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How to Use Data to Personalize SMS
SMS Marketing Best Practices

How to Use Data to Personalize SMS

We want to move past the “hi {{first name}}” and into a personalized and delightful experience for customers.

August 3, 2022

Ron Swanson, although amazing, is the exact opposite energy we want to bring to SMS personalization and segmentation. We want to move past the “hi {{first name}}” and into a personalized and delightful experience for customers. SMS is one of the most sacred and effective communication channels today, which means marketers have the perfect opportunity to gain customer loyalty, improve CLTV (customer lifetime value), and overall increase revenue. 

Benefits of SMS Segmentation 

  • Ensure Relevance: SMS has a 98% open rate, which means nearly every subscriber will read every SMS message. So, a generic message may not cut it. Using segmentation and personalization will make sure the content is tailored to the right audience.
  • Managing Cost: SMS is billed per message sent. Segmentation and personalization can help control costs by targeting messages at audiences most likely to convert and having more effective messaging to get better ROAS.
  • Improve CLTV: Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is a key marketing metric to track your customer experience and how your customers contribute to your company, as a whole. This is the total amount spent by customers throughout their relationship with your brand. It is more cost-efficient to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, so increasing the value of your current customers is important to the growth of your brand. Creating a delightful and personalized customer experience will improve your customer loyalty and CLTV. 

“The CLTV side has never been more important. When you can prove that revenue over time, not the one month but over six months, you will see a repeat in your customers, you will see an increase in CLTV,” said Voyage SMS CEO Rev Reddy.

Ways to Segment and Personalize SMS 

Although the sky's the limit when it comes to segmenting and personalization for SMS, you don’t have to do anything too crazy to see amazing results. Concentrating on showcasing your brand personality and finding what resonates with your customers is a perfect place to start.

For Birthdate Co., a company that crafts one-of-a-kind astrology candles and books, the whole brand revolves around personalization, which is why it’s a great place to look at personalized SMS campaigns. 

Ajay Mehta, the CEO and co-founder of Birthdate Co. said on a recent podcast about his brand's success, “Personalized products aren’t something that you can walk into a Target and buy, but you can buy from a website, like we launched with 365 individual SKUs. So, it was a combination of those things—personalization, customization, and a really excited and vibrant community of people that loved astrology and sharing astrology content.”

Combining astrology and personalization, Birthdate Co. started sending highly-targeted weekly horoscope SMS campaigns that saw CTRs of over 20%. These campaigns focused on what draws their customers to the brand and provided entertaining and personalized content.

👀 Watch Ajay Mehta and Voyage CEO Rev Reddy discuss why Birthdate Co.’s products have been such a success, Ajay’s journey as an entrepreneur, and much more here. 

While there are thousands of ways to personalize SMS, here are some good places to start. 

Personalize by Lifecycle Stages

Segmentation can be used to drive conversions and retention for lifecycle groups of SMS subscribers. The message you would love to receive as a new subscriber vs a loyal, longtime customer can look different. 

Acquire Stage

Here are some examples of segmentation groups in the acquire stage: 

  • Abandoned Cart - has added to cart but did not place order
  • Checkout Abandoned - has started checkout but did not order
  • Inactive - date subscribed is greater than 90 days ago but has not placed an order
  • High Intent - viewed product in the past three days

Retain/Monetize/Reward Stage

  • VIP Customers - high lifetime order value
  • Recent Customers - has placed an order in the past 30 days
  • Repeat Buyers - lifetime orders are greater than or equal to two

Once you have your segments you can work on personalizing SMS campaigns. For example, an abandoned cart subscriber could receive an SMS with a product image of an item in their cart and an offer of free shipping. 

Personalize By Segment Source

Where your customers subscribed can help you personalize your marketing messages. Targeting subscribers by where they signed up can be useful for many situations. For example, if the customer used a podcast ad keyword to subscribe, you could be targeted with fan-tailored content for that specific podcast. 

Human-to-Human Personalization

SMS doesn’t get more personal than having humans answer customer questions or offer a small discount to close the sale. Human connection is a powerful tool that will not only help companies gain revenue in the short term but drive connections and loyalty in the long run. Whether you use your in-house CS team or a solution like LiveRecover by Voyage that uses a team of highly-trained live agents, using humans to follow up on abandoned checkouts is incredibly effective. 

Brands that have implemented cart abandonment live agent recovery have seen: 

While you can set up your own practices for your CS team, LiveRecover’s agents will:

  • Send tailored, personalized texts to customers 30 minutes after every cart is abandoned to understand why they didn’t buy.
  • Answer all the common questions that make customers hesitate—such as shipping, fit or measurement, and other product-specific queries. 
  • Offer a small discount, typically in the form of free shipping, to seal the deal.

A/B Testing Makes SMS Even More Effective  

A/B testing will make sure your marketing is the most effective. Generally, A/B testing will be performed on a subset of a total list (10-20%). Results are measured for the key decision variable (CTR or conversion rate), and the winning variant is sent to the remaining list. Every brand has its own personality, nuances, and target markets, which is why it’s vital to test what works for you. That being said, here are a few different SMS variables that we suggest testing: 

  • Sending times 
  • Variations of images and GIFs 
  • Discounts or offers 
  • Emoji usage 
  • Message copy 
  • Message length 
  • Discount expiration length 
  • Offering buy now, pay later payments
💡 Read more about SMS A/B testing here. 

Use Voyage to Send Hyper-Targeted Text Messages

“With Voyage’s powerful and user-friendly Segmentation tools, we can confidently target the right customer at the right time leading to increased engagement and maximized conversions.” - Ajay Mehta, the CEO and co-founder of Birthdate Co. 

By integrating with your existing tech stack, Voyage allows you to micro-market based on customer attributes and event history. In tandem, LiveRecover by Voyage brings the human element to SMS. Together they make personalized, effective, and revenue-driving SMS easy. 

Start driving revenue and building meaningful relationships with your customers today. Click here to get a demo and start your 30-day free trial of Voyage.

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