Email Marketing: The Key to Success with SMS with Kerri McDonald (episode 143)

by April Buencamino-dy

Kerri McDonald co-founded her agency The Greenhouse in 2020 to help eCommerce brands improve their email and SMS channels. They’ve already helped over 30 brands to generate over $50m via email and SMS alone. Prior to founding The Greenhouse, she was Director of Marketing for a beauty brand where she grew eCommerce sales from $2m to $25m in just 3 years.

Kerri McDonald The Greenhouse Email Marketing

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About Kerri

Before getting into marketing, Kerri was a teacher. As she was looking to change careers, she taught herself graphic design and got the opportunity to work with an eCommerce company designing emails.

She eventually led the entire marketing team and became director of marketing. She shares she was terrified of email and SMS in the beginning but now enjoys working on both channels.

The Right Time to Implement SMS

For Kerri, the right time to implement SMS marketing is when you’ve already built a strong email list and have a strong foundation in email and other channels. This is because SMS is the most personal channel through which you can reach your customers and should be done correctly.

That being said, Kerri says with all the changes coming from the likes of Google and Apple, you should definitely get into SMS sooner rather than later.

What is SMS good for?

SMS is the closest and fastest way to reach your customers, and it’s also a two-way channel.

You can use it for any of the following functions:

  • Customer service
  • Gathering information, such as through surveys
  • Sales and promotions
  • Education
  • Community building

Whatever you use it for, the most important thing is to make sure it provides value for your customers.

What to Do and What Not to Do

Kerri has some tips if you want to get into SMS marketing.

First, whatever you communicate, follow through with what you say. Second, work with a solid, well-known SMS company or platform.

What you shouldn’t do, Kerri says, is use SMS solely for promotions and launch messages because that’s a reason for your audience to opt out of your program.

Implementing SMS Marketing

Some things Kerri mentions when you want to implement SMS marketing are:

  • Have at least 20,000 names on your list.
  • Open the option for SMS sign-up in your emails and your social media channels.
  • Consider the two-step pop-up where you capture the email on the first screen and the SMS sign-up on the second screen. This is the most successful way of growing your list in Kerri’s experience.
  • Mimic email automations to start.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with email marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

List growth is important, and you have to grow it at a good rate. So make sure you take a good look at what’s driving traffic to your website.

You may have a good email and SMS marketing strategy in place, but that won’t matter if you’re not growing your list.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve email marketing performance?

There are two things Kerri mentions when it comes to optimisation:

  • Segmentation – Look for new segments to build and also identify at what stage your audience is on the customer journey.
  • Testing creatives – This can be imagery, UGC, copy, and headlines, among other things.

If someone listening wants to learn more about email marketing is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

Kerri says she leans on the platform guides. In this case, she uses Klaviyo and recommends their help articles and conversations if you want to learn more about email marketing.

She also adds that different brand owners and marketers now have Slack channels where they share information and advice about anything, so you can get on those, too.

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in email marketing?

From the point of view of someone living in America, Kerri says eCommerce businesses will succeed like they always have.

However, it’s going to be interesting to see how brands will implement strategies for building community and keeping their audience involved, even if they may not be purchasing anything at this time.

Interview Links

Kerrir on Social media:

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