Start a Conversation: Crafting a Standout SMS Welcome Series June 13th, 2017 Anna Pfeiffer, Senior Marketing Strategist Anna Pfeiffer, Senior Marketing Strategist Anna Pfeiffer, Senior Marketing Strategist Read More About Anna Anna Pfeiffer, Senior Marketing Strategist While SMS marketing can be a great tool for engagement, identifying the right way to connect with your customers can be a challenge. But if you thoughtfully craft an extraordinary campaign with a valuable offer, your customers will respond and opt in to your SMS marketing program. Events, such as contests and sweepstakes, are great opportunities to connect and can be very well-received if executed correctly. But once a customer subscribes, how do you keep them engaged? A well-crafted welcome series is an excellent foundation for any successful SMS program. It allows you to set expectations, delight your subscribers, collect more information and, ultimately, drive conversions. Read on for tips on building a stellar SMS welcome series. Automate, But Also Personalize To effectively deliver your welcome series, automation is key. But you must give your brand a voice that can truly engage your customer. Your messages shouldn’t sound forced or robotic. Remember: You want this to be a conversation. And be sure to space out your messages so the timing seems natural and not like a random blast. Your timing should also set the expectation for how often they’ll receive SMS messages from you in the future. Follow Through If you promised something when you asked them to sign up, you’d better deliver. Whether it was a discount, an entry into a contest or a specific piece of content, make sure they get it. Some subscribers may then opt out, but genuine brand followers will stick around. Ask Questions and Respond Accordingly A good SMS welcome series is an excellent opportunity to talk to your subscribers and provide them with personalized content. Ask them questions that are relevant to your brand. If you sell skincare, ask them if they struggle with oily skin or dryness. Let them respond with a keyword, and then send back relevant content, such as links to articles that address their issue or products you offer that can help them tackle the problem. Based on these responses, you can also consider segmenting these subscribers into separate lists for future campaigns. Get Graphic Plain texts are straightforward and easy on the subscriber, but including simple images to make your communication more intriguing is a no-brainer. It’s not necessary for every message, but if done occasionally, it can help your content stand out. Whether it’s a product image or even a video, rich content makes for more engaging SMS messages. Be sure to utilize MMS messaging capability within your welcome series and future campaigns. Collect Data As you learn more about your subscribers, not only can you respond to them with relevant content, you can also harness this data for later use with targeted SMS campaigns. If you store the data on the customer record, you can even use it for non-SMS campaigns. Consider what data points will help you market to them in the future. Birthdays are a great example! You can encourage them to share that information by letting them know they’ll receive a special offer on their special day. Go Multi-Channel Use the SMS conversation to see if there are other channels your customer would like to use to interact with you. The big opportunity here is to ask for their email address. Let them reply with their email, and then either merge their email and SMS contact records or create a new one if the email is new to the file. But you must really sell the email sign-up and explicitly get the opt-in for that channel. If you also send an email welcome series, consider the whole customer experience and be sure subscribers won’t be bombarded with messages or receive duplicate content. Cross-referencing both workflows is vital. Crafting an engaging welcome series requires a lot of thought and content-mining, as well as technical setup, but you’ll get an opportunity to build your brand with your customers and have a real conversation that benefits you both. Put the time into developing a solid welcome series, and not only will you retain more subscribers in the long run, you can kiss those dreaded STOP replies good-bye. Read More on This Topic: Say It With a Text: The Secret to Success With SMS This is the sidebar content, HTML is allowed. Mobile Commerce Insights for Retailers This is the sidebar content, HTML is allowed. Mobile: It's Not Just for Millennials Anymore This is the sidebar content, HTML is allowed.