The Art of Personalization: How it Can Improve Sales via SMS Marketing

Jairene Cruz-Eusebio on Jul 21, 2021 2:13:18 PM

Personalization is the art of making your customers feel like they are being addressed personally. Personalizing SMS messages to attract attention, increase engagement, click-throughs, and even purchases have been proven to be an effective marketing strategy that can help you stand out from the crowd.

 

In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to personalize your SMS message so it stands out from all other text messages your customers receive, so you can watch your conversion rates soar!

 

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Table of Contents

Why is Personalization Important?

Customer Information You Can Use

Customizing the Sender ID

Use Dynamic Content

Segmentation

8 Tips for Effective SMS Marketing with Personalization

Personalized SMS Marketing Templates

Mistakes to Avoid with Personalized SMS Messages



SMS is undoubtedly a powerful marketing tool for small businesses to use – it remains relatively unsaturated, with 4 out of 5 customers believing that companies need to use SMS to contact them more often. Additionally, people are more likely to open text messages, with 98% of marketing SMSes being opened compared to 20% of marketing emails.

 

However, there’s more to an effective SMS marketing strategy than simply sending out marketing information. Messages should be both informative and customized, allowing your customers to feel connected with you and your brand.

 


Why is Personalization Important?

 

According to Forbes, people are exposed to around 4000 to 10000 advertisements each day. Given the sheer volume of brand messaging people face, it’s vital to ensure that when they encounter your brand, something about it makes you stand out and stick in their minds.

 

That’s where personalization comes in. 

 

Even with mass text message campaigns, it is still possible to personalize certain aspects of the message, such as including their name. Such messages help boost a consumer’s experience with your business and increases your conversion rate significantly.

 

Consider these statistics:

 

  • 75% of customers are more likely to buy from a business that knows them by name, knows their purchase history, or can recommend options based on their purchase history.

 

  • 71% of consumers feel frustrated with impersonal brand experiences, and 77% of people expect personalization with online brands.

 

  • 49% of people reported making impulse purchases as a result of a personalized marketing message.

 

  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop at businesses that provide them with offers relevant to their interests.

 

  • 72% of consumers will only interact with personalized messages, and 80% will only shop with brands that offer a personalized experience. 

 

  • The click-through rate for messages customized with the receiver’s first name was 71%, versus a CTR of 55% for non-customized notifications.

 

As you can see, personalization does not merely improve the customer experience, it has a tangible effect on your ROI into SMS messaging and can significantly boost your sales. 

 

Other benefits of personalized messaged include:

 

  • Trust

    Customers are more likely to trust brands when they feel like they are communicating with a business that cares about them and when messages have a non-computer feel to them, as with personalized texts.

 

  • Stand Out

    People don’t usually spend much time on their text messages. By personalizing your marketing SMSes, you help them stand out in a sea of other such texts from other brands and make it more likely that a customer will interact with your message.

 

  • Value

    Personalization also includes offers and product selection that is tailored to a customer’s needs. This helps make your messaging more relevant to a consumer, which aids your brand n providing greater value to them.

 


Customer Information You Can Use

 

While there is some data that all businesses can use to personalize their text messages, like first names, most brands often find that the type of data that they should use depends on what they offer customers. 

 

For example, a car showroom would be more likely to use information about the make and model of a customer’s car, while a clothing retailer would be unlikely to need this information when sending personalized messages.

 

This means that when collecting customer data for later usage, it’s crucial to collect information that is relevant to your brand’s needs. 

 

Some types of data you can collect include:

 

  • Demographic data

This is the basic data about your customer and includes information such as their name, age, date of birth, gender, email address, and current location.

 

  • Behavioral data

Information about how someone uses your website, including the average time spent on your site, which pages they visited, the number of times they visited your website, their transaction history, the types of links they clicked on, and the campaigns they interacted with, and so on. 

 

  • Contextual data

Unique information that can help explain someone’s behavior on your website, including the type of device they use to access your website, the time of day when they visit, their most common location when visiting, the type of browser they use, and more.

 

If you are marketing to other businesses, you can also collect firmographic data

 

This data is similar to the demographic data you collect from individuals and includes categories such as the company’s name, their annual revenue, the number of people they employ, and the industry they operate in.

 

While you can gather behavioral and contextual data by analyzing how a person or a business interacts with your website, demographic and firmographic data require you to engage with your customers and have them provide you with relevant information. 

 

You can collect data using:

  • Online forms

  • Newsletter subscriptions

  • Live chat

  • Account registration

 

You can also incentivize customers to interact in this way by providing them with a discount or other offer if they fill in the relevant details and sign up for SMS marketing. 

 


Customizing the Sender ID

 

While customizing for the consumer is important, it’s also essential to make sure that the receiver can identify who sent a particular text message at a glance. In order to do so, businesses should customize the sender ID in a text message with an alias.

 

Sender IDs are numerical identifiers or contain the telephone number you are using to send a message. By using an alias, you replace this identifier with a textual identifier instead, usually one that represents or refers to your brand. Depending on the name of your business, this may be either the full name or an abbreviation.

 

 

Aliases ensure that marketing SMSes you send are immediately identifiable, making it more likely that a person will not only open a message but will also read it. Customers are more likely to trust and interact with messages whose senders they recognize. This, in turn, increases the chance of converting the message into a sale.

 

It is also important not to discount the way in which an alias can make a message sound more personal. As the receiver is able to identify your business by name, the interaction feels less cold and detached. 

 

This has a similar effect to including a person’s first name in your text messages and increases the likelihood that they will be willing to start a conversation or interact with you.

 

The downside to using a text-based Sender ID, though, is that it cannot facilitate two-way communication. This means your customers cannot respond to the message; they can only receive the messages. 

 

Another downside to using a customized Sender ID is the price. You would first need to get an exclusive short code, and then apply for the unique Sender ID you want.

 

If you’re sending thousands of messages a month, and branding is important to you, then it will be worth it.

 


Use Dynamic Content

 

Dynamic content allows you to personalize bulk messages using information from a central database. 

 

For example, if you are sending a shipping update, dynamic content will enable you to create a message template that can then be auto-filled with each customer’s personal details. This reduces the need for you to dedicate man-hours to personally send a different message for each transaction.

 

In order to make the most out of dynamic content, you will have to use an SMS platform that offers this functionality. Some fields that you can use for dynamic messages include:

 

  • Customer First Name

  • Date of birth (for birthday messages)

  • Transaction history

  • Personal buying preferences

 

Dynamic Tokens You Can Use in Shopify

 

SMS codes (also known as dynamic tokens) are the codes you enter into your SMS provider to let the program know how to personalize your message. 

 

For example, if you were entering a message template that would be personalized with customer first names, you would format the message like this:

 

Hi [customer first name]! Get ready for our Easter Sale with a 15% sitewide discount all weekend!

 

The “[customer first name]” would be replaced with the relevant code based on the guidelines provided by your SMS provider.

 

Liquid is Shopify’s native template language and is relatively easy to use for beginners. If you are sending SMS messages using Shopify’s messaging capabilities, you will need to use tokens based on Liquid.

 

Some codes you will find handy for personalized SMS messages include:

Dynamic Tokens/Codes

Description

The customer’s first name

customer.first_name

The default address associated with the customer

customer.default_address

The customer’s last name

customer.last_name

The customer’s last order

customer.last_order

The customer’s full name

customer.name

The country an address is associated with

address.country

Your customer's city address

address.city

The phone number of a customer

customer.phone

For when you want to promote an article published on your blog that may be of interest to a customer

article.excerpt

The link to an article you want to promote

article.URL

The link to your website blog

blog.URL

What discounts are available for the products in a customer’s cart

cart.discount_applications

The number of items pending in a customer’s cart

cart.item_count

The total discount on the items in a customer’s cart

cart.total_discount

The total price of the items in a customer’s cart after all discounts have been applied

cart.total_price

The shipping address a customer detailed at checkout

checkout.shipping_address

The price for shipping a customer’s purchase

checkout.shipping_price

The country in which the customer’s address is

country.name

The code for a unique gift card for the customer

gift_card.code

The date the gift card expires

gift_card.expiires_on

The amount of money a gift card has when activated (before being used)

gift_card.initial_value

The URL associated with a gift card if there is one

gift_card.url

The URL of a link included in a message

link.url

The preview image associated with a piece of media attached to a message (including images and videos)

media.preview_image

The billing address associated with an order

order.billing_address

The email address associated with an order

order.email

The fulfillment status of an order (whether it has been delivered or not, whether it has been shipped or not, etc.)

order.fulfillment_status

The order number

order.order_number

The URL associated with the order status page for an order (if your website has one)

order.order_status_url

The shipping price for an order

order.shipping_price

Shows the featured image associated with a product, which can be helpful for abandoned cart messages

product.featured_image

Product recommendations associated with a given product, based on sales data, product descriptions, and how products are divided into collections. 

recommendations.product

The price associated with a particular shipping method

shipping_method.price

The name of a given shipping method (for example, international shipping)

shipping_method.title

The address of your shop 

shop.address

The URL of your shop’s website

shop.url

The location of the store that has a particular product in stock

store_availability.location

The type of payment for a particular transaction (cash on delivery, Visa, MasterCard, etc.)

transaction.gateway

The payment receipt associated with a transaction

transaction.receipt

The date of the customer’s most recent order

customer.last_order.created_at




Segmentation

 

Customer segmentation refers to breaking down your larger audience into smaller groups based on shared attributes such as gender, age, and spending habits. 

 

This allows you to deliver messages that are better tailored to a customer’s needs and helps you provide your consumers with more value through your marketing materials, including SMSes.

 

 

There are four major types of segmentation that you can experiment with:

 

Demographic Segmentation

This is the most straightforward way of dividing your audience and requires you to ask who your audience is. Some types of demographic segmentation include dividing your customer list by gender, age, income, and ethnicity. 

 

Psychographic Segmentation

In this segmentation category, you ask why your customers choose to buy a particular product. Some types of psychographic segmentation include defining consumers by hobbies, lifestyles, personality traits, and life goals. 

 

This type of segmentation is more challenging to identify than demographic segmentation, as you do not have the benefit of easily collected information. However, when done well, it can result in incredibly effective and personalized marketing.

 

Geographic Segmentation

Relatively easy to identify, in this type of segmentation, you ask the question of where your customer is. Some factors that you can use for segmentation include city, country, and postal code. 

 

You can use this method of segmentation to promote locality-specific products. For example, if you are a fashion retailer, you can promote water-resistant products to customers in a rainy location and other seasonally appropriate items. 

 

Additionally, you can offer personalized discounts and offers to customers from a specific area if you are looking to boost sales.

 

Behavioral Segmentation

This category of segmentation asks how a customer shops. Some ways in which you can segment your audience include their spending and purchasing habits, their ratings for previously purchased products, their browsing habits, and how they interact with your business. 

 

You can then use this information to provide your customers with tailored messages. For example, you can send reminders to frequent customers to join your loyalty program, promote premium services to high-spending customers, or request reviews on particular social media channels depending on how a customer interacted with your brand in the past.



Sending segmented messages allows you to tailor your messaging strategy to each segment. You can avoid sending irrelevant texts – for example, with geographic segmentation, customers in New York will not receive texts that are only relevant to California customers. 




This, in turn, reduces the number of unsubscriptions and helps protect both your brand image and the relationship that you have already built with your audience. Other benefits of segmentation include:

 

  • Better ROI

With segmentation, you can customize your messages to meet customer needs, which boosts conversions and sales. This allows you to use your SMS marketing budget more efficiently than simply sending out bulk messages to your entire contact list.

 

  • Market Identification

As you start segmenting your customer base, you may be able to identify niche markets your business is doing well in, which can help in everything from refining other marketing materials to introducing new products to your store.

 

  • Better Customer Retention

As mentioned above, consumers are more likely to purchase from stores that offer personalized services. This does not just apply to new customers but to repeat business as well. 

 

By efficiently personalizing your messaging through segmentation, you increase the chances that a customer will stay loyal to your brand. This, in turn, reduces customer acquisition costs and can also positively impacts word-of-mouth advertising.

 

  • Differentiation

By personalizing through segmentation, you differentiate yourself from customers who may only be providing limited personalization when they interact with customers, making your brand more attractive to your audience.

 


8 Tips for Effective SMS Marketing with Personalization

 

While segmentation, dynamic content, and sender aliases can help you customize, there are other ways you can improve your personalized SMS strategy as well. 

 

These include:

 

1. Chained Text Messages

 

One of the reasons many businesses are hesitant to invest in personalization is the character limit that many SMS providers have. After all, if you take up precious space with information such as a consumer’s name, you have less space to promote your business.

 

However, many SMS providers also provide chained message services. These allow you to link and send several text messages at once, providing you with more space with which to interact with your customers. 

 

 

This can also allow you to personalize your messages better, as you no longer have to weigh up the benefits of personalization with the drawback of lack of space.

 

2. Promote Loyalty Programs

 

If you’ve got a loyalty program for your store, your program members serve as an ideal segment to target with SMS marketing. Not only are they already engaged with your brand, 76% of customers enrolled in a loyalty program report that they like to receive SMS messages from the brands they love.

 

Messages to existing loyalty program members can include special discounts, information about new perks, and early bird offers they can take advantage of. 

 

Additionally, you can send even more personalized messages that make use of their loyalty data, including ones that congratulate them on reaching new loyalty tiers, informing them of their point balance, and more. 

 

You can also use customized SMS marketing to promote your loyalty program and encourage sign-ups from people who are not yet enrolled in it. Repeat customers serve as an ideal target audience, and you can use customers’ purchase history to message about the benefits of joining your membership program.

 

For example, when you send a confirmation message regarding an order, you can include information on how much they would pay had they been a member instead and include a sign-up link they can use to apply to your points program. 

 

Loyalty programs help boost overall revenues, and members tend to spend more on average and shop more frequently than non-members, which makes it necessary to convince customers to join in.

 

3. Utilize Two-way Conversations

Being able to talk to a real person can encourage customers to actually respond. If your SMS Marketing provider has this option, then you can easily improve your brand's image and entice customers to come back to your store.

 

Here at WinBack, we have the option to help you talk to your customers directly. Once a customer responds to the SMS you sent, you will receive a message through your official email. You can respond to the message directly from the email, and our program will automatically send your reply as a text message to your customer!

 

The best part is that your customer will have a seamless and smooth experience when "texting" with you. Your personalized responses can easily convince them to go back to your store and purchase some more.

 

4. Use Bots for One-on-One Conversations if You have Massive SMS Subscribers

 

One-on-one conversations are an integral part of ensuring that your customers remain engaged with your business through text messages. However, this doesn’t mean you need to expand your customer service team to ensure customers are dealt with in a timely manner.

 

It is possible to automate some common conversations using chatbots and automated conversation flows. These technologies mean customers are provided with a series of options, and depending on which one they choose, they will receive further personalized messages.

 

 

Consider, for example, Lidl’s Winebot Margot chatbot. This Facebook Messenger bot can interact at a high level with customers, helping them choose which wine to buy, what foods pair well with a particular wine, how the wine was made, and more. 

 

Similarly, effective chatbots are possible for SMS marketing as well, and they allow you to keep the feeling of a human conversation without forcing you to increase your staff budget.

 

Additionally, it’s something customers want. More than half of customers reported that they were interested in messaging with brands they were interested in, which makes automated and sophisticated chatbots an even more critical tool for businesses and marketers to use.

 

5. Check Your Tone

 

While personalization is important, it should go hand-in-hand with the correct register and style. Corporate abbreviations, extra jargon and technicalities, and a cold, impersonal tone can all distance customers and reduce the impact that personalization provides. 

 

Instead, make sure that you are using a direct, conversational tone that people can easily relate to. Not only will it increase the impact of your marketing messages, it will also boost the likelihood of receivers interacting with the messages and replying to them.

 

This is especially important when you are using a chatbot to take over some conversational functions. While users may be able to recognize that they are “speaking” with an automated program, they are more likely to remain engaged if the bot “feels” like a human in tone and register. 

 

If the bot is cold and impersonal, they are less likely to stay involved, especially if they do not have an item for purchase already in their minds.

 

6. Choose the Time of Sending Carefully

 

Personalized SMS messages are only effective if the recipient has the time to pay attention to them. If they are unable to give the contents of the message enough focus, you lose the chance to capture their interest.

 

When sending a marketing message, make sure you are tailoring it to a recipient’s time zone. Sending during the workday and in the middle of the night can both reduce the chances of customers opening their messages quickly. You can also experiment with and test the times at which you send the message and tailor your sending schedule according to your findings.

 

7. Create Tailored Offers

 

Along with personalized messaging, create customized offers for each of your audience segments. Offers tailored to a customer’s interests increase the likelihood of conversions and help boost sales.

 

You can gauge what types of offers would work best based on customer surveys and spending habits. International customers, for example, may prefer offers that include free shipping due to delivery costs, while local customers who already have free or low-charge shipping may prefer discount vouchers instead.

 

8. Focus on the Message

 

While chained messages mean that you have more space to transmit your message, it’s always best to keep messages as short as possible. Remember, receivers often spend no longer than a few seconds on each message, and you need to be able to effectively capture their attention in that span of time.

 

Make sure your message copy is as direct and straightforward as possible, and your offer is upfront and easily identifiable. However, directness does not mean you should compromise on personalization or a conversational tone – the best and most effective SMS marketing messages balance all three factors to deliver an impactful text message.

 


Personalized SMS Marketing Templates

 

There are tons of ways to personalize your messages. Not only can you personalize the text of the messages, you can also personalize which customers the message is sent to based on your segmentation data. 

 

Here are some ideas you can use and customize to your business’s unique needs:

 

Customer Review 

Hi, [Customer First Name], how do you like [product] you ordered [time since order]? We’d love it if you took a moment to rate and review it here [URL]!

 

Based on Last Appointment

Hey [Customer First Name]! We haven’t seen you at [business name] since [last purchase date]. Schedule your next appointment with us soon! [URL]

 

Sale

Hi [Customer First Name]! Excited about our upcoming Easter Sale? 30% off on selected items all weekend – visit us here [URL]!

 

Hey [Customer First Name]! Just wanted to let you know that we’ll be having a flash sale next weekend, with 20% off on all [category] products. Sign up for early access here [URL].

 

Local Sale

[Customer First Name], we’re having a one-day sale exclusively for [city address] residents! Visit our shop at [URL] and get yours while stocks last.

 

Personal Promo Code/Loyalty

Hi [Customer first name], as a thank you for shopping with us, you can get 10% discount for life! Simply use this code [discount code]. Visit our shop at [URL]



Abandoned Cart

Hey [Customer First Name]! Forgetting something? We noticed you left [product name] in your cart! Here’s [discount] off – you can complete your purchase here [URL]

 

Chain Text Message

Hey [Customer First Name]! Congratulations on reaching [membership status]. With your new rank, we’re thrilled to offer you [x] additional loyal points. You currently have [y] loyalty points in your account. 

 

As a celebration of your new status, treat yourself to 20% off on your next order with [discount code]

 

Restock 

Hi [Customer First Name]! We’ve just restocked with new [product category] items. Here’s a 20% discount you can use on all orders until [date]: [discount code].

 

 

Order Has Been Shipped

Hey [Customer First Name]! Your purchase of [order number] just shipped – you can track your order here: [URL].

 

Chat Bot

Here are some ideas you can use and customize for introductory chatbot messages:

 

  • Hey [Customer First Name]! Thanks for joining [company name] ’s [loyalty program name]. We’d love to recommend products that we feel you would love. To start – what are you looking for? [category 1] or [category 2]?

 

  • Hey [Customer First Name]! Thanks for reaching out to [company name]. Do you have a question about a product, or are you looking for other help?

 

  • Hey [Customer First Name]! Thanks for scheduling your appointment at [store address] on [date]. Please reply [Yes] to confirm your appointment or [No] to cancel.

 

 

Remember to add an option for the recipients to unsubscribe at the end of the message, as part of SMS Compliance requirements. Here’s an example:

 

Don’t want to receive promos? Text STOP at 123456.

 


Mistakes to Avoid with Personalized SMS Messages

 

While personalizing text messages can help boost sales and conversions, this is only true if done correctly. There are some common mistakes you should avoid, including:

 

1. Over-Personalization

 

If you have ever had a conversation with a stranger or an acquaintance who seems to know too much about you, you know how invasive it can feel. It’s essential to make sure that you personalize your messages the right amount and don’t go overboard, so your customers don’t feel the same way about your business.

 

Make sure personalization only uses information that they have shared with you voluntarily and that you don’t sound too robotic. Additionally, keep the personalization balanced – even when using information they have shared. If you include too many personalized fields, you may come off as invasive and creepy.

 

 

Check the sample text message above. If you receive a message like that, chances are, you’ll unsubscribe from receiving SMS messages, and you might not even buy from the same online shop again!

 

2. Incorrect and Outdated Information

 

It’s essential to regularly update the customer information you have. Doing so ensures that you have up-to-date information with which to personalize your messages. 

 

If you are using old data, you may end up referring to the receiver by the wrong name, sending messages to the wrong phone number, and so on.

 

Additionally, updating your records gives you a chance to engage with your customers further. You have the opportunity to keep your brand on the top of their minds, and you can even provide special offers to incentivize them to give you their up-to-date information (and make a purchase from your store)!

 

3. Not Double-Checking

 

Remember, personalized SMS messages are only effective if they work as intended. If there is an issue with the way you have personalized the message, or if you have coded the back-end incorrectly, it’s vital that you catch these errors before sending out messages to customers.

 

To that end, it’s important to double and even triple-check that your messages are being sent as intended. Ensure that you have a test list of phone numbers you can send messages to before going live so that you have the opportunity to fix any mistakes you may have made.

 

And of course, don't forget to check your spelling and grammar! 



Personalize Your SMS Messages and Start Seeing Results 

 

When properly utilized, personalized SMSes can be one of the most effective and cost-effective marketing mediums available to all business sizes. Personalized texts allow customers to feel connected to businesses, help build brand loyalty, and increase both conversions and click-through rates. 

 

Creating messages tailored to your customer’s needs is one of the most powerful ways businesses can connect with their customers and help you create a true community of shoppers. 

 

Ready to start with SMS Marketing? Sign up for a 14-day trial today.



Topics: SMS Marketing, SMS Messaging Templates

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