SMS Marketing: The Secret Weapon for E-Commerce Brands This Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Planning for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) is already top of mind for many e-commerce brands, and includes the usual channels like email marketing, paid search, paid social, and marketplace ads. But as the cost and effectiveness of channels like paid social continue to fluctuate, brands are continuously searching for ways to maximize return on investment in a competitive and crowded space.
Unlike paid channels like search and social, which mostly rely on third-party data, an opt-in channel like email marketing is less susceptible to sudden cost increases and uses first-party data. This helps explain why it has historically generated a more consistent and predictable ROI for brands.
It’s this combination of opt-in marketing and first-party data that companies need to take full advantage of during this year’s holiday season if they wish to maximize profits. SMS marketing fits this description perfectly and the timing couldn’t be better.
Why E-Commerce Brands Should Use SMS Marketing During the Holidays
First, SMS marketing is growing and shows no signs of slowing. Last year, brands sent 94 percent more SMS than in 2020, a year which itself sent nearly 400 percent more messages than the year prior. During the 2021 Cyber 10 (the Sunday before Black Friday through Giving Tuesday), e-commerce merchants increasingly relied on SMS, sending 40 percent more SMS than in 2020.
Second, SMS is an opt-in channel, meaning messages are welcomed by subscribers and only those who want to receive text messages will. And because text messages are read in a matter of seconds to minutes, they're a great way to communicate time-sensitive messages, break through the marketing congestion on crowded days, increase email visibility, maintain opt-in communication with email unsubscribers (reducing retargeting costs), and directly increase sales.
With an increase in SMS adoption, engagement and consumer purchasing, the time is now to use SMS marketing to bolster your holiday sales.
3 Ways to Use SMS Marketing During the Holidays
1. Start growing your list now.
While it may be obvious it’s also necessary. The good news is it’s not too late to get started — but don’t wait much longer. Begin growing your SMS list now by adding a mobile phone field to your website pop-up or other sign-up methods.
Other ways to grow your SMS list are to add callouts in your current emails, including your promotional email campaigns, welcome series automation, and order and shipping confirmation messages. Also, actively promote your SMS program on social media sites.
Focusing now on growing your list will give you plenty of time to plan your SMS marketing calendar.
2. Include SMS in your email automation.
Automated emails generate 30 percent of all email marketing orders with only 2 percent of the sends. The reason they're so effective is that they’re behavior-based, meaning they only send when a consumer interacts with a brand. Converting these already-engaged shoppers during the holiday season is instrumental in increasing sales.
SMS can help turn these active shoppers into buyers. Conversion rates for last year’s automated BFCM text messages were 315 percent greater than scheduled promotional ones. Overall, e-commerce brands generated nearly 23 percent more automated SMS orders compared to the holiday season the year before.
While adding SMS to all email marketing workflows is a good idea, the three automated workflows to focus on are the welcome, cart abandonment, and browse abandonment messages. These three series of messages target high-intent shoppers and generated 83 percent of all automated email marketing orders in 2021.
3. Deploy SMS on key days and periods.
What good is a tool if you can’t use it when it matters most? Send SMS on the most important shopping days of the year — the periods when consumer inboxes are crowded and paid ads come with a premium cost, like on Black Friday. Because of the opt-in and near-instantaneous nature of text messaging, SMS can slice right through the crowd — and brands already know it.
Last Cyber 10, brands sent 29 percent more promotional texts and 21 percent more automated texts than the year before, with the three highest send days being Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, respectively. Orders followed, increasing nearly 10 percent on those three days alone.
One final tip: You can use SMS messages to direct people to your email on days when you have more to offer than the 160 characters will allow.
Making the Most of SMS During the Holidays
As we head into a holiday season with high inflation, capturing every last dollar and maximizing ROI may be more important than ever. If your brand is looking to engage its customers and grow sales this holiday season and beyond, look no further than SMS marketing as a way to do so. Consumer adoption is high, brands are already finding massive success with the opt-in channel, and it’s never been easier to quickly launch a cost-effective SMS marketing program. If you’re unsure whether SMS is right for your brand just remember one thing: everyone texts.
Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the director of content at Omnisend, the all-in-one e-commerce marketing automation platform.
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Greg Zakowicz is a veteran marketer and the Director of Content at Omnisend. With 15-plus years of experience in email, mobile, and social media marketing, he’s helped over 100 DTC companies around the world, including numerous from the Internet Retailer Top 1000, maximize sales through their email marketing programs. Zakowicz is a frequent speaker at ecommerce events, often shares his ecommerce insights across various industry media outlets, has been retained as an ecommerce expert witness for trial, and is the host of Omnisend’s Cart Insiders Podcast.