During a time of information overload, the biggest marketing challenge for e-commerce businesses is putting the brand in front of its target audience. An average user comes across an overwhelming number of promotional content in their social media feed and email inboxes. SMS marketing provides an opportunity for e-commerce businesses to effectively penetrate the noisy digital environment of promotional messages and find the right audience.
What is SMS marketing?
SMS marketing is a marketing channel that allows you to deliver promotional content to customers through text messaging or SMS. Users opt-in for receiving texts from the company, and can opt-out any moment they want.
E-commerce businesses can use SMS marketing as a channel to send the latest offers, new product updates, or products on sales. But SMS marketing is not limited to sending promotional content. You can also send texts instead of emails for purposes like confirmation of payment, delivery status updates, answer customer queries, and more.
Why should you start SMS marketing for your E-commerce business?
Mobile specific service
Mobile has been a decisive medium when it comes to driving web traffic, especially for e-commerce. 52.2% of all web traffic worldwide comes from mobile. The impact of a mobile-centric channel becomes more significant if we consider the worldwide mobile share in retail e-commerce, which is expected to reach 72.9% globally by 2021.
SMS or text messaging is essentially a mobile-based service. This allows your marketing efforts to cope with the shifting trends towards mobile-based marketing channels.
SMS messages have a brilliant 98% open rate and only a 1% rate of being marked as spam. Moreover, unlike email or social media, receiving SMS in real-time does not require the users to have an active internet connection. Text messages are delivered instantly, and 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.
The delivery speed and efficiency of SMS marketing makes it ideal for sending short-term offers or flash sale alerts to your customers.
The high response and click-through rate allows you to engage with your customers effectively and also drive traffic to your e-commerce website. SMS messages reminding customers about unfinished purchases can also minimise the rate of shopping cart abandonment.
When it comes to customer service, SMS is proved to be the most efficient medium. Unlike customer service over phone calls, businesses don’t need a support staff 24/7 to respond to customers. Customers can send their queries over text in a few sentences without facing difficulties of a busy line or forwarding calls. Besides, over 50% of consumers prefer text messaging over phone calls for customer support.
Shifting to text-based customer support also saves time and money on customer service, making it a more efficient medium than email or phone calls.
SMS marketing can be a major tool to boost customer retention by establishing a closer connection with customers. Having a robust SMS marketing plan allows brands to have a personalised interaction with the customers, which is especially a standout trait for e-commerce businesses.
You can also receive feedback and reviews of products or services through text, and automate the response to be added to your website. If the feedback contains a certain issue that calls for your attention, you can send a follow-up text after it is resolved. This will assure your customers and help you create a loyal customer base. Besides, SMS is the most preferred channel by consumers for receiving loyalty updates from brands.
What to look for in an SMS marketing software?
No matter what the size of your e-commerce business is, your SMS marketing software must have a bulk delivery feature. Sending SMS in bulk allows you to effectively get your message out to your entire SMS list at once. For example, if you offer discounts on your website that anyone is eligible for, you might need to send the text to hundreds or thousands of people. Bulk delivery comes in handy in these situations.
An SMS marketing software should allow you to schedule multiple messages for sending at different times. This can help you to ensure that all promotional messages in your SMS marketing plan reach your customers during peak hours. It can also be used to send periodic reminders to your customers about an abandoned cart or an approaching expiry date of an offer.
Voice messages are a great way of personalizing communication with your customers even further. You should consider looking for an option to send voice messages in bulk while choosing your SMS marketing software. Voice messages allow you to interact with your customers on a personal level, which boosts their perceived quality of service and shows that your brand cares for them.
One-time passwords sent through SMS are more secure than the ones sent through emails. The instant delivery of SMS makes it easier to send the OTP fast and without causing a delay in logging in. You should look for an SMS marketing service that allows you to send one-time use passwords to your users in a secure way, making way for providing reliable service and building trust with your customers
To ensure maximum efficiency of your marketing efforts, look for an SMS Marketing software that can provide detailed reports to help you track the performance of your campaigns for your e-commerce business. You should be able to track metrics, such as how many messages were delivered, opened, or how many users clicked on the links that you sent. Some software also allows you to segment your customers according to demographic, geographic or behavioural data of your customers.
One of the important aspects of SMS marketing is the ability to personalise promotional messages. Your SMS marketing software should be able to automatically personalise text messages by replacing a tag in your message template for each user.
For example, you can personalise a message replacing individual first names by messages like, “Congratulations Eugene, your purchase is confirmed. You will receive your product within two business days.”
If you’re looking for personalisation on both ends, Octopush offers a service named SMS Pro, which allows customisation of the sender of your SMS to become instantly identifiable to your customers.
To have an efficient and automated SMS Marketing plan, you need to choose software that can integrate with other applications like CRM, Customer Data Platforms and other omnichannel marketing applications.
This will allow you to automate tasks such as purchase confirmations, cart abandonment alerts, etc. Look for a software that offers easy API integration and ensures a streamlined SMS marketing process.
A survey shows that around 75% of consumers are frustrated when they cannot respond to a text by a brand because of a no-reply text messaging system used by many businesses. Look for an SMS marketing software that can receive and record replies from customers for each text you send.
Security and privacy
During the process of generating analytics for campaigns, a range of customer data is collected by the SMS marketing software. A lot of private information such as purchase behaviour is collected, which needs to be protected from being stolen. You should make sure that the SMS marketing company is GDPR compliant and thus guarantees the security of the collected data as per the legislation in effect. Octopush implements all technical and organisational means to ensure the security and confidentiality of the personal data of its users and recipients following the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).
Without a doubt, pricing will play an important role in the choice of SMS Marketing software. Although some companies offer a free version of the software, these come with very limited features. Pricing of the software varies based on some factors like the features offered, message volume, maximum database size, and more.
7 Best SMS Marketing Companies
Octopush can serve the needs of bulk SMS messaging for your e-commerce business, regardless of its size. Although Octopush does not have a free version, it offers a free trial. Its prices are rated at 0.04 €/SMS with bundles starting from 12€ for 300 SMS.
Octopush also offers services such as SMS 2.0 (SMS with a dedicated landing page builder), Voice SMS (for delivering vocal SMS), and of course, SMS pro, which is a perfect tool for those who want to analyse the impact of their campaigns. Octopush allows you to evaluate the performance of your campaigns with relevant statistics and insights.
Octopush’s SMS Pro is an ideal service for e-commerce with features such as transactional SMS sending, customer follow-up messages, reminders, one-time password, alert messages etc. You can also easily integrate and manage all your SMS sending from your software and applications with its API.
Besides, Octopush provides swift customer support, helping you to make the most out of your SMS marketing channel. Octopush also provides an easy to read API Documentation on its website to make the process of API integration smooth and secure for you.
Simpletexting allows you to send bulk messages, conduct polls, provide customer service, create automated campaigns etc. SimpleTexting does not have a free version but offers a free trial. Its paid version starts at US$25/month. Its annual plan allows you to save 25%.
Although it is a bit of an expensive option, Simpletexting offers useful features such as 2-Way Messaging, Message Personalisation, Scheduled Messaging, analytics etc.
TXT180 is a cloud-based text marketing and bulk SMS software solution that is affordable and easy to use. TXT180 allows you to utilise services such as autoresponder, sequential messages, alternate message, text message scheduler, text to win, text to vote, etc.
Its pricing plans start at an affordable rate of $14.95/month after a 15-day free trial. Txt180 does not include features like Message Personalisation or MMS. Moreover, a strict limit of 160 characters may not suit the need of every campaign.
Omnisend is an e-commerce marketing automation platform that allows you to reach your customers with personalised messages using its powerful automation workflows. You can grow your subscriber list with a good variety of signup forms.
It has a free version and also offers a free trial. The paid version starts at US$16.00/month and depends on the number of subscribers.
Although it includes features such as Message Personalisation, Scheduled Messaging, 2-Way Messaging, it cannot be used to send MMS, polls/voting texts or shortcodes.
EZ Texting is a cloud-based platform that offers services like bulk texting, MMS, delivery reports, reminder campaigns, text polls, keywords, text-able numbers, and text-to-landline capability.
EZ Texting has a paid version with full features that is quite expensive, starting at US$49.00/month.
SlickText is a powerful, easy to use platform packed with features and works on all devices. You can schedule and send bulk text messages, send auto-replies, launch text to win contests, and integrate with Facebook.
SlickText offers a basic paid version that starts at US$29.00/month.
ProTexting is an SMS marketing platform that allows you to send mobile surveys. This tool has a URL shortener and offers two-way messaging, name capture, drip campaigns etc. Although it offers features like MMS and Shortcodes, it does not include useful features like 2-Way Messaging, Scheduled Messaging or even Message Personalisation.
Its pricing starts at $49.00 per month. ProTexting does not have a free version nor a free trial.
SMS marketing is a powerful mode of reaching out to your target audience. But manually sending messages to hundreds or thousands of customers at the same time is a very arduous and expensive task to do. Therefore, an efficient SMS marketing tool is an essential part of a robust SMS marketing plan.
You can refer to the list of SMS marketing software compiled above and find a tool that best suits your needs. Integrating an SMS marketing plan will not only help your e-commerce business interact closely with your customers but also create a seamless shopping experience for them. Octopush offers SMS Pro that allows you to send SMS campaigns that are optimised for efficient communication that guarantees a better brand image for you. Besides, its instant sending speed makes it a vital tool for Transactional Messaging. Octopush offers premium features at a low price, making it a reliable tool to increase your ROI in no time. Make the most of your SMS marketing campaign starting today by creating your free account with Octopush!