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In a world where ChatGPT has replaced writers (can confirm I am not a robot), cars are driving themselves, and automation is synonymous with “productive,” we seem to have forgotten that people sometimes want that personal touch. But what if you can have both; a personal relationship with each of your customers while also automating it?


  1. Let’s get personal


As widespread as it may seem, surprisingly only 35% of brands have an SMS marketing strategy. If you’ve ever signed up for texts from one of your favorite brands just to be pushed a generic sales blast through text, you know the feeling. There’s a disconnect between the voice of a brand in traditional marketing channels and their voice over SMS – and it has to do with most brands leveraging SMS marketing as a bottom-funnel channel, only.

Imagine a customer walking into your first store and you greet them with “Hey! I’m Nicole, owner of this shop. Thanks for coming by – what can I help you find?” Similarly, SMS marketing allows brands to start a conversation even before a purchase has occurred.

Now, imagine if instead your first words were “This older collection is on sale – you should buy it right now because tomorrow it’s back to full price.” Feels much different, right? That’s how different your SMS strategy could feel if you optimized for data gathering and information versus just Buy Now prompts. I will argue that the former will actually increase your ROI over time and help make your other marketing channels more efficient.


  1. Use SMS to learn what type of buyer she is


Text message is inherently a personal channel; we protect our numbers from strangers and scammers and are intentional when we share it. But in many instances, the cost of acquiring a phone number is much cheaper than acquiring a sale. So if a brand is able to effectively convert their SMS subscribers into repeat customers, it can become the most cost-effective channel in your stack. But brands must be intentional with this channel.


Brands who leverage SMS have a unique insight into their buyer’s journey as it’s happening and can use this channel to gather important information and learn from their shoppers – so they can anticipate the needs of the next cohort that comes through. For example, if you know there are 3 types of personas who are interested in your products: the Mom, the Young Professional, and the College Student, you should try to identify each subscriber’s persona as quickly as possible, since their reasons for buying your product will likely vary. From there, you can use helpful tools like drip campaigns to automate the very “personalized” journey that you send a subscriber down.


  1. Consider what your shoppers must consider & use SMS to validate


Buyers often fall into one of four personality types– which will impact what information he or she needs to know to make a purchase. Is your manufacturing process unique? Share behind the scenes of how your products are made and measure the effectiveness of that bite-sized data along the buyer’s journey. Or link out to a TikTok with glowing reviews to better understand if social proof is high up on your buyer’s consideration.  

At Qatch, we routinely ask for product feedback, new trends a shopper wants to try, and what they have coming up in their busy lives that excites them. This serves two purposes: 1. We get shoppers to engage on their terms and talk to us in their own voice, making it really feel like a two-way conversation; and 2. We gather psychographic information, such as hobbies and lifestyle so we can target similar shoppers in other channels.


  1. Use this data to optimize audiences for your other paid channels


Once you’ve learned what your text-based shopper responds to and converts from, you can easily adapt this into your buyer’s journey on other channels and measure its impact. Or, you can add psychographic information into your look alike audiences on paid channels based on lifestyle data you’ve gathered from your SMS subscribers. The impact? Targeting a diverse audience who shares similar shopping patterns and interests in products like yours, regardless of their demographics.  

I’ve interviewed over 70 digital marketers for e-commerce brands in the past 6 months and I always ask the same question: “How would you describe your target audience?” Despite these brands selling different products with different styles, the response is nearly always the same; shoppers between the ages of 25-45, with income over $100K, living in metropolitan areas. If everyone is targeting the same audience on advertising platforms, it’s going to be very difficult to compete for an efficient CAC. Starting a conversation via SMS with your customers can reveal what makes them unique, so you can quickly find them. Qatch uses this strategy for our own customer acquisition strategy, allowing us to decrease acquisition by 60% in the past 15 months. 


To summarize, while SMS marketing can be an incredibly impactful channel for conversion, it can also be used to gather feedback, understand your buyer’s journey and build trust to create lifetime customers and a data moat your competitors will envy.