Sep 20, 2022

Everything You Need To Know About SMS Strategies For Ecommerce

Here are four key SMS tips that will help your ecommerce brand reduce unsubscribes and maximize ROI with direct-to-consumer marketing.

Shanif Dhanani

SMS offers brands the invaluable opportunity to connect directly with consumers and inform them of the latest and greatest offers. We previously outlined 8 essential SMS messages for ecommerce brands to incorporate into their marketing strategy. Now, we want to help you use those messages in a way that minimizes unsubscribes and maximizes your business’s ROI.

Check out our four key tips for effectively incorporating SMS into your marketing strategy below.

1. Clearly identify your brand

Rule #1 of using SMS as an ecommerce brand: let people know the message is from you.

A text from an unknown number is enough to give people pause. A text from an unknown number that doesn’t say in the message who it’s from is confusing. And a text from an unknown number that doesn’t mention the sender and includes a link is likely to get ignored, deleted, or even blocked. So, it’s important any SMS messages your site sends clearly identifies your brand as the sender.

Most brands like to state their name at the start of the SMS message so that customers immediately know who the message is from. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy or complicated; just your site name followed by a colon and then the text of your message will get the job done. It may seem a little awkward at first, but your customers will really appreciate knowing they aren’t getting spam texts. (And you’ll appreciate staying off their block list.)

2. Keep messages short and sweet

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: SMS isn’t email. You can’t wax poetic about your company, your products, and your offers here; you need to keep things short and sweet. Brands often make the mistake of overstuffing their SMS messages with content, leading to an increase in list unsubscribes. Just think about it: no one wants a branded text that gets delivered as a wall of words that takes up their whole phone screen. (Or worse, gets broken up into a bunch of shorter individual messages, so you get notification after notification for the same content.)

So, make sure your ecommerce site sends the kind of messages you would want to receive. Keep things short, to the point, and easy to read. Feel free to use a gif or some emojis to keep things fun, fresh, and engaging. Finally - and most importantly - keep your message intention and Call To Action (CTA) clear. You want your customers to know why you reached out, and how you expect them to respond.

3. Know your compliance laws

SMS messages reach out to consumers in a different way than email, online ads, or even social media. Because of this direct line of communication, SMS marketing messages must comply with consumer privacy laws. Generally, these laws dictate that consumers must clearly opt-in to receive your brand’s messages (no unsolicited texts), and that they be given the option to opt-out of receiving future communications via SMS. Other common compliance regulations include restrictions on specific language that can be used in messages and restrictions on the time of day messages can be sent.

Like any laws, compliance regulations vary by region. So, be sure to fully investigate the specific regulations, requirements, and restrictions that apply to your business and consumers. Otherwise, your brand could face fines and other legal consequences.

4. Coordinate your SMS and email campaigns

Finally, remember that SMS is just one tool in your arsenal. When crafting an effective, comprehensive marketing strategy for your ecommerce business, it’s important to make sure each element of your campaign works in harmony. This is especially true for SMS and email campaigns, your brand’s primary direct-to-consumer communication channels.

For some types of campaigns, like a one-off cross-sell, it’s acceptable to contact a consumer by both email and SMS with the same information. Similarly, you’ll want to promote your biggest offers - like major holiday sales - with messages on each of these channels.

But every email doesn’t need a corresponding SMS message, or vice versa. Due to the inherent length restriction on SMS, your brand’s emails will be able to include more information than in texts. Some content, like multi-email brand story flows, doesn’t need as many texts as emails. You’ll also want to vary the copy of your message, both to fit the restrictions of the medium and to keep consumers feeling engaged across both SMS and email platforms.

It’s also important to remember that SMS is viewed as a more exclusive, personal form of communication than email; your customers may be okay with receiving multiple emails a week from your brand, but multiple texts could quickly lead them to unsubscribe. 

More SMS Tips & Tricks

As you go forth and craft an expert SMS strategy, here are a few final things to keep in mind:

  • Multimedia messages (MMS) can be more effective at grabbing a customer’s attention than a simple SMS. However, these messages may also be pricier to send than text-only messages. So, keep both your strategic goals and your marketing budget in mind when crafting a message to consumers.
  • Because SMS as a medium lends itself to shorter, punchier, and more transient copy, you will usually have more one-off SMS messages than with other platforms in your marketing strategy.
  • Remember that SMS is usually considered the most personal, direct way to contact a consumer. If someone subscribes to your SMS list, reward them for their commitment to your brand by giving them a little VIP treatment. Special “SMS only” offers are encouraged!

With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be on your way to reducing SMS unsubscribes and boosting your brand’s ROI in no time.

Boost your SMS & beyond

If you liked these tips, you'll love our complete, step-by-step guide to marketing in our free No-Brainer Marketing Ebook. Check it out for more tips on email, SMS, paid social, and paid search marketing. And if you're interested in boosting your ecommerce marketing strategy even further by implementing more data-driven campaigns, feel free to book a call with us today.

About the author
Shanif Dhanani
Co-Founder and CEO, Apteo

Shanif Dhanani is the co-founder & CEO of Apteo. Prior to Apteo, Shanif was a data scientist and software engineer at Twitter, and prior to that he was the lead engineer and head of analytics at TapCommerce, a NYC-based ad tech startup acquired by Twitter. He has a passion for all things data and analytics, loves adventure traveling, and generally loves living in New York City.