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BlogMultichannelHow to Combine SMS Marketing and Email (And Rock Your Customers’ Socks Off)

How to Combine SMS Marketing and Email (And Rock Your Customers’ Socks Off)

25 min read
VP of Growth @Ongage

The best songs written linger long after the bands who wrote them disband. Their formula is the right combo of instruments, amplification, and inspiration. SMS marketing, when combined with email, is the right combo of instruments to capture your customers’ attention, and when amplified and combined with memorable campaigns, it can drive massive action. Below you’ll find how to use them to full effect. 

Today’s consumers are short on time and attention and have high expectations. You know that. If you don’t meet them where they are and when they want to hear from you, they’ll just shuffle away. 

To keep them locked on your message, you’ll have to interact more with them on the device they use the most—their mobile phones. The draw of instantly connecting with the world is powerful, and being more present there is a must.

That’s a powerful reason for you to add SMS marketing to your campaign mix.  

While it may seem like almost everyone is using their phones for texting (because they are), nothing grabs attention more than SMS marketing. 

Sure, email marketing is a classic. Its affordability and ease of use make it irreplaceable. But SMS marketing’s star is still on the rise. 

SMS and email are like a great guitarist and an amazing singer joining up. Remember Eddie and David in the ’80s? The same Eddie and another Sammy in the ’90s? They were great solo, but when combined, they were epic. 

The same goes for Freddy and Brian, Mick and Keith, Richie and Ian. It’s one giant list that had two headliners, each grabbing the hearts of listeners. 

Maybe, you think, I don’t need SMS. My email marketing rocks just fine on its own. But imagine two performers, each with an incredible solo career, coming together and bringing their fan bases with them. 

Some would drop everything to see them both on stage, right? (I’m talking to you, Ozzy and Zak).

Combining SMS marketing and email campaigns will deliver packed stadiums, merchandise sales, and record-breaking hits. It’s every manager’s dream. 

Now, let’s see how we can get this band together and work some customer conversion magic!

Want to jump ahead?

What is SMS marketing? These SMS Marketing stats are something else Chart-topping statistics about SMS marketing
Hall of fame SMS marketing strategies Sales alerts and promotions
Inventory or availability updates
Status notifications
Discounts and perks
Confirmation and reminders
Surveys and feedback
Contests or votes
How to combine email and SMS marketing to great effect Change formats as events draw nearer
Use emails to share details and texts to nudge
Selectively follow up with SMS
Build your lists with cross-promotions
Use SMS to find missing email subscribers
The 12 rules of avoiding penalties in SMS marketing How to produce double platinum SMS Marketing campaigns Announce yourself
Be concise 
Adopt a conversational tone 
Show your interest  
Provide immediate value  
Get your timing right  
Don’t overdo it  
Include a powerful CTA  
Optimize your landing page for mobile  
Be prepared to answer your customers  
Promote your SMS program   
How to build your SMS subscriber list/fan base Invite your email subscribers to sign up for text messages   
Leverage FOMO and exclusivity    
Ask at checkout    
Ask on your website    
Share your shortcode    
What gets people to say yes to SMS lists?
SMS marketing at scale needs powerful integrations Which SMS marketing metrics can you track? How to bring your email and SMS marketing programs together in Ongage Setting up SMS campaigns
Connect your SMS gateway provider to your Ongage account
Create your SMS field
Import your SMS list 
Craft your first SMS message 
Additional resources to rock your customers’ socks off

The complete

Read the most significant, most organized volume of information written about email deliverability.

Combine SMS marketing with email marketing to boost KPIs

What is SMS marketing?

Short message service (SMS) is a mobile phone messaging system that enables people to send messages in text over cellular networks. Nowadays, with VoiceOver LTE and WiFi being supported by most mobile network operators, you can even receive SMS messages without being on Cellular networks.

SMS is the oldest in a family of mobile phone messaging technologies that also includes multimedia messaging service (MMS), Apple’s iMessage instant messaging service, and Android’s rich communication service (RCS). 

For example, this text from Festival Foods includes rich media to tempt hungry subscribers. 

Use rich text media in your SMS marketing to dazzle subscribers

Among these technologies, SMS is the most widely used. It’s the rock star whose approachability makes them loved by all. 

Most carriers in the US offer unlimited texting plans, so consumers have no reason not to use SMS. 

SMS messages can be carried across standard cellular networks that don’t have the infrastructure to handle larger multimedia messages–no internet required! And, standard mobile phones can receive and send SMS messages, with most US subscribers having access to the more rich-media MMS format. 

Using SMS marketing, you can reach mobile phone users who don’t have a smartphone or mobile internet access.  

Is SMS really that big of a hit?

We researched for you, and this is what we found. 

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These SMS Marketing stats are something else

Text messaging has an incredible built-in ‘exclusive fan base’ that you can access once you add it to your marketing mix. 

SMS marketing can reach users that internet-based messaging can’t. All phones have pre-installed SMS capabilities, so they don’t need to install another app to receive your messages. 

Plus, unlike email, SMS messages aren’t sorted into folders, so every message gets a shot at being seen. 

Like email, SMS messages can be targeted and personalized. You can include dynamic content and automate your SMS campaigns to send the right message at the right time. 

Personalized, time-sensitive updates like the one below are the perfect kind of content for an SMS message. 

Personalize SMS messages to improve engagement rates

Timing is one of SMS’s key advantages over other marketing communication channels. Consumers react fast when they receive a text message. 

  • Text messages have a 98% open rate, and 90% of them are read within 3 minutes.

Using SMS marketing gives you a simple, fast way to reach your customers and interact with them. 

When you send messages and monitor your responses, you gain valuable customer data that you can use to build a more robust profile of who your customers are and what they want. 

Integrating your SMS and email with a CRM will help you to keep everyone on your team singing your customers’ tune. 

It’s not just individual customer data that you gain from SMS marketing. You’ll get valuable performance metrics too. 

Gathering data from multiple sources will help you fill in some of the blanks that may be created by Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection feature so that you can continue to understand what works and what doesn’t. 

All this tasty data helps you get a clearer picture of your customers’ intent. 

Chart-topping statistics about SMS marketing

Data shows SMS marketing is stronger than ever
Source: CTIA

The Email Marketing Activity Book for Kids

Enjoy engaging brain teasers, colorful illustrations, and playful games with your loved ones.

Hall of fame SMS marketing strategies

SMS messages are intimate and immediate. It’s hard to resist the pull of checking them to see what they’re about. 

These characteristics make it a powerful marketing tool when used correctly. 

Here are some of my seven favorite SMS marketing strategies: 

Sales alerts and promotions

This strategy helps your customers stay in the know about special promotions and sales via a targeted SMS campaign. 

How can you tell customers about all your great product deals in a text? 

Well, it can start with a special sales preview landing page like American Eagle did in this message. 

SMS marketing is a great tool for sales and promos

Note how American Eagle stimulates engagement by giving recipients a code to get an extra surprise discount and builds urgency by reminding customers that the sale is 2-days only. 

Follow up with an email or text with a “happening now” reminder on the day your sale begins so your customers don’t miss out. 

Inventory or availability updates

When a new job opportunity pops up, or the perfect house goes on sale, your customers want to know. Use text messaging to deliver timely updates about new inventory or opportunities. 

Send availability updates to your subscribers via SMS messages

Status notifications

Let your customers know when their delivery is on its way or has arrived like Budbee is doing.

Update your clients on their delivery status with SMS marketing

Just don’t forget to tell them who you are first, though. This image shared in a Twitter post by @decentbirthday illustrates why. 

SMS marketing can be used to share various status updates with recipients

Discounts and perks

WIIFM (What’s in it for me)? Isn’t that the question of the ages? Use your access to your customers’ message inbox to give them something good. 

Use event-triggered messages to offer personalized discounts to celebrate your customer’s birthday or first-purchase anniversary. 

Or, nudge them to purchase with an abandoned cart message that includes a little something extra like Boxed did in this text. 

Send SMS messages to users that abandoned their cart

Confirmation and reminders

People get busy. People forget. 

Help your customers stay on top of their schedules by sending text appointment confirmations and reminders. Let them know when events they’ve signed up for are about to begin or when that sale they don’t want to miss has started. 

Remember that 98% open rate stat from above. They’ll get it.

Surveys and feedback

Don’t forget that SMS is an excellent channel for two-way communication. Ask your customers to leave a review about their latest purchase or participate in a survey via text. 

BT makes it easy for customers to complete this short survey by entering a number to register their response. This method allows their customers to respond without leaving their messaging app.  

Survey your customers with SMS messages

Contests or votes

Up your engagement level by inviting customers to participate in contests or vote on a new product name or feature using SMS shortcodes. Share the excitement on social media to build awareness and your subscriber list. 

As you plan your SMS strategy, bear in mind that what you consider value-adding might not be the same as what your customers want from you. 

Be sure to strike a balance between what you want to communicate and what your customers want to receive. Use your click-through and conversion data to create a people-pleasing SMS playlist. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun. If you aren’t sure whether a campaign will be a hit or a miss with your audience, use A/B testing to try it out. 

What types of texts do consumers consider high-value? 

Check out these survey results from Sinch

Learn what kind of SMS marketing is useful for your subscribers

How to combine email and SMS marketing to great effect

Send emails and SMS to better engage with your userbase

Sometimes, you get those three-chord hit songs, right?

But there’s nothing easy about it. You need to have just the right combination of melody, lyrics, musicians, and performers. If one element is out of sync with the others, the whole thing can go terribly wrong. 

The same is true of any collaboration. I’m thinking back to that 2017 Grammy performance that paired Metallica and Lady Gaga. All the potential for a once-in-a-lifetime performance was there on the stage. But it didn’t work.  

Fortunately, that doesn’t have to happen with your email and SMS campaigns. Each one has a role to play, and you can make sure those roles are synchronized to perfection, like when Aerosmith and Run DMC produced their breakthrough video to Walk This Way. 

Another great example is Miley Cyrus, WATT, Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Robert Trujillo, and Chad Smith, an improbable Metallica cover band, performing the most epic “Nothing else matters” cover. 

In the same way, email’s multimedia capabilities and content flexibility make it an excellent vehicle for either short or long-form communications with your customers. It adds the details that SMS can’t. 

The mix is just right.

SMS is that attention-grabbing performer that gets people to react. It’s convenient for your customers and keeps them moving toward your goal.

Get your email and SMS collaboration right, and you’ll draw new audiences to your brand, extend your reach and increase your revenue. Sweet! 

How can you harmonize your SMS and email campaigns to create the perfect set?

Here are a few ideas. 

Change formats as events draw nearer

Appointment reminders are one of the communications that consumers most like to receive from businesses. 

But, a text appointment reminder sent one week before the scheduled date can get lost in the shuffle. These early warnings are better suited for email. 

A reminder 1 hour or 15 minutes before the appointment? 

That’s the perfect time to send a text. 

Use emails to share details and texts to nudge

Texts are great for sharing discounts or announcing a sale. 

But nothing beats a good picture. When you’re launching a big sale or introducing a new product line, using email lets you show while you tell. 

The good news is, you don’t have to choose one format or the other! 

Send a teaser text to tell your customers to be on the lookout for your email chock full of enticing images or pricing details. Or, send your email first, then ship a reminder text a few days later. 

Selectively follow up with SMS 

Sometimes, a customer only needs to be told something once. Sometimes, they need a reminder. Use automation rules and your CRM data to create multiple workflows depending on whether or not your customers responded to your email. 

For example, if you send out a webinar invitation via email. You don’t need to text the same invitation to the email subscribers who signed up. Put those subscribers into the event reminder workflow. 

For email subscribers who didn’t RSVP after receiving their invite. Follow up with an SMS invitation later. 

Use a similar strategy to encourage conversions after a customer has visited your website but hasn’t completed their purchase. Start with an abandoned cart email. If you don’t get a bite, try sending a text with a discount to encourage your subscriber to make a purchase. 

Build your lists with cross-promotions

You got an SMS subscriber that you’d like to have on your email list? Invite them! Use your SMS campaigns to remind customers that you offer email messaging too. 

You can build your email list with the help of SMS marketing

Use SMS to find missing email subscribers

We recommend using a double opt-in system when adding email subscribers to your list. This helps you avoid email bounce backs and comply with anti-spam laws. 

The downside of the double-opt-in is that if a subscriber doesn’t respond, they don’t make it into your email subscriber list. That’s a missed connection. If your customer signs up for both SMS and email, you can use your SMS channel to send them a reminder to respond to your double opt-in before time’s up. 

Now that you’ve seen the possibilities, are you ready to start texting? Great! 

But before you get started, take a look at the rules of the game.

SMS Marketing and Emails Go Together

Combine SMS marketing with emails to reach your subscribers like the biggest brands

The 12 rules of avoiding penalties in SMS marketing

Just like email marketing, SMS marketing has rules that you need to follow. Both government agencies and individual cellular carriers have rules regarding what you can send consumers and when. 

These guides and regulations include:

In other jurisdictions, you should be prepared to comply with general consumer protection laws and stay on the lookout for new regulations that target SMS marketing as this field continues to develop.

In addition to these government regulations, many cellular providers enforce the standards found in the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association’s (CTIA) Messaging Principles and Best Practices guide, a set of standards developed by this US wireless industry trade association. 

Considering all these regulations and suggestions may seem overwhelming at first. But, if you are already applying best practices for your email campaigns (which we highly recommend you do), doing the same for your SMS campaigns should be a snap. 

Here are some basic guidelines to follow and keep you out of trouble:

  1. Ask permission, not forgiveness. Like email marketing, many of these rules come down to consent. Never send an SMS text to someone without their permission. 
  1. Use separate opt-in forms for each marketing channel. Obtaining separate consents avoids confusion and keeps you in compliance. While US law permits you to use a combined form for email and SMS, the EU’s GDPR rules do not. 
  1. Set expectations from the start. Use an opt-in system that clearly discloses your intended purpose and how often consumers can expect to hear from you when asking for someone’s mobile phone number.
  1. Disclose all costs upfront. Surprise charges are a fast way to lose your fans. Include a “rates may apply” disclaimer to your sign-up form. Although most carriers don’t charge for users to receive texts, there are some exceptions. 

If you aren’t covering the costs of customers’ responses to your texts, make sure your customers know before they click reply.

  1. Don’t overlook consent for transactional texts. Even though you might not consider such messages as promotions, you still need consent to send these texts. 

Some laws, such as the CASL, don’t distinguish between types of communications when it comes to consumer rights. 

  1. Double-check your data. A wrong number is no excuse under the TCPA and other laws. 
  1. Don’t purchase lists. Buying mobile phone numbers to target for marketing campaigns will get you in trouble with authorities and networks. Plus, you’ll be sending messages to people who don’t want to hear from you. That’s no way to grow revenue! 
  1. Keep good records. Save proof of your customers’ opt-ins. CITA recommends that permission to send promotional SMS messages should be received in writing from your subscriber. Record when and how each consent was obtained. 
  1. Watch what you say. Consumer and child protection laws, commercial advertisement regulations, and other rules may apply to your messages. Make sure you have legitimate business reasons and know the ages of your recipients before sending texts related to hot topics such as tobacco or alcohol. 
  1. Tell people how to get in touch with you. Text messaging is designed with two-way communication in mind. Add a keyword like “HELP” and/or a link to your website’s help page to your messages so that subscribers can ask questions or reach your customer service team. 
  1. Always offer a way out. You don’t want to send messages to unengaged subscribers, and regulators don’t want you to either. Every message you send should include an unsubscribe option that is easy to find and use. Instructing subscribers to type “STOP” to unsubscribe is a common way to facilitate opt-outs.
  1. Add an SMS-specific section to your privacy policy. Since SMS messaging rules can differ from other marketing practices, don’t forget to review and amend your privacy policy before launching your first SMS campaign.

Check out the Sinch US SMS Compliance Guide for more tips to help you stay out of the penalty box.

What does it look like when you put all this together in an SMS message? 

This message from Domino’s covers a lot of bases in a few words. The message’s intention is clear, and the company employs the SMS version of a double opt-in to confirm the subscriber’s interest. 

The text also provides subscribers with the information they need to unsubscribe or reach customer support and includes a rates disclaimer for good measure.

Giving subscribers an easy way to opt-out is imperative with SMS marketing

The bottom line is that marketing should be about consent, and SMS marketing is no different. 

Making sure your customers want you to contact them via text and fully understand what they can expect to receive from you is not just good compliance. It’s good marketing! 

Now, for more good (make that great!) SMS marketing tips, check out the next section.

How to produce double platinum SMS Marketing campaigns

Follow these best practices to achieve success with SMS marketing

There are some fantastic performers in the world that people by the hundreds of thousands flock to see. But not every performer attracts the same group of fans. They each have their own unique set of talents that draws a crowd. 

SMS messaging is the same. It can do a lot and do it well, but it can’t do everything. To get the most out of your SMS marketing campaigns, you need to play to text messaging’s strengths. 

Below, you’ll find out how.

Announce yourself

SMS messaging is a personal form of messaging. Before reading a text, people want to know who it’s from. Make sure you use a sender name that is clear and distinct. 

When selecting a name, keep in mind that some vendors limit the number of characters you can include in your From Name field. Plus, you don’t want to use all your text’s characters on you. 

Here’s how Abercrombie and Fitch handle the “say my name” issue without going overboard:

Don't forget to include your from name in your SMS messages

Be concise

Speaking of keeping things brief, this goes for your copy as well. Longer messages are better suited for other channels like email. You can string several 160-character texts to tell a longer story, but that will add to your campaign’s complexity and cost. 

A better practice is to use SMS messages for short, quick messages that provide your customers with important information or lead to a clear call-to-action. 

How can you keep your messages short and sweet? 

  • Textspeak with caution. Use abbreviations appropriately but sparingly and consistently with your brand tone of voice. You don’t want to confuse your customers by cutting too many corners. KWIM?
  • Take advantage of shortcodes. Shortcodes are country and network-specific codes that are usually between five to six digits long. The codes are used for mobile network operators to communicate over SMS with their subscribers and for business messaging (A2P).
  • Use tiny URLs. Multi-word URLs may be great for web searches, but they can take up a lot of room in your text message. Convert your long links to a tiny one to save space. 

Ongage automatically shortens links and wraps them with tracking details when creating your SMS message using our content form. 

This message from Aerie uses a customized tiny URL to keep its message brief.

Shorten links in SMS messages to keep them short and sweet

Adopt a conversational tone

Text messaging puts your message in the palm of your subscriber’s hand. Match your tone to the channel by using a light, conversational tone in your messages. 

Homeware’s text following a purchase hits just the right notes to engage its customers.

Keeping a conversational tone in SMS marketing is key to success

Show your interest 

Your customers want to buy from brands that take an interest in them. You can show you care about your customers by creating one-of-a-kind messages, whether you’re sending a transactional message or a bulk campaign. 

Check out this article for inspiring email personalization examples. You can start with these:

  • Personalize your message by using your recipient’s name in your message. 

Don’t forget to include the maximum character count for your first name field in your total characters calculation. Not everyone will have a short name like this AutoZone subscriber.

Inserting the customer's first name is SMS personalization 101
  • Use audience segmentation to create custom-crafted messages that match different subscriber groups’ preferences, purchasing patterns, or demographics. 

Using Ongage, You can segment your list using a field from your SMS subscribers list or external criteria drawn from your CRM.

Build micro-segments with Ongage to nail your SMS marketing

Sending your SMS messages to selected segments helps prevent you from over-communicating and having your text perceived as spam by customers who aren’t interested. 

This strategy also saves you money by reducing the number of texts you send in support of a particular campaign. 

  • Draw data from your CRM and use dynamic content to hyper-personalize each message. Using dynamic content, you can reference a customers’ recent purchase, birthday, or favorite color. 
  • Use email automation to create personalized, event-triggered messages at just the right time. 

You can configure transactional and event-triggered campaigns through your Ongage dashboard to send abandoned cart messages, product availability updates, and request feedback after a purchase.

Automation can also be used to send pre-selected responses via text to common subscriber questions. Text bot! 

Take things up a notch by coordinating your email and SMS workflows to leverage each channel’s strengths and keep your brand top of mind with your customers. 

Provide immediate value

Because mobile phone users tend to keep their phones nearby as they go about their day, SMS is the perfect vehicle for in-the-moment messaging. 

But texts don’t always grab people’s full attention. They may be checking messages to kill time or while attempting to multitask. (Another boring meeting. Time to check my messages.) 

In these conditions, your message can be scrolled past and forgotten fast. Provide at-the-moment value to win the competition for your subscribers’ attention.

Get your timing right

The immediate nature of text messages can sometimes be a weakness. If you send messages too early or too often, your SMS campaign may not resonate with your customers. 

For example, the time you send a discount offer can have a huge impact on its success. 

Imagine if Domino’s sent this promo offer at 7 am instead of shortly afternoon!

Timing is everything when it comes to SMS marketing

Did you notice that this message doesn’t include any links? Like streaming music drives concert ticket sales, this text drives brick and mortar sales through digital communication. 

Way to build superfans!  

This example of timing is from The Humane Society of American (HSUS to save characters). They scheduled the send on this reminder text so it would arrive midway through Giving Tuesday. The text combines rich media, an emotional plea, plus a compelling CTA to inspire subscribers to act.

Time your SMS campaigns to align with special events

Be mindful of people’s time when sending your text messages too. A 3 am text from your business is probably inappropriate unless it is an important security alert or selling after-hours munchies. 

Don’t overdo it

It’s not just when you send your messages but how often that matters when engaging in SMS marketing. You should set expectations when you collect someone’s number. Tell them how many messages they’ll receive from you. We recommend not sending more than two to three messages per week. 

Then, keep your promises. Your texts can go from welcomed to unwelcomed quickly if your customers feel like they are being spammed. 

60% of consumers say they’ll unsubscribe if they get too many SMS messages from a business

This utility service keeps its text messaging program streamlined, sending only time-sensitive alerts and other important customer updates.

Send on-point SMS messages to avoid being spammy

Include a powerful CTA

CTAs are the encore no performance can go without. Make sure your text message supports your goals with a CTA that directs your customers to the next step. 

Do you want them to read an article on your website or cash in their loyalty points? Include your ask and an easy-to-follow link. 

Home Depot combines urgency plus a benefit statement with its text featuring a “Tap & Save” CTA. 

A strong and clear CTA is imperative in SMS marketing

Optimize your landing page for mobile

There’s nothing worse than standing in line for hours waiting to see your favorite band, making it into the stadium, and then discovering that you can’t see the stage from your seat! 😡

It happens, though. Sometimes it’s because of the stage placement or set design. Sometimes, stadiums just sell bad seats. 

Don’t be that act. Rock your SMS campaign from start to finish by sending SMS subscribers to a mobile-optimized landing page. That means fast load times and a clear, simple layout made for scrolling. 

Be prepared to answer your customers

Text is a two-way channel. Before you send your campaign, create a workflow to ensure someone can respond to customers who reply. 

  • If you include shortcodes to ask questions or contact customer service, create processes to alert the right staffers. 
  • Use an out-of-office responder to cover any periods when customer service representatives won’t be available. 
  • Consider using your full 10-digit number in some of your text messages so customers can text you back directly and demonstrate your commitment to open communication.  

Promote your SMS program 

You’ll need a list of subscribers to begin your SMS program. Keep that list growing and reduce churn by promoting your SMS program across your other marketing channels and providing incentives for your subscribers. 

Encourage your SMS subscribers to stay engaged by offering special VIP promotions or exclusive deals. Using SMS-specific discount codes also makes it easier for you to track conversions. 

Now, about building that list.

How to build your SMS subscriber list/fan base

Employ email and SMS marketing to achieve success

If you’ve been doing email marketing for a while, you know that building a great list of subscribers can take time. Your SMS subscriber list will probably include some of your email customers. But, because SMS has greater reach, you’ll need to tap new resources too. 

Our recommended list-building techniques (LBT) below will get your SMS show on the road in no time.

Invite your email subscribers to sign up for text messages

Send an email blast to your most engaged segments inviting them to join your SMS program when you launch it. Add a link to your SMS sign-up form in your email’s footer to keep the momentum going.

Leverage FOMO and exclusivity 

Today’s pop stars grow their audiences by inviting people to join their fan clubs. When they do, they offer incentives like early access to ticket sales or exclusive merchandise offers. 

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful tool in SMS campaigns

You can do the same. Encourage early sign-ups by offering a limited-time incentive such as a discount or exclusive access. Keep your list growing by continuing to offer special deals and other perks to your SMS VIPs.

Ask at checkout

Your customers are usually in a great mood immediately following a purchase. Ride that endorphin rush by inviting them to join your SMS program. You can use this strategy for both online and in-store checkouts! 

Ask for a mobile number on checkout to increase the size of your SMS list

Ask on your website

The more places you ask, the more chances you’ll have to get a yes. Don’t forget to tell your website visitors that they can sign-up to get SMS messages from you. Use banners, pop-ups, or other content strategies to get the message out. 

Don’t forget to incentivize! 

Share your shortcode

Create a sign-up shortcode and then spread the word. When subscribers sign up using text, it’s easy for them, and you know their number is valid. 

Use one code for all or create several different codes to track where your sign-ups originated. 

Share your SMS shortcode so customers can easily reach out

Where should you share your code? Anywhere you can reach a potential subscriber! 

  • Social media.
  • Chatbots.
  • Webinars, presentations, or sales calls.
  • Online, print, radio, and TV ads.
  • In-store signage.
  • Promotional merchandise.
  • Printed or digital receipts.
  • Out-of-home (OOH) locations such as billboards, benches, and bus stops, car wraps, and posters.

What gets people to say yes to SMS lists?

Appointment reminders and delivery updates are among consumers’ favorite text messages. But these aren’t always relevant to your retail customers. 

When shoppers were asked what gets them to sign up for SMS, nearly half (49.1%) said they opted-in to get access to flash sales or promotions. Another 42.5% signed up to receive back-in-stock notifications, and 36% wanted to reach customer support.

Adding value for your customers is your fast-track to an engaged SMS subscriber list. 

SMS marketing at scale needs powerful integrations

Small businesses and individuals can send SMS messages to one another easily. They just use their phone’s built-in app. 

However, for bulk SMS messaging, you need an SMS gateway provider to route your messages to the various cellular networks used by your SMS subscribers. The routing process works much in the same way an SMTP relay provider handles your email messages. 

Gateway providers can process thousands of events per second and select the most reliable and speedy route for your message to travel. 

That’s the kind of scale you need to launch your global tour!

When selecting a vendor, we recommend choosing one that allows you to integrate your SMS messaging program with your Ongage account. That way, you can use our intuitive campaign design interface, robust analytics, and the many other great features that make your bulk email marketing program a success. 

Which SMS marketing metrics can you track?

Most bands don’t rely on just one channel to reach their audience. Prep for your next world tour by gathering valuable performance metrics from your SMS campaigns. Use these to help craft the perfect omnichannel strategy. 

SMS open rates can’t be tracked directly, although some reports, as mentioned previously, put the rate at as high as 98%. But that’s okay. There are other metrics that will give you better insights. After all, your ultimate goal is not just to be seen. You also want to be heard. 

Use these following metrics to find out if your message is getting through to your customers:

  • List growth. How successful is your SMS sign-up campaign? This metric can help you identify successful list-building strategies. A low growth rate may indicate that you need a new approach or that your customers just aren’t into SMS. 
  • Churn or unsubscribe rate. You got people to sign up but are you meeting expectations and delivering value? This metric will tell you. High unsubscribes may indicate that you’re sending too many messages. Adjust your rhythm. 
  • Delivery rate. This metric assesses how many of your SMS messages reached their destination, similar to an email delivery rate. Wrong numbers and carrier problems can sometimes keep your messages from getting through. 
  • Click-through rate. This classic metric never goes out of style. Are customers responding to your messages by taking action? Make sure your CTAs are clear and your links easy to see on small screens. 
  • Conversion rate. Okay, they got the message and clicked, but did they take the desired action? A conversion can be the click-through itself, a registration, purchase, or reply to a survey. Define it. Then track it. 
  • ROI. Are you achieving what you’d hoped from the SMS campaign? How does the cost compare to other channels? A related metric to track is your acquisition cost per SMS subscriber–the ROI of your sign-up campaign. 

As mentioned, the best way to get a complete analytical picture is by integrating your SMS and email data with your CRM. It can take all your KPIs through the roof.

Below you’ll see how we do it in Ongage!

How to bring your email and SMS marketing programs together in Ongage 

Your client’s data and the way you use it can make a difference. 

If someone shouts across a fully packed stadium, Boston, this one’s for you!’, it tends to feel less personal than `Ziggy, this one’s for you!’ 

That’s the power of data combined with the tools to deliver on its promise.

The Ongage email marketing platform allows you to send personalized transactional and promotional SMS campaigns and track your results to gain up-to-the-minute insights using Ongage’s analytics and integrated reports/features provided by our SMS marketing partners, Sinch, MessageMedia, Twilio, and CM

These rockstars support bulk messaging and much more. Choose your provider to route your SMS, MMS, and RCS messages, build custom mobile landing pages, implement toll-free numbers and offer secure logins to your SMS customers.

If you want to get started right away, here’s what you’ll need to do: 

Setting up SMS campaigns

Setting up SMS campaigns in Ongage is similar to setting up regular email campaigns with just a few SMS-specific details. 

First, for SMS campaigns, you need to select one of the integrated SMS gateway providers to send your texts. 

Second, you may want to create a separate list to record your SMS contacts. Keeping your SMS and email lists separate prevents subscribers from landing on your email suppression list if they unsubscribe or are deactivated from the SMS list. 

Finally, you will need to create a new string-type field to house your subscribers’ mobile phone numbers in your field settings. 

Follow these steps to begin sending SMS campaigns using Ongage:

Connect your SMS gateway provider to your Ongage account

To connect a new vendor to your Ongage account, go to your Vendor Settings menu, select My Connections, and choose your vendor from the SMS Vendors submenu.

Ongage supports a variety of SMS vendors for your SMS marketing needs

To complete your setup, you’ll need to enter the API credentials provided to you by your vendor and complete the From Name field with the company or brand name from which you want to send your text messages. 

This API connection lets you prepare your SMS campaigns from your Ongage dashboard and then forward them to your gateway provider. 

Create your SMS field

This action is found in the List Settings submenu under Fields Setup. This is where you’ll add the SMS field to store customers’ mobile phone numbers. 

Without this field completed, you won’t be able to send text messages using Ongage. 

Import your SMS list

You can import and manage multiple contact lists through your Ongage dashboard or via an API call. For the former, select Import from the List Overview submenu. 

Be sure to use a naming convention for your SMS lists that distinguishes them from your email lists, so both types are easy to find. 

Craft your first SMS message

For this step, you’ll head to your Content menu and select the SMS Messages submenu. Once there, you’ll select “New SMS” to access the message creation page. 

It's easy and simple to create an SMS campaign with Ongage

On this form, you’ll have another chance to enter a country code if your SMS list didn’t include it. 

When crafting your message, keep your 160-character limit in mind. If your message goes over this limit, your SMS vendor will split it into two messages–doubling the vendor-related costs of your campaign!

To avoid extra fees and split messages:

  • Add in the maximum character count of any dynamic content you incorporate into your text when calculating your text’s length. 
  • Investigate how your vendor treats special characters. Some vendors count these as more than one character. 
  • Allow 19 characters for your short link. 
  • Make room for a brief opt-out message. 
  • Shorten your sender name if you need a few extra characters.

Additional resources to rock your customers’ socks off 

Email is an incredible marketing medium. It has amazing potential, and you can achieve great things with it. However, if you add SMS to the mix, that potential gets boss-level rewards.


.¸¸♫♪♪♫•* Due to reach, due to a slight change in the pitch, and due to customers not missing your message due to some system glitch.*•♫♪♪♫.¸¸

With the slick designs and information capacity of email and the capability to analyze your results across channels, you guarantee engagement that leads to an increase in revenue. 

Next, check out the tips from our email analytics post to understand how to get the most out of your SMS marketing data.

Keep rockin’, my friends!

*Some of the images in this blog were taken from smsarchives.com.

VP of Growth @Ongage
Mark's specialties took companies from launch to profitability through fitting their product to the right market, channel, and model, followed by centering on scaling it. In Ongage, he focuses on developing creative solutions for email marketing challenges. He believes that growth develops as a story, and like with all stories, the heroes need an exciting journey and to wield the right tools to conquer the trials they face.

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