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Driving eCommerce Conversions through SMS and Email Marketing
eCommerce Digital Marketing 101

Driving eCommerce Conversions through SMS and Email Marketing

One of the best ways to enhance your eCommerce conversion rate is by communicating with your potential customers, even when they’re not on your website.

April 11, 2019

If your company sells or generates leads online,  you know that optimizing your eCommerce conversion rate is essential. It is the best measure of how effective your website and digital presence are in conveying your company’s value proposition. But as all marketers know, you and your business should always be selling.

One of the best ways to enhance your eCommerce conversion rate is by communicating with your potential customers, even when they’re not on your website. And the most effective way to do that is to optimize your conversion rate by using SMS and email marketing together.

How do you optimize conversion rates?

Optimizing conversion rates for your digital marketing depends on your success in 4 areas:

  • Ensuring your message is relevant to your usersMotivating your users to become leads
  • Interacting effectively with your leads
  • Building a strong relationship with customers

Ensuring your message is relevant to your users

How: Personalization, automation, and customer segmentation

a) Better conversion - 98% of marketers state personalization advances customer relationships
b) Customer expectations - 62% of consumers expect personalization and 52% will switch brands if a company doesn’t personalize

American consumers are exposed to around 3-7 ads every minute of every day. If you try to sell steaks to a customer who has bought only vegan products from you, you’re likely to lose a customer. Consumers today expect brands to treat them as individuals and only send them marketing communications that are relevant to them.

(Source: “Evergage 2018 Trends in Personalization Survey Report”, Evergage, 2018)

(Source: “What are customer expectations (and how have they changed)?”), Salesforce Research, 2018)

(Source: “Council Post: Finding Brand Success in the Digital World”, Forbes, 08/25/2017)

Marketing automation and customer segmentation using SMS and email

The only way your business can personalize communications sustainably at scale is through automation. Manual segmentation is laborious, prone to errors, and limits the level of granularity available. Marketing platforms today automatically segment different classes of customers, and can send targeted communications to them at specific triggers - either after a period of time has elapsed, or after some customer action.

These platforms usually rely on SMS or email as the default channels, and each has its own relative pros and cons. Using an integrated and automated approach, you can ensure that your audience receives relevant communication at the right time and through the most effective channel.

For instance, an instant follow-up SMS to an abandoned cart along with a reminder email after 24 hours will lower the number of times potential leads abandon their eCommerce carts - which happens ~70% of the time.

(Source: “41 Cart Abandonment Rate Statistics - Cart & Checkout”, Baymard Institute, 2018)

Read more: Voyage offers marketing automation and customer segmentation on its platform

Motivating your users to become leads

How: Targeted promotions, discounts, and special offers

a) Better conversion - 92% of consumers reported using a coupon or promotion code while shopping in 2017
b) Customer expectations - 79% of both Millennials and Gen-Xers want a robust loyalty or discount program

The basic discount continues to be a universal and potent weapon in the arsenal of the marketer, even for digital-first millennials. Promotions and discounts increase website traffic, increase sales, help achieve sales targets, build stronger client relationships, and help move inventory. Today, an effective promotional campaign heavily relies upon picking the right channel to ensure wide distribution and high engagement with a promotion.

(Source: “Evergage 2018 Trends in Personalization Survey Report”, Evergage, 2018)

(Source: “IRI Consumer Connect Survey Finds Consumers Hesitant to Open Wallets Despite Optimistic Financial Outlook”), IRI Worldwide, 08/08/2017)

Using Email and SMS marketing for eCommerce promotions

Constructing high-powered, targeted, results-driven digital marketing promotions has never been easier or more cost-effective. If you don’t already have a ready distribution list, you can use SMS and email offers to get sign-ups and build one. Once you have a ready audience, all you need to do is decide how to pitch your offer effectively.

The most effective promotional campaigns are those which add value to consumers, and meet customers where they are. Existing customers shouldn’t see products they bought being offered at a discount later on, but should get loyalty discounts on accessories or other products that are similar to their initial purchase. For perishable items or products with a particular life cycle, a reminder to restock at the right time works better. For customers who abandoned a cart, a discount on the product might motivate them to buy. Tailoring your offerings to your customers will lead to higher engagement and loyalty.

Responding effectively to your leads

How: Short response times, relevant messaging  

a) Better conversion - 900% increase in relative engagement if a web-generated lead is responded to in <5 minutes
b)  Customer expectations - 80% of customers expect a <1 hour response time; 15 minutes or less is seen as world-class service

What’s the biggest difference between converting a lead into a sale and closing? Lead response time. Studies have repeatedly shown that responding to a lead within the first five minutes increases the chances of connecting to a lead by 9x, and increases the odds of lead qualification by 21x.

(Source: “The Lead Response Management Study”,

(Source: “How Fast Should a Business Respond to an Email”), Jeff Toister, 04/17/2018)

Lead response management using SMS and Email marketing

SMS marketing is the fastest digital channel for engaging customers, and the data shows that SMS boasts the best engagement metrics of any communication medium. It has a ~4x higher open rate, and click-through rates up to 15x higher. Sending a confirmation message is the best way to contact a lead in <5 minutes after they sign up. Asking them to choose a time to be contacted by a salesperson makes the sales process more efficient and more likely to end in a purchase.

Sometimes, this isn’t enough - you need to follow up to follow through. An email that goes out 24 hours after the initial contact will catch leads that might still be active, and the combination of a quick response and a channel to catch stragglers will raise your conversion rate.

(Source: “Email Marketing Benchmarks”, MailChimp, 2018)

(Source: “What is the Open Rate of SMS Text Messaging”, Shift Communications, 08/29/2015; “How effective is SMS marketing in 2018”, SMSGlobal, 2018)

Building a strong relationship with customers

How: Brand building through Drip Marketing, sales through remarketing

a) Remarketing cuts Customer Acquisition costs by 44%
b) Drip campaigns generate 80% more sales at 33% the cost

The first and most critical step in establishing a good relationship with a customer is establishing brand recall. Clear and consistent messaging with attractive and lively branding is the best way to ensure that customers and leads remember your name. It’s much easier to drive sales through getting existing customers to buy more than to acquire a new customer.

(Source: “INFOGRAPHIC: Retargeting can save you 44% on Cost per Acquisition”, Mitchell Hunter,, 01/29/2018)

(Source: “Drip Email Marketing infographic”, Email Monks, 2018)

Building an automated drip campaign using SMS and Email marketing

While SMS marketing is an effective form of communication, it isn’t the most narrative-friendly channel due to its inherent size limitation. Emails are longer, can carry richer media, and have a better UX overall. This is why people use email-based drip campaigns to get in touch with customers regularly, providing a channel to receive feedback and offer positive customer service.

This is also a great way to remarket your other products and services. Drip campaigns offer your existing customers a critical touchpoint; using marketing automation platforms to build a robust time-bound campaign builds a great system for customer service. Send engaging emails at regular intervals to get feedback and even promote other items, and if your customers show any interest, you can send discounts to seal the deal via SMS.

Growing your eCommerce business with SMS marketing & email

A recent study found that marketing campaigns which used SMS and email together was 38% more effective in bringing in revenue. This is because email and SMS bring complementary offerings to the table. As a channel, email offers greater storytelling and branding potential. But by its nature, it isn’t something that people constantly check or are connected to. Messages, on the other hand, leverage the ubiquity of mobile phones as a channel to reach customers instantly, conveniently, and in a fashion designed to encourage engagement.

How to effectively use SMS and Email together

For eCommerce businesses, SMS marketing and email are the most cost-effective channels to engage customers. Used in concert, these tools can help drive brand loyalty and post-sale service and engagement while also consistently upselling and remarketing to bolster revenues while exceeding customer expectations -  all of which are central to running a successful eCommerce business.

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