Top 7 Takeaways from Group Chat! NY

Top 7 Takeaways from Group Chat! NY

October 17, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes

We’re still on the road for Group Chat! The Tour—and our second stop was none other than the Big Apple.

This was our most intimate gathering so far, and we got to enjoy ourselves at the incredible Soho House.

Here are some of the highlights from our time in NYC.

The zero-party data convo continues.  

Zero-party data was the biggest buzzword at Group Chat! LA—and it’s one that frequently came up during our discussions in New York, too.

This is why engagement-focused campaigns were talked about at length—like how wellness brand Apothékary asks subscribers about their needs right within the welcome series, prompting them to reply with the appropriate Keyword.

The information you collect via subscriber responses might not produce an immediate ROI, but it does drive better segmentation (and higher conversion!) for more targeted campaigns in the future.

“Once you have this good understanding of who your customers are, you’re able to deeply segment and serve them a meaningful customer experience,” said Dillon Compton, Postscript’s Head of Product.

Ronak Shah, Founder and CEO of Obvi, agreed that leaning into this data was the way forward for his brand. “We doubled down on CRO because post-iOS update, half the data is gone and you’re not getting it back.”

Throughout our day in New York, we highlighted tons of new Postscript features and enhancements—including our expanded partnership with Twilio (which will majorly enhance deliverability during peak traffic times like BFCM) and our revamped popups—but when it comes to collecting zero-party data, nested branching within Flow Builder is the star of the show.

Nested branching enables brands to pre-load automated responses based on incoming subscriber replies. In addition to giving subscribers a conversational experience (at scale, with no need to manually respond to every incoming message), this functionality empowers your brand to tag—and later, segment—subscribers based on what they text back.

Zero-party data is the most valuable data you can collect as an SMS marketer, because it enables you to not only strategically segment your audience, but also message those segments in a highly contextual way.

In a fireside chat with Repeat, one of our partners and a sponsor for Group Chat! New York, Cody Griffin, Senior Director of Marketing for Dr. Squatch, discussed how important segmentation is when it comes to retargeting existing customers and turning first-time customers into loyalists.

“The challenge for us is we have a large customer base, so we need to focus on how we go back and build that for [a particular] audience,” said Cody. “As each customer continues to get more and more SMS from more and more brands, personalization will be critical.”

Okendo—another great Postscript partner and Group Chat! The Tour sponsor—also focused on zero-party data, particularly with respect to collecting customer reviews and UGC.

“In terms of conversions, 99.9% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. And customers are willing to spend 31% more with a brand that has excellent reviews,” said Gab San Nicola, Strategic Partnerships Manager for Okendo. “Add SMS to review request sequences and send requests via SMS to collect more social proof and more ratings and reviews.”

Owned marketing channels can help brands battle post-pandemic problems.

We all know about the macro-level changes affecting ecommerce merchants right now. In fact, we hosted a whole webinar around it.

Ads are getting more costly to run, shipping rates continue to spike, and customers are tightening their wallets and bracing for the economic unknown.

Here’s where SMS can help:

  1. Your list and subscriber data are yours.

  2. Your messaging can go two ways.

But just as we’ve seen with cluttered email inboxes, as more and more marketers adopt SMS, those inboxes will also become noisier—making it increasingly harder to stand out. This is why it’s important to create compelling content, fun interactions, and authentic engagement with your audience in order to ensure the long-term value of text for your brand.

Customer centricity is the revenue strategy.

Early adopters of SMS saw massive success by simply doing it. But as Alex Beller, Postscript Co-founder and President, emphasized during his session, message content and strategy are quickly becoming crucial to a brand’s ability to drive revenue through SMS.

“The way to make SMS a top revenue channel is to prioritize customer experience in the channel,” Beller said.

He pointed to chocolate bar brand Feastables as a perfect example of a merchant who went all-in on subscriber experience—and reaped the revenue rewards of a totally customer-centric approach. 

The result? They sold $1.5 million of chocolate through SMS in just 6 months.

Though Feastables already has a diehard audience built in, it was an important brand exercise to consider the best marketing channel to connect with them on. And for them, that channel was SMS.

Text to Buy is the future.

During our Chat Bubble panel, moderator Nik Sharma, CEO of Sharma Brands, asked merchants what they believe the future of SMS is—and they all agreed it was the ability to reply back and make a purchase.

“If we can send an MMS and show subscribers a new colorway and give them the opportunity to text back to buy, this will be a game changer for us,” said Erik Gupta, CMO of Soft Serve Clothing.

Katie Magnus, Marketing Director for Apothékary, agreed. “We’re in the beta [for Text to Buy] now, and we have an older demographic that might need to be coached through it a bit more, but it’s definitely the future and we’re excited about what impact it will have.”

You can learn more about Postscript’s Text to Buy beta program here.

SMS deserves a dedicated platform.

We also focused on our deep, improved integration with Klaviyo, which enables merchants to deliver more seamless customer experiences.

“We know that to create those delightful customer experiences, you need to be aware of customer experiences on other channels with your brand,” said Dillon. 

The magic comes through our Campaign Planner Tool, where merchants are able to pull in Klaviyo campaigns alongside Postscript campaigns to see how and when customer comms are going out in both channels. This allows brands to find ways to optimize sends. 

Focus on building out your community.  

Jess Cervellon, Head of Customer Experience for Feastables, uses SMS to not only promote new product drops, but also delight customers with randomness, interact with them in a support capacity, and in many cases, create another social media-like experience.

Though Feastables already had a hefty audience with their founder, MrBeast’s, YouTube channel, their chocolate brand was their first foray into the ecommerce world. And for Jess, it was a totally new world. 

“One thing I knew I had to do was focus on the experience that a customer has with our brand, including every touchpoint, and analyze it and understand how it builds our relationship with them,” she said.

One innovative way they’ve used SMS to cultivate their community is building out a chat bot to handle the thousands of conversations that started to flow in once they launched. “I build pathways in our SMS channel for customers to go down: exchange jokes, dank memes, the discovery story of how Feasty came about—the list goes on.”

She was noticed that some customers were having 7–8 conversations with the brand every week. 

Jess’s biggest takeaway? “SMS has an engagement traffic that’s as strong as our social presence,” she said. We need to continue to build this channel and deliver.”

Subscriber LTV should always be the guiding metric for SMS.

Today’s revenue means nothing if it all disappears tomorrow, which is why future-looking brands use Subscriber Lifetime Value (LTV) as their guiding KPI for SMS.

When you focus on today’s revenue and ROI, you’ll definitely get some wins, but a long-term vision is increasingly important to growing a robust, healthy SMS strategy. 

Subscriber LTV accounts for 4 crucial factors in your long-term SMS marketing performance:

  • Acquisition (Growing your subscriber list)

  • Revenue per message (Maximizing returns through creative, thoughtful outreach)

  • Messages per subscriber (Sending the right volume of messages)

  • Unsubscribe rate (Reducing your list churn)

You can learn all about them here.

Postscript tracks ARMU and Subscriber LTV right on the main dashboard, and it drives everything we do—from both a development and overall company strategy perspective

“We’ve shipped 168 features focused on SMS so far this year; that’s around 4 per week,” said Dillon. 

And we won’t be slowing down anytime soon. When it comes to SMS, we’re all in.

Questions about anything we covered above? Hit us up here!

Interested in attending a future Group Chat! The Tour event? We’d love to see you! Keep an eye on our event page to learn about new stops as they’re added to the schedule.