Although it’s been in use for over a decade, SMS marketing has become increasingly popular in the last few years. Cell phones are essentially ubiquitous, and text messages have become an increasingly viable channel for reaching consumers.
SMS marketing offers a number of advantages. It has the capacity to produce extremely high open rates, and offers a consistently strong ROI. For most ecommerce companies, there’s just one problem – they don’t have customers’ phone numbers.
This week, we’ll discuss using on-site lead capture strategies to generate new-to-file leads. Let’s take it step by step.
1. Create an Incentive for Your SMS Lead Capture
These days, most people aren’t rushing to give out their phone number. Americans received 26.3 billion robo-calls last year, and that number has been growing. In general, the best way to obtain a customer’s phone number is to make it worth their while.
While it’s always best to A/B test incentives, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Would you give out your phone number for a $1 off coupon? Personally, I wouldn’t. Your customers are essentially trading their personal information for this incentive, so it should be enticing.
2: Familiarize Yourself with SMS Best Practices
The rules for SMS marketing are very different than those of email marketing. While many email marketers in the U.S. are used to a mostly opt-out system, SMS is strictly opt-in. In order to text your customers, you need explicit permission.
While many other articles cover SMS best practices, we’ll cover a few highlights here:
-Marketers must include instructions for opting out in the first message.
-Communications should be limited to 160 characters.
-Remember that SMS messages are harder to ignore than emails – if you consistently send unwanted messages, your list will shrink.
3: Create a Lead Capture Campaign
Now it’s time to create your lead capture campaign. Decide whether you’ll target specific customers (new, returning, or abandoning) or if you’d rather cast a broad net to collect as many leads as possible.
In order to stay compliant with U.S. regulations, there are two ways for ecommerce companies to collect phone numbers. Either:
- Ask the customer to enter their number directly into a form
- Ask the customer to text a keyword to your company’s short code
Copy for each of these could look like this:
- Want 25% Off Your Order? Enter Your Phone Number for a Code
- Want 25% Off Your Order? Text “Coupon” to “Insert Short-Code”
Although both of these methods are effective, each offers a distinct advantage.
Since consumers submit their phone number directly in option A, they won’t have to type in your short-code and keyword. This keeps customers on-site and reduces friction to conversion.
In option B, customers have to enter more information, leave your site, then return with their code. Unless you have simple one-click technologies (like UpSellit’s newest SMS capabilities), customers may not bite as often.
The method you choose is completely up to you, and both have proven highly effective when executed properly. If your lead capture isn’t performing well, you can always test a new format later. Regardless of which method you choose, your first text needs to be a message confirming the user’s opt-in with instructions for opting out.
- Nurture Your SMS Leads
Once you have a user’s phone number, you’ll be able to send time-sensitive information to them directly and nurture them often, usually with immediate results. However, with great power comes great responsibility. When it comes to SMS messages, timing is everything.
While this won’t be a problem for your initial message (since the user will have directly requested it), future messages should be sent with the user’s timezone in mind. Nobody wants to be disturbed in the middle of the night – not even for a great incentive.
SMS offers a great opportunity for brands to reach customers more effectively. By utilizing a well-crafted lead capture strategy and following best practices, you can increase new-to-file leads and keep them for years to come.