As SMS Marketing continues to accelerate, it may seem like you need to pull back on your email investment and strategy. And if your email program has consistently grown over time to be your top owned channel, you might not think you even need an SMS Marketing program. Rather than trying to replace or move strategies from one channel to another, your focus should be on maximizing your ROI with a thoughtfully curated cross-channel strategy and robust toolset. Listrak has the solutions to reach your goals and lower your overall cost of ownership for maximum ROI potential.

With more available automation platforms, SAAS SEO providers, and solution integrations, it can be daunting trying to craft a digital marketing strategy that doesn’t break the bank. By working with disparate platforms, you could be spending more but earning less and missing the ROI mark. Let’s unpack some important considerations and strategies for an optimal cross-channel program.

Why are both channels so important?

Even though SMS has grown so much over the last five years, email isn’t going away anytime soon. And despite email sticking around, it cannot reach your revenue goals alone. Sending both email and text messages as part of your digital marketing strategy is critical in reaching your customers and prospects at the right time based on their activity and intent.

Email allows for more detail, imagery, multiple CTAs, and more. It can be highly personalized for relevance, fulfilling new consumer expectations when they interact with their favorite brands. On the other hand, SMS allows for more conversational messaging and an efficient way to create a sense of urgency. The email signature generator is a significant element of your business image. That's why it must reflect your personal brand and align with your company's brand voice. Trying to create a sign-off on your own takes much time that could be spent on more important tasks. There are different tools available with SMS Marketing, like Two-Way Conversations, that provide more ways to connect with your customers and take advantage of the overall higher engagement rates.

Additionally, the adoption of SMS Marketing across retail verticals, service industries, and others has ballooned. So it’s no longer a “nice to have” channel but necessary to remain competitive in your respective vertical. And consumers want to sign up and receive messaging from you, based on recent market research.

There’s also the privacy factor - Privacy policy changes are constant and will continue to be made by technology companies. So the more you double down with your owned channels, the less disruption there is to your business and bottom line. Both email and SMS programs allow for collection of coveted first-party data, which gives you more control and direct insights.

Align your channels within your marketing strategy

Having your email and SMS programs aligned through an integrated platform enables stages of your customer journey to build on each other and reach your customers throughout. By coordinating efforts and goals, you maximize the potential to capture, convert, and retain. Positioning opt-in to both channels helps promote a higher lifetime value, and then messaging in both channels based on engagement ensures the delivery of your messages to your best subscribers. Automated campaigns triggered by intent continue to earn the highest engagement and conversion rates, and those successes depend on the achievements of the earlier capture and convert stages, completing the full cycle. Cracks or misses in this customer journey ultimately lead to lost revenue and data.

Use first-party data to influence your channels

Coordinated efforts between email and SMS allow you to apply first-party data insights from each channel and take personalization and segmentation to the next level. We already know that activity-based audiences help maximize revenue, as targeted messaging generally earns a higher Revenue Per Message KPI, so leveraging all that data within cross-channel journeys can contribute towards an even higher ROI and help manage volume across both email and SMS. Consumers have now also come to expect personalization from marketing programs they subscribe to. Your messaging should speak to them directly with products relevant to their activity, frequency based on their engagement, and proper use of their order details within the corresponding message copy.

First-party data can also inform your day-to-day marketing calendars for both channels, which should be coordinated to begin with. Build your calendar based on ongoing performance, current trends, and message engagement. Be agile and ready to pivot, and continually test messaging copy and Calls To Action to follow your contacts’ lead. Measure and optimize your marketing efforts by tracking essential KPIs that are relevant to your industry and goals.

Meet your customers where they’re most engaged

Your messaging should be consistent across email and SMS to communicate with all different types of subscribers. Not everyone will join your SMS program, just like not everyone will subscriber to your email program, but that doesn’t mean you have to suppress single-channel contacts from receiving your messaging either. The adage of “You send too many emails!” is few and further between now with Millennial and Gen Z demographics. Still, activity-based segmentation helps combat over-sending and causing burnout. 

Listrak Journey Hub has tools to help manage volume through each channel within your automated campaigns, sending texts and emails based on subscriber activity. You can send texts sooner in campaigns to take advantage of immediacy, and then follow-up with corresponding emails if there isn’t any conversion activity (or the contact isn’t opted into receiving SMS).

Use email when you know you can’t text, and be mindful of compliance

Email is the perfect channel for early morning messaging, late evening announcements, and reminders, like final sale hours and countdown clocks. Since text messages cannot be sent before 8 AM or after 8 PM local time due to Quiet Hour rules, emails can start or end the conversation based on the Call To Action.

Additionally, email allows you to include multiple links, content blocks, and more copy than a text message does. You should strive to load your email creatives with predictive Product Recommendations to take advantage of all the first-party data you’ve gathered and fill the space. While you can make texts visual through MMS, this should be done sparingly not to inflate your cost or blow through your messaging bucket quickly.

Don’t forget channel best practices along the way

With that note, always remember standard best practices as both email and SMS accelerate. While you focus on growing your lists and building channel awareness, you should send to your contacts as much as possible, and target two full-list text message broadcasts a week, using segmentation in between for targeted campaigns. As you reach your goals and get more sophisticated, work with your account team to find areas for optimization and refine your broadcast strategy as you continue to send broadcasts.

Mobile Marketing is conversational and not the place to try and overload your messaging. Use emojis strategically, and MMS should be impactful, just like you’d consider with your email campaigns. These make for great A/B split testing opportunities as well, to ensure you’re building your texts based on what your subscribers respond to most. Focus on a varied calendar that includes traditional text-only messages and a few MMS a month when you have a visual reason to do so. For example, a carousel of products in a gif file is a compelling way of using MMS.

Finally, assuming opt-in to the complementary channel from the other can put you out of compliance with SMS specifically and waste a lot of email volume. While you can imply consent with most of your email campaigns, striving for an explicit opt-in is recommended to attract the best, most valuable contacts.

Partner with Listrak’s Customer Engagement Platform for your cross-channel orchestration

As the market continues to crowd with more automation platforms, SAAS providers, and solution integrations, it might seem daunting trying to craft an optimal cross-channel digital strategy. However, using a single platform as compared to disparate vendors allows you to easily track results and find areas for improvement while keeping overall ROI at the center. Agnostic channel attribution that doesn’t apply conversion revenue to both provides a more accurate look at your overall program performance. It’s more important than ever to set cross-channel goals and plan your calendars together, than in siloes. Leverage as much data and customer insights as possible, and always remember best practices and rules to ensure compliance. 

For more information and to optimize your cross-channel program, connect with your Account Manager or get started here with Listrak.

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