Email and SMS marketing are vital to e-commerce businesses. For every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect to make approximately $42. There are over 3.9 billion smartphone users worldwide, and 64% of those users say that businesses should text them more often.
Those are some powerful numbers. You may already be using email marketing, but to stay current, you should be using SMS marketing as well. When they work in tandem, they can yield incredible results for your e-commerce business.
Joining us on our latest podcast episode, Jack Binda, Account Executive for SMS at Klaviyo, and Hayden Baugh, Partnership Development at Klaviyo offer their insights on how to use email marketing and SMS marketing to connect with customers and build consumer loyalty.
Here are some of our favorite tips.
Choose the right email marketing volume
Ramin: So, Jack, on average, how many campaigns should a merchant send out each month?
Jack: It depends. If you’re selling a t-shirt where it’s a quick transactional sale versus selling furniture, it might be a little bit different. But the sweet spot that we usually see is somewhere between four to eight for most brands.
So once to two times a week for email campaigns, let them know about new products, new design, updates, maybe sales that could be going on qualifying for a VIP if you’re doing any loyalty programs and things like that. Twice happens to be the sweet spot for email.
Build these 3 essential email & SMS marketing flows
Ramin: So, at the end of the day, it depends on the brand, right? I see a lot of people fixated on flows now, and they start to forget about the campaigns, and you shouldn’t. You should definitely not forget about your campaigns and continue to send them.
So talk to me about flows. What is the go-to flow setup for a merchant starting out? What does it look like?
Jack: Yeah, for a merchant starting out, I’d recommend three flows. First one is the welcome series. When somebody signs up, you want to give them that discount. You want to get them so that when they’re expecting that 10% off, they can use it. That’s one of the highest revenue drivers for businesses across Klaviyo.
Second, I would recommend the abandoned carts—any of those people closer to the finish line, making them cross over the edge. Maybe start with your first two emails, not leading with a discount, to get them to pay full price.
And then for that third or fourth email, send that hail Mary of that discount. I’m just trying to get them through the door and create that loyal customer because once they buy a product, you’re more likely to have somebody become a repeat customer.
The third one I would recommend is the post-purchase driving that engagement. After a week, somebody’s product’s been delivered, reach out to them. Hey, we’d love for you to come back and leave a review on our website. Hey, we actually just released this product similar to the one you bought. We thought you might like it and nurture them to continue that conversation and keep your brand top of mind for them to complete another purchase from you.
Time your flows to maximize engagement
Ramin: That’s great. How many emails within those flows would you recommend, and what’s the separation?
Jack: Yeah. Usually, a day to two days is about right. So for that first email, maybe for the abandoned cart you want to send after one hour while they’re top of mind, maybe they just needed to walk their dog. They got a phone call, completely forgot. So get them while they’re still hot. And then if they don’t convert, maybe send one into another day later saying, Hey, don’t want you to forget this.
And again, to try to get them to complete that purchase. And then if not, maybe wait another day or two and say, Hey, flash sale. We’re going to offer you 10% off for the next 48 hours. Go by and complete it while this coupon is still valid.
And then send one last email of a coupon reminder saying, Hey, today’s the last day that your coupon is going to be valid, make sure to use it, or it’ll be gone, and you’ll have to pay full price. So driving that urgency within those time delays.
Strike the right balance of message content
Ramin: That’s great. And how much copy would you recommend? Let’s talk about flows specifically, campaigns aside. How much copy would you put in there?
Hayden: With more and more consumers shopping online, we’re in a digital age, and social is pushing this as well, where we’re so content-driven.
The music and the imagery, the gifs – all these dynamic pieces of content that we can include in our SMS campaigns and flows, email. So it really depends on the company, but a lot of our customers are content-driven. And we see that driving engagement at least for flows and campaigns as they sit side by side because at the end of the day, they’re both messaging, marketing, collateral that we’re sending.
And the second piece would be like, there’s gotta be a CTA. There has to be some sort of call to action that you’re asking your consumers to act on, driving more analytics for our merchants so they can better suit them and their customers and treat them with a better experience.
Follow best practices for SMS marketing
Ramin: Well, let’s dive into SMS, and I think a lot of people just assume that their customers are not going to like it, or they’re not going to be happy with it.
Jack: Yeah. And it’s one of those assumptions that you’ll never know if you don’t try, and you can AB test it within Klaviyo. Demographics change, like older demographics prefer email. They check their email more often, but the other stat is 90% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes.
And this has been huge for inventory problems. Companies across the world are having inventory problems with things being stuck. They’re stuck on ships. They can’t get items in time, and items are sold out. And if you want to text their most loyal customers to say, Hey, this item’s back in stock now, get it because we don’t know how long it’s going to take for it to restock.
In all of those messages, that SMS is immediate. That phone’s with you 24/7. And nobody likes those little “unread” icons. So you open it pretty quickly.
Ramin: I’ll tell you this, maybe two years ago, I wasn’t necessarily jumping up and down about SMS just as a consumer. It’s a very intimate experience, and I didn’t want that. Now it’s more about convenience to me, and I think merchants embrace it from that standpoint.
Jack: I think it’s very important to distinguish that you can use SMS and email together. So, for example, they sent an email saying, Hey, this one’s not back in stock, but they also have your phone number. They should have said, Hey, this person hasn’t opened their email. We know they’re in the market for a third. Send that person a text then. So that way, you’re using that full omnichannel marketing, and you’re not solely relying on one funnel versus the other funnel. They should be working together and complimenting each other.
Ramin: That’s a good point. If I’m a merchant doing both email as well as SMS, what’s the best practice in making sure I get both an email and an SMS without annoying the customer.
Jack: The key part is not knowing your customer. If it’s my first time on a website and I see a signup form that has both email and SMS required, it’s a lot less likely to subscribe for that, even if the discount is crazy good.
We recommend going through and creating some sort of list or segment, say for anybody who’s purchased from us before but was active on the website in the last 60 days or has clicked on an email or opened an SMS the last 60 days. These are customers that are engaged with your content.
Next time they come onto your website, ask them for their phone number. If you’re like, Hey, we really appreciate your loyalty. Like you actually get 10% off your next order for being a VIP customer, just put in your phone number. And now you’re capturing that low-hanging fruit of those really engaged customers that are already signed up.
Hayden: Yeah, absolutely. When you start to understand it, it becomes a little less invasive.
One of the biggest misconceptions that we are hearing from merchants who own and operate their businesses online is: I’m already emailing them in these flows, so I don’t want to be texting them.
And really, what we need to start explaining is that these customers are opting in. They want to hear from you. They want to be top of mind, like Jack just pointed out. They are VIP customers of yours. They’re loyal to that brand, and they want to be an ongoing customer.
Integrate push marketing with your SMS & email flows
Ramin: I guess we should just touch on push as well. What does a merchant need to do to make push work for them?
Jack: So I’ve done push for a couple of my clients, not too many, but basically, how push works is if you have an iOS app for your shop.
Ramin: So you need that app, like Tapcart can provide Shopify store owners with.
Jack: Exactly. The ideal scenario is to have all three running and not be annoying in all three channels since you can consolidate all of that data under one.
You could say, Hey, this person hasn’t clicked an email, and they haven’t clicked an SMS in six months. Why are we still sending to them when they’re buying from push notifications on the app and vice versa, like this person hasn’t bought in from the app in six months, but every time we send them a text, they click the link, go through and double down on texts.
You can have all of this consumer data behavior under one roof and start using it all in a cohesive way where you’re not annoying the customer, and you’re giving that person the right message on the right channel.
Maintain SMS compliance with Klaviyo
Ramin: We’re very cognizant when we’re doing this for clients. Let’s talk about the SMS compliance standpoint and how Klaviyo helps with that, and what should merchants know about compliance?
Jack: Great question. So Klaviyo, we’ll go through, and we’ll take any client that is federally legal. Compliance is built into the product for Klaviyo, so you’re not going to need the lawyer on your team. You’re not going to have to go through and worry about it since Klayvio does everything on the profile level.
We can say out of your newsletter list, say there are 10,000 people in it, we know 5,000 of them have consented to receive SMS marketing. And you can just send it to your newsletter list. So you don’t have to create new lists or segments based on SMS only to stay compliant. We will not allow you to send to anybody who does not have a timestamp of SMS consent associated with their profile.
When it comes to unsubscribes, Klayvio is similar to email. We will not remove any data, but we will take them to the unsubscribe page. So you can see that at one point, they were unsubscribed from SMS. You can try to re-engage them through signup forms again, or maybe through email. So you can use that data to your true benefit, but that’s all done on the backend.
Ramin: Yeah. I love that because, you know, that’s the last thing a merchant wants to worry about. And does it change? As you get into other countries, in Canada and the EU?
Jack: Yeah. So it all will automatically go through and stay compliant. So if you were to send a message to these 5,000 people, say 2000 of them are in the EU. They have to have a separate message of an unsubscribe with the link that is just required by their GDPR.
So we’ll automatically go through and do it based upon the domain. So wherever they signed up from or their phone number, we send them the follow-up email with the GDPR compliant language in the second message. So it automatically does that for Australia, EU, Canada, and the US.
… and finally, a sneak peek into the future of SMS and email marketing
Ramin: So tell me, Hayden, where do you see email marketing and SMS going in the next five, maybe ten years? What does it look like?
Hayden: I think we’re in a culture right now that’s very content-heavy with super-fast transactions. One of the things I did learn was that you want to make the buying process as seamless and as easy as possible for consumers across the board. No matter what vertical or segment you’re operating in, the buying process needs to be seamless. So I think we’re heading in that direction with SMS.
Our phones are always with us. Email is amazing; there’s no world in which email isn’t part of that strategy. But I think we might see the paradigm shift a little bit in terms of what channel is attributing more revenue for you as time goes on.
Ramin: What’s in the pipeline of additional enhancements coming to SMS and to the email?
Jack: So we’re actually going through a big initiative for Klaviyo with SMS. If you asked my parents how much they check their email, they’re going to say like six times a day. If you asked my 18-year-old cousin how often he checks his email, he is probably going to say like once a day, if that.
But if you asked him about his phone: he’s on it. We can’t even get it away from him, right? So a big initiative of Klaviyo is to double down on SMS as we have seen great results, especially because of this Black Friday/Cyber Monday season with the pandemic happening, email inboxes were flooded. Email still works, but SMS is that great breakthrough channel.
So we’re releasing some more customer support integrations. We’re doing some enhancements, and new product releases that I think people will find very attractive and make their lives a lot easier. I can’t technically give those out yet, but at the end of Q1 for the collegial product announcement, everybody should tune in because there’ll be a lot of new features that are coming.
Talk to the people who can make SMS & email work for you
To request a demo of Klaviyo, visit the product page at klaviyo.com, or check out the case studies on their website. If you want to talk SMS, Jack Binda recommends you find him directly on LinkedIn and send him an email. Hayden Baugh can be reached at email@example.com [tell them SKU Agency sent you!]
But if you’re looking for an email and SMS marketing agency that can harness the power of Klaviyo to expand your e-commerce business, look no further than SKU Agency. We’re experts in creating booming online businesses with the help of tools like Klaviyo, and we’d love to explore how we can put that expertise to work for you. Book a call with us to get started.