040: SMS Marketing – should you? how do you? with Corinne Watson from Postscript

by April Buencamino-dy

Corinne is the senior content marketing manager at Postscript, and a deep-thinker about all things eCommerce! She gave some amazing advice over on eCommerce MasterPlan for our expert shows earlier this year – so when I decided we should bring SMS into our email marketing month there was only one person to call on.

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Corinne’s Beginnings in Marketing

Right out of college with a degree in graphic design, Corinne joined a small eCommerce company and did graphic design and copywriting.

She eventually made her way to Texas and joined BigCommerce, where she dug her heels into all things eCommerce, learned all she could, and eventually ended up in SMS marketing. 

SMS as a Super Sensitive Channel

Because SMS is where we communicate and keep in touch with family and friends, Corinne says it’s best to think twice before jumping in and implementing this strategy.

At the same time, she mentions that text messaging is the next step after email marketing, especially during this time when customers are used to receiving communication in every step of the buyer’s journey and in every channel they frequent.

In the last 18 months, SMS marketing has been used as an effective way to communicate with customers and not just for sending of promo codes.

Building Your SMS List

Corinne’s number 1 tip for SMS marketing is to work on list growth.

Ask customers if they would be interested in receiving content through this channel, then allow them to opt-in on their own through the following:

  1. Pop-up on mobile or desktop when visiting your website
  2. Advertising short codes on Instagram swipe ups or with images
  3. Keywords in advertising, print media, and add-ons included in your fulfillment

Make sure that your short codes are in as many places as possible, but also use smart ways to incentivize customers to opt-in to your SMS list through discounts, gift cards, or inclusion in a VIP list.

What are short codes?

A short code is a 5 or 6 – digit number where all of your SMS advertising gets sent from. 

Whereas personal numbers of your family and friends are made up of 10 digits or long codes, automation or fulfillment messages from brands are short codes.

Starting Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Corinne has some recommended automations to start off:

  1. Cart abandonment – send additional promo codes to encourage purchase
  2. Welcome series – send a special offer or show your brand voice

Make messages more conversational such as check-ins especially during this time of COVID, and ask your customers how they’re doing.

With the Postscript platform, one benefit is that customers can reply and that provides a good opportunity to build user generated content.

Making SMS Marketing Work

Corinne’s biggest recommendation is to start testing different aspects of SMS marketing as you would test emails such as best time of the day to send, how often, and what type of offers to put in your messages.

Do not just copy and paste your email strategy on to your SMS marketing because that will not work.

She also brings up what she calls cross-pollination, wherein you advertise your SMS marketing through email and encourage sign up.

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?

  1. Survey your customers – make sure they’re interested in SMS
  2. Start growing your SMS list – pop-ups, keywords, social media, wherever your customers live, make sure they have a way to sign up for SMS messaging

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

Corinne recommends segmenting your list.

There will be occasions when mass text messages will make sense but implement campaigns based on subscriber data such as location, website activity, and purchase behavior to mention a few criteria.

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

Get SMS-certified through the Postscript platform

Go to the Postscript Learning Center for more resources.

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

With more and more people using SMS, the channel may get a little bit crowded, so Corinne says it’s time to get creative and use SMS as more than just a channel for promotions.

Get more conversational with your subscribers to stand out.

Also, depending on location, type of product or where you are in your SMS strategy, decide between using short and long codes.

As a whole, more brands will use SMS not just to bring in purchases, but really to communicate with customers throughout the entire cycle.

Interview Links

Corinne on Social media:

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