Why E-Mail And SMS Are Powerful Marketing Tools In E-Commerce And How To Use Them
Three questions are present in the minds of all e-commerce business owners and marketers. How do I convert my leads? How do I make my existing customers loyal? How do I get them to stop abandoning their shopping carts and click that "check out" button? These are some of the most common challenges that they face today.
With the overwhelming number of ads that bombard consumers daily on and off the internet and the inevitable distractions of their daily lives, how do I engage with them? How do I close the sale? Even online channels are saturated with competitors all around. How do I set myself apart?
In the competitive business age where most digital channels are saturated, the answer lies in personalization and conversation. Tim Hayden, President of customer experience management company Brain+Trust Partners, shared that marketing content will start to become hyper-personalized to identify the needs of certain customer segments. The personalized experience drives engagement and activates loyalty.
Some may think that email marketing is becoming irrelevant due to social media and SMS is not considered a marketing tool because of too limited characters. But new research begs to differ.
Email and SMS: Preferred engagement channels.
Because of the new trend in customer personalization and conversation, email and SMS are preferred engagement channels both online and offline. For one, we send and receive 102.6 trillion emails every year. Based on a study of Statistica, the number of sent and received emails per day increases every year from 281 billion in 2018 to 293 billion in 2019.
FIGURE 1: The number of sent and received e-mails per day worldwide from 2017 to 2023. Source: Statistica 2020.
And it is expected to increase in the years to come with 2023 having 347 billion emails sent and received worldwide everyday. In the US alone, more than 90% over the age of 15 use emails and 84% of adults check their email everyday. Consumers also cited emails to be the most relevant marketing channel today and in the years to come. Email marketing indeed continues to be one of the best channels in building connection with the target audience.
Text messaging, the most popular digital communication channel in the US, is fast becoming a reliable engagement tool for marketers. A powerful feature of SMS is the automatic push notification upon receiving a message. This may be the reason why 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery. And if you think that text messaging is not a popular choice for consumers, a survey of 346 companies found out that 85% of their customers want to receive a text message from the company.
How to Use Email Marketing Today.
When asked why consumers unsubscribe to marketing emails, 43% said it was because the information was no longer relevant to them. This is why personalization — or sending content that is relevant to the user — is quite the buzzword today and in the years to come. Using data analytics and email list segmentation will help you achieve a personalized, relevant email to your subscribers. Other than smart tagging your subscriber’s name, here are a few ways you can segment your email list:
The future of email marketing relies heavily on personalization as 74% of marketers confirmed that personalizing emails increases overall customer engagement.
Apart from personalizing content, another way to increase customer engagement is through interactivity. Instead of just putting images on your email, use gifs and videos to interact better with your customer. Also create shareable content to reach more people. The best thing about creating shareable content is that your customers become your advertisers!
Overall, the future of email marketing comes less with brand speak and more of authentic conversation with the customer. According to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, it involves less of changing the message and more of changing the messenger.
How to use SMS Marketing Today.
With the short character limit of 160 for SMS, can I really do marketing with it? Well, like what the leaders say, you can turn your weakness into strength. SMS Marketing works wonders with short, straight-to-the-point messages such as promo announcements or special time-sensitive offers (think last- minute discounts or sale). Cart abandonment notifications are also effective when done through SMS. The benefit of using it is that customers immediately see them on their phones with push notifications.
Also, SMS is being used mainly for personal and not business interactions. It is a communication tool you use when you want to talk to a friend. That is why personalized messages that you send via text increase customer intimacy — like when your friend texts you out of the blue. It comes off as a welcome surprise. Sending a birthday message with a special discount to your customer will make them feel special and valued.
Be careful though of texting your audience if they haven’t subscribed to your text alerts as they will feel irritated. A good time for them to subscribe is when they connect with you for the first time.
Send them a welcome text so they can opt in to your text alerts.
The key to engaging with your customers is to provide them a keyword that they can use to reply to you.
IMAGE 1: An example of a welcome text to a new subscriber with an opt-in keyword.
The key to its success is having a well-planned SMS marketing campaign that has thought out possible scenarios and responses. SMS when done right, helps customers see you as a friendly and useful helper.
How Email Marketing and SMS Marketing Combined Becomes a Powerful Engagement Strategy
Even though some pit email and SMS marketing against each other, the truth is, they complement each other well. The one-two-punch of email and SMS will help you send the right message to all your customers at the right time. Email is best for messages that are informative, relevant, and interactive while SMS is effective for short, time-sensitive messages and simple yet friendly conversations. Best of all, you can engage your customers both online and offline.
They may have advantages and disadvantages of their own but in marketing, Email and SMS are like Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. It’s better when they’re together.