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Why is email and SMS marketing so effective for ecommerce?

By Stacy Kimbell

October 19, 2023

Businesses are witnessing a significant shift in how they engage with their audiences.

The statistics speak volumes: a 2023 survey by SimpleTexting shows that 71% of consumers have subscribed to receive text communications from businesses.

However, this doesn’t undermine the importance of other marketing channels like email. Email marketing has one of the highest ROI among digital channels, with an average return of $42 for every $1 spent.

This explains why combining SMS and email marketing can be a business game-changer. When used in tandem, these channels allow you to cater to various customers and preferences—email for detailed content and SMS for quick, time-sensitive updates.

This powerful combination makes sure your brand stays top-of-mind, fosters deeper connections with your audience, and drives remarkable results.

This article will discuss effective email and SMS marketing strategies and explore relevant software. But first, let’s explore exactly why these channels form such a powerful duo.

Email marketing and SMS marketing: Why can they work together?

Many business owners often need help deciding between SMS and email marketing. The key here isn’t to view it as an either-or decision. Instead, it’s essential to grasp the strengths of each channel and know how to use them strategically.

The power of SMS marketing

SMS marketing’s effectiveness stems from its remarkable open rates, because people carry their mobile phones everywhere, allowing prompt access to your messages.

Eventually, this translates into increased response and click-through rates. In fact, in the first half of 2023, Omnisend users saw a massive 16.9% increase in SMS-driven orders.

SMS marketing also lets you meet your customers where they are. The brevity of SMS communication allows swift, to-the-point messages. And to provide more information, you can always incorporate links into the messages.

Adding segmentation and targeted messaging into the mix becomes the ideal formula for achieving a high ROI.

These factors make SMS invaluable when dealing with time-sensitive offers, product alerts, and order updates.

The power of email marketing

Email has a strong track record as one of the best channels for lead generation, nurturing, and conversion.

Unlike text messages, which have character limits, emails let you share detailed information and stories, making it easier to explain things.

What’s more, email marketing offers extensive automation capabilities. With sophisticated automation, you can nurture leads and engage customers throughout their journey.

These factors help explain why US-based Omnisend customers achieved an email ROI of $72 for each $1 invested in 2022.

To top it off, email marketing also allows for the seamless integration of images, videos, and GIFs. Additionally, businesses can reinforce their brand identity by customizing email templates with logos and color schemes.

Combining email and SMS marketing

While email and SMS are distinct channels, they share significant similarities. Here are a few:

  • Both are permission-based channels, ensuring engagement with a receptive audience.
  • They provide automation options for streamlined marketing efforts.
  • Both contribute to customer engagement.
  • They play key roles in customer communication strategies.

Together, email and SMS marketing can empower you to engage customers at different touchpoints. While SMS grabs immediate attention, email provides a platform for detailed content and ongoing communication.

You can leverage one channel to increase subscribers for the other. For instance, use text messages to entice individuals to join your email list or vice versa.

Moreover, using both channels allows you to connect with customers through their preferred mode of communication. This is likely to improve sales and response rates, as you cater to their individual preferences.

Email and SMS marketing strategy

Customers today are spread across various channels, from email and SMS to social media and more. To effectively connect with them, businesses should broaden their marketing tactics. In this context, an omnichannel approach is the way to go.

What’s more, both SMS and email marketing have their limitations. Text messages, for example, can sometimes feel a bit pushy. Meanwhile, emails tend to have lower open and click-through rates compared to texts.

However, when you bring both of these channels together, it’s like combining the best of both worlds. You can make the most of what email and SMS do well while keeping their limitations in check.

In this section, we’ll discuss three ways to combine SMS and email marketing effectively.

Regular promotional email and SMS campaigns

It’s evident that email and SMS marketing serve as key tools for promoting products and services. They offer a direct means to showcase your offerings, engage with your audience, and drive sales. 

Here’s a closer look at how you can make the most of these campaigns:

Resending SMS to non-openers

One effective approach is to resend your SMS to those who haven’t opened your promotional email. This strategy gives your message a second chance to capture their attention.

Consider adjusting the content slightly to provide a fresh perspective. You can even include a more significant discount in the SMS. This may entice those who initially overlooked the email.

Sending reminders

Using SMS to send timely reminders can be a game-changer. Let’s say you’re running a limited-time sale mentioned in an email. Sending a follow-up SMS reminder just before it ends can prompt action from customers who might have forgotten or procrastinated.

Likewise, SMS marketing proves valuable for time-sensitive or exclusive events, such as VIP early access. Here’s an example from KKW Beauty:

Source: Campaign Monitor

This approach is particularly impactful due to the remarkable SMS open rates. What’s more, these text messages can be personalized and tailored to specific promotions or events.

Best email and SMS automation

Beyond regular promotional campaigns, combining email and SMS marketing shines in various automation scenarios. This is because an omnichannel approach allows businesses to engage customers at multiple touchpoints.

Let’s explore three powerful automation scenarios where the email-SMS duo excels.

Cart abandonment

In ecommerce, one common strategy to re-engage customers is the use of cart abandonment emails. These serve as friendly reminders to users about the items they’ve left behind in their shopping carts.

Imagine a scenario where a customer adds items to their cart but doesn’t complete the purchase.

First, an email gently reminds the customer about their abandoned cart and displays the items they were interested in. However, the real magic happens a few hours later with a follow-up SMS.

This SMS reiterates the abandoned cart and offers a personalized incentive. This may be a limited-time discount or free shipping to encourage the purchase.

Here’s a visual depiction of a workflow like this one:

Source: Omnisend

Welcome series

A well-crafted welcome email series is crucial for onboarding new subscribers or customers successfully.

However, the impact of this series can be elevated by incorporating SMS messaging into the mix. Here’s how it works:

First, you initiate the welcome journey with an email that warmly greets new subscribers. This email provides a friendly introduction to your brand, offering insights into your products or services.

Yet, what if your new subscribers overlook their email or don’t check it promptly? This is where SMS steps in as a valuable companion.

After the first welcome email, send an SMS as a gentle reminder.  It may even include exclusive offers to sweeten the deal and capture their interest.

Birthday wishes

Sending birthday wishes to customers demonstrates a genuine connection with them. It goes beyond the transactional aspect of business, showing that you value their special moments.

Most businesses rely on email campaigns for this, but you’re not limited to that. You can make birthdays better for customers by using both email and SMS marketing together.

Send an SMS on your customer’s birthday, conveying your warm wishes.

However, due to the 160-character limit, your message must be brief. While this isn’t necessarily a drawback, it means you can’t include many details. For instance, providing a special birthday offer or discount can be challenging.

This is where sending a follow-up email comes into play, allowing you to provide additional information and make a stronger impact.

Transactional SMS and email messaging

Transactional SMS and emails are informational rather than promotional. They can include order confirmations, shipping updates, and account notifications.

When you integrate email and SMS marketing for these messages, it can lead to higher customer satisfaction.

For instance, you can start by sending an order confirmation email. Next, send an SMS with the delivery date and a shipment tracking link. This method increases the likelihood that your customers will receive important information.

However, avoid sending the same message through both channels simultaneously. This may irritate customers and lead to unsubscribes.

As a general guideline, reserve email for longer messages such as:

  • Launches and announcements
  • Newsletters
  • Event invites
  • Offers

On the other hand, SMS will come in handy for sharing shorter or time-sensitive content like:

  • Launches and announcements
  • Offers
  • Event and offer reminders
  • Shipping updates
  • Emergency alerts

Using automated workflows can help you leverage the most suitable channel for each message.

You also have the option to use conditional splits for a clear distinction. Those who consented to SMS can follow a separate path from those who only subscribed to email.

Here’s how such a setup would look:

Source: Klaviyo

Best email and SMS marketing software

Many email marketing tools include SMS capabilities within their offerings. They can help you streamline campaign creation, segmentation, automation, and analytics.

In this section, we’ll delve into these tools, examining their SMS features and pricing in detail.

1. Omnisend

Source: Omnisend

Omnisend is one of the best email and SMS marketing software out there. Its recent campaigns, which blend these channels, have delivered exceptional results. They use an omnichannel approach to reach and engage customers effectively.

Features:

  • Pre-built workflows
  • TCPA-compliant SMS list-building tools
  • Ability to send targeted SMS or MMS messages
  • Two-way SMS messaging
  • SMS channel reports

Global outreach:

Omnisend facilitates SMS sending to all country codes. This ensures you can connect with your global customers and boost conversions worldwide.

Pricing:

Obtaining SMS credits is straightforward, regardless of your subscription plan. The cost varies based on the destination of your messages. For example, sending an SMS within the USA through Omnisend costs $0.015 per message.

2. Brevo

Source: Brevo

Just like Omnisend, Brevo lets users nurture closer connections by combining email and SMS marketing. Let’s take a look at its key features.

Features:

  • One-click setup
  • Targeted SMS campaigns
  • Transactional SMS for real-time updates
  • SMS campaign reports

Global outreach:

Brevo lets you deliver SMS messages to recipients in 200+ countries.

Pricing:

To send SMS messages, you must purchase SMS credits, available in packs of 100 with no expiration. In the USA, sending 100 text messages costs $1.09.

3. Campaign Monitor

Source: Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is yet another email and SMS marketing platform worth considering. The main limitation of this platform is that Campaign Monitor doesn’t allow combining email and SMS into the same workflow. These channels work separately.

Features:

  • Easily create, edit, and send SMS campaigns all in one place
  • Link shortener to keep copy short and crisp
  • Real-time reporting

Global outreach:

With Campaign Monitor, you can only send SMS messages to USA, UK, Canada, and Australia recipients.

Pricing:

The team will make a custom SMS package that fits your business. The cost depends on how many people you want to message and how often you send SMS.

4. ActiveCampaign

Source: ActiveCampaign

Using ActiveCampaign, you can use SMS in addition to emails to communicate with your contacts.

Features:

  • The option to enable SMS subscriptions via keywords
  • Automated SMS messaging
  • Manage contacts and collect numbers

Global outreach:

ActiveCampaign offers SMS support in multiple countries, but the messages will be sent from a USA number. You can use local numbers to message recipients in the USA, the UK, Canada, Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland.

Pricing:

Like many other platforms, ActiveCampaign users are required to buy SMS credits. You can purchase 1,000 credits for $21, and each SMS sent in the USA uses one credit.

5. Klaviyo

Source: Klaviyo

Finally, we have Klaviyo as one of the email and SMS marketing tools to consider. Klaviyo boasts more advanced features compared to its competitors.

Features:

  • SMS subscribe links
  • Dynamic text blocks
  • Custom keywords
  • SMS marketing reports

Global outreach:

Klaviyo SMS availability is currently limited to specific regions. These include the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

Pricing:

The number of credits required for SMS and MMS messages varies based on the recipient’s country. For example, sending an SMS in the US costs one credit, equivalent to $0.01.

Wrap up

In a nutshell, teaming up email and SMS marketing packs a real punch. It’s a great way to expand your reach and deliver messages that truly resonate.

Whether it’s about regular promotions, automated messages, or important updates, this partnership takes a holistic approach to engaging customers.

What’s more, you can always use relevant software to leverage omnichannel marketing. It not only enhances your strategy but also saves precious time. However, make sure you evaluate features and pricing before making a decision.

As technology advances, so will the opportunities for innovative and effective omnichannel marketing. It’s all about finding the best ways to talk to your audience and build strong relationships.

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