How Frequently Should I Text My SMS Subscribers?
At SMSBump we split our messages in two groups: automated (including automations and flows) and one-off campaigns. Normally, they go hand-in-hand, as a big part of our automated messages are more transaction- and order-triggered, while campaigns are often purely sales-driven. This is why it is important to find the balance and make sure your store doesn’t just run on autopilot, but also benefits from targeted marketing campaigns, and vice versa.
While there is not really one universal number or combination of messages that will bring you the highest click-through rates, conversions and return on investment without a doubt, there are some messages we know for sure will help your brand connect with customers and enjoy a steady growth in sales.
Let’s first look at what automated messages you should definitely consider in order to build a bullet-proof strategy that will run the show behind the curtains from day one.
Every SMSBump automation serves a particular function, all of which are equally important and able to contribute to your store’s success.
Overall, we would say that in order to have all your customers well taken care of, and for your business to run smoothly even without constant supervision, you should at least have these 6 automated messages enabled.
New subscriber confirmation: after confirming their subscription, customers will receive this first message, welcoming them in your text marketing club. This could serve as your first point-of-sale, considering you add a link to your website, a coupon etc., inviting them to make their first purchase.
New order: this is the message all customers would get once they’ve placed a new order with you, informing them it was successful. This automation takes care of any guesswork, and the anxiety or doubts customers might have about your brand, the particular order, or even online shopping in general. Basically, this automation is the equivalent of a receipt customers would receive at any physical store.
Shipping confirmation: with online shopping, this step is crucial so shoppers aren’t left wondering what’s going on with their order, when it will arrive, will it arrive at all and so on. The main value of this particular automation is that it provides customers with information about their order that they actually look forward to, such as tracking number or link, shipping company etc. Since it contains sensitive information that customers expect to receive, enabling this automation will save you loads of support hours but will also give customers peace of mind, reassuring them your brand is one they can trust. In case your store runs into occasions where some of the shipping information might change, you could also set up the Shipping Update automation that will be triggered if the tracking number is updated.
Abandoned cart reminders: this goes without saying but abandoned carts are a nightmare for every online store. If set up correctly, though, these reminders could help your business recover up to 25 times more carts. For maximum recovery, make sure you launch a sequence of at least two abandoned cart reminders. What we’ve seen from personal experience and as feedback from users, notifications sent 1 hour and 1 day after a cart was abandoned show the best results. While there is no universal timing for this, a sequence of two messages will recover more carts any day. In fact, our internal research shows that every follow up abandoned cart message increases chances of recovery by 4%.
Upsell: upsells are a great way for any brand to increase their CLV and score unexpected sales in a very non-intrusive way. Look at upsell automations as the cashier at а B&M store, asking you if you’d like to complement the hat you just got with a pair of sunglasses at a discounted price. You send them a little after a customer has already purchased from you to suggest another item that will be fitting to what they just bought. For the greatest chance of conversion, make sure to always provide a special offer on the item you are looking to upsell, that they won’t be able to take advantage of otherwise.
Customer winback: this automation makes customer retention much easier and manageable even through SMS. Winback automations allow you to connect with inactive customers, send them reminders and special deals to have them return to your store and make a purchase again. To ensure you cover a maximum range of inactive customers, we advise you to set up at least two winback messages - one which will reach customers who haven’t purchased in 30 days, and one - for after 60 days of inactivity.
Disclaimer: although 6 automations might seem a lot at first, remember that they will not be sent every day but are trigger-based, meaning they will launch only when a subscriber/customer meets the criteria you’ve set up for that particular automation (if they’ve been inactive for 30 days, e.g.).
Of course, there are several more automations (and numerous variations of flows) you can choose to enable instead of some of the ones we propose here. Just make sure you don’t go over the top and you always time them correctly.
Besides these 6, very basic automated messages, it’s important for brands that are just starting out with SMS to reserve part of the marketing budget for one-off campaigns.
With one-off campaigns it’s predominantly about the occasion. Like we said above - such campaigns are often purely sales-oriented, so making sure you don’t overwhelm your subscribers with salesy messages three times a week is crucial.
That being said, the perfect occasion for an one-off campaign is around a major retail event. And if you think about it: there is something big going on in retail literally every month.
Depending on HOW BIG this big retail event is, we’d recommend you set up anywhere from 1 to 3 text marketing messages per event: one as a pre-promotion, one right before the event or on the day, and one as an extended sale with much more generous discounts.
Pro tip: launching one campaign doesn’t mean launching one message for all of your subscribers. For best results, make sure to segment your customers, send different deals based on what they’re interested in etc.
On top of the regular retail day sales, all brands have their individual sales - whether it’s end-of-season promos, or a quick Flash Sale to clear off some shelves, it’s worth sending your subscribers a notification to let them know about this bonus sale you are running. One message will do the trick, especially if followed by several automations that will save the purchase if the customer leaves without completing it, or will offer them something in addition.
(For more practical tips and additional information on the types of campaigns you can run with SMSBump, refer to our eBook “Your Ultimate Guide to Text Marketing Campaigns That Sell”)
To sum it up, we’d say that launching a text marketing campaign 1 or 2 times a month, and rarely 3 to 4, is the golden mean. Because remember: besides these manually-set campaigns, you have your automated messages running the show in the background.
One Last Thing…
Regardless of if you decide to follow our guidelines to the tee, just remember: SMS is one of the most direct marketing channels out there, which reaches customers no matter their location, whether they have a smart phone or internet, not at all disrupted by factors that usually affect all other marketing channels. As it is something so personal, it should be used with consideration of the subscriber in order not to lead to shopper’s fatigue and ultimately - a growing number of unsubscribed customers.
On the bright side, if used with thought, it will bring your brand a healthy recovery revenue, click-through rates of 35% and more, and return on investment easily up in the thousands. Look at how some of our users adopt these strategies and make the most out of SMS marketing.