Text message automation is certainly not a new channel of communication, especially in the realm of ecommerce. But, just like comparing your Nokia 3310, to your iPhone 13 Pro - this marketing tool has come a long way over the last decade.
Join us in a refreshing update of text message automation for your ecommerce business. We cover the whats, whys and hows plus a few ideas to help your business cut through the noise of your competitors.
What is SMS marketing automation?
Simply put, they’re pre-written SMS messages scheduled to be sent to designated customers. They’ve become the perfect marketing tool as it’s quick, efficient and scalable. Plus compared to other digital marketing activities, text message marketing has a 9.18% higherclick-through rate.
The beauty of automated text messages is the focus on personalization for each of your customers. From the customer data provided, you can send the right message, to the right audience, at the right time, making it a very powerful marketing channel.
As an ecommerce business the most common text messages to be sent out include:
Welcome new customers / onboarding
Announcing a sale
Order confirmations / delivery updates
Requesting customer reviews
Personalized special customer messages. For example - birthday celebrations
There are a few things to keep in mind as you begin your journey as an automated text messaging marketer. Firstly, you want to make your life easy, so using a platform like Ortto will be our recommended place to start.
#1 - Sign up
If you’re not already a customer, then we invite you to sign up for your free 14-day trial with Ortto. You can upload up to 5,000 contacts, including their customer profiles, so you can personalize and deliver tailored text messages to all your customers.
#2 - Upload your contacts
Use your most up-to-date customer list and upload it by clicking on ‘People’ located under ‘Customer Data’, on your left-hand side toolbar.
A few things to remember;
Only upload details, where the customer has opted in to receive text messages
Make sure the numbers are internationally formatted
[+][country code][area code][local phone number]
#3 - Start creating your text automation campaign
Now you’re ready to rumble! Head to the ‘Campaign’ button on the left hand side toolbar then click on ‘+ New Campaign’ and simply choose SMS. Start setting up your text automation campaign by following the prompts along the way.
We would also recommend thinking about if this will be a simple SMS message sent or be part of an omnichannel experience, where emails or push notifications are also used. If the series is created, spend some time in finessing the right message for the right channel.
Let’s use the announcement of a sale as an example. An initial ‘Our Sale is on Now’ email is sent out to your customer database. Then, as part of your journey, your SMS can be automated to be sent out to those customers who did not open the email after 48 hours. As you can see this workflow complements each other to encourage a purchase from the customer.
#4 - Add in the content
No one wants a novel sent to them by text message, and if you’re sending them to your entire database, it will get pricey very quickly.
Your message should be short, snappy, personalized and include opt-out instructions. And if you want to throw in one or two emoji’s then go for it! If you do not see yourself as a short-form copywriter extraordinaire, then Ortto’s AI capability will save the day. It will create high-performing and engaging content, tailored to your audience.
#5 - Monitor your text message campaign
Once you are happy with your ecommerce sms campaign, it’s time to set and forget… kinda.
Your text messages will roll out seamlessly, but it’s important to take time to check in weekly, monthly or whenever you can to see how effective the campaign is.
Keeping a close eye on your ecommerce metrics will help you gain insights from your customers, plus using these learnings to polish your future sms marketing campaigns.
3 tips for sending ecommerce automated text messages
Once you press send there is no going back. While this may be nightmare fuel for digital marketers, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these three listed a few best practices to make sure we can all sleep easy.
Proofread, proofread, proofread
If we haven’t made it clear, you should always proofread your copy, plus have a colleague run their eyes over it as a sense check. Things to look out for include grammar, spelling, and using the correct tone of voice.
Check your links
If you’re using links in your message, be sure to check that the link works and goes to the correct page. It’s also very helpful to set up UTM tracking on your links. This will assist in measuring the success of the campaign.
If your text message includes dates, times, or contact information, it’s critical that it is written in a way so as to not confuse the customer, and it cannot be misinterpreted. For example, instead of writing a date like 12/2, use 12 Feb.
6 ideas for automated text messages
No matter the theme of the automated text message, the overall goal is for your customers to click on the message and take the desired action. We understand that not everyone is a wordsmith, but there’ll be no stopping you when you use Ortto. Our AI technology can whip up engaging copy, that is industry lead and fits in with your tone of voice.
And just in case, we’ve listed some SMS text ideas to help start inspiring your own ecommerce text messages.
Welcome new customers
First impressions are everything. So why wouldn’t you want to start your journey with a new customer using a warm digital hug? Also known as a welcome or onboarding text message.
Hi [first_name]! You’ve got great taste and we just know your new [product_name] is going to look great on you. If you’re looking for something to go with it, visit [website_URL] and use this exclusive code to get 10% off your next purchase - [code] 🛍
Welcome [first_name] to [company_name]. We want to ensure we’re serving you what you want. Reply to this message now with [option 1], [option 2], [option 3].
Announcing a sale
If you’re an ecommerce business owner, then it’s essential to be your own hype person, especially during a sale. We recommend using automated SMS to announce your sale.
Since sales generally have a time limit attached to them, there’s urgency in the message, making SMS a natural fit. Having a cohesive and holistic approach will help drive more eyes to your site, meaning more sales.
The countdown is on! 24hrs until our annual mid-year stocktake sale is here. Up to 40% off all products. [First_name], we want to give you a chance to shop the sale a little early - [insert sale url]
[first_name], we’re excited to announce we’ve launched a new [product_name]! Be the first to get one when you use offer code [offer_code] to save $20
It’s important to note the device used when your customer was browsing on your site. If a mobile device was used, then best practice would be to set up text message automation. If it was a desktop, then email is a better channel to use. This can be set as a requirement when building your customer journey in Ortto.
Abandoned cart examples:
Oops! We noticed you have left a few items unattended, [First_name]! Use code [code] to get [%] off and finish your order! [URL].
Omg! Looks like you left something behind. We are keeping hold of it for now, but it won’t be available forever. Use code [code name] to get a 10% off the entire order. [link to the abandoned cart] Reply STOP to opt-out.
Ask for customer reviews
In a world where reviews, ratings and digital word of mouth reign supreme, it’s a no-brainer to set up a text automation journey asking your happy customers to take 2 minutes and provide positive insight into their customer experience with your business. This form of social proof will help your business in many ways.
Customer review examples:
We loved seeing you today, [customer name]! We would appreciate 2 minutes of your time to leave us a review? [Review link] Pleeeeeease!
Hi [first_name]! Thanks for your recent purchase! Let us know how we did. It’ll only take 1 minute. Just go here: [link]. Thanks for your help!
Personalized special occasion messages
It’s time to make your customers feel like they are part of the family! Creating an automated special occasion text message will make your customers feel special and assist in nurturing the relationship.
To express your appreciation to your customers and even encourage a purchase, set up a journey where your loyal customers receive a special discount or gift.
We heard from a little birdy that it’s your birthday! 🐦 From everyone at [Company_name], we wish you a very happy birthday and enjoy your day. 💛
Happy Birthday [first_name]! 🥳 We want to help you get the party started with a extra special 15% off your next order. Visit [Store_URL] and use code [unique_birthday_code]
To celebrate your birthday, you have a free gift waiting! 🎁
Celebrate with [SiteName] and visit [StoreUrl] to claim it!
Text message marketing is not for everyone. So if a customer does unsubscribe, don’t take it personally and definitely don’t burn that bridge. Use it as an opportunity to improve your customer journey, and always end it on a positive note.
It’s important to monitor your unsubscribe rate to identify whether a pattern is forming. For example, if your unsubscribes increase drastically after sending a pre-sale alert then you may need to reassess the content of the message (amount and type), what time of day you’re sending your text campaign, and whether you may be better placed sending an end of sale alert.
We are sorry to see you go! It’s been fun. If you still want to keep updated on special promotions, sign up to our email here [Insert URL]. We’ll miss you.
It’s not you, it’s us. We’d love to know why you’re unsubscribing, so we can work on ourselves. Follow the link to let us know. [Insert URL].
The final word
We hope this has kick-started your own journey toward incorporating text message automation into your marketing strategy. With the ability to send the right message to the right audience, at the right time, SMS can be one of the most powerful marketing channels used in today’s society.