Accelerating Engagement Within Your SMS Program
We know that a Text Message Marketing program can only grow with a robust and engaged list of subscribers. Compliance rules dictate that ‘express written consent’ must be acquired by contacts to join, so SMS subscribers are precious to your bottom line – They WANT to hear from you via text. But what comes after your initial Welcome Series messaging? And how can you accelerate engagement beyond standard broadcast messages? It all comes down to building strong channel awareness and leveling up best practices to reach your subscribers at the right time with the right message.
Strategic Segmentation Supplementing Twice Weekly Broadcasts Maximizes ROI
Segmentation based on activity is a tried-and-true way of improving engagement KPIs like click-through and conversion rates by sending to smaller audiences. This can be applied to your ongoing SMS strategy by supplementing your (minimum) twice-weekly broadcasts to your full list with additional outreach to a select group of contacts. You should strive to use a mutually exclusive audience strategy, so your subscribers can only fall into one activity-based segment at a time.
We recommend using the Last Click Date and Last Order Date to build these audiences, pointing to a consistent 30-day lookback window for each. If you use different periods for specific audiences or mix in additional fields, subscribers may get missed and receive nothing or fall into multiple groups and get duplicate messaging. Since these are dynamic fields, you don’t have to manage the audiences or contacts. Instead, your subscribers will move in and out of segments as they click your texts and purchase on your site.
You’ll want to focus on six core audiences with these settings:
- Active Recent Buyer: Have clicked AND purchased in the last 30 days
- Active Lapsing Buyer: Have clicked in the last 30 days, have purchased 30+ days ago
- Active Non-Buyer: Have clicked in the last 30 days and never purchased
- Inactive Recent Buyer: Haven’t clicked but have purchased in the last 30 days
- Inactive Lapsing Buyer: Haven’t clicked in the last 30 days, have purchased 30+ days ago
- Inactive Non-Buyer: Haven’t clicked in the last 30 days (or ever) and never purchased
And we recommend the following send strategies:
- Your active audiences should get a higher frequency of broadcasts
- Your inactive audiences should get fewer broadcasts.
- Consider giving your Active Recent Buyers and Active Lapsing Buyers some love with early or exclusive access to new products and collections.
- Give Active Non-Buyers extra nudges to purchase when you have a valuable offer available.
- You can even set up a recurring broadcast cadence of trending products to help bring back Inactive Lapsing Buyers, as they might be more seasonal customers.
- Set a goal to load up your messaging calendar as much as possible – targeting one of the six audiences for sends outside of the twice-weekly broadcasts to your full list.
- Of course, maintaining compliance and channel awareness will only help these segmented campaigns perform even better, and you should start to see your Active audiences grow over time.
First-Party Data Goes A Long Way
In addition to activity-based segmentation, you can leverage first-party data for ad hoc audiences. This is an incredibly compelling strategy if you have niche products within your catalog to promote, want to target shoppers interested in a particular category or send birthday messaging, among others. SMS is a highly efficient channel for collecting first-party data, and everything can be stored within custom segmentation fields for seamless planning and personalization. For example, brewery owners can transfer this data into Ollie to make the most out of the platform's already powerful sales and analytics tools
Use Info Campaigns to collect shopping interests, sizes, and data relevant to your business model. Use Data Acquisition Campaigns to collect birthdates, zip codes, and email addresses. And use product, purchase, and customer data feeds to integrate with your ecommerce platform and leverage within audiences directly.
But applications of first-party data don’t start and stop with segmentation! Additionally, you can use anything you collect and glean to inform inventory demand planning, campaign calendar preparation, and goal-setting. You can set up recurring data exports from your Listrak account via FTP and SFTP to easily share KPIs and insights as needed.
Automation Drives Conversion Further
Our annual benchmark report showcases the power and revenue share that automated campaigns bring to a digital marketing program. So, if you haven’t incorporated text messages into those campaigns, now is the time. Everything from Welcome Series to Shopping Cart Abandonment to Transactional (and everything in between!) brings additional engagement and increased conversion rates over broadcasts. Check out our recent automation strategy blog with examples and best practices.
You can also combine the forces of segmentation and automation through recurring broadcasts. Take one of the aforementioned activity-based audiences and set up an evergreen message to go out either weekly, biweekly, or monthly to efficiently send relevant texts without having to schedule them individually. Calls To Action that perform well in these campaigns include promoting new products, sharing what’s recently gone on sale or clearance, and exclusive content now available for download. Again, you can customize it to your individual business needs and goals. If you have brick-and-mortar locations, these campaigns are an excellent opportunity for evergreen promotion of specials, hours, and events!
Foster Loyalty With Two-Way SMS Conversations
Finally, there’s no better way to drive additional engagement than connecting with your subscribers 1:1 through Two-Way SMS Conversations. The nature of Text Message Marketing is conversational, to begin with, and consumers expect to hear from you in-channel when they have questions or issues. Whether you manage responses in the Listrak platform or through an API call back to your Customer Service software, sending acknowledgment back keeps your subscribers focused on shopping and engaged with your program.
System Messages, Keyword Campaigns, and Info Campaigns check this box for the earliest stage in conversational strategy. Still, individual responses via Two-Way SMS Conversations can take your program to the next level.
Full-list broadcasts are the bread and butter of your SMS program, but you can accelerate engagement even further through segmentation, first-party data, automation, and conversational marketing. Subscribers must provide explicit consent to opt in, so your calendar should always be full and planned ahead of time for ongoing outreach. Continue to look ahead to the next season to prepare for timely messaging, and check out our Seasonal Spotlight resources for ideas beyond traditional retail holidays. Texts can and should be included throughout the customer journey, with second-level strategies to reach your aggressive growth goals.
For more information and to optimize your program, reach out to your Account Manager or get started with Listrak’s SMS.