EP 25: Reach 95% Open Rates by Diversifying Your Messaging Strategy With SMS

Episode Summary:

This week, The Messenger Mastermind team discusses the power of SMS marketing.


We talk about how we are seeing 95% open rates, high click-through rates, and how we have improved our post-purchase upsell by 75%. We also discuss some SMS functionality, automation & strategy for this new growing platform.


Let us know what you think below 👇👇.


Episode Highlights:

  1. 1:17 What is SMS Marketing? Where do you start?
  2. 3:40 How to collect phone numbers before a product release
  3. 5:58 CRAZY STAT: 95% open rate on text messages
  4. 7:00 Boost Average Order Value (AOV) by sending Post Purchase Text Messages
  5. 10:53 Boost Conversion Rate and Engagement by sending personalized messages.
  6. 16:35 The 2 best ways to build your lists
  7. 18:05 Turning Email subscribers into SMS subscribers and SMS subscribers into Email Subscribers
  8. 18:35 What does SMS Marketing Cost? What are the returns?



Resources Mentioned:


  1. Facebook Messenger Tool – Manychat
  2. Email Platform- Klaviyo
  3. SMS Marketing Campaign Manager – Postscript
  4. SMS Marketing – Save My Sales
  5. SMS Marketing – Retention Rocket

Episode Transcript:

Jeremy: Welcome to another week’s episode of The Messenger Mastermind Podcast. My name is Jeremy Horowitz. I am your host for today’s episode joined by Mark and Ben from the C.V.G. team. How are y’all doing?


Mark: Hello, hello.


Ben: What’s going on? We’re doing great, man. How’s things?


Jeremy: Good, good, good. I’m also pretty interested in today’s topic in general. We are going to be switching it up and actually not talking about Facebook Messenger for once. We’re definitely going to pepper some stuff in there, don’t worry. We really wanted to talk about something else that we’ve seen, that we think is very related. It’s provided a ton of value for the businesses that we’ve been working with and that is SMS marketing.

For any of you who don’t know, as an e-commerce company there are a couple of services where you can capture phone numbers on your site and then use them to directly message customers in a similar manner to you would have with Facebook Messenger and email. Since we thought that there was a lot of overlap in what we do with the channel, has a lot of overlap with Messenger and email, we wanted to bring you a couple of quick tips and tricks on how to make it a part of your marketing experience and utilize it as much as possible to really drive more profitable growth to your business. Mark and Ben, you want to start us off with how you guys are using SMS marketing right now?


Mark: Right off the bat, we’d like to start you off with some of the easier ways to toss this in, maybe if you’re not fully ready to have it integrated with your email, Klaviyo, or Facebook Messenger and have it all stacked up. We want to give you some simple ways to throw it into the mix without breaking other parts of your funnels. One way that we use it that has been extremely effective for us, is to use it as a post-purchase text message. All we do for that is once someone has made a purchase, during the checkout process, we give the option to collect their phone number. Of course, they are agreeing to marketing by doing that, and the bonus for them is that when their order is shipped, we send them a text message to let them know when they will receive it. Once they’ve completed that purchase, we follow up and offer them an additional item at a very discounted price and tell them if they add that order to their purchase within the next X amount of hours, that we will add it to their package without any additional shipping cost. It’s a really easy win. Someone that’s already pretty hot in the buying cycle considering they just purchased, it’s kind of a no-brainer, just bump up that AOV.


Ben: Capitalizing, bumping up the AOV, cashing in on the buyer’s high, you know what I mean? Something that we used very well on the email side and we were happy when we got to implement it on the SMS side. Another thing that we do at C.V.G. is we collect phone numbers when we have a big release coming up. We inform our customers over a broadcast-type message in SMS that we do have the release and it’s live. That’s been really effective for us as well.


Mark: All we do for that is we say, “We have a new release coming out. If you want to be notified when this release is coming out, then text this key word to our phone number.” We create a key word that’s specific to our product release. When they text us with that key word, they’re put into a bucket and that bucket, we then notify the day of a release so that it goes directly to their phone and nobody forgets about the fact that we have a giant release that’s probably going to sell out very quickly.


Jeremy: Very cool. So, you guys touched on some very interesting things there. I want to dive into a couple. First, the auto tagging system. I just text in a number and then there’s a list that’s created on the back end for you all and then you all just blast out a text message to that list?


Mark: We use a service called Postscript and that is Postscript.io and I would compare them to a similar path of Klaviyo. There are much newer, and they are improving every day, but just in the sense of segmentation and automation, I guess you could say to think about Klaviyo.


Jeremy: Very cool. So, you all just have lists of different people who have texted you for new product releases, so you’ve got all that data stored in Postscripts?


Mark: Yeah, so we know if someone’s made a purchase, how they became a subscriber, how much they purchased, what items, things like that.


Jeremy: Very cool. Seems to be pretty powerful. Five, six releases in, you know who’s signed up for everything versus who’s just in it for one or two. We’ve definitely got some interesting cross-selling in there.


Mark: It’s been pretty cool to see the subscribers go up. I think we’ve only been using it for maybe two months, and I think we’re a little over 7500 subscribers. Which, when you compare that to our email list, it’s not anywhere in comparing to that size, but when you go and look at open rates, it’s a much more similar thing to what we often speak about with Facebook Messenger in that it’s almost universal to be receiving a 95% open rate on text messages.


Jeremy: You’re hitting someone in a communication channel where they’re used to receiving messengers from their friends so they’re much more likely to open it. What would you say is a typical click through rate for SMS?


Mark: I’ve reached out to Alex, who is the founder of Postscript, and one thing about them being a little bit smaller right now is that I do have access to reach out to them and ask questions. I did exactly that for this episode. I reached out to him and I asked him for what kind of numbers he’s seeing across all of the accounts. He claims that they’re seeing anywhere from a 7% to a 30% click through on most messages.


Jeremy: Those are great numbers. Another good channel that you can control as the merchant that really brings people back. Something else that you mentioned earlier that I want to dig into a little bit more is you all called it your Bounce back Campaign. Some people might refer to it as a post-purchase upsell. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the post- purchase upsell and the buyer’s high that Ben was referencing earlier, basically, there’s a psychological mentality. A lot of studies have been done into this, that when someone’s credit card is already out and they’re ready to buy, they’re actually willing to buy a lot more from you than just the one thing that you’re selling to them. That’s why things like post- purchase upsells where you’re offering someone either more of what they’ve already bought or a complementary or similar item at a discount, has been super successful. It’s a great AOV trick to really leverage the marketing spend because if you can get the same person who’s going to buy something for $50 to spend $90-$100, you’ve made a lot more off of that customer even if the thing that they’re buying is 10, 15, 20% off. So, really that’s what you were referencing earlier. What was the impact- because you said you were doing an email first when you added SMS to that?


Ben: We were doing it with email for a long time, actually, probably about a year.


Mark: If not longer.


Ben: Yeah, our results were really good. I mean, we were getting about 3% of our orders, anywhere from 3 to 3.25%, were taking advantage of the numbers depending on the product that we offered and the time of the year. When we actually implemented it into text message, we saw an increase on both, which was really interesting. The timing is a little different. The text message goes out thirty minutes after the purchase. The email goes out twelve hours after purchase. You can see that the text would get implemented first. We’ve seen the take rate on the text message at about 4% or 4.25% and still about a 2% take rate on the email. We’ve gone from 3 to 3.25% take rate overall to about a 5.75 to 6% take rate, if everyone could stick with my numbers there.


Jeremy: Just a quick summary: by blasting out a SMS within 30 minutes of when the order was placed, and then an email sometime around 12 to 24 hours, you guys have basically increased your post-purchase upsell by 75%.


Mark: Things got better. You can just say that.


Jeremy: Yeah, you could definitely say that. Cool. So, it sounds like you guys are using them for campaigns around product launches, post-purchase upsells. Is there anything else you guys are using SMS for?


Mark: We are pretty basic with it right now and that’s because we are waiting on the Klaviyo integration which we’re told for Postscript is coming soon. Once we can do that, then we can kind of stack things a little bit better to make sure that we’re not sending certain messages to people that maybe don’t need to be getting them. For instance, if they already bought from one offer, we don’t want to re-offer that same thing through a different channel. We will get more advanced with it as that integration comes out, but as far as right now goes, we’re playing it pretty simple, and seeing good results from it.


Ben: Like Mark said, we’ve only been doing it for about two months so we’re really just testing it out ourselves and finding out the best thing that works for our company. If people are okay with getting messages on multiple channels that look very similar, and we’ve seen that. We know, we’ve talked about it before that people get interrupted, they get disrupted. They might see the text, be reminded by the email, so the conversational messaging portion is so important to be across all platforms.


Mark: Right, and one of the biggest things that Postscript is trying to get us to take advantage of, which we haven’t pulled the trigger on yet, is abandoned cart and/or browse abandoned cart text messages which I know you have experience with, Jeremy. Would you like to tell us a little bit about that?


Jeremy: Yeah, sure. One of the programs that I implemented with my time at Lumee was abandon cart SMS recovery. The customer adds a product to their cart, they go to the checkout page, they input their phone number into the customer contact information. Then we had a little checkbox that was basically an opt-in to receive SMS messages and we had- we used a company called Save My Sales- and we had them automate cart recovery messages for us. You would hit the site; you would abandon your cart after putting in all that information and then receive a text message somewhere between one to seven hours after it. It would be like, “Hey, my name is Maria. I saw that you left this in your cart” which is just a function that pulled in the product “Can I hook you up with a discount? Is there anything I can help you with?” It was really successful for us. Customers loved responding. We saw a 9% conversion rate from the channel.


Mark: Off the air, before we were recording, you told us a pretty interesting story about Maria. Maybe you’d like to share that because I found it pretty interesting.


Jeremy: Alright, that was fun. That was an interesting test. We wanted to make it personal. We didn’t want to be just like, “Hey, this is Lumee texting you on your phone” and kind of have it be awkward so made up a team member name. Her name was Maria. To make it more personal, that it sounded like it was coming from a real person, just make it have a little more personality to it. Our customers thought that Maria was a real person and they would eventually start reaching out to our CS team with some of the text messages saying, “This Maria girl is wilding on us right now. You can’t believe she’s doing this.” We were having such a great time because the SMS service is actually powered by Save My Sales, that has a team that responds to the text messages. So, some of it’s automated and some of it’s personable. It was so successful with SMS that we decided to roll it out into email. We changed the display name. Instead of it being “From the Lumee Team” or “From Lumee”, all of our emails started to come from “Maria at Lumee” as well. We ran a couple AB tests of a couple other names as well, but we actually saw email open rates increase as well, probably by about 5 to 10% comparatively. It was a really interesting test but from there, we saw so much success with it that we decided to roll out campaigns in a very similar manner that you guys did around product launches. For any major product launch, any major promotion, we would blast a campaign out to the customer base being like- I think we did our first one on Black Friday and we saw a 17% click through rate and sales were just great. I consider all of your own channels like different divisions of your military. You have your Navy, your Air Force, your Marines, your Army and it’s kind of like you want to hit the beach with all of them, especially those big events like a huge product launch or a huge promotion. It was great to slot SMS in there. We had a Messenger exclusive as one of our first messages. We did maybe fifteen emails over the weekend. We peppered in two or three SMS campaigns and it was just like hitting the beach with all our resources and really pulling people in, especially during those super competitive times. It was the same offer, it was the same promotion, we slightly customized stuff by channel. Even across our organic social channels as well, we were basically blasting out similar content. It was great to see the revenue for daily sales really pinch in around when we blasted all those things out at once.


Mark: The diversification on that, that’s just staggering different messages through different platforms, reaching people at different times when they’re on one platform or another. It’s the best way to make sure nobody slips through the cracks.


Jeremy: There’s no channel that gets 100% open rate, no matter what, even if they claim that they do. And even if they do, I think there’s a little bit of exposure effect of people need to see things a couple of times before they’re like, “Okay, I’m ready to act” especially knowing that 3% of people that you’re marketing to are probably even actually ready to buy. I think that there’s a huge opportunity to leverage all those channels because between SMS, Messenger, and email, someone could be in nine different places on three different devices checking that information. You have no idea where they’re going to be ready to buy yet. Whether it’s on their phone or whether it’s on a tablet or whether it’s on their computer. Really leveraging all of the channels that you have as much as possible, will help push the motivation. I feel like I’ve talked to a lot different marketers in the space and there’s a lot of concern, especially for people who are really relying on email, that once you move to include these other channels there’s this concern that you’re going to be overwhelming people with too much. I do believe there is an appropriate amount of messaging that goes into each channel and these things do need to be thought through, but from my experience it’s only been very helpful and very similar to what you guys talked about with your post- purchase upsell that if you appropriately put the same offer with various similar messaging across channel, it only helps to support all other channels.


Ben: Yeah, I completely agree and if you’re listening to all this and saying, “This is great and it all sounds very useful to me, but how do I go about capturing somebody’s phone number?” What do you guys have in mind for capturing phone numbers?


Mark: With C.V.G. we do it two ways. I think we kind of touched upon it briefly, but the main way is we’re gaining the phone number through the check-out process. That works well if you get enough orders, you’re going to get enough phone numbers. On top of that, we’re setting up a key word around product releases and having people text us with that key word to automatically subscribe them.


Jeremy: We did the same thing. You capture the phone number, especially on Shopify, at purchase. And then the second thing we did was we phrased it as a little bit more of general helpline of like, “Text this number if you have any questions” which definitely involved it more on the support side. It’s a similar manner. You start a conversation with them. If they engage, you pump them into the list of everyone else and then you can blast out the SMS of everyone engaged.


Mark: I know that Postscript has some cool growth methods that are similar to an email capture or a Messenger capture. Things that will pop up on your site and ask you to opt in for a discount percentage. We haven’t played with any of those because we right now would rather capture an email address and/or Messenger but that is another method if this is a channel that you want to build out that will probably grow your list pretty quickly.


Ben: That’s very interesting. We always talk about how to leverage our email list to turn it into Messenger subscribers. You can do the same with SMS. You can leverage your email list and try to turn them into SMS subscribers. How is the program, is it cost effective?


Mark: It’s expensive but the results that come from it are also very solid so you do pay a little bit more than you might from others. We were just speaking before this episode started recording about the difference between Postscript and some of the other methods. With Postscript, you actually buy credits and then you use those credits to send out different forms of messages. A regular text message will be one credit. If you include an image or an emoji, that will be two credits and if it’s an international text message number, unfortunately, that is ten credits. One credit averages out to be about four cents. Most messages for us end up being about eight cents per message.


Ben: That’s four cents at the biggest plan, right? It goes all up to about five cents.


Mark: So, that’s buying 40,000 credits at $1500.00 a month. It can be steep, but it also pays for itself very quickly. I know that tool that Jeremy was using was set up a little bit differently and I think that did sound a little bit better to me as far as payment methods in general. Jeremy?


Jeremy: Save My Sales worked on a commission basis, so you didn’t pay per message. You only paid a commission based on sales and then it’s a sliding scale. What commission you paid was based on AOV and order volume. It was great. Once a month, we got an email from them saying, “Here’s everyone we talked to. Here are all of the stats of click through rates, conversion rates. Here’s how many sales we can prove that we drove back to your site and this is the commission bounty that we’re going to take from those sales.” I think it worked really, really well for us. I know there are a couple of vendors now playing the space. Retention Rocket is another one. I know a couple of the bigger Shopify Plus stores are using. If you guys want help, we have relationships with all of these people. Reach out to hi@messengermastermind.co and we’ll be more than happy to connect you with Postscripts, Save My Sales, Retention Rocket. If there are any others, we’d also love to share about them, talk to them and vet them to see what’s best. Again, this is another super early space. There’s a lot of new vendors coming in. There’s a lot of new, different styles and modernization systems that they’re all going to try. Just like we always recommend in Messenger, it’s so important to start growing your list now while it’s still cheap and not competitive because in twelve months, eighteen months, twenty-four months, when everyone’s doing it and you’ve got the big players spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in SMS and Messenger, it’s not going to be as effective for your business. That’s why growing your list now, really building in that value and having those people primed and ready, and active in that channel is going to be so, so valuable for your business.


Mark: One great thing about text message and collecting phone numbers is that you can, once you’ve gained permission to collect that phone number, you can move it to a different platform if you say, start with Postscript then decide to move somewhere else, you can take those numbers with you. I’m not sure if this is information that we can share, but we didn’t sign an NDA so I’m just going to go for it. Ben and I recently visited Klaviyo’s headquarters and they were briefly walking us through that they have potential of coming out with some text message integrations built right within Klaviyo so that’s something to keep an eye out for also in the future, that Klaviyo’s potentially into the text message game.