It is fairly common knowledge that eCommerce businesses should have a healthy amount of their revenue driven by email marketing, approximately 20-30%. However, in a world where inboxes are getting fuller and fuller, it is surprising that we don’t see more brands breaking into the real estate where consumers live 24/7 – their phones. Today we sit down with Senior Lifecycle Marketing Manager, Eric Jung, to explore the world of SMS marketing.
Host: Thanks so much for joining us today. It’s my understanding that we’re talking about a direct to consumer mens jewelry brand. Can you tell us a little bit about the client and the automations we set up for them.
Eric: Yes. This brand was a fairly versatile jewelry brand that was able to produce chains, rings, grills, and basically anything you could think of in terms of popular jewelry. Their main value prop was the collaborations they cultivated with various artists – Wale and Snoop Dog to name a few. The project was mostly focused on getting the basic lifecycle automations in place, so building out a welcome series, abandon cart series, and template for transactional emails. We also put an emphasis on driving repeat purchases, which we drove home in the post-purchase experience. We built out specific flows for post-purchase, the repeat purchase, and VIP customers that have shown a track record of converting. We also created a win back series with promotions to re-engage consumers on our list that had been dormant for awhile.
Host: Amazing. Can you speak a little bit about the unique challenges of SMS marketing as opposed to email marketing?
Eric: The biggest challenge is copywriting, specifically around character count. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters before being stretched to two messages and becoming a multimedia message, which are more expensive. Also if you want to include pictures or emojis, that would be a multimedia message. There are creative guidelines in place on SMS and questions of efficacy with going with one message over the other, whereas email marketing is much more freeform.
Host: That’s interesting. What is the price difference between an SMS message and an MMS message that you referred to?
Eric: MMS messages are three times as expensive as SMS messages.
Host: Do you usually see a return off of that? Do you find that going the MMS route is worth it?
Eric: I really think it depends on the brand. We’ve ran control groups for SMS vs. MMS for this brand and found that MMS has been effective for flash sales.
Host: How do you measure success on the platform? What are typical open rates as opposed to SMS?
Eric: Obviously we’re looking at meaningful business results, and it doesn’t get more absolute than revenue and conversion numbers. Our main SMS provider Postscript, measures clickthrough and conversion rates within their app. In SMS marketing, the benchmarks for those metrics are much larger than email marketing. On Postscript, our clients are typically seeing upwards of 20-25% clickthrough rate (as opposed to 2-3% on email.)
Host: That’s a massive difference. What would you say the biggest challenge is for a business entering the space?
Eric: I would say list growth. Our goal is to make the SMS list size as large as lifecycle list size, but we find that consumers are a little more resistant to these types of tactics. Postscripts allows us to run campaigns where we’re marketing to our current email list to incentivize opt-ins. We also utilize pop-ups for mobile platforms. This client has leveraged social media and affiliates to grow their list, specifically with promoting on Instagram which has been effective for their market.
Host: Sounds like it’s definitely a long-term play. What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to business owners entering the SMS space?
Eric: I would say first of all, don’t be shocked if you get low opt-ins in the beginning. You need to give yourself time to grow. Once you set up the initial foundational automations, don’t rest on your laurels. Start A/B testing and figure out exactly what kind of messaging is going to be effective for your audience. Finally, use SMS as a supplementary effort to email marketing. We have tons of data to back up that they work better together and will operate best as a 1-2 punch for your brand.
With such high open rates, SMS marketing has become essentially the 2020 version of what email was in the 90s. With more and more consumers engaging with brands through SMS everyday, it is truly becoming an underpriced platform that brands should take advantage of. If you’re interested in learning more about if SMS Marketing is right for your business, fill out the form below and one of our strategists will give you a call.