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“If you had your customer’s permission to talk directly to them, what would you say?” 

Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm is constantly changing, and now in 2022, that means it’s that much more difficult for your customers to be aware of your marketing strategies. What would it mean to you if you could communicate directly with your customers? What would you say? We’re talking about the difference between renting your audience’s attention, and owning their attention with permission marketing through mobile messaging. 

There are 2 types of audiences for marketing: You can rent your audience’s attention, or own your audience’s attention. Renting your audience means paying Facebook or Google to broadcast messages to your audience. Reach is directly affected by the amount of money you put in. You don’t have permission for their data, it’s a passive one-way communication channel. Google Ads and social media marketing are some of the most effective ways of acquiring new customers. 

Owning your audience means your audience has given you permission to communicate with them in a 2-way communication channel. This is an active type of marketing. An ever-growing list of subscribers who have opted-in to receive communication from you. Social and paid ads are for audience growth, sms is for audience connection and retention.

Maximize with Segmentation

“Owning your audience” is having 100% control of how, when and what to say to customers who gave you permission to text them. There is no algorithm outside your control determining your reach. One of the most effective active marketing channels is SMS Marketing.

SMS Marketing Works

SMS Marketing is a form of marketing that businesses use to send promotions to customers via text messages. It has similar strategies to email marketing, but with higher open rates, click-thru-rates, and engagement time. 75% of customers in 2022 prefer to get brand offers via text. Common text message campaigns that work are:

  • Welcome texts when they sign up
  • Abandoned cart text to help complete checkout
  • Early access texts for VIP customers
  • Promotional discount texts

Email vs SMS comparison chart


Calculate Your Own Potential SMS Subscriber List

Research from the Via customer success team has shown that 5-10% of ecommerce customers sign up for texts from their favorite brands.The average ecommerce website converts 1-3% of its monthly traffic into SMS Subscribers. 2-6% of your social media followers sign up for text messages. If you would like to calculate your own subscriber list, download our free Subscriber calculator.

Advantages to SMS Marketing

The advantages of using SMS are higher conversion rates, higher ROI, and more personalized segmentation. Effective marketing strategies revolve around using as many diversified marketing channels as possible. Speak to your audience in these diversified channels, using your own unique strategy for moving your customers down the marketing funnel. 

Higher Conversion rates

Text messaging has its own powerful use. Text messages are opened 98% of the time in the first 3 minutes, whereas emails get opened 24% of the time. The reason these messages work are because you are focusing on a segment of your audience that has already become loyal through your social media and email marketing. They are ready to purchase and would like a short and simple method to communicate with you.

Higher Return on Investment

Healthy text campaigns send out thousands of messages. Effective messages sent through Via see campaigns making $8-$16 EPM (earnings per message) for each campaign. 

More Personalized

One of the advantages of using SMS Marketing is that it is more native than any other channel in today’s world. People spend 5-6 hours of their time on their phones, not at their desktops. They are more likely to open a text message than an email. The average human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Short-form content is now king. People want to communicate with their favorite brands, but value getting straight to the point so they can make their decision. Effective texts contain an image of a product they are interested in, a short message inviting them to purchase with urgency, and a simple URL that they can click on.

Swimwear brand made $40 per message

A Shopify Swimwear brand sent out a SMS campaign through Via to announce their partnership with Arizona iced tea. They sent out a text campaign to their most loyal customers. Within 7 days they saw an 80% click through rate, and made $40 for every message they sent.

Their messaging was effective for several reasons:

  • They had created a loyal fan base in their other channels
  • They had targeted their most loyal segmentation by collecting their own SMS Subscriber list on Via
  • Their text message was sent out in a timely manner
  • Their text message contained
    • an image of their product
    • Had urgency language
    • Create “exclusivity” by including it was for VIP access only
    • Had a clear CTA with a clickable URL

Best Practices

The best strategy for using SMS Marketing is to grow your list, and send effective campaigns. You will learn methods for growing your list, and several examples of effective SMS campaigns.

Grow Your List

Growing your SMS Subscriber list can seem daunting at first, but with consistent work you can grow your list quickly. Use our List Growth Calculator to estimate your audience size based on your other channels.

Social Media Followers

Your social media followers are a mix of loyal customers, one-time buyers, potential customers, and window shoppers. It is possible to segment them into effective audiences. You can convert your most loyal customers by inviting them to join your VIP text club. They can click an Instagram URL link sticker and it will open up their messaging app. Keep in mind you need to utilize your social media to identify your most loyal customers. 

Email Subscribers

Email marketing is essential for an eCommerce business, but at a certain point the conversion rates and open rates take a toll on the AOV. You can again leverage Via’s List Growth tools to convert your most loyal email subscribers into SMS subscribers. A large portion of your email list will not be ready to take the next step into your trusted circle, but about 2% usually convert and give you permission to message them directly via SMS.

Website Popups

How many website visitors do you get a month? Are you talking to them by email? How many of them are return customers? With Via, you can track who has purchased from your store before, and text that segment directly. You can collect SMS subscribers with Via’s website popups. It’s possible to collect both email and phone numbers safely under TCPA compliant laws to gather email subscribers and SMS subscribers. Via research shows that offering a 10% discount popup after 4 seconds have passed has the highest conversion rate for popups.

Send Effective SMS Campaigns

You want to have an audience of 1,000+ to see positive results, but other eCommerce brands have started texting their customers with less. It depends on your industry type and your customer profile. No one knows your audience better than you. Regardless of your SMS subscriber size, once you have your segmented audiences, it’s time to start sending messages. Remember, these are the most elite, loyal of your customer base. They would not have given you permission to text you unless they were hoping for one. Here are a few best practices for sending effective texts that convert.

Welcome Texts

A text message a customer receives after signing up for SMS texts. Typically 5 minutes to 1 hour after signup. These are good for building loyalty.

Early Access Texts

A text message sent to customers segmented into an “exclusive” audience group with VIP access to products before other marketing channels. These include an image of the product, and a URL link to the product. 

Abandoned Cart Automation Texts

An automated text message sent to your customer if they abandon the checkout process. These tend to be extremely effective with 40% conversion rates.

Promotional Discount Texts 

A text message inviting a customer to take advantage of an incentivizing discount. These are effective for campaigns you would do for email marketing, but with higher open rates.

Get Started with Via

Now that you have learned more about SMS Marketing, you are better equipped to maximize your eCommerce Marketing strategies. If you find these best practices valuable, consider trying out Via’s software for free for 30 days. You get access to personalized one-on-one meetings with an SMS Marketing consultant assigned to your store. You will be empowered to start using the software to grow your list and send campaigns just as you learned in this article. If you don’t find the trial experience to be valuable, there are no hidden fees or contracts. Sign up for a free demo to get access to our drag-and-drop app builder for free.

Chaz Gonzales

Content Marketing Specialist at Via

Chaz is a Content Marketing Specialist for Via software. His mission is to connect eCommerce Brands to their customers in more personal ways. You can stop by his LinkedIn profile and leave a comment or a question about all things Mobile Commerce Marketing.


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