Drive Revenue Growth Through SMS Marketing

Welcome to The Beat by Pulse! The Beat is an interactive education series geared towards entrepreneurs and marketers. You can gain exclusive insights on the latest marketing strategies and tech platforms to propel your brand’s growth. 

Our goal is to help you find inspiration for your brand’s next bold step.

Our fourth episode in the series is Drive Revenue Growth Through SMS Marketing! 

It's so important to always be engaged with our audience in every way possible. Brands must start to meet their customers where they are. It helps brands to engage with customers and connect with them in concise ways. We invited Ryan Briggs, Head of Growth Partnerships at Attentive, the number 1 customer SMS marketing platform to teach us best practices for your brand's SMS strategy! 

You can watch the full webinar here

Question 1: What part does SMS play in the brand’s ecosystem?

SMS plays an important role as a fast, direct and personalized way of reaching consumers. While email marketing isn’t going away any time soon, using SMS marketing to complement your email efforts will actually help boost performance on both channels. You should use these channels in tandem to engage consumers across the entire customer lifecycle. While email works better for long-form content that isn’t time sensitive, text works better for succinct messages designed to be opened quickly and to drive immediate action.
You can also leverage your existing social channels (swipe-up to subscribe) to grow your SMS list - all geared towards creating a seamless experience for the mobile shopper.


Question 2: How do you grow your brand's SMS list?

  • Use sign-up creatives. 
    • We recommend showing website visitors a fullscreen creative on the first load and a bubble on subsequent loads.
    • You can entice subscribers by leveraging perks, discounts, or VIP status, or by offering free shipping, giveaways or other special offers.
  • Capture off-site subscribers.
    • You can grow your subscriber list using off-site Text-to-Join advertisements, such as in-store posters or promotions on digital channels outside of your website.
    • For shared shortcodes, we recommend using your brand’s name—for dedicated shortcodes, you can customize your opt-in keyword to be anything you want. Both approaches allow you to build brand awareness and further personalize the customer experience.

  • Grow your email and SMS list together.
    • Using Attentive’s “Email-First” solution, you can grow your email and SMS subscriber lists simultaneously. This encourages shoppers to enter their email addresses on your site, then prompts them to complete their sign-ups by opting in for text messages.
    • This approach allows you to grow your email list 3x faster while also collecting SMS.
    • Attentive’s “two-tap” text sign-up makes the experience even more seamless on mobile. The subscriber taps a button to load a pre-populated text message and hits send to begin receiving messages, creating an easy, seamless sign-up process for the shopper.

  • Leverage other channels.
    • Social media provides brands with a fast, affordable way to reach large audiences. You can use Attentive’s “swipe-to-sign-up” Instagram Stories feature to easily transform those audiences into subscribers.

Question 3: What are the different types of SMS you can send? Give guidelines on when to use these types of messages?

  • Triggered: Automatically sent to subscribers based on a certain action they’ve completed.
    • When to use: When a subscriber opts-in to the text program (welcome series), abandons a cart (cart & browse abandonment reminders) or completes a purchase (post-purchase).
      • Welcome Series: Welcome Series messages allow you to set the tone of your future communications—they’re a great opportunity to build brand affinity, provide more info, remind people about their coupons, and point them toward best sellers.
      • Cart & Browse Abandonment Reminders re-engage high-intent shoppers and help you automatically drive revenue. 
        • For cart abandonment, we recommend sending two reminder messages: one 15 to 60 minutes after a shopper abandons their cart, and another 24 hours after abandonment.
        • For browse abandonment reminders, you can encourage subscribers to take an action if they showed commercial intent, resulting in higher conversions.
      • Post-Purchase messages incentivize repeat purchases and drive customer loyalty. They’re great for promoting a loyalty or rewards program, incentivizing repeat purchases with discounts or recommendations for products based on past orders, or encouraging shoppers to leave a review of their most recent purchase.
  • Campaign: Sent to targeted groups of subscribers and are one of the most effective ways to engage customers and drive incremental revenue. It creates a sense of urgency and keeps your brand top of mind.
    • When to use: To promote sales and discounts, or to simply increase brand awareness and drive traffic on-site and in-store. 
      • Examples: Limited-time sales, product launches, seasonal updates, free shipping offer

  • Transactional: Reassure and excite shoppers after they’ve completed a purchase. 
    • When to use: To keep customers updated and informed regarding their purchase.
      • Examples: Order confirmation, shipping updates
  • Customer Service: Drive brand loyalty and repeat purchases while minimizing poor customer experiences. You can integrate your SMS program with your CX platform so that it is triggered via keyword to quickly answer common questions and save CX teams time.
    • When to use: To respond to customer service messages or requests either in real-time or with an automatic responder.
    • Stat: CX messages help you drive brand loyalty and repeat purchases. Subscribers who receive replies spend 31% more than those who don’t.

Question 4: Which messages to send over the customer lifecycle?

  • Once a customer opts-in to your program, use our triggered welcome series message during the awareness phase to set the tone and greet the customer.
  • During the consideration phase, send campaign messages around what’s trending, leveraging segmentation to further personalize the customer experience.
  • Once the customer makes a purchase, send transactional messages to keep the customer informed on when their order is shipped.
  • If the customer asks a question (e.g. regarding size or return policy), respond in real-time to improve retention and build loyalty.

Question 5: Give 3 tips on how to personalize SMS messages

Segmentation can make a big impact on your personalization strategy.

  • Tip #1: Segment by engaged vs. unengaged.
    • “Engaged” depends on how often you send, but a good rule of thumb is if the subscriber has clicked at least one text within 2-4 weeks. For these subscribers, drive conversions with an extra push or reminder to purchase. 
    • For “unengaged” subscribers, re-engage them by sending best content or new product offerings.
  • Tip #2: Geo-target. You can use location-based segmentation to target weather-related or location-specific events. For example, if you have a new store opening, you can geo-target subscribers by specific zip codes to invite them to the opening or share an offer (e.g. Jack in the Box).
  • Tip #3: Identify past purchasers and non-purchasers.
    • For past purchasers, you can create effective upsell and cross-sell campaigns based on the item they purchased most recently.
    • For non-purchasers, try to experiment with different types of content and messages to see what works best. The approach will vary based on your brand, but may include time-sensitive discounts, enticing product imagery or reviews on best-selling products.

Question 6: How do you keep your SMS personal vs spammy?

  • To avoid being spammy, you should avoid over-texting and texting during “quiet hours” (9pm to 12pm) to prevent subscribers from receiving unwanted messages at night.
  • The best way to keep your texts personal is to personalize. Today’s consumers expect personalization from the brands they interact with, with more than half of consumers saying they’re interested in seeing personalized content when shopping.
  • Personalization enhances customers’ experiences, increases engagement and loyalty, and gives a competitive advantage to brands who get it right.
    • You can leverage personal data and segmentation, such as your customer's demographics, preferences, and purchasing behavior, to inform how you personalize your messages.


Question 7: How often should a brand send out messages?

  • Research shows that your customers want to hear more from you than you may think. 
    • 90% of consumers said they’d be open to signing up to receive text messages from businesses, and 55% have already done so.
  • We generally recommend a cadence of 1-2 text messages per week, but it really varies depending on your audience and goal of your overall program.
    • If the goal is to drive revenue, provide value by promoting sales and discounts.
    • If the goal is to nurture, send engaging non-promotional content - it can be creative as a seasonal update/playlist or as simple as a free shipping offer.
    • You know your customers. They want to hear from you, so make it worth their while.


Question 8: What are the Top must-have automated series for the SMS channel?

  • Welcome Series Messages: Greet and establish a relationship with new subscribers.
    • If your sign-up promoted a perk or discount, now is the time to use coupons to remind and incentivize new subscribers with that promotion.
    • Use Contact Cards to give subscribers the option to add your brand as a contact to their phonebook, providing an even more personal way to interact with the brand.
  • Cart & Browse Abandonment Reminders: Maximize urgency and motivate action by inserting a link that directs shoppers back to their online cart or browsed product page.
  • Post-Purchase Messages: Turn satisfied shoppers into brand advocates by encouraging them to join your loyalty program or write a product review.


Question 9: Give 3 do’s and 3 don’ts.


#1: Use segmentation to personalize your content.

  • An effective SMS segmentation strategy should accomplish one key objective: consistently engage subscribers with relevant, personalized content.
  • Each audience should receive a text message that’s highly relevant and personalized to their actions, preferences, demographics, and any other information you know about them.
    • For example, if you’re launching a new line of joggers, anyone who has purchased or browsed your jogger products should receive a text message about the launch based on their previous interest. Better yet, give them exclusive first access to shop first; then, text the rest of your subscribers about the launch a couple days later.
  • Ways to segment: engaged/unengaged, past purchasers/non-purcachers, location

#2: Get creative.

  • You can use text to test the waters and capture valuable customer data so you can better test and understand your customers. 
  • Play around with the content you send. From playlists to recipes to seasonal updates, you can make it so that text is not only used to drive revenue, but also retention and engagement.

#3: Send a mix of promotional and non-promotional messages.

  • Promotional messages are important, and are even more effective when you mix them up. Varying your message types with incentives like deals and coupons will not only help you stay top-of-mind for your customer, but lead to higher conversions for your business. 
  • Don’t forget to throw non-promotional messages into the mix, too. From geo-targeting your customers to simply keeping them in the loop (e.g. sharing seasonal updates, new products, etc), your customers will feel engaged, valued and appreciated, generating even more loyalty.


#1: Text during “quiet” hours.

  • You should be mindful of the time you send text messages to your customers, and that includes in the quiet hours of the night. Default quiet hours are 9pm to 12pm, based on the subscriber’s time zone.
  • Our platform will prevent subscribers from receiving any automated messages during specified times, delaying delivery until the window is over, and ensuring a more positive customer experience.

#2: Text without permission.

  • SMS is a powerful performance marketing channel, but it comes with its own set of rules, regulations and best practices. 
  • Obtaining clear and compliant consent from your subscriber should be a top priority when launching your SMS program. Sending unsolicited messages to customers who have not compliantly opted-in to your program can not only compromise brand image, but have serious legal consequences. 
    • Your program must be TCPA and ADA compliant
    • You must have explicit “opt-in” language in sign-up to text your subscribers
    • Your subscribers must be able to “opt-out” of your program at any time

#3: Text too frequently.

  • Texting is personal and most use it as their preferred way of communicating with family, friends and loved ones, so it is important to use it thoughtfully. It may vary depending on your audience and goal of your overall program, but we generally recommend no more than a cadence of 1-2 text messages per week.
  • You should use text to send highly relevant messages that drive action, and save bulkier, longer, and less sensitive information for email.
    • A common myth is that text messaging will cannibalize your email marketing channel performance, but being thoughtful in how you compliment email with text can actually strengthen your marketing efforts, providing a more holistic customer experience that your audience will love.

Question 10: What is the future of SMS Marketing?

  • More consumers will continue to rely on online shopping.
    • The majority of consumers have completely shifted their shopping habits in response to the lasting effects of COVID-19 and the associated “stay at home” orders. In this new “new normal,” when they’re interested in making a purchase, many consumers’ first instinct is now to reach for their phones rather than head to a store—as a result, nearly 75% of consumers are shopping online more than they were a year ago.  
  • Two-way conversations at scale.
    • Now that consumers are shopping on their phones more than ever, they’re interested in handling all aspects of their order via mobile—including communicating with brands’ customer support teams. This is a natural extension of the mobile shopping experience, to the benefit of both consumers and brands. 
    • By handling customer service questions via text, consumers get to stay on one device—and they get to have conversations in real time. In turn, brands are building trust, making it easier for their audience to take action, and driving repeat purchases. 
    • Consumers are also interested in using two-way conversation to text their favorite brands for non-customer service related reasons. Groove Life used Attentive’s Two-Way Journeys to launch a fun and engaging keyword-driven scavenger hunt for St. Patrick’s Day that engaged new subscribers and re-engaged existing subscribers.


Question 11: Why Attentive?

When we think of “Why Attentive?”, we think of 8 key pillars:

  • Playbook: Expert guidance and support to scale a new channel easily.
    • Dedicated Client Strategists to set, track, and deliver your program KPIs, manage your program day-to-day and conduct weekly check-ins
    • “Smart Recommendations” - an automated, personalized to-do list to help you build a more effective SMS program
    • Resources and events (Attentive University, Texts We Love, Beyond The Message)
  • Growth: Growing your SMS list is the most important factor in driving online sales from SMS. Attentive offers a comprehensive suite of list growth tools to scale your program.
    • 24+ sign-up units across all channels (mobile, desktop, in-store, Instagram, TTJ)
    • Two-tap technology to seamlessly grow email + SMS 3x faster
    • Grow from social media using Instagram Stories swipe-up to subscribe feature
  • Identity: Our rich identity powers segmentation and personalization.
    • We store data customers want (phone number, email, purchase behavior, product browsing data, device type, cellular carrier, location)
  • Messaging: Triggered, campaign, transactional and customer service messages.
    • Triggered: Convert browsers into buyers with timely messages.
      • Welcome Series: make a good first impression. 2x-6x revenue lift.
      • Cart & Browse Abandonment: recover potentially lost revenue.
      • Post-Purchase: incentivize repeat purchases.
    • Campaign: Reach customer segments in real-time to send personalized content.
    • Transactional: Keep customers updated on their order.
    • Customer Service: Respond to questions in real-time with two-way messaging.
  • SMS Deliverability: Fastest, most reliable delivery so your messages get delivered.
    • Three steps to SMS message delivery:
      • Carrier: Attentive monitors performance by carrier and has a dedicated team working with leading carriers on informing guidelines and best practices.
      • Handset Provider: iOS and Android are creating separate SMS inboxes for spam. Attentive Contact Cards automatically add you to the address book as part of our automated welcome flow, to ensure you’ll be in the primary inbox.
  • Compliance: Expertise and protection so you have peace of mind.
    • In-house legal team of 8+ lawyers including experts in TCPA law
    • Sign-up units with ADA Compliance Checks built in
    • Automatic removal of bad actors with Litigator Defender
    • Guide unhappy members with Fuzzy Opt Out Listeners
    • Respond to complaints with our enhanced SMS Audit Trail
    • In the past 12 months, we removed 55k+ known litigators from our customers lists, 1m+ subscribers with our fuzzy opt-out, and provided 100+ audit trails to protect our customers.
  • Integrations: Flexible integrations built for 3K+ brands. With Attentive, you can seamlessly sync with the rest of your marketing tech.
  • Analytics: Rich measurement across our entire product suite with real-time dashboards for subscriber growth, message engagement, revenue attribution and integrations and the ability to pull reports.


Do you need help with your brand’s SMS strategy and implementation? Pulse offers support around SMS marketing strategy. Our team can help brands do content ideation, calendar planning, design, copy, and implementation.

BONUS*** Attentive has a special offer through Pulse. Go to or book a 15 min consultation here to see how you can up your SMS game! 

You can watch the full webinar here


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