The Complete Guide To SMS Marketing For Shopify Stores

Jairene Cruz-Eusebio on May 26, 2021 9:56:07 AM

When you think about it, the Internet is a strange place. You have to do all the work for your store and make sure it's well-presented and easy to use, but then there are people who will just come into your store from nowhere without any prompting or invitation. This creates an interesting dynamic where you need to attract new customers while also making sure that those old ones keep coming back. 

 

sms marketing

With the number of competitors that any eCommerce store has, finding a way to effectively reach customers can be challenging. Your marketing approach needs to be something the cuts through the noise of all the other options clamoring to draw a potential client's interest. At the same time, it needs to draw people in, not be something they'll simply glance at and forget about. 

 

Table of Contents

What is SMS Marketing?

Advantages of SMS Marketing

How To Integrate SMS Marketing with a Shopify Store

Types of SMS Marketing Campaigns

SMS Marketing Best Practices

SMS Marketing Apps Available for Shopify Stores



In order to reach this perfect balance, a number of shops try their hand at email marketing. While this allows you to reach consumers directly, this doesn't mean your audience is paying attention to what you're saying. In fact, Campaign Monitor reports that email click-through rates can fall as low as 18.6% during the holiday season – far from ideal. 

 

With email marketing showing such low dividends, sellers need to find another path to effective marketing – and that's where SMS marketing comes in. While it may not seem like it at first glance, SMS marketing can actually be highly effective, with conversion rates reported to be as high as 45%-200% compared to a conversion rate of 3.26% for email marketing and 3.17% for Google Ads. Now, isn't that something?

 

But before you dive headfirst into SMS Marketing, you must first understand the dynamics of this approach.

 

 

What is SMS Marketing?

 

SMS marketing is a relatively new form of communication that has been growing in popularity over the past few years. It stands for Short Messaging Service, which is a way to send messages from one phone to another without broadcasting them on social media networks or other public places. 

 

The idea behind this type of marketing is simple: businesses can promote their products and services through text messaging instead of using more expensive forms like television ads. 

 

This marketing technique allows you to send promotional and marketing messages to both existing and prospective customers via text message. It is a great way to share time-sensitive updates, such as sales and promotions.

 

Types of SMS Marketing Messages

There are two major types of messages that sellers or business owners send via SMS marketing, and these are:

 

1. Campaigns Messages

This is essentially used to communicate store information like promotions, sales, updates, new products, etc. They are usually bulk messages that are sent to most, if not all, individuals on your SMS marketing list.

 

2. Transactional Messages

Unlike campaign messages, these are sent "one-on-one" to specific individuals and include information that only they would need. These messages are triggered by actions and behaviors on the part of the receiver – for example, if someone purchases something from your shop, you may send them an order confirmation or a shipping notification via SMS. 

 

 

How Does SMS Marketing Work?

The idea is pretty simple: you need to have a list of customer contact numbers gathered via legal means. You will then use an automated system that will blast send messages to these numbers.

 

Your messages are sent to your customers in blasts via "shortcodes." These codes are usually 5-6 digits in length, as opposed to a full phone number, and can be linked to one shop or shared across multiple shops. 

 

Requirements of SMS Marketing

It is always best to send marketing messages to customers who have "opted in" to your SMS service instead of sending cold text messages. This increases the chance of conversion, as you will be targeting people interested in buying what you're selling. 

 

Additionally, opt-in is a legal requirement in several countries, including the U.S., Canada, and the EU, and if you do not have an opt-in policy, you may be falling foul of the law.  

 

There are a couple of ways to opt-in. 

 

One is via text confirmation. A person will usually be prompted to text a keyword to your shortcode. This keyword can be anything you choose, though you should try and keep it associated with your shop. So, for example, if you are selling hockey equipment, your keyword may be HOCKEY.

 

Another is via registration opt-in. This can happen by the user manually registering an account on your site and adding his contact information. It is also possible for a user to opt-in during purchase, as he will input his delivery and contact details. 

 

For both instances, website owners are required to indicate below the form field that the user agrees to receive marketing messages from the seller. Depending on your location, you may be required by law to provide a checkbox so that the user will have a choice whether or not he/she agrees.

 

When using SMS Marketing, make sure that you are following SMS Marketing Compliance requirements to prevent encountering unnecessary legal issues.



Advantages of SMS Marketing

 

There are several reasons that SMS marketing is a popular option for owners of Shopify stores. These include:

 

  • High Engagement Rates

It's not just conversion that ranks high with the help of SMS marketing, it's engagement rates as well. Gartner estimates that open rates for SMS marketing messages can be as high as 98%. Even if the individual chooses not to buy, this allows you to create brand awareness amongst customers. 

  • Direct to Intended Audience

TV commercials allow you to display ads to the general public; online ads allow you to target audiences via interest and demographics. But SMS ads can go even further by delivering ads to people who have actually shown interest in your brand.

This means you won’t waste precious ad budget for a hit-and-miss promotion; you will deliver ads exactly to your intended audience.

 

  • Instant Delivery

You can reach customers around the globe in a matter of seconds with SMS marketing. This is a great option if you're looking to communicate real-time information like short-term promotions and offers. Additionally, there are little to no deliverability issues, and you rarely need to worry about SMSes bouncing.

 

  • Attention-Grabbing

One of the best parts of SMS marketing is that the information you are trying to communicate is delivered directly to a customer's mobile device. This is a key advantage over email marketing – in today's mobile-first world, most people are rarely far away from their mobile phones. 

 

With email marketing, you have to wait for a person to purposefully access their email inboxes. With SMS marketing, on the other hand, the receiver knows within seconds of delivery that they have received a text, allowing them to "impulse-click" on your message without thinking about the action too much.

 

  • Easy to Write

If you've ever tried to write an email for marketing purposes, you know that it can be a time-consuming effort. You not only need to get the tone and language right, but you also need to include enough text to fill a complete email. Additionally, you need to worry about creating a perfect subject line in order to motivate receivers to click on your email. 

 

With SMS marketing, those concerns are no longer present. Texts are designed to be short, so all you need to do is include the relevant information. Additionally, you don't have to worry about designing the perfect graphics to go along with the text – you just need to plug in relevant emojis if necessary to help your message pop, which takes only seconds to access and add. 

 

  • Encourage Customer Relationships

With most other marketing channels, you risk coming across as automated and robotic. SMS marketing, on the other hand, allows you to reach customers directly and engage in one on one dialogue and communication. 

 

Research shows that text messages have a customer response rate of 45% compared to the email response rate of 6%. 

 

If you're looking to open a communication channel with customers, SMS is the way to go. It is far easier for them to use this avenue to communicate feedback with you compared to email. This includes support and help requests, which you can immediately respond to, allowing you to create a better relationship with your clients. 

 

  • Inexpensive

SMS marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels that you can invest in. Not only are the rates affordable, when compared to conversion rates, but it’s also one of the best returns on investment when it comes to marketing. 

 

This means that no matter whether you have a small marketing budget or are looking to cut costs, SMS marketing can meet your needs. Additionally, there are several different plans available depending on your requirements, including pay-as-you-go plans, monthly bulk SMS plans, and more. 

 

  • Reach Emerging Markets

If you're marketing internationally, SMS marketing is a great option to use in developing markets. Many potential customers in such markets may not have an email account or if they do, may not access them as frequently. Additionally, the cost of accessing the Internet may be prohibitive, with little to no public WiFi available, making accessibility low even for people who can afford the service. 

 

However, mobile phones are ubiquitous around the world. This means that, by choosing SMS marketing, you can potentially communicate with, and reach, thousands of untapped consumers that would have previously been beyond your reach. 

 

  • Touchbase During Any Point of the Sales Funnel

Unlike most other marketing channels, you can use SMS marketing to engage with customers at any point during their buying journey. You can help new customers learn about your store and your offerings, stay in touch with existing consumers, boost the likelihood of repeat purchases and customer retention, and increase customer loyalty. 

SMS messages are also a great way to encourage buyers who abandoned their carts to come back and complete their purchases. WinBack app, for instance, can recover up to 34% of abandoned carts. That's more than a third of lost sales brought back!

 

  • Segment Campaign Data

Many store owners do not realize it, but it is possible to get – and use – campaign data from SMS marketing campaigns. You can segment your audience in order to better deliver more personalized messages. 

 

Segmentation options include:

    • Customer Behaviour

Use information related to customer interests and buying habits to send tailored messages.

 

    • Engagement

You can use engagement data for past campaigns to determine what works best for your store and what types of campaigns you should invest in in the future. Additionally, you can determine whether you need to send follow-up texts for past campaigns. 

 

    • Order Information

Depending on what stage of ordering a customer is, the SMS message can be customized. For example, you can send a cart reminder if a customer navigates off your website with a full cart but without completing their purchase. Additionally, once the order is confirmed, shipment sent, and package received, SMS marketing allows you to constantly keep your customer in the loop.

 

    • Customer Attributes: 

You can segment your audience based on attributes such as tags, how long you've had a relationship with them, what their account status on your website is, and more. This helps you personalize your messages and make targeting easier.

 

This data can also help you determine how frequently you should be sending SMS messages. Many shop owners using SMS marketing make the mistake of sending too few text messages, not too many. With the data you receive, you'll be able to ensure that you're hitting the sweet spot when it comes to the number of messages sent and aren't missing out on opportunities by being too conservative.

 

  • Integrations

Depending on the SMS marketing service you use, you may be able to integrate them with customer service platforms like Gorgias to improve your workflow. This can also make it easy to engage in two-way conversations with customers if required. 

 

 

  • Fresh Approach

Unlike a number of marketing channels, SMS marketing is not yet saturated. In fact, over 60% of marketers still do not use this tool to promote their shops, and over 65% of brands do not have a formal SMS marketing strategy in place, according to MMA Global

 

By opting for SMS marketing, you'll likely be one of the first adopters of this system in your niche. This means that you have fewer direct competitors competing for customer attention over text messages, unlike email and social media marketing. It allows you to hold your consumers' attention. 

 

Additionally, it plays on psychology – most people hate seeing notifications for unread messages, which means that they are more likely to open your message. These factors all combine to make SMS marketing far more effective than other avenues. 

 

How To Integrate SMS Marketing with a Shopify Store

 

Each SMS marketing provider works slightly differently, and you will have to follow the specific steps that your chosen provider indicates. However, in general, here is how to go about integrating your SMS marketing efforts with your Shopify store:

 

1. Select Your Phone Number

You'll need to determine what number you'll use in connection with your store. There are several different number types available, each with its own benefits. Options include toll-free numbers, long codes or local phone numbers, dedicated shortcodes, and more. 

 

2. Integrate Your Shopify Store With Your Provider

Not all providers require you to integrate their services with your store. If they do, or if you wish to do so, check with their website for a guide on how to go about doing so.

 

 

3. Collect Numbers 

Again, collection methods differ from provider to provider. However, some options include adding a phone number field to an existing email or sign-up form, announcement bars, sign-up widgets, and more. Another option is to incentivize sign-ups by offering a discount or coupon for doing so.

 

Some SMS marketing services may not be able to connect directly with Shopify. In such a situation, they will likely integrate with Zapier instead. Zapier will then serve as a go-between between the marketing service and Shopify, allowing them to connect with each other. 

 

Shopify also has a native option for collecting numbers. You can provide your customers with the option of entering their mobile number when checking out instead of plugging in their email details. By doing so, they receive order and shipping confirmation and updates through text message instead of via email.

 

You can also require phone numbers if the shipping carrier you use for delivering physical products requires this information for successful delivery. Shopify store owners can simply access and edit the checkout form to collect this information.

 

If a customer opts not to include their phone details, you can also enable the opt-in option for order updates. This provides your customers with an alternative way to receive text message updates post-purchase.

 

Types of SMS Marketing Campaigns

There are different ways to utilize SMS Marketing for your Shopify store, and these are:

 

Abandoned Cart Recovery

SMS marketing can be used to remind shoppers that they have products left in their cart. Abandoned carts are a major challenge for online stores. To date, $4.6 trillion USD are lost eCommerce businesses to this phenomenon. 

 

While it is never possible to bring this number down to zero percent SMS marketing can have an effect in bringing the percentage down.

 

Some tips to increase conversion through abandoned cart recovery messages include:

    • Include a direct link to the cart to make re-visiting and checkout easier and faster for the customer.

    • Experiment to find out how long you should wait before sending a recovery message – most businesses find that short time frames work best. However, your audience may differ, and it's best to discover what is most effective for your own shop.

    • Make sure that the message is short, with a clear call to action to motivate the customer to act.

 

Updates and Alerts

Launching new campaigns, product lines, and sales without any warning can result in lower than expected conversion rates for your shop. Instead, provide information to customers at least a few days in advance. 

 

Updates and alerts give shoppers the time to become excited for and anticipate your shop events. They are more likely to participate, as they will have had time to consider their budget and plan their purchases ahead of time. Additionally, creating excitement means you're more likely to have an early response from participants than waiting for organic engagement.

 

Customer Service Alerts

Aside from promotions and shop updates, customers also benefit from being updated about the status of their order and the shipping status of their package. Additionally, they may require customer service help or other support from your side. 

 

Text is a great way to engage customers, especially if you're looking to communicate important information or need responses from the receiver. People are more likely to respond to texts and can access important information faster, as they are more likely to have their mobile phones on hand. 

 

Some types of customer service alert that you can send include:

 

    • Notifications

This category covers everything from the traditional confirmation and shipping notifications to more creative offerings, including updates on how a product is being made, when it is being packaged, and more. 

 

    • One-on-One Support

You can use SMS marketing as a channel in order to provide customer support. Consider using MMS so that customers can send you images for troubleshooting help or show proof of damaged items instead of only describing their concerns.

 

    • Feedback

One of the biggest challenges that eCommerce and Shopify stores face is receiving feedback. Text messages provide an easy, low-energy way for consumers to provide this feedback, helping boost your store rating and providing you with a better idea of how you can improve your services.

 

Welcome Messages and Offers

 As soon as someone signs up to receive text messages from your shop, it can be effective to introduce them to your business. Let them known what they can expect from you, and set the tone for messages you will send going forward.

 

Additionally, you can use welcome messages to encourage people to visit your website. It is also a great place to include a welcome discount code that they can use for their next purchase. You can make this code time-sensitive if you want to encourage quicker conversion. 

 

Customer Engagement

You can use text messaging in order to create brand loyalty and increase customer engagement. This should not simply be limited to offering exclusive promotions to SMS subscribers. Other ways to offer value to customers via text include:

 

  • Text an Expert

Allows you to share expert advice with customers. For example, fashion labels can share styling tips, plant stores can share tips on which plants are best for which season, and so on.

 

  • Customized Offerings

You the example of texting an expert to allow customers to ask for customized advice and help. For example, shoppers could text in pictures of their current favorites so you can pair them with clothes from your current collections, or may send in images or ill plants so your experts can help come up with a solution.

 

  • Exclusive Moments

Provide SMS subscribers with exclusive offerings, special discounts, or early access to sales to increase the value they get from staying subscribed to your shop. You can tailor these offers based on customer data – for example, you can send special codes for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. This helps create the image of a human connection between the customer and your business and helps build brand loyalty.

 

 

Offers for Inactive Users

If you have website subscribers and users who have not accessed their account with your website for a long time, you can use SMS marketing to try and win them back. This includes reaching out to them with exclusive offers to entice them back to your shop and convince them to make a purchase. 

 

Additionally, SMS marketing allows you to stay in touch with your subscribers and send them relevant updates. Thus, if users are inactive due to shop policies such as shipping guidelines, they can be motivated to return to the store in the case of changes to these policies. Keeping them on your SMS marketing list ensures that they receive these updates and can decide to buy from your store if there is a change in circumstances.

 

 

Customer Reviews

Among the biggest challenges that Shopify store owners face is their inability to garner reviews. Even customers who enjoy their experience with your store can feel unmotivated when it comes to leaving a review, whether that be on your own website or on third-party websites. 

 

Text messages can serve as a way to further encourage shoppers to leave reviews. This can be done in a number of ways:

 

  • Reduce Steps

Include a direct link to a place where customers can leave their reviews. This makes things easier for them, and they don't have to navigate through your website to leave a review.

 

  • Specific Requests

Is there something, in particular, you are looking for feedback on? This can include everything from product selection and quality to shipping times and customer service. Whatever you're looking for, make sure to ask customers directly for the type of feedback you need. 

 

This helps provide clear guidelines, and they don't have to spend time trying to determine what they should write in their review.

 

 

SMS Marketing Best Practices

While your SMS marketing strategy will be unique to your needs and tailored to fit into your overall marketing strategy, there are some best practices that you should keep in mind when opting for this channel. These include:

 

Make Opting-Out Easy

 

SMS marketing requires people to share an extremely personal piece of information with you – their phone number. For it to be successful, it requires that your customers trust you and trust that you have their best interests at heart. 

 

One way you show this is by making your SMS marketing service an opt-in one. However, on the flip side, it should also be easy for them to opt out of it. Not only does this put the customer in control, but it also ensures that you're only spending money reaching out to people truly interested in the information you have to offer and are not wasting money on cold messages.

 

 

Choose the Type of Messages You Send Carefully

 

There are two broad types of SMS messages that you can send – mass texts and personalized one-to-one messages. It's important to choose the right type of message for each situation. 

 

For example, if you're looking to inform customers about upcoming promotions, you're likely going to choose mass texts so you can inform everyone on your marketing list. Customers who reach out to you with customer service queries, on the other hand, want to feel like they are interacting with an actual human and are unlikely to respond well to automated messages. 

 

When it comes to one-to-one messaging, you may find it beneficial to integrate your SMS marketing services with a customer service platform. This allows you to streamline communication and respond to customers as soon as possible. 

 

The main challenge with direct messaging is response time – you don't want your customers to wait for hours before they receive a reply. In order to address this issue, it's recommended that you set up hours during which you're open to receiving text messages – this way, clients who contact you during your downtime will be aware that they won't be receiving an immediate response.

 

Keep it Short

Customers prefer their text messages to be short, simple, and easy to digest. This isn't the avenue to use when it comes to promoting a new blog post or going into detail about changes to your business structure. 

 

If you do include an outbound link with your SMS message, it should have a purpose – and that purpose, more often than not, should be to convert customer attention into a purchase or a review. 

 

Additionally, SMS marketing is not the spot for lengthy introductions. If you're sending a text message, get straight to the point. For example, if you're promoting a sale, don't spend valuable message space explaining the reason for the sale. Instead, give the sale an easily understandable, short name (e.g., CHRISTMAS SALE), and keep the rest of your message concise. Emojis can go a long way in relaying information without taking up space, so you may choose to use them – but, once again, do so sparingly.

 

Keep an Eye on the Clock

 

People tend to check text messages almost immediately. In fact, some people leave their phones on loud at night so that they can be alerted in case of an emergency text. 

 

This habit is one of the reasons that SMS marketing is as successful as it is. However, it can also be easy to exploit. After all, consider this situation – someone is waiting for an important message and has gone to sleep with their phone on loud. They wake to an SMS alert at 3:00 AM However, it's not the message they've been anticipating, but instead, is a promotional message for your store. 

 

Not only will this cause short-term irritation, but it can also lead to customers opting out of getting your messages and even choosing competitors over your store in the future. This is why it's key to make sure that you're sending your messages during the day – aside from reducing the risk of negative reactions, people are also more likely to act on the information in the message during the day than they would be at night.

 

Additionally, some countries have strict restrictions on when you can send SMS marketing messages. For example, France restricts marketing messages after 10 PM, anytime on Sundays, and anytime on holidays. 

 

If you are sending messages to customers around the world, you may find this more difficult to follow. However, if you're selling locally or within a single country, it's important to keep the time of day in mind. 

 

SMS Marketing Apps Available for Shopify Stores


There are a number of apps available for you to choose from. You should be able to find dozens of options on the app store and even more following a cursory online search. However, if you’re looking to narrow down your options, here are some favorites you can choose from:

Winback

This app is perfect for businesses looking for a straightforward solution to SMS Marketing. Integration with Shopify stores is quick and easy. Automatically send SMS messages for abandoned checkouts, abandoned browsers, and post-purchase follow-up. You can even integrate with Facebook to enhance subscriber collection, and also create personalized SMS marketing campaigns. Winback pricing plans start at $59 per month.

 

Wizgo

This one offers omnichannel automation, customer segmentation, and easy integration. It can also be used for email and WhatsApp marketing, push notifications, and more. Plans start at $100 per month.


SimpleTexting

This app allows 2-way messaging, MMS marketing, and scheduled texts. Its features also include data collection, segmentation, link tracking, and more. The costs depend on the number of messages sent, with prices starting at $25 per month for 500 messages.

 


SlickText

SlickText's features include auto-replies, mass messaging capability, scheduled messages, MMS marketing, a mobile app, drop campaigns, and more. Pricing starts at $29 per month for 500 messages.


Postscript

This one allows you to track revenue and return on investment, have two-way conversations, and send messages compliant with U.S. TCPA regulations. Other features of PostScript include segmentation, automation, and integration with Shopify data. Prices begin at $25 per month for 2500 messages.


ManyChat

This is one of the most popular options. Manychat's features include 1:1 messaging with customers, drip campaigns, multimedia messaging, and more. It also provides help with Instagram marketing and Facebook Messenger chatbots. Its plans that include SMS marketing start at $10 per month, though SMS messages are charged separately, on a pay-as-you-go basis.

 

What are you waiting for?

SMS Marketing can be an effective way to promote products and services without breaking the bank on expensive advertising campaigns. So, if you’re looking for a new and innovative way to promote your business with less expense, then SMS Marketing is the answer! 

 

We know it sounds like a lot of work at first glance. But we assure you that once you get started, this will be one of the easiest ways to market your product or service. 

 

Trust us on this - sign-up for a 14-day trial today so they can show you how easy it really is! 

Topics: SMS Marketing

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