Keeping customers engaged with email and sms marketing

Consistently engaging vendors and customers is a critical aspect of any marketplace platform. One of the most impactful methods to accomplish this involves the dual tools of email and SMS marketing.

In the following article, we will dive into the mechanisms of these two marketing channels and provide tips on utilising them to maintain customer engagement and loyalty to your online marketplace.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a powerful digital marketing technique that entails dispatching emails to potential customers and existing ones. It’s an efficient channel for establishing a connection with your client base, forging robust relationships, advertising your brand, and boosting sales. Email marketing encapsulates various forms of communications, including:

Automated response emails

These emails are automated responses sent following a customer’s action, such as making a purchase, account creation, or password resetting. They tend to have very high open rates as they include information the recipient needs or is expecting.

Sales promotion emails

These emails primarily contain sales promos and calls to action. They can announce new merchandise, promote sales events, or offer exclusive discounts to subscribers and customers.

Newsletter emails

Otherwise known as newsletters, these emails regularly update subscribers on the latest news, blog articles, and other content associated with your business or industry.

Lead development emails

These are targeted emails sent as a component of a ‘drip campaign’ designed to guide prospects through your sales funnel. These are typically automated and triggered by particular customer actions or behaviours.

The primary objective of email marketing is to foster a robust relationship with your audience. It goes beyond merely selling products; it’s about trust-building, value provision, and initiating an ongoing dialogue with your customers.

What is SMS marketing?

Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is a strategy that utilises text messages to convey promotional content directly to customers. Given today’s mobile phone usage patterns, SMS marketing is an influential way to reach your audience anywhere they are, in real-time.

SMS marketing messages usually contain short, precise information or offers. They could notify customers of a sale, remind them of an appointment, or provide a code for a special discount. These messages are typically time-sensitive and designed to incite immediate engagement.

The benefits of SMS marketing

SMS marketing provides several primary benefits, making it a valuable addition to your digital marketing arsenal:

High open rates

SMS messages have an impressively high open rate, with several studies estimating it to be around 98%. This nearly guarantees your message will be viewed.

SMS messages have an available rate of 98%, compared to just 20% for email marketing.

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Prompt delivery

SMS messages are delivered instantly, making them perfect for time-sensitive promotions or last-minute reminders.

Direct interaction

Unlike email, which often necessitates an internet connection for access, SMS messages can be received anywhere, anytime, on any mobile device.

Customised engagement

With appropriate data and a smart strategy, you can use SMS marketing to send highly customised messages that resonate with your customers at an individual level.

High response rates

Not only are SMS messages likely to be opened, but they also frequently achieve higher response rates compared to other marketing forms.

SMS and email automation

Automation in SMS and email marketing is a strategy that employs technology to automatically send targeted communications to your subscribers, based on predetermined triggers or actions. Instead of manually sending out individual SMSs and emails, automated messages are dispatched when a user fulfils certain criteria or completes specific actions.

Frequent examples of email automation include welcome emails when someone subscribes to your newsletter, confirmation emails after a purchase, and reminder emails about abandoned shopping carts.

However, automation isn’t limited to these scenarios; there are many more advanced uses that can be customised to your specific business needs.

The advantages of SMS and email automation

Automation provides multiple benefits, making it an essential component of any efficient email marketing strategy. Here are some of the primary advantages:

Timeliness

Automated messages are dispatched precisely when they need to be, improving the chances of your message being viewed and acted upon.

Customisation

Automation allows for high levels of personalisation, which can enhance engagement rates. Personalised emails may include the recipient’s name, reference previous purchases, or include other details specific to the individual.

Efficiency

Automation can save significant time, allowing resources to be reallocated to other aspects of your marketing strategy.

Consistency

Automated emails and SMS messages ensure consistency in your messaging, which can enhance your brand image and build trust with your audience.

Measurement and analysis

Email automation tools and SMS marketing software often include built-in analytics that allow you to track and measure your emails’ performance, providing valuable insights for future strategy refinement.

Developing an automation strategy

To begin with automation, a clear strategy is needed that outlines your objectives, identifies your audience, and determines the types of automated emails you’ll send. Your objectives might include boosting conversions, reducing cart abandonment, or increasing customer retention. Once you have defined your goals, you can design your automated emails to align with these objectives.

Identifying your audience and segmenting your contact list is also critical. Not every email will be relevant to all your subscribers. By segmenting your list based on factors such as past purchases, browsing behaviour, or demographic information, you can ensure your automated messages are customised to the recipient, thereby enhancing their effectiveness.

Lastly, decide on the types of automated communications you’ll send. This will largely depend on your business and objectives, but common types of automated emails include welcome emails, cart abandonment emails, re-engagement emails, and post-purchase follow-up emails.

Popular SMS and email automation tools

Mailchimp

As one of the most widely used email marketing platforms, Mailchimp offers a suite of automation features, including welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and personalised product recommendations. The platform also provides comprehensive analytics tools, allowing you to measure and optimise the performance of your email campaigns.

Brevo (SendinBlue)

Brevo (SendinBlue) offers both email and SMS marketing automation capabilities. It is known for its intuitive drag-and-drop design interface, advanced segmentation options, and transactional email features. It also includes real-time reporting tools to help you track the success of your campaigns.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is a robust email marketing tool that also offers SMS marketing features. It excels in automation with options for autoresponders, split testing, and dynamic content. Its CRM integration makes it particularly useful for businesses looking to align their marketing and sales efforts.

HubSpot

HubSpot is a comprehensive marketing platform that includes both email and SMS marketing automation. Its automation features are particularly powerful, enabling you to create sophisticated, multi-step workflows. HubSpot also integrates with a range of other tools, making it a good choice for businesses looking for an all-in-one solution.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is an easy-to-use email marketing tool that’s great for beginners. It offers a range of email automation features, including welcome emails, anniversary or birthday emails, and personalised product recommendation emails.

Omnisend

Omnisend is an eCommerce-focused platform that offers email and SMS marketing automation. It offers pre-built automation workflows, making it easy for businesses to set up automated email or SMS campaigns. Features include cart abandonment messages, post-purchase follow-ups, and customer reactivation messages.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is a marketing automation platform built specifically for eCommerce businesses. It offers both email and SMS marketing tools and is known for its deep segmentation capabilities, allowing you to target your audience with a high degree of precision.

Twilio

While primarily a cloud communications platform, Twilio offers powerful SMS marketing automation capabilities. You can set up automated SMS campaigns, send transactional messages, and integrate with your existing CRM or database.

Drip

Drip is an eCommerce CRM that offers email and SMS marketing automation. It provides pre-built workflows, personalised product recommendations, and advanced segmentation capabilities. Its visual workflow builder makes setting up complex automations relatively straightforward.

Moosend

Moosend is an affordable email marketing automation tool that’s user-friendly. It provides a variety of automation features, including welcome sequences, abandoned cart emails, and re-engagement campaigns. While it doesn’t offer SMS marketing, its email capabilities are robust.

It’s essential to remember that the optimal tool for your business will depend on your specific needs, budget, and the complexity of the automations you aim to set up. Consider using free trials or demo versions to test different platforms and find which one suits you best.

The significance of personalisation

Whether you’re using email or SMS marketing, personalisation is crucial to engaging your customers. When a message feels like it’s been specifically tailored for the recipient, they’re more likely to interact with it.

In email marketing, personalisation can take numerous forms. It might involve addressing the customer by their first name, suggesting products based on their browsing history, or sending them unique offers on their birthdays. These minor touches can significantly impact how your customers perceive and interact with your brand.

In SMS marketing, personalisation is equally important. Given the intimate nature of text messages, it’s crucial to make your customers feel like they’re not just receiving a generic mass text. Consider segmenting your audience and crafting messages that resonate with specific groups. Tailored messages that reflect the recipient’s interests or previous interactions with your brand can dramatically boost engagement.

Perfecting timing and frequency

Discovering the ideal balance in the timing and frequency of your messages is another crucial aspect of successful email and SMS marketing. If you send too many messages, you risk annoying your customers and leading them to unsubscribe. Conversely, if you don’t communicate frequently enough, your customers might forget about your brand.

With email, you generally have a bit more flexibility. Customers expect promotional emails and newsletters, so as long as you’re not inundating them multiple times a day, you should be safe. To optimise engagement, consider sending your emails when your customers are most likely to be checking their inboxes, such as early in the morning or during lunch breaks.

SMS, however, necessitates a more delicate approach. Because text messages are so immediate, it’s crucial to be mindful of when and how often you’re sending them. Avoid early morning or late-night texts, and be conservative with how many messages you send. Try to ensure that every text you send offers real value to avoid overwhelming or irritating your customers.

Choosing the right content

Beyond personalisation and timing, the content of your messages is integral to your email and SMS marketing success. Your messages should always be clear, concise, and focused on the recipient’s needs and interests. Avoid overly sales’y language, and instead aim to provide value to your audience with every message.

For emails, utilise visual elements like images and videos to catch the recipient’s eye and break up the text. Use compelling subject lines to entice recipients to open your emails, and keep your copy concise and engaging.

In SMS marketing, clarity is key. You have a limited number of characters to work with, so every word counts. Make sure your messages are straightforward and action-oriented, with a clear call to action for the recipient.

Tracking and optimising performance

An essential aspect of any marketing strategy is tracking performance and making improvements based on data. For both email and SMS marketing, there are key metrics you should be monitoring.

For email, these include open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates. With SMS, you should track metrics like delivery rate, open rate, response rate, and opt-out rate. Many email and SMS marketing platforms provide built-in analytics tools that make it easy to track these metrics.

Don’t just track your metrics – use them to gain insights and make improvements to your strategy. If a particular type of email isn’t getting opened, test different subject lines or send times. If your SMS messages aren’t getting responses, consider whether the content is relevant and valuable to your audience.

Conclusion

Starting an email or SMS marketing strategy can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Begin by clearly defining your goals and target audience. Then, choose the right tools and platforms to suit your needs.

Once you have your tools in place, start building your contact list. Remember, quality over quantity. It’s better to have a smaller list of engaged subscribers than a larger list of people who aren’t interested in your brand.

Lastly, don’t forget to regularly review and optimise your strategy based on performance data. Email and SMS marketing are not set-and-forget strategies. They require ongoing attention and adjustment to remain effective.


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