Not getting the results you want from your SMS program? Find out what you need to think about to ensure a successful switch.
Like any replatforming within your tech stack, migrating your SMS marketing program to a new vendor can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. In many cases, migrating your SMS program can be quick and stress-free.
You’ll just want to do research to make sure your new SMS provider is the best fit for your brand and business goals—and is an experienced partner who’ll be able to give you guidance and support throughout the entire process.
Whether you know you need to make the switch, or you’ve just started considering it, it’s important to know upfront what will go into it, and what decisions you’ll need to make.
This post will walk you through the process, answers to frequently asked questions, and best practices to kickstart immediate growth post-migration.
SMS migration process
The time it takes to complete your migration heavily depends on whether you’re keeping your number, or switching to a new one. Before you start your migration, you should understand if you need a new number or not. If you currently have a 10-digit long code or toll-free number, you might consider moving your program to a short code to improve deliverability and message sending speed. Be sure to discuss with your team and come to a decision prior to migrating to accelerate the time it takes to switch.
Whether you’re getting a new phone number or not, regulations specify that all SMS subscribers you import to your new vendor must have already opted in to your program. Read more about SMS compliance in the US.
When migrating to Attentive, you’ll have dedicated teams to support you along the way, including:
- Messaging Operations Team to work directly with the carriers for a seamless transfer experience
- Account Executive and Client Strategy Manager to support onboarding and ongoing strategic planning
Migrating your SMS program to a new number
US cellular carriers require you to follow a formal migration process when moving your SMS program to a new phone number. During this quick process, your brand must send two messages to your subscribers to let them know about the phone number change.
The first message is sent on the existing phone number and must include:
- The new phone number you’re migrating to
- How to opt out of texts from your brand
- Key details like customer care contact information
The second message is sent on the new phone number. Though carriers don’t require a specific timeline for this, we recommend sending it 12-24 hours after the first message. It must include:
- How to opt out of messaging from you
- Customer care contact information
- Message frequency disclosure
Transferring your existing phone number to your new vendor
If you want to continue using your current phone number when migrating to Attentive, you’ll need to transfer your short code, toll-free number, or 10-digit long code. This will not affect your current subscribers’ experiences, but it may add time to the migration process, depending on which SMS provider you’re using. With some providers, transferring your phone number to Attentive could take just one day.
When migrating to Attentive, we’ll provide you with a short list of questions to answer to help kickstart the timeline—including who your current provider and aggregator is, if you’re actively growing your list, and more.
If your phone number previously didn’t have MMS capabilities, MMS support will be added once your migration to Attentive is complete.
Frequently asked questions about migration
Q: Can we send a contact card and/or MMS in the migration message?
Yes, you can include a contact card and/or send an MMS in the second migration message flow. Just be sure that all compliance language is included in the migration message (opt out information, customer contact information, etc.).
Q: What if I want to send both migration messages in one day (instead of waiting 12-24 hours after sending the first migration message)?
That’s fine! Just be sure your first migration message is completely done sending. We recommend waiting at least one hour before sending the second message.
Retaining your existing subscribers after migration
You should set realistic expectations about subscriber drop-off when migrating. The average opt-out rate for a migration message is about 2-2.5%—a bit higher than regular messages. This is completely normal, so don’t be alarmed if your migration messages see higher opt-out rates than usual. And keep in mind, you’re switching to a trusted provider who can help you grow your list compliantly, and add high-value subscribers much more quickly than before.
After your migration is complete, you and your Client Strategist can focus on engagement strategies that will help you retain subscribers over the long term.
Make sure your messages always provide value
You should first decide what main goals you want to accomplish with your SMS channel, and get a sense of what kind of content your audience wants. But, there’s no secret formula to follow when deciding what to text your subscribers—engagement with different types of content can vary by brand. It’s important to test and determine the best approach for them, no matter if you’re sending a campaign or triggered text message. If you’re unsure of what your subscribers find valuable, experiment with different incentives, copy, and message length using A/B tests.
For more ideas of what types of messages to send, explore Texts We Love—our SMS gallery with hundreds of text messages sent by our customers.
Send texts based on each subscriber’s time zone
When sending or scheduling text messages in Attentive’s platform, you can choose to use time zone-targeting. Automatically sending messages at scale based on each of your subscriber’s time zones will help ensure you’re not sending texts too early or too late.
Put existing subscribers into segments to increase the relevancy of each text
To deliver the best experience for your customers, you need to collect accurate data that you can use to create your segments. At the most basic level, an effective SMS segmentation strategy should accomplish one key objective: consistently engage subscribers with relevant, personalized content.
Adopting a smart segmentation strategy plays a critical role, allowing you to reach the right audience with the right text.
To learn more, check out SMS Segmentation: Best Practices to Power Personalization.
Best practices for optimizing your sign-up methods and welcome flow
Launching your sign-up units and welcome flow should be some of your first tasks after migrating to a new SMS platform. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you get started:
- How am I incentivizing shoppers to sign up for texts? (e.g discount, free shipping)
- Where am I promoting my SMS program? (e.g. website, in-store signage)
- How can I amplify my SMS list growth with my other digital channels? (e.g. email, social)
- Do I want to drive email sign-ups at the same time?
Launch your sign-up units
From mobile and desktop sign-up units to in-store signage, Attentive’s full suite of list growth tools will help you drive new opt-ins across your channels. To maximize list growth from the get-go, we recommend showing our fullscreen sign-up unit on your mobile and desktop websites. You can opt for our SMS-only sign-up unit, or collect email addresses and phone numbers in one easy flow using our 2-in-1 sign-up units.
We also recommend providing some sort of discount to subscribers in exchange for signing up for texts from your brand. If you generally don’t discount, you can instead use “be the first to know” language, or offer free shipping.
You should also consider using our exit intent feature so you can show your sign-up unit when a potential subscriber is about to leave your site. Your checkout page is a great spot to program this type of sign-up unit, and it can help reduce cart abandonment. You can encourage your shopper to sign up for texts and complete their purchase by incorporating an offer (e.g. “finish your order and get 10% off”).
Create an engaging welcome flow
Next, you’ll want to craft an effective welcome message. After the first message—which contains certain content required by the CTIA—your next message should welcome subscribers to your program. Text your subscribers like people, using “you” and “we,” and infuse your brand voice. If your sign-up unit offers some sort of discount or incentive, be sure to include that in your message, too. If you didn’t offer a perk, link new subscribers to a specific page of your website, such as best sellers. Be sure to end with a strong CTA so subscribers know exactly what action to take.
Within your welcome flow, you can also invite your subscribers to save your brand’s contact card to personalize future texts from your brand.
If you want to learn more about how to successfully get a program off the ground, read Your 30-Day Plan to Driving Results From a New SMS Program.
Updating your segments, triggered messages, and messaging calendar
Once you’ve started growing your list on your new SMS platform, you’ll want to focus on the other aspects of your program that will help deliver an enjoyable experience to your subscribers.
Segmenting your text campaigns will help you increase your ROI and minimize opt-outs by targeting specific groups of subscribers with messages tailored to their preferences and behaviors.
You can tailor your SMS campaigns based on:
- How often a subscriber segment wants to hear from you
- Whether a subscriber has clicked or purchased within a given period
- What types of messages a subscriber is interested in (such as limited-time offers and behind-the-scenes looks)
- A subscriber’s browse and purchase history
- A subscriber’s VIP and loyalty status
- A subscriber’s geographic location (geo-targeting is especially useful for driving foot traffic)
Learn more about creating your SMS segmentation strategy, and how to implement it.
After welcome messages, we’ve found that abandoned cart reminders are brands’ highest converting type of triggered message. Send subscribers a triggered message 30 to 60 minutes after they’ve left something in their online cart inviting them to complete their purchase.
The next highest-converting triggered message is a browse abandonment reminder. This message is sent to shoppers who have looked at a product detail page but haven’t added the item to their online shopping cart. Just like your abandoned cart reminder, send your browse abandonment reminders 30 to 60 minutes after shoppers have left your site. Encourage them to take a second look at what they were browsing.
Other triggered messages you can implement include post-purchase—which you can use to thank subscribers for their purchase, ask for a review, or recommend relevant products—and abandoned checkout, which can help you encourage subscribers to finish their checkout after they’ve started it.
To set yourself up for maximum success, you should create your messaging calendar ahead of time. Consider important holidays and dates (e.g. Valentine’s Day, first day of summer), and any big promotions or events your brand has already planned for. Then, you can schedule your messages well in advance of when you want to send them—giving you more time to focus on the other aspects of your SMS program.
For key retail and e-commerce marketing dates, we put together this easy-to-reference 2022 text messaging calendar full of actionable tips and ideas, so you never miss out on a chance to engage subscribers and drive revenue.
Looking to migrate your SMS program to a new platform? Request a demo to speak with a member of our team, and see if Attentive is the solution you’ve been looking for.
Want to experience Attentive in action? Sign up for texts to unlock our exclusive, interactive SMS overview and see what might be missing in your current SMS program.