SMS marketing is an evolved marketing channel today and not just an alternative but an important add-on to strengthen your email marketing. SMS marketing when done well can fetch an average revenue of 10-15% of your overall store revenue (based on our SMS case study on our own clients.). Like email, SMS marketing also relies on a strategic combination of 2 tools – flows and campaigns. Flows are text messages that are automatically sent to a user based on a certain trigger. Most marketers know about the basic SMS flows like the welcome flow, the cart abandoned flow, and so on. But in this article, we’ll take you through what is known as a Conversational Flow – a type of flow that was responsible for increasing a custom art store’s conversion rate by 303%!
Here are some other amazing results from conversational flows for the same client:
What are conversational flows?
Conversational flows rely on using 2-way messaging. They allow you to interact with your customers and leverage data to send relevant texts. Rather than sending the same flow texts or SMS campaigns to your entire list every time, conversational flows enable you to personalize your communication with your leads or customers and participate in meaningful conversations.
Conversational flows, similar to chatbots, are created thanks to the merge of digital technology, automation, and AI. This marketing tool allows you to create two-way conversations with your customers by asking them questions and providing them keywords they can text back. Each answer will trigger a different sequence of automated replies you can customize as much as you want. You can turn any regular flow (Welcome Series, Cart Abandonment, Post-Purchase, and others…) into a conversational flow and start making the most out of it.
What are the benefits of conversational flows?
First of all, you can collect valuable information through this type of automation. The customers or lead that answer your questions through keywords will be given their information without any mediators (first-party data). Data is more valuable now that Google is planning to block third-party cookies. Apple’s new iOS updates give mobile consumers privacy protection and make tracking more difficult. So now is the time to start thinking about your zero-party and first-party data collection.
Moreover, acquiring new data about your customers will help you craft highly-personalized and highly-relevant texts that will resonate with each of your customers. According to Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. As the owner of an eCommerce, you already have a ton of advantages in this matter in comparison to brick-and-mortar stores, but with the growing online competition, personalization is becoming a must instead of just a nice touch, and conversational flows will allow you to use the data given to you directly from your subscribers to make sure you are giving them a personalized and relevant experience.
Conversational flows are really effective at allowing you to get to know your subscribers better and use that information to provide suggestions, offers, and content that make sense to them and their customer’s journey stages. The best part? All these efforts will be reflected in increased engagement and conversion.
On a post-pandemic planet, where personal relations are more important than ever, making customer interactions feel genuine and personal will help you inspire confidence and drive conversions. Not only that, but you’ll be able to build and nurture long-lasting relationships which, in the long run, are better than just one-time purchases. It is five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain existing customers and encourage repeat orders.
How to create an SMS conversational flow for my business?
Define your goal
What’s the purpose of this flow? Maybe you want to welcome new subscribers into your SMS program; or you want to retarget your existing subscribers after they viewed a collection, a product, added something to their carts, or started checkout; or you want to nurture your relationship after they purchased something; among other things.
It’s important to have your goal in mind at all times since depending on it you’ll know which flow you need to create and what emotions and pain points you need to hit with your texts. Not only that, but you’ll have a starting spot to think about the data you want to collect.
Decide the data you want to collect
As we mentioned, conversational flows are a great opportunity to leverage data from your subscribers. It’s essential to define what you’ll be asking your customers, which options you’ll provide for them to choose from, why you’re asking for that information, and how it will be of use to you in the future.
Here are some examples of data you can collect by using a conversational flow:
- Gender: If you are an apparel store, for example, this information will be highly valuable, since it will allow you to suggest only relevant pieces to your female or male audience in your upsell/cross-sell flows or feature product/collection campaigns.
- Size: This is also essential data an apparel store can benefit from, not only to optimize and personalize your flows but to make the most out of it with the newest SMS features like click-to-buy messages.
- Age range: For any kids-related store, this type of information will allow you to segment your customers to send product suggestions that are relevant to the age range your subscribers are buying for.
- Skin / Hair Type: Personal care brands can find in conversational flows great potential. The regular “What’s your skin/hair type” website quizzes can be translated into SMS conversational flows. Gather all that data in one place only and use it later on in your flows or SMS/MMS campaigns.
- Diet (Vegan vs. Vegetarian vs. Meat-eaters): Food brands will definitely need this information in order to avoid investing so much into each SMS campaign only to realize they have been suggesting meat-including products to vegetarians or vegans. Using this new data can allow brands to optimize their SMS spending and improve ROI.
- Who are they buying for: Are your subscribers buying for themselves or are they browsing for a gift for someone special? They are the only ones that can give you this information. If they’re buying for themselves, leverage all the previous information you’ve got about them to make personalized suggestions. If they’re buying for someone special, help them find their perfect gift.
- Offers: It’s important to A/B test regularly what type of discounts your customers are most interested in. But you can also use conversational flows to make them choose directly what discount they want or need. Is it a percentage discount or a tiered one?
- And many more…
What to do with the data
You know what data you need. Now, how will you use it? First of all, you need to use that data to personalize the flow from which you obtained it. Your subscribers need to have that instant gratification of a personalized message after they gave you information about themselves. So this one is a must.
Create segments based on the answers your subscribers leave you. Once you have compiled a large enough list, use it to send relevant and personalized SMS campaigns to each list. For example:
- New arrival alerts
- Extra information on the collection they showed interest in
- Personalized cross-sell or up-sell recommendations
- Special offers
You can also use these segments to exclude them from campaigns that you know they won’t be interested in. This way you avoid high unsubscribe rates and you save money, obtaining a higher ROI.
Create a diagram
Make sure you’re covering the entire customer journey by creating a diagram. Go along with the customer’s journey and avoid getting lost in your new marketing spider web.
Start building your conversational flow
Write short and enticing sentences to immediately capture attention with your marketing texts. Be straightforward with what you want your customer to do. Make sure the answer options you’ll be providing are clear and concise.
Monitor and optimize your conversational flow
Once your conversational flow is live, make sure you are monitoring closely its performance. This way, you can optimize copy, design, or behavior in order to maximize your sales. This will also help you to find more ways to use the data you’re collecting.
Are you ready to take your SMS marketing strategy to the next level?
Start strategizing your SMS conversational flows or book a free call with us and let us do all the heavy lifting.