Even though texting has been around for a long time, using it as a method to send marketing messages is relatively new (compared to email and the old classic phone call). Like with everything in business, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about texting people. That said, one of the things customers appreciate is the immediacy and brevity of SMS. They can also feel it’s a bit more personal, but not if the message is obviously from an automated bot. That’s pretty much the opposite of personal, isn’t it?
Read on to see how taking that extra step and getting real people to send you text marketing messages—as LiveRecover does with the omnipresent problem of cart abandonment—can spell success for your business.
What Is Text Message Marketing?
Text message marketing is the practice of reaching out to your customers via SMS on their mobile devices. Your messages can take a variety of forms, including coupons, promotion announcements, appointment reminders, feedback requests, etc. Many companies are reporting success with this method in the form of increased customer engagement.
Does This Method Really Work?
It is widely reported that text messages get opened at a whopping rate of 98%. Keep in mind that’s all text messages, including those from spouses, other family, colleagues, and friends. But still, if the method invariably gets a look, it’s well worth it to get your messages in the mix.
The direct link to your customers is a great thing, but you have to resist the temptation to proceed in a way that could likely be detrimental to your business. Sending too many messages is a surefire way to have what could be a beneficial plan backfire. Also, the more customer information you have, the more you can target your text messages. Everyone who’s been in business a day knows this is an effective way to engage people and motivate them to respond and act on your message. As long as you proceed with caution and smarts. Here are some quick tips to help you get it right:
It’s a text. Use the format in the way it’s designed. If you’re announcing a new product or a flash sale, get to the point, and leave your company history and executive profiles for the site.
Whenever possible, include a motivator like a coupon or an exclusive offer. Needless to say, these make engagement far more likely. And speaking of engagement, don’t forget your call to action, which is usually a link. (Extra tip: make the link go to the specific product or offer page you’re touting rather than just your homepage.)
You are, by definition, interrupting your customer’s day. But it’s really, really important, right? Well, sure, it is from your point of view. But consider theirs, too, and always include a simple way to opt-out of future messages.
Next Level Success
Adding the personal touch of a live person sending your text messages can be just the thing that makes a customer feel it’s not a waste of time to engage. In fact, 74% of customers say they would rather interact with a person than a chatbot or automated text. This is especially true if customers have questions or have, for example, abandoned their virtual shopping cart. In case you’re wondering, this happens a lot. So much so that it’s been reported 70% of carts that have items put in them are left before the checkout process is complete.
As you well know, these “almost purchases” don’t do anything for your bottom line, so identifying and resolving the issue is essential to convert those sales and keep your business on track. Working with LiveRecover can get you the connection you’re after by having a live person reach out to cart abandoners via SMS. Once the actual one-on-one conversation is underway, your chances for converting the sale increase dramatically.
How? For one thing, you can find out why they abandoned their cart. There are several reasons, and we’re sure you won’t be surprised to discover that only a few make up the vast majority. Let’s take a look at the top four.
Finding out that the shipping and/or handling fees are too high is the #1 reason people abandon their carts. Case studies have shown that approximately 56% of online shoppers abandon carts because of unexpected costs, such as shipping costs, unanticipated processing fees or taxes, and cross-sells. To avoid abandonment due to unexpected costs, make customers aware of these costs upfront before the checkout process begins. You might also consider offering free shipping on orders over a certain total dollar amount. To target customers even more strategically, you could create a campaign that triggers each time a shopper adds an item to their cart. You can accomplish this by tracking basket value for each customer.
All of this will reduce cart abandonment and increase order value.
The next highest response reason was reporting that the site required (or at least strongly implied) that an account was necessary to make the purchase. It’s no mystery why that doesn’t sit well with your average online shopper.
We live in a fast-paced, high-expectations world, and if your customers think your shipping is too slow, they will bail. After all, why would they purchase an item from you when they can get the same item from Amazon in half the time? And sometimes at half the shipping cost? Amazon Prime members have even more convenient and speedy options with free shipping and same-day delivery.
You aren’t Amazon, and you shouldn’t try to be. The online retail giant has more than 110 fulfillment centers in the U.S. alone and ships more than 1.6 million packages per day. But you can create reasonable delivery windows, streamline inventory management, and set customer expectations upfront.
Too many clicks and forms to fill out can frustrate your customers, causing them to abandon their carts. This goes true for your entire site, but make sure your checkout is smooth, quick, and easy (intuitive) to navigate.
The Solution Strategy
Staying with the abandoned cart example, reaching out via text message from a real person has its advantages. Among them, a person representing your company can read nuances, answer questions more satisfactorily, and (with your preauthorization, of course) offer incentives to get your customers back on your site to finalize their purchase. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can do with this method.
Offer a Discount
What better way to get your customer back to their abandoned carts than by offering a discount? You can create coupon codes, customer loyalty rewards, holiday promotions, and even influencer offers. Imagine a celebrity with millions of Instagram followers promoting an exclusive discount on your product. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Figuring out what type of discount to offer depends on understanding why your customers are abandoning their carts. You could even create a custom abandoned cart coupon and cut straight to the point.
LiveRecover features a tool that generates unique, one-time-use discount codes to draw customers back to their abandoned carts.
Present an Exclusive Offer
Like a discount, this is a nice, substantive way of saying your business is important to us, and we value you as a customer. Interactions like that are even more meaningful when it’s person-to-person vs. coming from an automated bot.
Make Sure Questions Get Answered
This goes without saying, but we’re saying it anyway: Customers left in the dark on any questions they might have is a surefire way to frustrate them. An automated text bot can identify keywords and match them, sending customers to an FAQ page that they quite likely have already been on. That’s not going to win your brand any loyalty.
According to a recent study, more than half of customers prefer speaking to a human customer service agent instead of a chatbot. And while convenience is ultimately what customers want, they trust other humans to solve complex problems and deal with sensitive information like credit card information or personal information.
SMS marketing is growing fast, and as it does, you want to make sure your business is taking advantage of the opportunity, not your customers. Many companies go about it all wrong, bombarding customers with frivolous messages thinking that will keep them “top of mind.”
The best strategy for sustained sales growth is to reach out to targeted groups who have opted in. When dealing with cart abandonment, consider having your text messages sent from a real, live person with a company like LiveRecover.