December 26, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes
The holidays are behind us, and it’s finally time to close the door on 2022 and look forward to the new year.
We could probably all drink more water, read more books, and yes—send more texts (if you’re running an ecommerce brand, anyway).
To get even more specific with 2023 to-dos, we reached out to our network of ecommerce experts for their take on new year’s resolutions for SMS. From finally adopting the channel to focusing on transactional texts, we think they’ve hit the nail on the head.
Here’s what we hope to see this year and beyond in SMS!
1. Adopt the Channel
Haven’t started on SMS yet? Don’t break our hearts! Make it your biggest priority this year.
“One of the common questions we get from clients is how we think SMS will perform for them and how quickly we think they should implement it,” says Lisa Meinders, Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Mutesix. “The answer is always that it will crush—and start using SMS as soon as you can.”
With deliverability issues from email providers, promotional emails flooding inboxes, and more and more people going mobile-only, it’s crucial as a business to include SMS in your marketing strategy so you can reach people where they are. “If an email gets missed, guess what—they definitely get the text,” says Meinders.
2. Treat SMS as its Own Marketing Channel—Finally
A lot of marketers have used SMS to complement their email marketing strategy, often duplicating their messaging, sales, and promotions across channels. But as more brands adopt SMS, it should be treated completely differently.
According to Felix Garcia, Head of Email & SMS Marketing at Boomn, “Brands are starting to use SMS as an independent strategy from email. Instead of duplicating the same email campaigns into SMS format, we’re trying to find the sweet spot where one complements the other.”
We couldn’t agree more, which is why we rolled out our very own 2023 marketing calendar specifically for SMS. This is the channel of the future—and it should be treated as such!
3. Invest in Growing Your List
If you’ve been passively working on growing your SMS list, this is the year to go all-in.
“Test different acquisition strategies and placements (organic and paid) to grow your list, and make it your goal to find a repeatable strategy with a profitable CAC,” says Bryan Dickey, Senior Client Strategist at Postscript.
He suggests using a diverse range of methods—including product giveaways, SMS-exclusive promotions and offers, placements on social channels, paid ads to a landing page with SMS-opt-in, an SMS-only brand challenge, and QR codes on product packaging. The options are endless, and testing them all will help you find the strategy that works best for your brand.
4. Make SMS the Preferred Method for Transactional Messages
Say sayonara to email updates when a package is out for delivery. Instead, Teddy Chan, CEO of Aftership, believes consumers want these notifications primarily through text.
"The post-purchase experience is all about convenience and simplicity," says Chan. "When retailers use SMS to tap into tracking insights, they're able to give consumers real-time, reliable updates directly to their phones. It’s a barrier-free way to build connections and improve relationships even after they buy something."
As SMS continues to grow in popularity as a post-purchase communication channel, Chan hopes to see even more brands embracing this technology. “The added ability to deliver proactive updates directly to consumers, where they are, at a time that’s most convenient for them, is a game changer for building those relationships.”
5. Create a More Strategic Sending Plan
Testing send times will become more of a standard practice with SMS this year, and so might sending based on geographic region. Marketers should be mindful of how the time of day affects clickthrough rates in order to ensure they truly get the most out of each campaign.
But this doesn’t just extend to when East Coast or West Coast subscribers like to receive a text; it also has to do with where they are in their subscriber journey.
“Targeting customers at the right time is increasingly important,” says Garcia. “In industries where brands have a limited competitive advantage, the ones that perform better are those that are able to target their demographics with key messaging at just the right time.”
This means knowing when a customer might need a refill, when they are more likely to convert on an upsell, or even what types of conversations they are most likely to engage with.
6. Send More Texts
Here’s a 2023 challenge from Dickey: create a habit of sending at least 2 SMS campaigns per week for a month. “See how it impacts revenue and total order volume in the new year,” he says.
At Postscript we’ve done a ton of research to make sure your messaging score is reflected accurately in your dashboard. If you send more and your score goes up, then you’re getting closer to your sweet spot. Sending too much? You’ll see that score go down.
It’s all about communicating on the channel on a regular basis to see exactly how often your subscribers want to hear from you.
7. Strike Up More Real Conversations
If you haven’t already started engaging in some real-time, human-to-human interactions with your subscribers, this is the year to do it.
“I think brands should commit to having real conversations that aren’t automated. Obviously automate what you can to free up the bandwidth, but have real conversations that require a personal reply—managed in your help center, Slack, or even via email,” says Mindy Regnell, Principal Market Intelligence Manager at Postscript.
Regnell suggests that if you aren’t at the point in your SMS journey where that’s an option, start working on it in 2023. “Update your flows to use response branching, and very specifically, use flexible replies. Break away from the traditional keyword only replies this year!”
8. Use SMS To Drive Urgency
Whether it’s a text about a new product drop or a popular item that’s back-in-stock, these SMS alerts won’t get lost like they do via email.
Not only are back-in-stock signups a great way to acquire new subscribers, but this collection method also helps you drive more high-intent opt-ins.
“With back-in-stock alerts, a sense of urgency is the key factor that drives conversions. This sense of urgency can be easily lost over channels like email, because they are viewed less frequently by your customers,” says Sindoora Iyer, Content Marketer for Swym. “With 90% of text messages opened within 3 minutes of delivery, your text will be viewed sooner, and your shoppers will react faster, allowing you to truly leverage that sense of urgency."
Many brands have already tested this approach, with new product drops being pushed out on text versus email in 2022, and we’ll continue to see this be a key marketing strategy in the new year and beyond.
9. Use SMS to Chat With Your Most Loyal Custies
Customer acquisition will stay spendy in 2023, so why not focus your efforts on retention? SMS is the best channel to do this. This can be especially useful when you’re targeting existing customers and your most loyal customer base.
“You can update customers about their loyalty points balance or let them know when they have points expiring soon. You can even use the timeliness of SMS to loop them in about time-based loyalty campaigns,” says Tim Peckover, Sr. Manager, Marketing and Community of Smile.
And if you haven’t built out these segments yet, do it this week. It’s easy and will yield great returns in the coming year.
Speaking of easy—start the year off on the right foot by grabbing your complete 2023 SMS marketing plan, sending out some texts, and chatting with your subscribers. In fact, we're calling it—2023 might be the best year yet.
Senior Manager of Content and Community
Laura is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Postscript. She has spent the past decade working in ecommerce. When she isn't writing about her favorite topic (marketing) or listening to podcasts about her other favorite topic (ecommerce), she's hanging out with her two sons on an island off the coast of Maine.