Email marketing has been the tried and true way to connect with customers for years. It’s how many marketers today primarily interact with their subscribers by sending newsletters, new item releases, coupon codes and discount offers, and many other types of marketing emails.
But in recent years, SMS has emerged as a powerful marketing channel for more and more ecommerce brands. In fact, a study of 4,000+ brands from Cyber Week 2021 found that:
- Businesses sent more than 1 billion text messages to consumers — more than double what they sent in 2020.
- More than 8.5 million new text subscribers opted in to receive SMS messages from brands, a 62 percent increase from the previous year.
- SMS messages helped these brands generate over $830 million in just seven days.
Pairing SMS with email marketing has proven to be a winning combo. Crafting an effective SMS and email strategy can boost your reach, increase click-throughs, and raise the likelihood of a purchase happening.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the best email and SMS marketing tips ecommerce brands can begin to implement in 2022.
6 email and SMS marketing tips for 2022
Tip 1: Start growing both your email and SMS lists
You can’t implement an email and SMS marketing strategy without having people to market to. So your first step is to start growing both of these lists. Here are a few strategies to try:
Add more SMS opt-ins on your website. Add them to your homepage, product pages, PPC pages, pop-ups, and wherever else it makes sense without bombarding your viewers. The more subscribers your lists contain, the more chances you have to reach them on different channels.
Include SMS and email option fields when capturing sign-ups. Subscribers should always have the choice of signing up for either list or both at the same time.
Entice sign-ups with an attractive welcome offer. People need an incentive to give your brand their email address and/or phone number so this offer has to be something they find valuable. Check out this spin-to-win wheel example below from a brand that sells baseball and softball equipment.
This interactive pop-up gives users an opportunity to win a major discount and is a great way to entice opt-ins and sign-ups. As a marketer, make sure you do your due diligence to see what types of coupons, discounts, or free items your customers gravitate toward the most, then lead with these.
Tip 2: Lead with value in the form of coupons and promos
We know that conversion rates increase when brands lead with value, especially in the world of ecommerce where consumers have many options at their disposal. Here are some tips on learning how to lead with value:
Personalize your offers based on customer data. Personalization is one of the best ecommerce marketing tips your business should be using. It involves collecting and using your customers’ browsing and shopping behavior, along with marketing preferences, to create personalized offers that’ll draw them in. Below is what a personalized offer would look like on an ecommerce website that you buy from or visit often.
Understanding what cohorts of customers purchase most is an effective way to upsell or cross-sell items to your customers.
Draw customers in with coupon codes and discounts. A 10 percent off sign-up discount is the most popular way brands build their subscriber lists and it’s become standard practice in ecommerce. We call these welcome email discounts and they generate 320 percent more revenue than other promos. Larger discounts such as the 20-30 percent off range can boost the likelihood of a purchase and build brand loyalty.
You can never go wrong with free shipping. If you don’t offer free shipping yet, you could be losing business. A staggering 93 percent of customers prefer free shipping over any other type of discount or promotion.
Tip 3: Optimize your email and SMS send times
Sending your email and marketing texts at the right time could be crucial for driving more sales or sign-ups. There are a few methods to be aware of, but also SMS compliance rules you’ll have to abide by.
Check your customer data to find your email sweet spot. After analyzing average open rates across industries, each email provider cites different times and days of the week that work best. Compare their guidelines to your customer data to see when your subscribers respond best to your emails.
Send SMS around the start of the workday and during the lunch break window. In 2021, brands sent the most text messages around 10 a.m. EST. According to the Attentive Mobile report from earlier, the next most popular times included 9 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, and 1 p.m.
Respect the “quiet hours” of early mornings and late evenings. To avoid spam or TCPA complaints, abide by SMS marketing compliance laws which state you cannot text subscribers before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. Enable timezone-based targeting tools that consider your subscribers’ local time to get this step right.
Tip 4: Set up retargeting campaigns
Retargeting, especially for shopping cart abandonment and customer winback messages, is one of the top ways an ecommerce marketer can reel customers back in for a purchase. Below are ways you should think about your retargeting campaigns.
Start with abandoned cart emails to bring shoppers back to the items they added to their carts but never purchased. Moosend notes that more than 40 percent of cart abandonment emails are opened, 50 percent are clicked on, and 50 percent of users who clicked made a purchase.
In many abandonment campaigns build anticipation and FOMO for the customer by using phrases like, “Time is running out” or “Last chance to buy”, which helps these types of emails convert at a higher rate.
Create a strategy for customer winback emails. Trigger automated messages to customers who haven’t engaged with your business after a certain period of time. This winback strategy is common amongst brands where items are meant to be replenished, like vitamins, shampoo, dog food, and more. Subscription brands like Hello Fresh and Dollar Shave Club also employ this tactic.
Repeat customers are nine times more likely to convert than first-time buyers and 20 percent more profitable for your business — so don’t forget to re-engage dormant customers sitting in your database.
Tip 5: Find the balance between plain text and HTML email
Both HTML stylized and plain emails serve their purposes. This section should help clear up the confusion so you can find the right balance between the two.
Plain text emails are free of all types of formatting. They favor simple text-based designs with a small logo and different font sizes and styles to emphasize the calls to action.
Plain text emails work best when:
- You want to mimic a one-on-one conversation with your subscribers. This generally includes transactional emails like receipts, surveys, and thank-you emails.
- You’re in the B2B space or marketing technical products in a specific niche.
Your subscribers are in the IT, government, or financial services industries. Their email providers might have advanced security rules that will block your HTML messages.
HTML emails utilize text formatting, images, brand colors, designs meant for mobile scrolling, and other elements to generate aesthetically-pleasing emails. If you have a favorite direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand, they’re probably sending you HTML emails.
HTML emails work best when:
- You want your visuals to capture attention. According to Campaign Monitor, people receive 121 emails per day, on average. So, if you want to show off a new product and stand out in a sea of text-only emails, HTML is the way to go.
- You want to score in-depth analytics. You can embed an email HTML code with analytics tools to automatically track clicks, opens, and other metrics for success.
- Advertising product promotions, event invites, newsletters, etc. These emails are more engaging with visuals. Just remember that image-heavy emails may get routed to “promotions” tabs or spam folders and never get seen.
Can’t decide between the two?
Consider hybrid emails. These are HTML messages that keep formatting to a minimum to mimic the effects of plain-text emails without losing the ability to track analytics. Over 62 percent of marketers send emails that include a smart mix of plain text and HTML.
Offer subscribers both HTML and plain-text versions of your emails. Let them choose what they enjoy interacting with best to boost the chances of your messages landing. Make sure to track this data for your future campaigns.
Tip 6: Engage in two-way messaging
Two-way messaging is the next wave of personalization. It allows customers to have conversations with your brand rather than just talking to them. Now, some brands are already having two-way conversations through email instead of sending no-reply messages, but this can be taken to the next level with SMS.
Whether you engage via email, SMS, live chat, or chatbots, these interactions guide the buying process and ultimately lead your customers to purchase. Being able to interact with customers over SMS – which is arguably the device consumers spend most of their time on – elevates your digital customer experience and leaves a memorable impression.
Email and SMS are the perfect complement to your CX Strategy
Use this guide as a checklist to conquer your email and SMS marketing campaigns in 2022. Each actionable tip will get your brand one step closer to exceeding sales and sign-up goals while strengthening your relationship with your customers.
Are you using SMS and email marketing? If so, let us know how it's working for your brand in a comment below.
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