Sending emails is a great way to boost sales. Emails have been one of the best platforms for reaching customers for years now.
But the problem is that email open rates aren’t great. Standard email open rates are around 20%.
Have promotional deals or coupons you want to give to customers? That email open rate drops to 15% or less.
The fact of the matter is, people aren’t opening their emails as often as they used to.
Meanwhile, there is an entire untapped market of text messaging in sales. And people open texts fast.
When was the last time you got a text? I bet you opened it within the first few seconds if not the first minute, right?
Typical open rates for a text message are mind-boggling: 98%.
Some reports and datasets even put it at 99%. But either way, that number is astounding when it comes to marketing.
No other medium can guarantee that high of an open rate.
Mobile and text-based messaging are making a comeback, especially in ecommerce and sales.
Conversational ecommerce is changing the way we shop. Turning to simpler forms of communication is becoming more effective.
Here’s how Air Tailor uses this strategy to grow 100% YoY and how you can implement a text-messaging strategy.
How Air Tailor grows their business through mobile messaging
Air Tailor was founded in 2012 in New York, New York and has since seen massive growth in the clothes and tailoring space.
The concept of Air Tailor is to provide expert clothing alterations without the hassle of actually going to the tailor and doing measurements that can take hours.
The entire business is run through their site and via text message communication where a user can send in their clothing to have it tailored and sent back.
This type of business-to-consumer communication in ecommerce is often referred to as:
Joshua from Air Tailor describes it as using a conversation as a selling point with consumers.
For example, Joshua says that Air Tailor works by talking directly on text to consumers. Instead of calls to action, Joshua sends them links to pay and purchase specific items.
The idea is to act as a concierge service that falls between self-service and end product.
Shopify describes conversational ecommerce as the natural next step in online commerce. It’s described as a conversation on a messaging platform where a user can easily ask for a product and buy it within a natural conversation.
For example, the customer could message your business and say “Shop fixed gear bikes” and purchase instantly or get more information about them without searching an entire site.
Or the customer could say “I need my clothes washed and folded tomorrow,” and then get a link from the store to pay and have someone pick them up.
It’s the next step in an ever-evolving digital world that seeks to eliminate any unnecessary steps from the buying process.
Air Tailor is one of the many businesses getting a jump on conversational ecommerce in 2018.
Using their text-message-based platform as their core business, they’ve been able to generate huge growth.
Here’s why you need to be using messaging for sales and how you can use it to grow 100% year over year.
Why you need to use messaging platforms for sales
Messaging platforms like SMS, live chat, and more are becoming dominant forces in today’s marketing landscape.
When platforms like email are only generating 15% open rates, it’s no longer the best in the game.
Not when users see thousands of emails per month, but only hundreds of texts a month.
Facebook Ads and AdWords are great for customer acquisition. But they don’t come close to the potential that SMS and messaging platforms have.
Text messaging currently has an open rate of 98% or higher.
Texting apps are the most widely used applications on phones today. 97% of Americans use texting applications at least once per day.
On top of high usage rates and high open rates, text messages have an average response rate of 45%.
That’s nearly an eight times greater chance of getting in touch with your target customers when compared to email response rates (6%).
Average rates of engagement on SMS are drastically higher (six to eight times) than social media and email too:
Not only does SMS produce high levels of engagement, but it also produces some of the best satisfaction rates of any marketing and sales medium.
90% of SMS loyalty program users feel that they gain value from being subscribed:
Consumers today are actually wanting to receive more offers and coupons via text messages and messaging platforms than ever before:
The growth of text messaging in sales and marketing is becoming more and more popular. The opportunity for ecommerce sales on messaging platforms has never been better.
Applications for messaging like Snapchat have opened the floodgates for businesses to conduct conversational ecommerce.
On Snapchat, users can now send money and payments between accounts, giving businesses the tools they need to charge customers in a natural, social manner.
Facebook’s updated Messenger platform has the same capabilities, allowing ecommerce businesses to even sell their products directly through the Messenger app:
With Apple’s latest updates, people can send and request money using Apple Pay directly to contacts in their iMessage application:
Meaning ecommerce companies using conversational ecommerce strategies can request money from their customers directly through the messaging system when they’re ready to buy.
Major companies for exchanging money, like Venmo, have also jumped aboard the train of messaging payments:
The potential to sell with text messaging and messaging apps, in general, has never been better.
Open and response rates are sky-high. Higher than any other marketing platform currently available.
Plus, consumers want it and prefer it. Here’s how you can take advantage of this trend ASAP to grow your business 100% year over year.
How you can use mobile messaging platforms to drive sales
Mobile messaging platforms for ecommerce are the wave of the future.
Here are two tactics to get a jump on in 2018 to create unprecedented growth for your business.
Tactic 1. Implement an SMS marketing system
The first step in selling with mobile or messaging-based platforms is to develop a plan of action.
Do you want to sell products through messaging? Implement conversational ecommerce tactics to drive sales with curious customers? Or do you simply want to create offers and coupon-based discounts that customers can sign up for?
Maybe you want to do all of the above, but lining up your goals before starting a new SMS and messaging campaign is critical for success.
With such diverse platforms and options, there are nearly endless ways to set up a new SMS marketing system.
Air Tailor uses a combination of both offline SMS messaging and online chat functions to get the job done.
Companies like Chipotle excel at using SMS messaging as a rewards-only platform where users can get free coupons and discounts for subscribing:
Clicking on their link will take you to your reward, or various activities that Chipotle uses to drive engagement and sales.
A great program that you can use to take advantage of coupons and offers is Textedly.
It’s great for sending drip SMS campaigns, running promotions for new products, or simply getting users to convert on a coupon.
Through their system, you can quickly craft messages and schedule them in advance like a drip email campaign:
For this, try warming them up to specific offers based on your company.
In the first drip SMS section, try gauging their interest in your company based on your most popular product sections.
For example, you can say:
Hey [First Name]!
We noticed you liked [products they browsed].
Do any of these sound interesting to you? We can pull them up for you to check out:
- Product 1
- Product 2
- Product 3
Type the corresponding number, and we’ll send it over.
When they respond, you can easily message them a link to open and browse the specific product:
Check out [product name] here:
Let us know what else we can help with!
If they don’t respond, Textedly allows you to automate responses. For example, let’s say they haven’t responded in a day.
You can then follow up on their previous inquiry with another message:
Did you end up liking [product name]? We have it in multiple styles: .
If not, what else can we help you find?
Chipotle dominates a texting strategy like this by combining both offers and free coupons while simultaneously upselling customers based on their interests:
While they will text an offer for free chips and a drink, but they also hook in customers to try other products and services they offer.
This combination provides value and drives sales for their business.
Even real estate businesses are starting to tap into the idea of conversational buying-and-selling.
Text messages from real phone numbers allow them to customize each message with personalization and respond like a real message between two friends.
Not only is SMS and mobile messaging great for coupons, but it can also work for conversational ecommerce.
Companies are starting to do this directly through iMessage with Apple’s new beta program: Business Chat.
Business chat allows customers to connect directly with your business via iMessage, seeing products and allowing them to checkout directly on iMessage, removing virtually any barrier to conversion.
When using SMS for sales, be aware that users are always on their mobile phones. So you can’t direct them to a long-form landing page, or an unoptimized product page.
You need to remove all barriers to conversion, making the process as smooth as possible.
This type of conversational commerce is proving to be a powerhouse of sales. Conversational ecommerce is bridging the gap between mobile usage and traditional commerce buying habits.
It transforms the customer experience by making it easier than ever to purchase products.
Tactic 2. Get your site set up with real live chat to capture site visitors from SMS campaigns
If you’ve got an SMS rewards program setup, that’s a great start.
But that’s not enough. When users click back to your site from SMS or mobile-messaging offers, they’ll still need conversational guidance.
And there is no better way to do that than by using live chat systems.
For example, here’s what you see when you land on the website of Air Tailor:
Instantly, a friendly message pops up asking if you need any help finding products or information.
Meaning a user can quickly ask questions about signing up or how to get access to their services.
Sales turn into a conversation that the consumer enjoys, rather than a boring site visit that likely will result in a bounce and no conversion.
Drift, the chat software that Air Tailor uses, conducted their own study and found that of those who clicked on their own welcome message on-site, 63% spoke to a sales rep:
The welcome message serves as an open invitation for conversation and allows the consumer to reach real people at your business for help.
Currently, there are dozens of messaging and live-chat options that integrate fast to any website.
Any of these can be suitable candidates for a growing ecommerce business.
According to Shopify, messaging apps like live chat have a 73% customer satisfaction rate. That’s rated higher than email (at 63%) and phone (44%).
Online messaging apps for your website or social pages can transform your business to become a seamless experience that carries over from touch point to touch point.
Conversational ecommerce is easy on applications like Facebook Messenger because your Facebook Shop products are directly integrated.
You can quickly pull up messages from customers and respond with great products based on keywords that you type. This will bring up a list of potential products for you to send.
Selling to customers with a natural conversation is becoming a reality that you can capitalize on today.
Another great way to utilize conversational ecommerce with online messaging platforms is to use them as a medium for content distribution for your site. As a way to educate potential customers about your business and what you sell.
Instead of reading an entire, lengthy piece of news or having to sift through multiple pieces to get the information, you can chat on their mobile platform and ask questions that net results fast.
It’s revolutionizing the way we digest content and the ways that brands and consumers connect.
Thankfully, these platforms aren’t hard to set up. Using Drift or Messenger, you can add them to your site within minutes. Plus, both are free.
Start by creating a welcome message like Air Tailor:
This can open the door for users to engage with you on messaging instead of browsing the site and potentially leaving.
Depending on their responses, you can use Drift’s Bot-based system to create automated responses if you don’t have enough time to monitor and reply to each.
Treat your messaging platform as a personal assistant for each customer, giving them great products to fit their requests on demand:
If you use Shopify, you can quickly add the Messenger Channel integration and get your messaging to link directly with your products:
Using this tactic, you can engage users with a welcome message and help them see products faster than ever before.
Messaging can be a powerful way to drive sales. Air Tailor has used this dual-focused tactic to grow their business 100% every single year.
Emails have been the go-to platform for most companies to grow their sales.
But email open rates are and have been declining for years. They hover at around 20% on average.
And it’s even worse for promotional emails. Only 15% (or less) of them are opened.
Meaning 80% or more of your target audience isn’t even seeing your content.
But text messaging is making a comeback. It currently has a nearly 100% open rate.
No other marketing platform in existence has that high of an open rate. Not Facebook, not direct mail and certainly not email.
Companies like Air Tailor are turning the game upside down by using conversational ecommerce via SMS to grow huge sales for their business.
Follow in their footsteps by implementing your own SMS strategy. That can include anything from setting up a new company mobile number to text customers personally or even setting up a program like Textedly to drive coupon-based sales.
Don’t forget to take advantage of website traffic with the same conversational strategies using a live chat function. These can help you engage customers and deliver content and products with a personal touch.
Now It’s Your Turn
You’ve seen the studies and the data: text messaging can help you reach your target market more effectively than most platforms.
Now it’s time to put these steps into action to grow your sales in the coming year.
What are your plans for growth in 2018? Will they include an SMS marketing plan? If so, what strategies will you focus on?
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