8 Rules for SMS Creative that Will Drive 10.1x ROI

July 24, 2019

Reading Time: 6 minutes

person holding smartphone browsing ecommerce store

Have you ever shopped in an online store and the merchant asked for your mobile number? Underneath that field, you probably spotted a checkbox with microcopy that reads something along the lines of “permission to send offers, promotions, etc.” E-commerce stores do this for a reason. They want to send marketing text messages to guide you down the sales funnel. If you don’t know about this practice for driving more sales to your Shopify store, then you’re seriously behind.

SMS marketing is a great way to supplement your multichannel marketing strategy. It’s become such a powerful tool because more and more people are using their mobile devices to research products and make purchases online. 

Text messages have a response rate of over 7 times higher than email (45% to 6%)! This means that you have a higher chance of reaching your target audience through text than if you would through email. What company wouldn’t want to leverage this effective channel for reaching their customers? Well, stats show that 65% of brands have yet to implement a strategy for text marketing.

Will you be a part of that majority? Or will you take a plunge into the great world of SMS marketing? If you chose the latter, then you should know the best practices for a successful SMS marketing strategy that will significantly boost your ROI.

8 RULES FOR AN SMS CREATIVE THAT WILL DRIVE 10.1X ROI

1. PAY ATTENTION TO TIMING

If you want a successful SMS marketing campaign, then you must time your text messages just right. What do we mean by that? Don’t text your customers anytime you want. If you’re using an automation tool, set up times that are optimal, when people are most likely to open and respond.

Don’t text people at the end of the week or weekend. Lots of marketers forget SMS as a channel and tend to send things all at the end of the week. Also, Mondays have the lowest response rates. Unless your message is somehow relevant to Mondays, avoid sending on these days.

It’s also not a good idea to send messages during common commute times, between 6:30 am and 8:30 am or 4 pm to 7 pm. During these times, people are likely driving and unable to read or respond to texts. And make sure you’re not sending messages too early in the morning or very late at night. You might annoy your contacts and cause them to unsubscribe.

The best days to send SMS are Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the weekdays. Most people follow a 9 to 5 schedule so the most effective times for SMS marketers are during normal business hours, between 10 am and 2 pm. If your message is best suited for sending during leisure time aim for 7 pm to 9 pm. Also, be sure to localize send times to time zones specific to your recipients. 

2. LEVERAGE CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR

Are you wondering what type of content you should send to your leads? You can track user behavior and tailor your message to each specific action. For example, let’s say a user added an item to their cart but didn’t check out. You can create an abandoned cart campaign after a user has added an item to cart and not converted.

At Postscript, we provide all the Shopify customer data, so brands can entice customers with a coupon code. Similarly, you can also suggest additional purchases, in a process known as cross-selling. For example, let’s say that a customer purchased yoga pants from your website. You can send them a text message convincing them to buy a sports bra, with an exclusive coupon.

When you track customer behavior, you get a better idea of where they are in the buyer’s journey. This way, you can personalize your SMS for them, depending on the stage they’re in.

3. CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY

Use the immediacy of SMS to your advantage by notifying people about limited-time offers and promotions. Informing your contacts about exclusive sales or contests can add a sense of urgency to your message and make them want to take advantage of the offer before time runs out. 

If you have a physical store, you can pair SMS with location-based campaigns to send promotions to users who visit or pass by your store. You can use phrases like “valid until, “expires soon,” or “today only” to really up the ante and make your contacts feel like they’re missing out if they turn down the offer.

4. TRACK OPEN AND CLICK RATES

Like any other marketing channel, you should be checking how well (or how poorly) your SMS campaign is performing. To do this with text, you should be looking at how many people open your message, how many click the link or send a response, and how many opt-out.

Current SMS marketing industry benchmarks show that 70% of customers open SMS messages within 60 minutes. 19% of recipients click on a link. If your rates are below these numbers, then you might need to reevaluate your SMS marketing strategy. A/B test key components of your campaign (i.e. messaging, audiences, timing, etc.) to see what’s working and what isn’t. Then, adjust accordingly.

5. ADD VALUE IN EVERY MESSAGE

Sending subscribers low-value messages is a sure way to kill your ROI. Make every text you send worthwhile to your customers. Don’t send people the same vague ad each week. Give them something they can use.

For example, you can plan your offers out for 6 months in advance and pre-schedule them at specific times. Send discounts, exclusive savings, important announcements, event alerts, and useful information, which can all provide great value to your customers.

6. DON’T OVERDO IT

Timing is a very important factor for your SMS marketing campaign and so is frequency. Have you ever gotten so many emails from a company that you wanted to unsubscribe? The same can happen if you’re texting your customers to death. No one likes being sold to and that’s exactly how your subscribers will feel if you’re sending them too many messages.

At opt-in, your subscribers should know how often you’ll be texting them, whether it’s daily or a few times a week. This way, you can put them at ease by letting them know you won’t be blowing their phones up with messages all the time. Once your subscribers set a frequency, you must stick to that number. There’s no increasing it just because you have more content or because they’ve become inactive and you’re trying to re-engage them. If you do that without their permission, you may see a spike in opt-out rates.

Just in case someone does want to opt-out, ensure that you clearly tell them how to do so. Include your opt-out instructions in the first confirmation text message people receive after opting in. Also, include “Reply STOP to Opt-Out” at the bottom of your text messages every so often to let customers know they can opt-out at any time. This might lower your subscriber count, but you’re removing anyone not interested in your offers. This can ultimately improve your clickthrough rates and ROI.

7. KEEP IT FUN!

Email isn’t usually as authentic as SMS. With SMS, the customer can get a more personal experience. The easiest way to bore your contacts is with dull content. When they open your message, they should be interested in what you have to say, not ready to back out and read the next text. The attention span of the average consumer is around 8.25 seconds. So it’s important to keep them engaged from the very first line. 

Make it personal by speaking in a conversational tone. Create a brand voice that speaks to the customer in a 1-1 manner. You can use gifs and memes to break the ice and make customers feel like they know you personally. For an entertaining SMS campaign, include:

  • Games
  • Polls
  • Promotions
  • Interactive content
  • One-on-one conversations

And don’t be afraid to use slang and text speak (i.e. ur, txt, etc.). Just make sure your message is professional and easy to read.

8. ADD A CREATIVE CTA

The standard call-to-actions (CTAs) like “Act Now!” or “Call Today!” are generic and overused. Let’s face it, people have been hearing those phrases for the longest time. Besides, they want to know what’s in it for them when they click that button. Entice them with perks, special offers, promotions, and discounts. Let them know that you have a special sale going on for the next couple of days. Then, put it in your CTA. For example, you can say, “Take advantage of this 30% off sale until July 31st”. You can also include a promotional code for an additional discount to really draw them in.

Here are some more tips for creating a tempting CTA:

  • Put the CTA or coupon code before the unsubscribe.
  • Include your phone number or URL.
  • Use a URL shortener to keep your text message to 160 characters.

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