One of our main partners, SMSBump, has written the following blog on how to prepare your SMS marketing campaigns during the upcoming holidays

With the current global shift towards online shopping, BFCM 2020 is expected to reach new and unheard of heights. To make sure you maximize your success over the next 3 months, it’s important to start exploring new and effective ways to reach your audience starting today.

With the growing use of mobile devices for shopping, conversational commerce has proven to be invaluable when it comes to addressing these changing customer behaviours. With this comes the need to adopt less traditional eCommerce channels that offer true conversational experience: - such as Messenger, Whatsapp and SMS. The unique selling proposition of all these channels is that they are still not over-saturated, making them just that more successful in attracting leads and converting them into loyal customers.

In particular, SMS is so effective that it has proven to deliver 98% open rates and 35x+ click-through rate. Last year merchants that used SMSBump, an SMS marketing platform for Shopify businesses, saw a 45x+ ROI and a huge surge in their BFCM sales.

With over 60 000 active users, SMSBump is the preferred text marketing app by many Shopify D2C brands. Built for compliance, SMSBump allows you to recover carts, launch targeted campaigns and engage in truly conversational commerce, following the TCPA and GDPR regulations.

All SMSBump features enable merchants to fully personalize their customers' experience, offering them the highest level of one-on-one engagement, hence helping users maintain lasting relationships. The app allows brands to turn even the simplest 160-character text message into a conversation-starter, with content tailored to every shopper.

Sounds good?

Now let’s see how to start up with SMSBump just before the holidays and benefit from the stunning open rates and return on investment.

Step 1: Build your SMS Marketing list.

The key to a successful SMS strategy is having people to target. If you are just starting out, you most probably have 0 subscribers in your list. Use the next two months to generate a list of happy and engaged subscribers, so you can target them with Black Friday deals later on.

The most natural and successful opt-in method is your checkout. Data shows that over 45% of your customers are willing to opt in for your SMS marketing during this part of the purchase process, making it a “must-have” for collecting subscribers.


Build your SMS Marketing list

Your checkout is one of many ways you can build your list. In case you have a strong social following, leverage that and add a quick subscribe link  to your bio or Instagram stories. You can also send your email list an invite to join your SMS club. Or you can place a subscription form on your site. The options to communicate with shoppers are many and you can experiment to see which ones convert best for your brand.

Don’t forget: the more subscribers you have, the more people you will be able to target with great promotions.

Step 2: Activate your automations.

Having a big list of subscribers is just the start. Our goal before the holidays is to turn these new leads into engaged brand A great way to achieve this is via SMS automations. These are automated messages that will be sent to your subscribers, based on their interactions with your store.

We recommend you to start with a welcome message, an abandoned cart reminder and a customer winback . For your ease, SMSBump already gives you templates for each of these messages, that you can either activate right away, or tailor to your brand first. You can also deepen the level of your automations by upselling additional merchandise or building your own with our out-of-box triggers.


Activate your automations

To make your communication even more personalized and engaging, we recommend you to use Conversational Flows. They will allow you to ask your audience relevant questions about their goals, interests or even preferred size. Use this as an opportunity to get to know them better. The collected information will help you create new and narrow segments, so you can send these people the most relevant offers once you launch your holiday campaigns.

Step 3: Get ready to provide exceptional support.

Once you start sending text messages to your customers, most likely some of them will have additional questions about your store and products. Here one size does not fit all measures. Customer questions might vary from order updates, through shipping issues, to basic ones like "Do you have these shoes in 8.5?" Make it easy for them to reach out to you, by enabling your SMS Chat.


Get ready to provide exceptional support

The SMS Chat will help you keep all your customer conversations in one place and it can be easily managed from any of your support agents. But if you already have an established helpdesk, such as Gorgias, you can easily connect the two apps and receive all outbound messages straight to your ticketing system.

Remember, the size of your list is not the only important indicator that will determine how successful your BFCM campaign is. It’s how you treat each and every customer before that that will truly make a difference in your numbers. Make sure that you always stay on top of all the queries and you show appreciation and compassion.

Step 4: Launch your SMS marketing campaign.

So, with all preparations before the holiday it’s time for the most exciting part - launching your first SMS marketing campaign. Text messages are most effective when they bring something meaningful to their recipients. But you need not to worry about that right now - with so many upcoming holidays, you will have plenty of value to give your subscribers.

If you have never sent an SMS campaign before, we urge you to test it out this Halloween. Make your text even more appealing with catchy images or GIFs, and always add a clear call to action, prompting subscribers to act on your offer. Instead of sending the same message to all your subscribers, use segmentation to group them, based on interests and behavior. Narrow targeting allows you to send each customer an offer they would be interested in, maximizing your ROI and revenue.


Launch your SMS marketing campaign

Sending a campaign before BFCM will help you get better benchmarks on the expected results, so you can plan and budget your holiday promotions better. It also allows you to collect additional customer data, so your holiday targeting is precise to the tee.

These are the 4 basic steps that will help you start with your SMS marketing strategy just in time for the holidays. But don’t just take our word for it, test it and see for yourself.

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