Text STOP to unsubscribe: How to keep this from happening to your brand

Although SMS is a relatively new channel for marketers, there are already many success stories. GhostBed earned $77,600 from a single text message flow, while Proozy, an online clothing retailer, boosted revenue by 1,000% with its SMS strategy.

But right now, SMS is still underutilized as a promotional tool. As of 2018, only 15% of customer interactions involved newer technologies such as SMS messaging, according to Gartner. And that number is projected to increase to 70% by 2022.

Consumer smartphones aren’t clogged with SMS spam just yet, so marketers can count on relatively straightforward wins and highly engaged subscribers—for now. But as the channel gets more crowded, it will be difficult for businesses to stand out from the noise. If you expect continued success in SMS—and if you want to prevent a high unsubscribe rate—you’ll have to keep your customers’ attention.

Set yourself up for success by engaging in SMS best practices and boosting customer engagement with effective SMS strategies.

Make use of two-way conversations

It’s crucial that you treat SMS like a two-way messaging channel. According to a recent report from Klaviyo, 52% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers live chat support.

The advantage of communicating with SMS is its immediate and personal nature. You can have one-on-one conversations with your customers in real time, offer live chat features, and allow them to reply to messages. But don’t get too trigger-happy with those texts—SMS blasts are a sure way to turn off customers.

“SMS is a tool for two-way messaging,” Val Geisler, Customer Advocacy Lead at Klaviyo, explains. “A customer can reply to a message, and someone from the brand can write back. But if all you’re doing as a brand is sending messages saying, ‘Go buy our stuff, go buy our stuff,’ that quickly becomes a one-way communication channel.”

Snack company Muddy Bites allows customers to reply to its texts, encouraging a two-way conversation. In a text message, Muddy Bites asks customers to “reply back,” encouraging a back and forth conversation and continued engagement. 

Use segmentation to customize customer journeys

Segmentation can help your message better resonate with your audience, ensuring that your customers get the most relevant messages at the right time. Inundating your customers with messages is not the most effective way of reaching your audience. Use segmentation based on crucial data points to target your audience and cultivate meaningful text exchanges. This will drive higher customer engagement.

Customer data like page views, clicks, cart abandonments, and past purchases can give you insights into your audience on a deeper level. For example, you can segment your audience based on previous purchases and shopping preferences. 

Prior to segmenting its text messages in Klaviyo, Proozy, an online retailer specializing in clothing and other consumer products, would send the same general promotions to all of its SMS subscribers. Customers would receive the same blanket messages, meaning that Proozy was missing out on reaching and converting customers in many of its categories.

Once the company targeted messages to its customers in Klaviyo based on their shopping history and buying patterns, Proozy was able to ensure that the right customers got the right messages—ultimately sending fewer texts. This SMS strategy earned the company a 2.7x increase in RPR (revenue per recipient).

Send customers valuable offers

Make customers feel special by sending them text messages with special offers and early access to sales. If your customers don’t feel like they’re getting value from a subscription to your SMS, they won’t stay subscribers for long.

Customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty to a brand. According to AP News, 61% of consumers say that being rewarded for being a good customer is one of the best ways a brand can engage with them.

Sweet Dreams, which specializes in natural sleep supplements, uses SMS to send an exclusive offer to its customers. In the text, it refers to customers as VIPs and offers them 10% off any future order.

Offer customers value beyond sales

Consider how you can offer your audience value that goes beyond sales. When you use a customer-centric viewpoint in your SMS communications, you’ll resonate with your audience by fostering an emotional connection. 

One of the main reasons that customers unsubscribe from SMS is because they feel that they are no longer getting value from the brand.

“What typically happens is brands send a discount code, and then their next message is another marketing message. It’s very one-sided.” Geisler explains. “The problem with using SMS to primarily send customers information about sales, deals, and promotions is that it ultimately becomes more about the brand than about the brand’s customers.”

Beekman 1802, a store that specializes in goat milk-based products, uses SMS communications in other ways besides sending promotional messages by sending adorable pictures of baby goats in its text messages. This elicits a warm, fuzzy feeling among customers.

“Using small, personal touches in SMS can be the difference between customers feeling deeply engaged with your company—or unsubscribing,” says Geisler. “Going beyond just words and links helps brands to connect with its customers.” 

Beekman 1802 also runs contests in its text messages, asking customers to reply back, stating which product they prefer out of two options. The company then uses this feedback to make products that will better serve its audience, while keeping its customers engaged—and subscribed.

Three Ships Beauty, a natural skincare product brand, also uses SMS to communicate with its customers beyond texting about promotions or sales. 

When Instagram and Facebook were down, the company took the opportunity to relate to its customers on a human level. In their text messages, Three Ships Beauty reminded its customers how they were all unique and beautiful—especially in a world that’s inundated with picture-perfect advertising images. The brand then followed up with words of appreciation for its customers. 

Maintain customers’ attention with eye-catching imagery and MMS

Drive higher visual impact with dynamic SMS landing pages and captivating imagery. Sassy Jones, a fashion and lifestyle brand, captures its customers’ attention with bold graphics and vibrant colors in its text messages. 

According to research, text messages with MMS enjoy up to 300% more customer engagement than SMS, which do not involve videos and media. Use MMS to create compelling visual experiences in your text messages. Your brand will stand out and get noticed.

Connect with your customers on a deeper level by sending a recorded thank you message. CVG (Constantly Varied Gear) connected with its customers using a MMS text message.

The athletic wear brand verbally thanked its customers for their purchase in the text message, and included a video thank-you message as well. Text messages like these play into the hyperpersonal nature of SMS, attracting customers’ attention while cultivating a stronger emotional connection.

Many companies tend to avoid using MMS because of cost concerns. But segmenting can help brands’ budgets go further.

“If you get more strategic and segment and choose your audiences carefully, you can send MMS for the exact same cost,” Geisler says. “It’s more effective than blasting a whole bunch of texts to people who don’t care.”

Drive stronger customer loyalty to foster growth

Marketing channels may be subject to fluctuation in popularity and saturation, but a truly loyal customer base will stay with you. Building customer loyalty is key to maximizing results from your marketing efforts —and for continued growth in the future. 

Learn more about the hyperpersonal nature of SMS and how you can make the most of it to keep customers engaged

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