS/Netsuite integration however, you can set up SMS-driven automations to improve customer service, enhance targeted marketing campaigns or to set reminders for customer payments.
Let’s tie this to an example. You are a flashy new online retailer who regularly sells out of your stock because you’re devoted to limited edition runs. That’s great, but when new stock comes in, it takes a week or two before customers are aware. Regular customers who have already been waiting a really long time to get that special piece they missed out on are upset that they’ve missed out yet again. They’re complaining on your socials, and this is making your brand look bad.
That’s when you can employ an SMS/Netsuite integration to help ease this customer experience friction. SMS is well known in getting cut-through and having a fast response time. When customers go to your product page and find your stock has run out, give them a prompt or option to subscribe to SMS restock alerts. As soon as their desired item is restocked, your ERP will talk to MessageMedia, triggering the action of an automatic SMS to that customer. Whether you choose an SMS, or something more visually appealing like an MMS, or mobile landing page to better encourage immediate action, customers suffering FOMO will be able to jump online and snap up their product quick.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integrations
When using a customer relationship management system such as Salesforce, having an SMS integration can help you do just that – manage your customer relationships for the better. SMS has proved effective in getting time-critical information to customers fast. So, why not improve response time, personalisation and customer experience with an SMS integration?
For example, let’s say your business is losing out on new leads because you’re having your sales team manually follow up with a personalised, human phone call. Great call in terms of superior customer service, but customers are annoyed by the long wait time. You want to get to them faster – even if it’s just a simple message letting them know you’ve received their query and will get back to them shortly.
That’s where an SMS & Salesforce integration comes into play. You can get back to customers a lot faster while not wasting the valuable time of your staff who are currently rushing their other calls through. Automate a flow that tells Salesforce to talk to MessageMedia’s SMS API when a new lead comes in. You can even narrow this down further by specifying that the lead must come through the website, or social. When a new lead is triggered through Salesforce, MessageMedia’s integration will automatically pull out their information such as their name and the content of query, and immediately shoot them an SMS letting them know that they will be followed up shortly on their request.
4. Marketing automation integrations
It was likely marketers who were onto automation before anyone else. According to a Winterberry Group report, marketers can use between 12 – 31 martech tools. That means there are a lot of marketers can get out of setting up automations with their integrations that can help cut down on repetitive tasks in an extremely busy schedule. Integrations can also help resolve tracking issues and the scaling up of campaigns and processes. While there are numerous tech platforms that attempt to be an ‘all-in-one-marketing-software’ behemoth such as Adobe, Hubspot and Marketo; they recognise how other product integrations can be used to improve marketing efforts.
Imagine you’re a local media organisation that hosts a wealth of annual events. It’s been difficult to get people to your events lately, especially when it’s rainy and cold in winter. You also rely on these events as an important source of revenue for your business and really need to step up your game in order to make sales targets to keep your business afloat.
In order to get feet in the door, marketing automations may serve you well here. You can set up a workflow that automates promotional event messages to your current customer base, based on parameters that you set in your marketing automation software such as timing, geography or previous interest in a related event. To really make sure they’re there on the day, set up automations that remind guests the day before with a link to all the essential information they need to get there. In addition, you could also offer an option for an easy, breezy SMS check-in.
5. Connector integrations with Zapier
When you can’t connect it yourself, use connector integrations like Zapier. In late 2018, MessageMedia joined forces with Zapier giving our +50,000 customers immediate access to connect +2500 other applications to MessageMedia’s SMS service on their platform.
Knowing that most people who want to create workflows will not have any coding experience, Zapier has made it easy for anyone to automate repetitive tasks without relying on developers to build a specific integration. It’s actually easy enough that anyone, no matter their experience, can build their own workflows in a few minutes.
6. Fix administrative inefficiencies with integrations
For most small businesses and services, it’s really the small service and administrative inefficiencies that can get you. While bigger businesses are on top of automations, small businesses can stay small because they do not know how to scale their processes beyond the same old, manual tasks. Technology can be a scary thing for many who aren’t tech-savvy or keep up to date with the latest advances. They may also be unaware of how they can connect multiple applications to one another to iron out these processes.
While working with this private healthcare clinic, we helped them to integrate their MessageMedia service with Google Sheets in order to improve the practice’s on-call employee roster with automated messages. Before this integration, staff who were rostered on did not show up or were unaware of when their next shift was. By using this integration, employees on-call for the next day were reminded of their shift the night before and were asked to confirm whether or not they were still available. If they were, the workflow then automated an update onto their Google Sheets database, confirming to management their availability.
7. Boost general business communications with integrations
It doesn’t matter if they’re internal or external. Keep track, analyse and respond to any kind of query with SMS automations. Take using SMS for appointment reminders.
Say you’re a busy car dealership with lots of return customers who you usually keep track of manually, including their birthdays. You want to improve their dealership experience by introducing an initiative that offers them the chance to try out the newest iteration of their last purchased vehicle on their birthday.
Instead of wasting time getting your salespeople to follow up manually, you set up an automation that connects your database with MessageMedia. Not only does this send out automatic birthday messages a week prior to the customer’s birthday, it also includes the offer and a calendar integration so the customer can set up a time digitally with the dealership, without having to bother to ring up.
Final thoughts & further reading
No matter what area or industry or expertise you offer, SMS integrations can support you in elevating your business to new heights.
While Part 2 has excited and inspired you with what integrations can do, join us in Part 3: How to get started with SMS integrations or revisit the fundamentals with Part 1: What is an SMS API integration?
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