Webinar Recap: The Text Factor: Optimizing Your Subscriber Lifecycle with SMS
July 13, 2023
Reading Time: 11 minutes
The SMS subscriber lifecycle considers every point of the customer journey over text—from acquisition to retention and beyond. We’ve also announced our acquisition of Fondue, a CashBack alternative, which we are excited to offer to merchants, especially with enough time to implement before Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
We also dive into new product updates that can be used in each stage of the SMS subscriber lifecycle, which you can implement starting today in the Postscript app.
Watch the full recap below or skip ahead to read a quick summary of what we learned.
SMS Deserves It’s Own Focus - 3:52
We eat, breathe, and sleep SMS.
SMS deserves its own focus and deserves a partner who gives it the respect like we do here at Postscript. Our mission is to make SMS your number one revenue channel. This has been done and it will become more of the norm in the coming months and years. So, if you’re interested in maximizing SMS as a revenue channel - we’re the only partner for you.
The Phases of an SMS Subscriber Lifecycle - 4:53
Think about your SMS program as a lifecycle aimed at maximizing revenue and the lifetime value of your subscribers. We see four phases:
Acquire. This can be done through tools such as pop ups, keywords, or via Shopify checkout extensions - and you even begin capturing zero party data to lay the groundwork for those personalized text messages to come.
Engage. Once a person is a subscriber, engagement starts. This means you’ve earned the right to communicate with the human being on the other end of the phone who has opted into your brand’s text messages.
This can happen during one of those 1:many SMS messages or in a 1:1 fashion where a human is brought into the conversation.
Convert. This is all about maximizing the revenue that SMS is driving for your brand and we think a lot about how to help you make more sales. This means working with merchants to identify the right campaigns and automations to run and if appropriate when to bring in that person to person motion to drive that sale.
Retain. SMS must play a key role here because there is life beyond the first sale. Often this starts with a feature like transactional messaging, so the customer knows when to expect their package. Then maybe encouraging a happy customer to a review platform like Okendo, or if someone has a question or complaint, engaging them with 1:1 responses via Postscript or a connection with help desks like Gogias and Zendesk.
Acquisition Product Updates - 8:42
We have a variety of acquisition tools for merchants to use, ranging from website popups to QR codes to Shopify checkout extensions. We recommend testing all of these tactics against each other, over time, and across segments to find what works best for your brand. Make it your goal to find repeatable tactics that fit best into your broader marketing strategy and lead to the best subscriber LTV:CAC.
Custom Property Collection - 10:35
Our first big release this year was custom property collection! This tool lets you enrich your subscriber data with additional consumer-provided information, known as zero-party data, along with their contact info. This is critical for providing more personalized and value-added experiences.
This allows you to collect your subscriber’s preferences like shoe size, their favorite color, preferred communication language, and more. Right off the bat, this lets your potential customers know that you care about their preferences and will tailor your SMS marketing around them.
You can accomplish this by creating segments or automation branches based on these custom property answers, allowing you to deliver a more personalized and engaging experience later in the customer lifecycle, leading to higher order conversions and revenue.
Updated ESP Enhancements - 11:48
We’ve launched updated and new integrations with ESPs: Listrak, Cordial, and Mailchimp, who support some of the largest Shopify brands.
With these enhancements, emails and custom properties collected through Postscript popups can be automatically forwarded to these ESPs, making it easier to align your data across platforms. Furthermore, you can map different Postscript popups to different ESP lists to tailor both your SMS & email marketing experiences.
Shopify Checkout Extensions - 13:00
This is a new feature from Shopify and Postscript is the first SMS marketing platform to launch it.
For some context, Shopify recently announced that they’re deprecating checkout.liquid in 2024. Checkout Extensions are the evolution of the .liquid checkout pages for Plus merchants; they let you customize your checkout flow by inserting these subscriber acquisition widgets that you see on the screen wherever you want in your checkout flow.
These extensions are super seamless. They let a subscriber know if they’ve already subscribed to your SMS program, which is great for the subscriber but also eliminates the headache of duplicates in your system.
You can also add them to your Shop Pay express checkout, boosting your acquisition rate no matter how your customers complete their purchase.
Engagement Product Updates - 13:57
Here are the recent improvements to the next part of the subscriber lifecycle - engagement.
Date Collection - 14:10
Use Flow Builder to trigger an automation on dates that you’ve collected. So, for example, you can set up a birthday collection once in your popups and then have a single automation that runs every single day to seamlessly pull in subscribers with that birthday into an automation.
Approximate Matching - 14:40
In order to stay conversational, it’s important that typos don’t get in the way of responding effectively to your subscribers. We’re all susceptible to a slip up every once in a while, and this release helps to eliminate the effects of those typos on your conversations within Flow Builder.
In this example, you can see how various permutations of the word “yes”, some of which could be seen as typos, are understood and allow the flow to continue as a customer might expect.
Add to Flow Action - 15:10
Also new in flow builder is our “add to flow” action. You can use this tool to reroute subscribers from one automation to another one in order to manage flows more efficiently and effectively.
For example, you might have a flow set to trigger when a subscriber’s order is delivered, and you want to send them a message asking about their experience or offer a helping hand. You might also have a few other flows similar to this where you want to provide support in-thread.
With this release, instead of recreating that support section of your flows multiple times, you can create it once and use our “Add to Flow” action to funnel all subscriber support requests from other flows to that single support flow. And within the support flow, you’ll be able to see every linked flow that subscribers are coming in from so you don’t lose track of the connections.
SMS Sales- 16:10
Earlier this year we launched SMS Sales. If you missed the announcement, SMS Sales is a premium service offering where we pair a team of expertly trained sales associates with purpose-built software, to double your SMS revenue.
We opened up what we call the Ecommerce Sales Center in Phoenix where we staff and train SMS Sales teams on behalf of brands.
When we hire folks, we train them on two things. The first: is everything about your brand. It’s so important that a sales person can speak in the voice of your brand, can speak to your product selection, can handle the objections that your buyers have. We do this through an extensive onboarding process.
The second thing we train them on is how to be great sales people via SMS. They are even grouped around similar products to continuously share learnings.
Finally, our sales associates are incentivized to drive more sales. So you’re getting a team of highly trained, motivated sales people with 7 days a week coverage without actually having to hire them yourself.
But our associates could not be as effective at converting if they didn’t have the right tools and data at their fingertips. We’ve built the only ecommerce Sales product that allows our associates to prioritize conversations in the inbox and proactively reach out to subscribers based on their customer journey and buying intent. They are not just waiting for a text to come in. Using a combination of automated campaigns and segmentation, we’re driving 14x more conversations with subscribers than what brands typically see.
This is a very different approach from using a help desk software to answer support tickets. This software is what allows them to have real-time conversations with shoppers that doesn’t use chat bot, doesn’t depend on the shopper staying on your site to keep a live chat window open, and they get a response back in minutes, not hours or days.
Inside the SMS Sales software, associates can see a detailed subscriber profile, including Shopify purchase history, on-site browsing and shopping history, what flows they have received, and additional custom properties that have been collected. They use all of this data to personalize every conversation and create the most compelling offers.
We believe that in an ecommerce market that’s more competitive than ever, being able to offer a truly unique shopping experience will play a huge role in winning over new customers.
Here’s What a Real SMS Sales Convo Looks Like - 18:56
Look at a real-life example with our customer The Ridge who sell wallets, rings, and other premium accessories.
After just a few weeks, what we’re seeing in the SMS Sales group is a 31% increase in that conversion rate for first time customers. This lift in conversions is making a huge impact on their business. Some of these brands are in highly competitive industries and this is a game changer for them.
Spots to join SMS Sales before BFCM are very limited so now is the time to talk to our team if this is something you’re ready to invest in.
Product Updates + New Integrations to Retain Customers - 22:45
One way to keep your brand top of mind is by finding additional touchpoints that customers will appreciate. One of the easiest yet underused ways to do this is transactional messaging.
From a customer’s perspective, receiving their order is the most exciting part. And with transactional messaging, you can text them updates on their order status and link to tracking information.
What’s unique about transactional messaging is that you can enable these texts for people that have subscribed to your marketing list. But you can also enable transactional messaging for non-marketing subscribers. What this means is that customers can opt-in to receive transactional messages only – these messages are order-related only, and they cannot include any promotional or marketing type language.
This is essentially a foot in the door technique since your transactional subscribers can convert to marketing subscribers using any of your existing opt-in channels, and, since they’re already getting transactional texts from you and building that relationship with your brand, many of them will likely end up converting, which allows you and to begin the lifecycle over again.
To enable transactional messaging for non-marketing subscribers. Get in touch with your CSM so they can help enable it for you.
Subscriptions are one of the best ways to drive loyalty and we’ve got two new integrations, Skio and Stay AI, that make subscription management easier and enable a ton of use cases for building sms flows.
We’ve also added Rivo, a loyalty and reviews platform that allows you to personalize your sms flows based on custom properties sourced from Rivo.
Announcing Fondue, a Postscript Company - 26:35
We have acquired Fondue. Another amazing company focused on Ecommerce merchants on Shopify.
Fondue is on a mission to help merchants make more money, more efficiently - I feel like we’ve heard that somewhere before and they do this with a smart coupon alternative called “CashBack”.
Oren Charnoff, the cofounder and CEO of Fondue, shares a bit more about Fondue and how merchants can use it in their SMS strategy.
How Fondue Works with the SMS Subscriber Lifecycle - 35:10
When we dug in with the Fondue team we really found that there was a ton of overlap and CashBack does a lot to grow the impact of your SMS program.
The stages of the life cycle are:
Acquire - getting that list built.
Engage - communicating and building relationships with those subscribers
Convert - driving to and earning that sales
Retain - making sure you’re delivering positive and meaningful experiences to your customers so they keep engaging and converting
Once you have subscribers, you’ll want to keep inserting those more enticing CashBack offers. That could be through automations, one off sends, or drip campaigns (which by the way are possible on Postscript, but not all other SMS providers).
What you’re going for is increased engagement, and we’re seeing just that with early results. Customers are seeing CashBack boosts SMS click through rates by up to 35%.
One way of tracking engagement is through responses…another is click-throughs — so we feel very confident that CashBack does improve that engagement of SMS!
When using Fondue’s CashBack in a welcome series offer, merchants saw a 37% increase in revenue.
And remember the “how” is in the greater incentive we can provide thanks to Fondue and CashBack’s economic efficiencies that Oren walked us through a few minutes ago!
Cashback is another great lever you can use in our SMS Sales offering especially if your brand isn’t inclined to give huge discounts
And finally, the subscriber lifecycle is about more than that first sale, it’s about using SMS as a retention channel that creates loyal customers.
And we see just that with Cashback. For those 20% of shoppers that choose a store gift card, when they come back and make that repeat purchase, not only are they buying with a gift card, but on average they spend 2.5x+ the face value of the gift card!
That means for a $10 CashBack Store gift card, the average shopper is spending $25 on that next purchase. So that is more incremental revenue in your pocket.
It’s easy to understand why the Fondue team sees a 25% LTV boost for their customers!
So again - looking at what the SMS Subscriber Lifecycle looks like when you utilize Cashback.
31% increase in SMS Sign Up rate - a 35% larger click-through rate than typical SMS, 37% revenue boost on welcome series revenue, and a 25% customer LTV boost
What this all adds up to is an average of 3% gain in margins that can touch upwards of 5%!
Special Offer When You Sign Up for Fondue - 39:00
If you’re currently a Postscript customer and you add Fondue to your SMS Revenue Platform, you’ll get 10% off your minimum spend for each month you have a CashBack offer live in your welcome series.
That means if your minimum commitment on Postscript is $2,000 and you add Fondue, you’ll get $200 off your spend each month for the duration of your contract.
If you’re not a postscript customer today, you can get in on this action as well by signing on with us and Fondue.
A few details are:
This offer is valid through the end of september because we want to make sure we get as many brands up and humming before BFCM
You must be on a contract with Postscript, so you’ll want to talk with someone on our team to figure out how you become eligible!
If you have more questions about Cashback and Fondue, we have a webinar coming up on July 27th.
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.