We see it a lot. Brands are hesitant to move into SMS and messenger marketing, citing their intuition that customers will feel annoyed by a brand’s outreach on such personal channels. Used responsibly, as part of an omni-channel strategy, Facebook messenger, SMS, or a combination of the two, can actually make your customers feel more empowered to engage with your brand. While email is a great tool for notifying potential customers and generating an action in response (shop, etc.) these more personalized messaging channels offer a unique environment that few other channels provide: encouragement for direct reply.
For this reason, SMS and Messenger should be used in addition to email at the right time and in the right place, to add a conversational channel to a brand’s promotional strategy. Utilizing conversational channels allows brands to build highly engaged audience segments to which they can promote new or limited products, solicit feedback from customers on shopping experiences, and even understand what customers want in new product offerings--building an intimate relationship with the brand and increasing the ever-important metric of Lifetime Value.
But before you start reaching customers in more ways and building better relationships, you have to gather customer data for your CRM to use SMS and messenger in your strategy. There are a few strategies we’ve used at Prestige Pro Media to bolster the collection of customer data to better serve a dynamic CRM marketing strategy:
- Optimize Onsite Pop Ups
Email collection pop ups have become pretty standard in onsite commerce experience and if your customers are not in the right stage of the journey, it becomes more of a nuisance than an opportunity. Software options like Octane AI partner with marketing automation platforms to offer pop up integrations that allow potential customers, who may be skeptical about divulging their contact info, to take a ‘soft opt in’. This soft opt-in sends a particular incentive to the visitor’s Facebook messenger to redeem instead of having to provide any contact information. Messenger can then be used to relay additional promotions, solicit feedback, and even collect better contact information from that engaged customer down the road.
- Offer SMS as a communication option in checkout
Regular online shoppers know they eventually have to provide contact information, and it’s usually in checkout. Give your customers the option to provide an SMS capable phone number to receive order updates, shipping notifications, and provide feedback on the products they ordered. Don’t jump the gun though. Remember this is a highly personal channel, so make sure your SMS efforts serve the customer before you send promotions that serve the brand--and always use language that encourages customers to ‘save your number.’ Nothing is more 1:1 than being a contact in someone’s phone.
- Run promotions on SMS and/or Messenger
If you’re a brand that already has an audience or a CRM to work from, consider hosting a promotion via SMS to encourage collection of mobile numbers from your existing customer list. Send an email and Messenger touchpoint to your engaged segments to text an SMS number to get a promotional code in response, OR host a promotion to your instagram audience to participate in a text opt-in-to-win or receive a particular incentive. For brands that have built a loyal audience, SMS provides a fast and direct way to notify loyal customers about limited products, new product drops, and exclusive offerings for a more customized brand experience.
There’s not a one-size-fits-all communication channel for eCommerce. A customer’s journey matters, and sophisticated segmentation of your CRM and omni-channel collection tools can help you maximize your owned channel touch points to reach customers -- not just to notify them, but to communicate with them.