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Andrea Hill

Here’s Why You Should Use SMS (Text) Marketing This Holiday Season

The open and response rates are vastly superior to email.

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IF YOU’RE NOT one of the 76 percent of businesses in the U.S. that report investing in SMS (text) marketing this year, you may want to make a last-minute adjustment before the holidays begin. Why? Because SMS works. Unlike email marketing, where open rates hover at 16-20 percent with 3-6 percent response rates, the open rate for SMS is 98 percent and the response rate is closer to 45 percent.

So what do you need to do to launch SMS marketing in time for the holidays? It’s surprisingly simple.

To begin, you need a platform. If you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system like Hubspot or Keap, you already have a platform for SMS. If you use an email marketing system like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, many of them have partnerships with SMS platforms so you can do text marketing right from your email marketing system. A third option is to use a standalone SMS platform like SMS Bump, Postscript or Podium.

The most effective SMS campaigns are drip campaigns, so called because the messages are set on a timer to drip drip drip out to the customer, each pre-written message launching a set number of days after the previous message. For example, when a prospect completes your subscription form, they instantly receive a text thanking them for their interest, perhaps including a special “welcome” offer. The next day, they may receive a second message sharing a fun detail about your store. A week later, they may receive a text asking if they have activated their special offer yet. Ten days after that, they may receive another communication. This type of marketing is powerful because it is triggered by specific interest on the prospect’s part.

You can also send text broadcasts to all or part of your list to promote new products, invite people to events or announce specials. Data shows that 95 percent of SMS recipients read and act upon the messages they receive within three minutes. For this reason, making a digital offer or geo-fencing your broadcasts only to people within a geographical area closest to your store are the best ways to capitalize on the immediacy associated with SMS campaigns.

Finally, SMS is an excellent way to follow up on abandoned carts, solicit feedback on recent orders or ask for reviews.

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If you don’t feel prepared to start SMS marketing this season, at the very least consider incorporating the ability to communicate via SMS with your customers. And by this I don’t mean individual salespeople texting from their personal mobile devices! It is important for your store communication to be visible and accessible to you, and you need an SMS system in place to do that.

Does all this mean you should stop sending email entirely? Not at all. Some messages are better suited for email and some customers will always prefer email to texting. As you learn more about your customers and their preferences, you’ll be able to adjust until you achieve a proper balance between the two.

The goal is to provide communication options that are most convenient for your customers, and the data has spoken: By and large, consumers prefer SMS to email, as long as the offers are interesting and relevant and don’t arrive too often.

Andrea Hill is owner of Hill Management Group, with three brands serving the jewelry industry. Learn more at hill-management.com.

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