A person holding a smart phone receiving SMS marketing

Alongside social media and email, SMS is one of the best marketing tools businesses should be using today. While SMS lacks the visuals of other marketing techniques, it leverages a powerful and wide-reaching network for immediate communication with your customers and audience. That means SMS is one of the most powerful tools for growing your business’ reach and retention. We’ll explain in more detail why your business should be sending your customers texts.

SMS is a Powerful Marketing Channel

SMS or texting is simply one of the best ways to communicate with your customers and clients. Over 5 billion people in the world have mobile phones and another billion at least have access to one. In Canada, over 88% of the population has their own smartphone and over 45% check their phone at least every half-hour. Plus, unlike apps or other communication methods, phone users rarely silent or mute their text notifications. This combination means SMS offers a reliable marketing and communication channel with an incomparable reach.

Customers Like SMS

A powerful communication method means little if people don’t like using it. Thankfully, that’s not the case for SMS. Instead, customers prefer SMS communication to other methods, particularly phone calls. That’s not just for friends and family either. Over 93% of customers want businesses to communicate to them through SMS texts. That preference and the direct contact to users’ phones has incredible results, with SMS messages averaging at staggering 98% open and 45% response rates. This makes it both an extremely efficient and cost-effective marketing channel.

The Convenience of Automatic Updates 

There are numerous platforms for SMS messaging like Klaviyo that include automations. These can be used to update customers about their packages, orders, or appointments. Automatic cart reminders or new product/service announcements through SMS are also perfect for helping to drive sales and foster retention. The immediacy of these updates is convenient for customers and their automation requires little-to-no input from your business to send. SMS updates can be tied directly into your ecommerce platform just like emails. This will easily allow you to send updates on either or even both powerful marketing channels.

Customer Service

Over the past decade of long holds and confusing phone menus, people have developed a distaste for customer service call centers. As a result, chat and text forms of customer service have become their preference. These don’t require customers waiting on hold and can be done at the same time as work or another task. As a result, SMS offers customers more flexibility and they feel their personal schedule is respected. SMS customer service is also beneficial for businesses who can automate simple requests or questions. This allows staff to address more complicated issues more quickly. This is especially useful in SMS, because people and your business can communicate with each other without relying on cellular data.

Getting Feedback

Texting is convenient, which is why we all tend to communicate with our friends and family through SMS. That’s the same reason why SMS is great for businesses to collect feedback from their customers. Simple messages that ask customers to rank a previous product or to answer a poll require only a numerical response, which customers can send in a second. In turn, your business collects valuable customer feedback. The same convenience is also great for getting customer confirmations or any other quick responses.

Perfect for Simple and Direct Communication

SMS is not as versatile as some other marketing channels. It can’t include high resolution images, easy to click buttons, or lengthy text. While that can be a limitation of SMS generally, it’s also a key factor for its marketing success. Its simplicity and concision make it perfect for quick and direct communication that can still impact its audience. Not every message you send customers or audience needs to be lengthy to generate buzz and sales. Ads are also sometimes only a sentence or two, and yet can still generate impressive returnsfor your business.

The Power of SMS is Right at Your Fingertips

You should now have a good sense of why SMS is a powerful marketing tool for any business. It leverages the power of a wide communication network that can be found at nearly everyone’s fingertips. Using SMS will help your business grow its reach while providing customers with convenience. If you’re ready to start incorporating SMS into your digital marketing strategy, looking to optimize your messaging, or want to learn more, be sure to contact our marketing team at Rosewood.

Woman with gray hair having a personalized customer experience on her computer thanks to help from AI

We’re continuing to see the many powerful applications for AI. Along with potentially useful creative tools, AI excels at data collection and parsing. Now, we’re seeing that algorithmic power combine with marketing expertise to create a personalized and relevant customer experiences for small businesses. Rosewood will explain what personalization and relevance in marketing are, and how AI is a powerful tool for a marketing team to create personally relevant marketing for any customer or client experiences.

Personalization, Relevancy, and AI in Marketing

Personalization has been a major tool in marketing for over a decade. It emphasizes marketing that communicates personally to the individual members of your audience over broader, more general marketing campaigns that lack a specific target. While this might include one-off custom communications or exchanges, it can also be automated. For example, emails or messages can automatically address receivers by their first names. 

Overall, customers have come to expect personalized experiences that respect their individuality and interests. At least 71% of customers expect a personalized experience, and a greater 76% are frustrated when they don’t have one. Personalization has also demonstrated an average 10-15% revenue lift, which increases to 25% for direct to consumer businesses. These individualized experiences create stronger personal connections, which lead to more customers and clients returning for more purchases and services. This is where small businesses can excel over larger companies that typically provide more generalized customer experiences.

Thanks to AI, more complex and valuable data can be gathered from users to create even more personalized marketing that is relevant to customers’ interests and experiences. This is why relevancy has become an essential marketing criterion alongside personalization. These algorithms and AI automations can consider browsing history, page time, social media data, and more. Marketers can then use this information and tell these programs how to generate product recommendations, personalized notifications, curated packages, communications, and more. These AI help your business understand the true, individual interests of each of your customers so that any marketing that reaches them is relevant.  

Where AI Can Help with Personalization and Relevancy

As we’ve covered before, AI is a general term. It’s recently become the common title for various programs which can learn from data to accomplish more complex tasks. For personalized and relevant marketing, these AI can sift through an overwhelming amount of user information that would take far more time for a human. That’s why AI is a powerful tool for small businesses who usually won’t be able to dedicate a person to poring through this information. Instead, AI is a valuable tool for your marketing team to build effective strategies for relevant marketing campaigns. We’ll go over some of the most effective uses of AI in personalized marketing.

E-Commerce Tracking

When customers are on your website or digital store, AI software can track what they browse and for how long. It will also track any purchases, wishlisting, shares, etc. This tracking isn’t especially new, but more developments in machine learning allow AI to start grouping and interpreting the data. All that behavioral information from many customers, allows an AI to develop customer groups and profiles according to their interests and various other demographics like age and area. These can then be used for a plethora of personalized and relevant marketing strategies.

Relevant Email Marketing

With this detailed profile generation, AI can then begin to automatically message subscribed customers about product recommendations or send communications that are more relevant to their interests. This will still require a human to create and design the message and templates. However, the AI can take over the busy work of adding appropriate products and sending the emails off. 

Your marketing team can also use these AI-generated profiles to analyze your audience and segment your email recipients to start creating emails more relevant to each group’s interests. This will lead to more opens and clicks, since they will better grab your audience’s attention. Again, AI can’t quite handle the creation process itself. Human expertise is still necessary for effective personalized marketing.

Personalized Website Customer Experiences

By tracking their ecommerce behavior, AI incorporated into your site can start to tailor customers’ website experience to be more relevant. Products listed on the front page or recommended to them at other browsing stages can be specified to their personal interests. This keeps them in your store and more likely to purchase, since they will continue to see what is relevant to their interests in your business.

Personalized Chatbots

Customer service is an important part of your daily, individualized marketing, and instant messaging through your website, social media, and SMS has become a fundamental customer service tool. Those messages can also be overwhelming and chatbots can help manage the flood. However, they are also often robotic and simple. Current advances in AI famously happening with Chat-GPT and Google Bard are allowing chat bots to accomplish more complex tasks and communications. They can address the customer by name, and even potentially pull up their profile’s information. They aren’t quite at the level of replacing a human’s social finesse or able to handle more complex inquiries. However, they have made great strides where simple interactions can be accomplished entirely automatically for a pleasant and personalized customer experience.

Don’t Forget About Human Expertise

AI technology is currently surging in its development and it’s still hard to see where it will end up in the coming months and years. It’s already showing it’s a powerful tool for personalized marketing, but don’t let it completely override the human touch of your business either. Ultimately, personalized connections are human ones, and customers want that human connection with your business. Similarly, AI is still limited in its abilities. Analyzing information, writing messages, creating visual content, and more still require human ingenuity and expertise. If you want to talk more about how you can strategize and incorporate AI into your digital marketingecommerce, or web design, be sure to contact Rosewood Marketing.

Paige working at a laptop, curating to build the best email audiences for our clients

Email is still one of the best ways to communicate with and market to your audience. It remains an essential communication tool used by the majority of the population and is how most customers prefer to receive communications from brands. However, email’s strength as a marketing tool depends on the quality of your audience list. An engaged audience is interested in your newsletters, with a substantial portion opening, reading, and clicking them. The key is building that perfect subscriber list. We’ll explain the proven strategies for building your best email audience list in this blog.

A Visible and Present Email Signup

You might only just be starting your email newsletter and need to build your subscriber list or you’re looking to grow it to a more substantial following. To get more users, you will need them to voluntarily sign up and explicitly consent to receiving your emails. Provide an email signup that is always accessible to users. The standard place to put an email signup is in your website’s footer. This will provide a visible but unobtrusive signup form on every page of your site. No matter what page a user visits, they can see the option to sign up. Another option is at your point of sale (POS) online and in-person. Your online checkout can include a simple checkbox where users can provide their consent to receive email signups. As customers check out in your brick-and-mortar store, you can similarly provide an opportunity for them to sign up by offering digital receipts.

A Website Popup

Another standard method for collecting emails is a website prompt that offers users an email signup form. This ensures every visitor learns about your email list in case they do not see the form in your website’s footer. Be sure to delay this popup to at least 30 seconds or one minute after someone has been browsing your website. Also, the popup should be easily closed and not obscure the entire webpage. If a popup is too immediate and obtrusive, it will only annoy new visitors to your website. Imagine someone asking you to buy a car before getting a test drive or even seeing the interior. Give users a moment to recognize your business’ value proposition so their interest is piqued. They will then be more likely to want to sign up for your newsletter when prompted.

Enticing Sign Ups

It can help to incentivize users and customers to sign up to your email newsletter. A prevalent but effective strategy is to provide a one-time discount to those who subscribe to your newsletter for the first time. This is great for those already browsing and/or shopping on your site, where the footer and popup can notify them of this discount. To attract other users, we recommend hosting a giveaway or contest where signing up to your newsletter is a requirement for entry. With an enticing prize, users will happily agree to provide their email. Note if you are a service-based business providing a discount will also work, or alternatively, you could provide a sampling of what you provide, such as a free template or one module of a course you provide.

Collect Pertinent Information for Your List

You want to make your signup process simple and fast, otherwise users may abandon it and never join your list. However, there is some essential information you want to collect. Besides the necessary email and explicit consent, you will also want to collect their first and last name. This will help specify the customer in your email system, and you will be able to automatically send emails personalized to their first name in the body text and subject line of future emails. Such personalization gets their attention and can increase open rates by up to 50%

Further Personalization for the Best Email Audience

More information about your email subscribers will allow you to craft even more personalized emails. This can include automated communications, such as product recommendations. You don’t and can’t collect that data from the start. Instead, that is information you can gather based on their purchases or browsing behaviour on your website. Email platforms can connect to your ecommerce to unify this information. Another method for obtaining some more of this information is to provide voluntary surveys that help you collect valuable information. 

The Best Email Audience is a Clean Email Audience

A lot of this has focused on growing and expanding the information in your email list. However, a bigger email list is not always better. Be sure to regularly clean out your email audience of any disengaged members. Subscribers who don’t open or click your emails will negatively impact these rates, but more importantly, won’t give you a proper sense of what email content is resonating. Set up automations that both sunset and try to win back these subscribers. In either case, you will have a reengaged subscriber or cleaned your list to be more effective.

Constant Maintenance

All these strategies are essential to building your best email audience. Just like the perfect garden, the truly best email list needs to be constantly maintained with sowing, fertilizing, pruning, and weeding. If you’re wanting to start email newsletters, expand your audience, or set up crucial automations, contact us about our expert email services.