Better Together: Unify Your SMS and Email Strategy to Drive Results
Think you’re getting the most out of your marketing strategy when it comes to SMS and email? Think again. While many brands take a siloed approach, you might well be missing an opportunity to supercharge your marketing by leveraging these customer engagement workhorses in concert.
Both email and SMS have been around for decades, making them mainstays of many brands’ marketing playbooks. But don’t make the mistake of taking these channels for granted—they continue to deliver the most reliable impact when it comes to reaching your customers exactly where they’re most likely to engage. To learn more about best practices for making the most of SMS and email, we spoke with Braze Customer Success Manager Justin Crowe at FORGE 2022, our annual customer engagement conference.
Why You Should Be Using SMS and Email Together
#1: Using email and SMS together maximizes marketing spend and minimizes churn
The numbers say it all. Compared to users who only receive SMS, combining SMS and email leads to a 6.6X increase in purchases per user and 46% increase in repeat buyers. When you unlock the power to test and route customers down either channel to see which induces higher engagement, you gain the ability to make your marketing spend more effective. Plus, you also gain a deeper understanding of how to give your customer the best experience and which touchpoints resonate most for each individual.
#2: Email is a powerful acquisition lever for SMS
Both channels have their strengths, but using SMS and email together enables brands to play to each and flex where appropriate—starting with expanding their customer list. “The world is your oyster,” says Justin, “but your current customers are the best people to first ask to join your SMS list and test how to message.” Braze seamlessly enables the kind of real-time hyper-segmentation required to reach your most valuable customers, like sending a promo code that prompts a person to opt-in to SMS.
#3: They’re table stakes for getting customers in the door
“Imagine your marketing program was a party and you obviously want as many people to come and party with you,” says Justin. If you want to engage or re-engage your customers in your pp or website, you need to be able to drive them there first. Email and SMS remain the most effective out-of-product channels for encouraging prospective customers to opt-in to your marketing efforts. From growing your customer list or driving people to your app or website, the strengths of each channel only multiply when paired together. “Email is great for sending invitations,” explains Justin, “and for engaging the larger group without the high cost, while SMS can provide instant and direct engagement to your high-value users who have clearly shown you that they like partying with you.” It’s time to start prepping your invites and get this party started.
5 Tips for a Winning SMS and Email Strategy
Let’s say you’ve already got one or both channels in your current marketing strategy. We asked Justin how best to go about making the most of this channel mix.
#1: Create a North Star Strategy
Adding a channel like SMS or email is a big undertaking no matter the size of your organization. To avoid major headaches down the line, Justin recommends defining the goals you’re setting out to achieve well ahead of time. When diversifying your channel mix with SMS or email, you’ll need to develop a playbook for each channel in order to unlock the most value. Justin has advice for anyone wondering where to begin: “Who are your target audiences for messaging on SMS? How does this differ from email, push, or IAM? Do you have a different brand voice? This all should be thought through and built out prior to launch.” From there, you can test, learn, and iterate to your heart’s content until you find that Goldilocks ratio.
#2: Get granular with your customer journey
Email and SMS are powerhouses throughout the customer lifecycle, so be sure to factor in exactly when, where, and how you’d like to message customers across each stage. Thanks to Canvas Flow, our new and improved customer journey builder, visualizing and managing a vast suite of channel interactions is a cinch. For instance, during activation, you can easily deploy messages on SMS to prompt a new customer to take an action that’s time-sensitive. In fact, SMS is 45% more effective at driving app downloads when compared to email. It’s also a great way to deliver shipping updates or collect valuable feedback post-purchase, and float discount codes to any customers at risk of churn. Conversely, email is better suited for messages where more real estate is key. Luckily, it’s now possible to deliver a premium brand experience over email without sacrificing your team’s bandwidth. At Braze, we recently launched a drag-and-drop editor that can help marketers speed up the email creation process, with the ability to drop in Content Blocks like headers, footers, and artwork in just a few clicks.
#3: Unify your teams and strategies to align your campaigns
If you want your channels to play nicely together, you need to break down every silo in your path. Blasting your customers with too much noise or conflicting information happens when teams and channel strategies work in isolation. You’ve got to talk to each other, and lean into resources like your Braze Customer Success manager to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investments. “The right tools and strategies are out there to help people feel like you actually care about them, not just their wallets,” Justin says.
#4: Don’t let the unfamiliar be the enemy of the good
When it comes to customer engagement, brands of all stripes can get too cozy in the swimlanes they know—but Justin notes that there’s no time like the present when it comes to embracing SMS. When you encounter a new channel, don’t wait too long to get your hands dirty. “There is not a single marketer I am talking to who knows exactly what to do with their SMS strategy,” he shares. “Communicating with your customers where they’re at is incredibly important and what’s important now is testing, being relevant, and gathering insights.”
#5: Lean into compliance, not away from it
Last but not least, let’s say your team has finally decided to expand into a new channel: SMS. You’re ready to tee up your next campaign, and then a wave of anxiety around the TCPA and CTIA sets in. How are you supposed to scale your list without breaking compliance? Don’t panic. That’s what your onboarding team and Customer Success manager are there for. “We live and breathe this stuff,” says Justin. “We can set you up for success. Beyond this, we have an SMS Operations team dedicated to your success.”
Ready to make the most of your Email and SMS today?
There’s no time like the present to take your channel mix to the next level. When it comes to email and SMS, the possibilities are endless, and we’re committed to helping your team unlock their creativity and potential.
Want to make the most out of your customer journey? Check out our guide to Mastering Modern Campaign Orchestration to find out how you can deliver meaningful, customer-first campaigns to push your business forward.