Today every customer is getting a massive number of the messages from every single subscription he has started. However, only a few of them end up in the conversation and even less in a purchase. In Omnisend, we are kin on boosting the reach and providing more flexibility by contacting your customers through different channels.

In this article, we'll explain how you can start using SMS to send promotional newsletters and Automated messages.

Contents

Before you start
Collect opt-ins for the SMS channel
SMS credits subscription
SMS channel setup on Omnisend
SMS message restrictions
Best Practices
FAQ

Before you start

Collect opt-ins for the SMS channel

SMS is a very intimate channel as it offers a level of proximity that other channels can’t necessarily achieve. With SMS, you’re able to send a direct message to your customers wherever they are, no matter what they’re doing.

It’s essential to get explicit permission to send your marketing updates (not a one-time shipping notification) through SMS. There are a few ways to collect your customers' consent to receive your marketing through the SMS channel.

Sign-up forms

Collecting your customers with Sign-up forms is definitely one of the best solutions. You can disclose what type of notifications they subscribe to, provide an incentive by offering a discount, and even start the dialogue by adding SMS message to the Welcome sequence.

To comply with the TCPA requirements, you may also add a TCPA legal text to the Sign-up form. Find more information on the Sign-up forms set-up in the dedicated article.

Subscriber Preference Page

It is always a good idea to provide your customers with the ability to update their subscription preferences. Along with some other options, you may add the input field for the phone number.

Just like with the Sign-up forms, you can add TCPA legal text to the Subscriber Preference page and start collecting TCPA consents.

Store checkout (for Shopify users)

After changing some of the texts you have posted on the Shopify check-out page, you can also start collecting your customers' opt-ins for the SMS channel when they place Orders or Abandon Carts.

Find the instruction for adjusting your Shopify store settings and Omnisend account settings in the SMS opt-in collection guide.

Import from the file

When importing contacts with the phone numbers, you can choose whether you want to upload them as subscribed to the SMS channel or not.

Important! If you are collecting your customers' phone numbers with other applications, you won't be able to pass you contacts with subscribed to the SMS channel status.

Segment SMS subscribers

Once you started collecting the opt-in for the SMS channel, you may create a Segment of the customers subscribed to this channel. 

SMS credits subscription 

To start using the SMS channel for your marketing you need to make sure you have enough SMS credits in your account. The number of the SMS message you can send with a single SMS credit is based on the price for a single SMS in your recipients' countries.

  • On the Trial plan, you get $1 credit for SMS messages sending. Since the price for a single message in the US is $0.015, with $1 credit, 66 texts can be sent to US numbers.
  • On the Pro and Enterprise plans, you get FREE SMS credits equivalent to the price of your subscription. If you are paying $99 on the Pro plan, you get $99 on your SMS messages budget for month.
  • On any of the paid plans (Standard, Pro, and Enterprise), SMS credits can be purchased as a subscription service.

For the detailed information on the SMS pricing on each of the paid plans check the dedicated article. 

SMS channel setup on Omnisend

In Omnisend, you can use SMS to send scheduled Campaigns to notify your customers about upcoming events or sale, as well as Automated texts on any of the following occasions:

  • Welcome message
  • Browse Abandonment
  • Product Abandonment
  • Abandoned Cart
  • Order Confirmation
  • Cross-Sell
  • Order Follow-up
  • Cancellation Confirmation
  • Customer Reactivation
  • Birthday message
  • Customer Feedback
  • Custom message
  • Shipping Confirmation

Let's consider a few examples of the SMS channel use:

  • One-time off SMS Campaign

For your very best sales and promotions, you can add a bit of urgency in your text messages. With SMS, you can jump straight to the topic and make sure the message is delivered on time.

  • Only SMS channel-based workflow

For example, you can send an Upsell at Shipping confirmation. Just like any other transactional message, Shipping Confirmation has a colossal opt-in rate. The customer is waiting to receive critical information related to the order he has placed, so there is no way he will miss this message.

  • Multi-channel workflow, where you can include email, SMS and any other channel to the flow

For example, Customer Re-activation sequence where you send a short text message informing your customers about upcoming email. If your customer was inactive for such a long period, sending the Email message alone may not be enough. Therefore, SMS reminder followed by the email message with the discount code is the best way to go!

SMS message restrictions

  • Currently we only support Standard SMS messages with no images in the message. MMS messages are not supported.
  • Display of custom Sender's name depends on the recipients country. In case the sender's name is not supported in your selected country, our selected phone number will be displayed. Check here if the countries you are sending to support sender's name.
  • We don't track open rates for SMS. To tack SMS engagement, add a clickable link to your store and track the click rate in our reports.
  • Your clients will not be able to reply to your SMS messages. That's why adding a link will also help you communicate to your clients. You can add a link to a specific product, category, or a post. You should also add opt-out instruction to allow your customers to opt-out any time. Note, it is mandatory to add the opt-out instruction to all non-transaction SMS sent to US customers.
  • We always recommend to keep your SMS message short, less than 160 characters long. A standard SMS can contain up to 160 characters, depending on the symbols used. It's up to your recipients provider, but some carriers might not deliver the SMS message which is longer than 160 characters. 

Important! Check the table below to see how special characters in your message, such as different alphabet, can affect the number of SMS you are charged for:

Best Practices

There are clear best practices for SMS marketing that will determine whether your campaign flies or fails. Follow these tips to ensure maximum results from your next campaign:

  • Get an explicit consent to receive marketing emails through SMS channel: You need to explain your customers what type of the updates you will be sending. If they provide the phone number expecting to receive the Shipping Confirmation text, you have no right to send your marketing. 
  • Provide your customers with the explicit, always available opt-out instruction. If your customer doesn't want to be contacted through the SMS channel, he should be able to unsubscribe from the SMS channel only.
  • Start the conversation by sending transactional text messaging: You don’t want to send an SMS campaign to your customers out of the blue, especially if you’ve never sent them a message before. Even if you have permission to do so, introduce your customer to SMS via an opt-in or a transactional message to start the conversation. Then move towards promotion once you’ve opened that door.
  • Think about geography and timing: If you’re sending SMS campaigns cross-border, this is definitely something to take into account. Segment your customers based on the country codes and schedule them accordingly.
  • Combine SMS with email and other channels for maximum impact. The benefits of using SMS marketing are tangible, and this doesn't mean you should forego email marketing for its character-limited cousin. SMS can pack an extra punch for time-sensitive offers.

FAQ 

My recipient did not receive the SMS message? Check our SMS Troubleshooting article or contact our support team for assistance.

Why SMS message sender's name is not showing for the recipient? Display of the custom sender's name in the text message your client receives depends on the country restrictions your client's carrier is based in. Check the article on SMS Sender's Name restrictions for the full list.

What number will be shown if the sender's name is not received? When the display of the sender's name is restricted due to the country restrictions, one of our selected phone numbers is shown to the customer.

How do we sync phone numbers from different platforms? Currently, only the phone number synced from Shopify can be mapped with subscribed to SMS channel status. For the rest of the platforms and integration (of phone numbers sync is designed), the phone number will be added to the customers' profile along with non-subscribed to the SMS channel status.

Why don't I see any click rates for the SMS message sent? Since we are not able to track opens for the SMS Campaign, we suggest adding a link to the message. If you didn't add any links to the content of the message, the click rate wouldn't be shown.

How can I ask my current subscribers to provide me their phone number? You can target them by a Landing page with the input field for the phone number or provide one in the Subscriber Preference Center.

Can my customers respond to the text message I send? Currently, it is not possible to respond to the SMS messages you are sending. Therefore, we recommend using the wording, not calling for action. However, your US customers may reply with STOP and HELP keywords

Why am I not able to purchase SMS credits? SMS credits subscription is available on the paid plan only. On the Free Trial, we provide you with a $1 to try out the service.

What's the easiest way to conduct tests for SMS messages in automation? We recommend triggering the automation with your phone number by executing the action specified in the trigger. This way, both trigger and message content can be examined.

Can I send image(s) via SMS message? or can I send MMS? Currently we don't support image/MMS in our SMS service

Why my contact has non-subscribed/unsubscribed to SMS status? To start receiving SMS messages from your brand, the customer should provide his opt-in record and explicit consent to receive marketing through the SMS channel.

Have any additional questions? Talk to us at support@omnisend.com.

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