You don’t need to spend hours sending timely, personalized messages. Advanced SMS automation helps you send more relevant messages (and drive even higher conversions) and save time.
Today, brands are increasingly looking to SMS to grow their revenue and build loyalty. But, strapped for resources, it’s hard to find the time to create hyper-personalized, orchestrated SMS marketing campaigns that you know will drive results.
By taking advantage of advanced automation strategies, such as sophisticated triggers and layering in e-commerce data, you can take your SMS program to the next level without much work.
What is marketing automation?
Marketing automation uses technology to automate (and streamline) repetitive and time-consuming processes. It offers you peace of mind, too. Because your workflows are always running in the background, rest assured that your data is flowing where it needs to go, and your customers are receiving the right touchpoints for each action they take. This can look like adding a new contact to your customer relationship management (CRM) database when they make a purchase, or going a step further and sending them a post-purchase message asking them to leave a review.
Marketing automation lets you engage shoppers with the right information at the right time. For example: You can send subscribers text messages or emails based on products they've added to their online shopping cart. Or you can share recommendations based on the product preferences they've sent you via quizzes or SMS.
What are examples of marketing automation?
Marketers can automate a variety of manual workflows, from SMS welcome journeys and birthday reward emails to membership reminders.
Here’s how it looks in action: When you sign up for a brand’s loyalty program, you probably share your name, email, phone number, and birthday. You’ll receive an email or text message welcoming you to their loyalty program right away. A few days later, you might receive a follow-up message encouraging you to explore all the ways you can earn and redeem rewards. On your birthday, you might receive a special gift for being a brand loyalist. And, once you’ve earned enough rewards, they’ll send you a message with redemption options.
A marketer isn’t sending these messages individually. Instead, they’ve set up automated workflows so that every time you take an action or reach a milestone, you get a personalized message with the right content and CTA.
Automating your SMS marketing program
SMS marketing automation helps you create complex journeys and messages, so you can engage your customers more efficiently. You should build your SMS marketing automation around common shopper behaviors (like browsing a product page or abandoning an online shopping cart) so you can send personalized messages that drive action.
Setting your SMS automation foundation
Consider building four foundational SMS journeys to engage shoppers throughout the customer lifecycle:
- Signed up for text messages: Welcome your new SMS subscribers with a friendly hello, deliver an incentive, and share more about your brand (including best-selling products or your purpose).
- Visited your website: Automatically engage new-to-you subscribers who visited your website but didn't view a product page. You can recommend popular items or categories, or share an offer to encourage them to convert.
- Viewed a product: Convert browsers into buyers with a browse abandonment journey. Highlight product features and reviews to help answer shoppers’ questions, or incentivize them with a special offer.
- Added a product to their cart: Save otherwise lost sales with a personalized abandoned cart journey. Remind shoppers of what they’re missing out on by including the product’s name and details, and consider including an offer they can redeem at checkout.
- Made a purchase: Build loyalty, promote your other channels, and cross-sell complementary products with a thoughtful post-purchase journey. Encourage shoppers to leave a review or tag you on social media, invite them to join your rewards program, or recommend related products to complete their look.
SMS pro tip: Just because these touchpoints serve as your brand’s automation foundation doesn’t mean they need to be basic. Add in conversational steps to level up your SMS journeys, delivering more personalized recommendations while collecting valuable first- and zero-party data.
Take your SMS journeys to the next level with advanced automation
Once you’ve set up your foundational journeys, you can fill in the gaps in your customer journey with advanced journeys. Using e-commerce data, product information, and triggers based on sophisticated shopper behaviors, you can increase conversions without any extra lift:
- Winback eligible: Re-engage subscribers who might unsubscribe with a timely recommendation or special offer.
- Joined a segment: Send a personalized message to subscribers when they join a segment, such as welcoming them to your VIP program or letting them be the first to know when a new product they’re interested in drops.
- Low inventory: Create a sense of urgency by giving shoppers a heads up when a product they viewed or added to their cart is almost sold out.
- Price drop: Drive sales by letting shoppers know when a product they’ve added to their cart has dropped in price.
- Back-in-stock: Let subscribers know as soon as an item they’re interested in is available again.
Now, let's dig into a three-step plan to increase conversions and save time with advanced automation.
Re-engage shoppers with abandoned cart reminders
Nearly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. And that rate is even higher on mobile (at 85%), where it's easy to be distracted by notifications or needing to put your phone down.
These abandoned carts represent a major opportunity for marketers. E-commerce brands are expected to lose $18 million in revenue due to forgotten online carts each year, so bringing shoppers back to your site is crucial.
What is cart abandonment?
Cart abandonment is when a consumer adds items to their online shopping cart, but doesn’t complete their purchase.
Why do shoppers abandon their online shopping carts?
If you’re going to prevent and recover abandoned shopping carts, it’s essential to understand the root cause. There are a few core reasons shoppers leave items behind:
- High shipping costs: Shoppers are most likely to abandon their cart after seeing how much their order costs once shipping and extra costs have been totaled up. Luckily, it’s easy to address this concern. 83% of consumers say free shipping will influence their shopping decisions, and 54% say a discount or perk would encourage them to shop.
- Complex checkout: If a checkout flow is too time-consuming, they’re more likely to abandon their shopping cart. 24% of consumers say they’ll abandon a checkout flow if they’re required to create an account, and 17% will if a process is too long or complicated.
- Website problems: 47% of shoppers want your site pages to load in two seconds or less, and are less likely to complete their purchase if it crashes. And 18% won’t complete their checkout if they don’t trust your site with their credit card information
Other common abandoned cart reasons include slow delivery, unsatisfactory return policies, or not enough payment options.
How can I reduce cart abandonment rates?
Sending timely, personalized text messages and emails to shoppers who have abandoned their carts is an effective way to reduce cart abandonment rates. And you can kick it up a notch with advanced automation to share the right recommendations and perks, at the right time. For example: Apparel brands who set up triggered SMS abandoned cart reminders see click-through rates (CTRs) between 10%-17% and conversion rates (CVRs) between 17%-28%.
SMS pro tip: Curious about how your SMS journeys stack up against your peers? Check out our SMS marketing benchmarks report to get performance breakdowns by vertical.
How to drive more conversions with advanced cart abandonment strategies
A straightforward abandoned cart reminder is a workhorse. But layering in advanced personalization will only make your cart abandonment journeys work harder for your brand.
Advanced abandoned cart strategies take your audience, channels, and products into account. Branching lets you send subscribers different types of messages based on their preferences, behaviors, and the strengths of your marketing channels.
- Orchestrate across channels: Use SMS and email together to send the right messages at the right time, on the right channel. For example: You can send subscribers a text message to remind them of what they left behind. If they haven’t engaged with the text message within a few hours, send them an email with more product information (including product imagery and reviews) to encourage them to convert.
- Layer in product data: Consider branching your abandoned cart journeys based on the types of products your shoppers are looking at to address their concerns. For example: If a shopper left a high-consideration item (like a couch) in their cart, reach out to ask if they have any questions. But, if they’ve left a lower-consideration or one-off item in their cart (like a pillow), consider sending them a friendly reminder or offer to complete their checkout.
- Personalize messages to each subscriber: Tailor your abandoned cart reminders based on what segment your subscribers are in. For example: If a shopper has made a purchase before, greet them as a VIP. But, if a consumer is new to your brand, offer them a perk to make their first purchase.
Build urgency with advanced, product-triggered journeys
If you're looking for ways to grow your SMS marketing strategy but have limited time and resources, advanced automation is your best friend.
Since you only need to set up a single flow (rather than sending individual campaign messages), triggered journeys are a great way to scale your SMS program without a ton of manual work. They’re also fantastic for increasing your ROI. Using advanced marketing automation, you can be sure you’re not spending your marketing budget on messages that aren’t reaching the right shoppers.
Drive immediate sales with triggered price drop journeys
Finding the right price is as important as finding the right product for consumers. In fact, shoppers say a high price is the number one reason they leave their shopping carts.
That’s where price drop journeys come in. With this type of advanced automation, you can build urgency by letting shoppers know when products they’ve previously added to their carts are on sale. And because each price drop message is personalized to your individual subscribers, they'll feel more exclusive and thoughtful than a general sale announcement.
Give shoppers a heads up before products run out with low-inventory journeys
Low inventory journeys create a sense of urgency, encouraging subscribers who have shown interest in a product to shop before it's gone.
When a subscriber views or adds an item to cart but doesn't complete their purchase—and there’s limited stock available—you can automatically send them a message highlighting the popularity of the item. Plus, you can customize which products your low inventory journeys trigger on, and create message variations for different types of products and categories. For example: If you know an item isn’t coming back in stock soon, you can opt not to send a triggered message. But, if it’s part of an exclusive, limited-run collection, you can encourage shoppers to make their purchase before you sell out.
Delight shoppers with back-in-stock triggered messages
It’s frustrating to find the perfect item, and then find out it’s out of stock. But, it’s a great to be the first to know when it’s available again.
Back-in-stock journeys let you automatically notify subscribers when items they’ve browsed are available again. This type of journey helps you reach your highest-intent shoppers who are already ready to convert. You can personalize back-in-stock journeys based on how often a subscriber has visited a specific product page, and filter out subscribers who have already purchased the item.
Never miss a marketing moment with Automated Campaigns
Using Attentive AI™, you can automatically create multi-channel, personalized campaigns in just one click.
What are Automated Campaigns?
Automated Campaigns generates multi-touch campaigns tailored to your audience.
First, it recommends the right number of touchpoints for each campaign (for example: bookending a major seasonal sale with first-access and final-hours messages). Then, Automated Campaigns uses anonymized insights (trained on our customer base’s highest-performing marketing moments) to build fine-tuned segments. It also identifies the best time to send each message, taking the guesswork out of scheduling.
Plus, you can customize every output Automated Campaigns generates. You can use the segments, times, and copy it generates to spark your own ideas, or add a few finishing touches and use the campaigns as-is.
Marketing automation is a great tool for helping marketers extend their bandwidth. But the power of advanced marketing automation isn't just the time it saves you. It takes the guesswork out of personalization, meaning your budget is spent on messages that are reaching the right shoppers at the right time, with the right offer.
Looking for more strategies to scale your brand efficiently? Check out our guide to successfully launching your SMS program and sending effective SMS campaigns that drive revenue.