According to Salesforce’s 2021 State of Marketing Report, the average marketer now reports using 8 different channels to execute their marketing strategy nowadays. These diverse channels could include email, website displays, SMS, social ads plus many more. The report also indicates that the retail industry sees sales growth via mobile as one of their top three growth-related business initiatives for the coming years.
Given the continuous complexity of businesses, globalisation of audiences, as well as rapidly developing technologies; we just cannot keep up using the old ways: manual entry, human-only tasks. Businesses are adopting all kinds of automations to save time and drive efficiencies from sales right across to customer support and operations.
The increasing demands of running a business and the rapid responses required by customers are giving rise to certain kinds of automations over others, such as SMS marketing automation.
The benefits of adding SMS marketing automation
In well-established martech stacks, SMS marketing automation can support you in resolving specific issues: immediacy, personalisation, responsiveness and win-backs.
For beginners who might be wary of delving into new marketing technologies, SMS automations are easy to test and cost-effective. Even better, you’ll likely see results fast as SMS campaigns achieve an average 23% response rate.
While there are many benefits to SMS automation, you will find it best complements a multi-channel marketing plan and approach. To extend the scale of your campaigns and to drive even better sales, why not try adding an SMS offer a few days after your initial email marketing blast? In a mobile-first world, it’s an effective strategy to cut through the noise and prompt your target market to take immediate action.
Together, your ideal marketing automation system should:
- Nurture potential customers throughout the sales funnel
- Provide a seamless customer experience for your target audience
- Speed up lead generation processes
- Automate repetitive tasks to save time
- Lower operational cost and spend
- Increase ROI, scalability and resources for other marketing activities
And so much more!
The most common kinds of SMS marketing automations
Let’s look at the different ways you can add SMS automations to boost your business and marketing efforts right now.
1. Marketing campaigns
SMS promotional campaigns are extremely effective as part of your marketing automations. Not only do they better engage customers than other platforms, you can use text messages to communicate with customers directly. They also cut through 98% of the time, and achieve 29% click-through rates when integrated with other campaigns. This means that not only do they get read, they are also critical in inspiring action.
Some ideas for promotional campaigns include:
- Encouraging repeat or related item purchases.
- Reminder about abandoned carts
- Holiday marketing
- Alerting customers to VIP or special sales
- Simply letting customers know more about you and your business
TIP: Use SMS promotional offers in the lead up to specific holidays such as Mother’s Day or Christmas to make the most of your marketing. Because of its time-critical nature, text message offers often work particularly well for lat minute shoppers too.
2. Follow-ups and alerts
Automated SMS messages can help you make sure that customers do not miss important notifications, information or urgent alerts such as:
- Appointment and event reminders (‘Your appointment is tomorrow!’)
- Special day or promotional offers (‘It’s your birthday! We thought you might enjoy this.’)
- Confirmations (‘Thanks for subscribing! Please confirm.’)
- Flash sales or restock alerts (‘Your item is back in stock. Buy it now!’)
In addition, sending SMS messages can also support internal processes. Say a customer has finished trialling your product, but they haven’t converted to a paying customer. Automate SMS alerts to immediately notify your sales team when they need to follow up.
GET STARTED: Sketch out your entire customer journey and pinpoint exactly where you currently notify customers or the opportunities where customers could be better notified. Look at what your current open-rates or responses are at those points. Are they low, or do they need to be actioned faster? If so, consider trialling an SMS alert automation here instead. Test this out and see how fast and effectively customers respond. Sign up with MessageMedia right now and get 25 free SMS messages to play with, plus ready-to-go automation templates.
3. Feedback and two-way conversations
Text messaging in business can facilitate better two-way conversations between you and customers. When we think about our personal text messages, it seems obvious that it is all about a two-way conversation. However, in business, it is often limited to sending out a single message broadcasting an offer, updating clients about opening hours, or directing customers elsewhere.
There has been little consideration as to the advantages of allowing customer feedback and responses through their mobile phones. This is similar to how we once viewed marketing as a simple, one-way magic bullet sent out to the masses.
Two-way conversations using SMS marketing automation allow for businesses to get more in-depth, and personal with their customers by building caring, personal relationships while gathering customer insight and greater business intelligence.
If you’re a SaaS business, use SMS automation to send conversational prompts, surveys or, in the case below, invites for 1-on-1 consultations with customers who haven’t moved onto a paid subscription after trial.
If you’re a small service business, use SMS automation to check in with clients after a job or experience. Replies can be as simple as YES or NO.
If you’re a large corporate with thousands of customers but high attrition, use feedback surveys to find out what went wrong.
EXERCISE: What’s a conversation you would like to have with your customers? Using the three examples above as inspiration, try sketching out a simple conversation. Here are some tips: simplify the conversation down for the customer’s ease, and consider where in your customer journey you could slip it in. Is it before or after the purchase of your product or service? What is it you want to gather and what will this inform such as future market research? Test this conversation out with colleagues by using our free SMS trial, which you can sign up for here.
4. Cart abandonment and win backs
Retention and attention are two of the most difficult things to maintain with today’s consumers. One word: fickle – customers are fickle. If there’s a better price, or a shinier thing, off they go. And no, it doesn’t help that we are busier than ever.
You’ve all heard the statistic that it’s 6x more expensive to win a new customer over than a current one. That’s why it’s more important that we aim to retain as many customers as possible.
RELATED: Read or listen to our eCommerce webinar on winning trust and loyalty of customers with COO Tom Goodwin of Reviews.io for more insights.
Use SMS’s cut through and immediacy to your advantage when winning back customers. Cart abandonment is a huge problem for many ecommerce stores. In fact, the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 70%, meaning 7 out of 10 shoppers leave your store without buying anything. Cart abandonment also increases by 15% (85) if the customer is shopping on mobile.
So how does SMS win your customer back?
Timing. SMS has an open rate of 98%. The faster you remind your customer about what they’ve abandoned, the more likely they are to purchase. It’s still fresh in their minds! Some marketers suggest reminding them a day or 2 later, but you should probably remind less than an hour after they’ve left your store.
Set up automated SMS to broadcast on a delay of half an hour to an hour after they’ve abandoned their cart, and set another to go a day or two later if they haven’t completed their purchase. Enhance your SMS automation with further discounts, packaged offers or time limits.
EXERCISE: SMS automation requires phone numbers. While most businesses are accustomed to collecting emails, you may not have considered collecting phone numbers too. Check out our 10 tips on collecting customer’s mobile numbers. It’s best to get started as soon as possible!
How can I get started with SMS automations
We’ve taken the hard work out of it. Open a free account with MessageMedia, and get immediate access to SMS marketing automation templates ready-to-go in our hub.
In addition, our SMS service has integrations with three of the top marketing platforms in the world:
Best for starters and small businesses who want the same functionality as a Pardot and Marketo, but do not need the same breadth or depth. Luckily, Adobe bought out Marketo in mid-2019, so marketers and business owners will be able to use the two together for any marketing automation efforts.
Because of our partnership with Adobe in late 2019, we’ve built a direct integration with Adobe’s software meaning you can install our SMS solution directly into any Adobe products that you use.
Targeted to both B2C and B2B organisations, Marketo helps marketers optimise their marketing through automated workflows. In most aspects, Marketo is better at capturing leads, converting sales, creating reports and boosting your marketing campaigns.
As a subsidiary of Salesforce, Pardot’s focus is on B2B marketing automation. Useful to those unaware of Pardot, but already using Salesforce. While the range of its services is as broad as Marketo’s, it is particularly advantageous in helping businesses retain customers and create loyalty.
Final thoughts and further reading
Getting started with SMS marketing automation doesn’t always require a marketing platform. All you need is a well-honed marketed strategy and a smart marketer that knows exactly where and when to implement SMS automation most effectively.
- Check out the entire host of applications you can connect in our integrations marketplace.
- If you have any further questions, or would like some advice on what SMS marketing automation might work best for you, give one of our friendly support staff a call or email right here.