Owned audiences are everything when it comes to driving DTC revenue. The more eyes on your product, the more potential buyers you have, and the more opportunities you have to monetize your community.
But building and monetizing an audience isn’t easy - the average consumer sees 6,000 - 10,000 marketing messages a day - making it tough for a single brand to cut through the noise. When it comes to growing an SMS marketing list the challenge is even greater. This is because by law, each individual consumer has to explicitly opt in to receive messages from you.
To explain how brands can build their SMS marketing audience, and monetize it once they’ve got one, we’ve put together this handy guide.
How to grow your SMS marketing audience
In order to build a successful SMS marketing list, brands must make it attractive and easy for consumers to opt in. Here’s some of the top ways they can go about doing this:
SMS marketing has a bad rep. When the average consumer thinks of text messages for commercial use this is what comes to mind:
Unsolicited, irrelevant, annoying promotion that at best disrupts their day and at worse is a scam. To drive quality sign ups you first have to tackle this negative stereotype. And you do that by bringing value.
You should think of SMS as a means of solving your customers problems, rather than a tool to hit your own sales targets. That might mean offering the flexibility to manage a subscription via text, providing email-free customer support, or even sharing a short snippet which brightens their day.
Amongst the best proponents of this are wellness drinks merchant Moment, who send their SMS subscribers a daily link to a meditation video. This delivers customers obvious value for free, in a way that directly aligns with their brand values. In doing so, Moment strengthens the sense of community and goodwill around their product whilst not directly selling.
If you’re unsure of what kind of value you can offer your customers, take a look at our guide on starting an SMS marketing campaign from scratch.
Having worked out what value you’re going to bring to your audience via SMS, it needs to be communicated to them in a way that encourages sign ups. The best way of doing this is via that old marketing chestnut - a landing page.
These will be familiar to many brand owners, but what’s important here from an SMS perspective is transparency. People don’t sign up to what they don’t know, and they especially don’t stick their personal phone number into a mystery form fill without knowing what’s in it for them.
At the point of opt-in, clearly communicate to the customer what they should expect from your SMS service, how many messages they will receive, and crucially from a TCPA (🇺🇸) & GDPR (🇪🇺 & 🇬🇧) perspective, how to opt-out.
This clarity is something beverage brand Olipop deliver particularly well in their landing pages:
More more on how to create content for SMS, take a look at our guide.
Keep sign up simple
Once your customer understands the value of your SMS channel, you want opt-in to be as frictionless as possible. Under TCPA and GDPR , there are two main ways consumers can consent to receive texts from your brand - inbound messaging and form fill.
Inbound messaging is where prospective subscribers must text a designated keyword from their mobile phone, indicating their willingness to join a marketing list - and is the weaker of the two options. Putting the ball in the customer’s court adds unnecessarily complexity to the process and gives them a reason not to sign up.
A very simple form fill, which demands as little information as possible from the customer is the way to go here, as demonstrated by skincare brand PeaceOut:
Rinse and repeat
Once you’ve established a simple, value-packed and clearly communicated sign up form, don’t just leave it buried at the bottom of your website footer.
Market your SMS service like you would any new initiative - across the multiple touch points at which customers interact with your brand. A tick box at checkout, a story on Instagram, a post on Twitter and a CTA in an email are all good ways to maximise the visibility of your new channel.
Innovative coffee brand Taika go one better, and include their contact number as part of their packaging to prompt immediate engagement via SMS.
Deliver long term
Building an SMS list is not just a short-term play. If you don’t consistently deliver ongoing value to customers in-channel, they can opt-out just as easily as they opted-in.
To maintain the quality of your SMS service you must have clarity internally over what you need to resource it. That means designating named personnel responsible for the day-to-day running of the channel, as well as having a content plan in place to keep those messages flowing.
In order to manage this you’ll need to choose an SMS marketing platform, check out our guide for tips on the best tech available on the market today.
How to monetize your SMS marketing audience
Now that you’ve built up a solid SMS marketing audience, it’s time to make it pay. There are many ways of doing this, but what’s ultimately important is understanding what messages you are using SMS to communicate, and how that impacts on your customer’s journey.
Got a new product or promo offer to drop? Why not use your SMS audience as another channel to market. If you’ve engaged your list in the right way, with plenty of valuable content, they should be ripe for conversion once you decide to run a campaign.
Key to driving high conversion rates for group campaigns is ensuring customers are receiving information about the right products at the right time. You can do this by segmenting audience cohorts and using historical data to send messages at optimum times. A compelling offer that delivers value to the customer, as well as strong, persuasive copy within the text message are also important.
The more specific you can get with your segmentation of group messages the better. Check out how this leading US food brand used geotargeting to reach customers within a specific location to promote an in-person offer celebrating a cultural event.
With Blueprint you can seamlessly send segmented group campaigns to your SMS audience to drive eCommerce revenue. Book a demo today to find out more.
Abandoned carts are rife within eCommerce - on average 69% of checkouts are left incomplete online. SMS is one of the best ways to recover them because consumers open 90% of the text messages they receive.
When sending an abandoned cart recovery message via text you want to use language and content which will effectively move customers towards a purchase. Being colloquial and a little off beat with your messaging is often a great way to grab attention here, as is encouraging FOMO with a time sensitive offer.
It’s also important for brands to make it seamless for customers to continue their purchase. Sending a pre-populated link back to where they left checkout, or dealing with the order in channel is a must.
Cross sells & replenishment
One of the best ways to monetize an SMS audience is to send well timed, relevant reordering messages to customers who’ve already purchased from you. Brands can either send a replenishment reminder prompting customers to buy the same product, or a cross sell reminder asking them to buy another popular SKU.
If done well, this is a great way of moving customers from first to second orders, thus increasing retention and LTV. With Blueprint, brands can number crunch their Shopify data to understand which customers are likely to reorder which products at a certain time, and send them a text reminder based on that information. To understand more about how this works, book a demo today.
Poor customer service is one of the biggest ways eCommerce brands lose out on revenue. Typically it works like this - customer emails a brand, brand takes days to respond, customer gets frustrated and churns.
Instead of using a slow, email channel, however, brands can offer customer support via SMS. Giving customers the ability to text a number when they have a problem, and get it solved instantly is a much better experience than a friction filled support email.
By solving queries with two-way chat via SMS, brands can massively improve the customer journey and increase loyalty and retention as a result. Check out this example from a brand who was able to answer a quick question via text and build a relationship with a customer at the same time:
When it comes to monetizing eCommerce audiences, being able to run an effective subscription model is the holy grail. By 2023, 75% of online stores will sell products on a subscription basis, but customer dissatisfaction with inflexible payment models and high churn remain challenges.
Using SMS to communicate recurring charges to customers is a strong way for brands to mitigate these problems. The intimate, two-way brand-customer conversations facilitated by the channel can solve CX issues and build loyalty over the long-term. Similarly, flexible order modification and skipping functionality tackles the problem of product overload and subsequent churn.
SMS flows can enable quality touch points with subscribers, giving brands the opportunity to build loyalty through amazing CX. Take a look at how a top pet food brand in Asia is seamlessly managing order skip requests and tacking churn by chatting one-to-one with customers via text:
How Blueprint can help build and monetize your SMS audience
Using an SMS marketing tool like Blueprint can improve your customer experience, retention, help you better understand your audience, and turn casual buyers into long-term loyal supporters of your brand. To find out more about how you can get started with Blueprint, book a demo with us today. For more information on how to set up and send text messages to customers, check out our SMS Marketing Starter Pack.