At Helios we live, eat, and breathe SMS marketing. We developed the best SMS marketing platform on the market because we know how crucial it is to other businesses' success. We wanted to be at the forefront of sales enablement and retention. To do that, we had to understand conversational commerce and its role in the current paradigm shift in digital marketing.
Why You Should Use Conversational Commercial
As digital marketing has evolved, so too have the expectations of the customer. Text message marketing, or SMS marketing, is the lifeblood of many businesses because it meets these hefty consumer demands. So what are these demands? Customers want hyper-personalization. They want to communicate at their convenience on their favorite devices – phones. Two-way text conversations are your businesses secret weapon to breaking down the barriers between you, your potential customers, and how your existing customers truly feel.
With drop-shipping, DTC brands, and tons of VC money, it is easier than ever for companies to crop up and eat market share. All of these new businesses make it harder and harder for your business to stand out. Now, more than ever, the most relevant question is, “Why should I buy from your business”? Whether you’re selling goods, services, or a combination of both; you need to connect with people and cut through the minutia.
Customers are increasingly aware of sponsored ads showing up at the top of their Google search. They’re tired of you polluting their LinkedIn and Facebook feeds. In short, they’re wise to your shtick. If you’re a responsible marketer you’ve probably realized that recent privacy updates have made it harder to target customers on social media. This has rendered social media marketing more expensive and less effective.
More competition, rising costs, less effective targeting, we know what you’re thinking – how can my business cut through the noise? The answer is simple. It takes evolving your customer relationships to personal relationships. Getting those customers to interact with the people behind the brand. Personalized communication that makes every customer feel seen and heard. In short, the answer is Conversational Commerce.
What is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce happens at the intersection of text messaging marketing, or SMS marketing, and shopping. Whether the customer is shopping for a good or service, the business conducts outreach and the buyer journey through the purchase funnel via SMS marketing. The conversation starts at the awareness stage, where your company introduces their brand, values, and products. As the conversation continues, your company guides the customer through the consideration stage, explaining the value proposition in more detail and helping the customer decide why your product or service is better. Even after purchase, conversational commerce is there to support the customer.
Conversational commerce is personal, not robotic. It’s not chatbots or email blasts. It’s addressing the needs of that individual customer, building a relationship centered around trust. Conversational commerce meets and exceeds the expectations of the customer by being extremely personal and convenient. Seamless, interactive experiences are provided. In the past, relationships were built with in-store associates. An associate would get to know the consumer: when they liked to shop, their style preferences, budget, background, etc. The associate would then recommend products and services based on those insights.
While the initial transition to a digital economy broke these relationships, it's clear that customers longed to get them back. Companies that could offer more personal, curated experiences exploded, while those clinging to batch and blast emails fell woefully short and eventually disappeared. Creating one on one relationships at scale seemed daunting to those who didn’t think outside of the box. Fortunately for your business we’ve seen over time that the answer is conversational commerce. You don’t have to be a victim of this transition or wonder what to do.
After going from one extreme to the other (in-person to all-digital), the post Covid economy has become a combination of the two. This new form of commerce is a hybrid shopping experience. Brands need to evolve the way they offer their customer service, elevating it to the same level of excellence they aspired to during the traditional in-person economy. Two-way conversations, hyper-personalization, timing, and empathy are the magic potion. SMS marketing isn’t just vomiting information about your product or service; it’s asking probing questions and driving engagement.
SMS Marketing as a Value Add
Conversations remove the friction from ecommerce. Two-way conversations are your company’s value add. They offer an element of convenience and comfort. No one wants to be bounced around or go foraging between different support channels. We’ve all had that experience. You explain who you are, what your inquiry is, and what your desired outcome is only to be told you’re in the wrong place. “We can’t help you with that.” If you’re lucky they’ll transfer you, only to have to explain your entire situation again. This endless loop of pain just repeats and repeats. Even if you (the customer) gets to the right place, you’re so frustrated by that time that you remember the experience as miserable. Especially when you’re looking for a quick and simple answer.
SMS marketing doesn't just benefit the customer, it helps your business. SMS marketing has quickly evolved and surpassed email marketing, becoming the lead channel for digital marketing. Why? Because open rates are just a shade under 100%. Because SMS is your customers’ preferred form of contact. Because there is no accidental spam folder between you and your customer.
Ask yourself this: How long have you had your phone number? For many of us, we’ve only had one, as mobile carriers allow us to bring our number with us while switching. Chances are you’ve had the same mobile phone number forever, or at least for a very long time. A person’s cell number is much more intrinsically tied to their identity than their email address. That’s because the average person has a handful of email addresses. As a consumer, we’ve all experienced rifling through our various email accounts looking for a service ticket or order confirmation.
Saving your customer that frustration is the first step to delighting them. Use your customers’ phone number as the primary identifier. Utilize it to address them with awesome personalized content at the right time. Their phone number will also make it easier to track activity like purchases or returns. Lastly, the customer’s phone number is a great way to quickly look up their profile and see who they spoke to last. This way, when your customer says, “can I speak with Mark, he really helped me last time we spoke” you can ensure that customer gets a repeat outstanding experience.
Helios Powers Conversational Commerce
Helios enables SMS marketing automation via scheduling, saved templates, segmentation, and quick customer lookups. Our features elevate the digital experience of every SMS recipient driving sales and retention via customer satisfaction. We sought to solve the problem of providing amazing experiences at scale. Our end product was a hyper-personalization machine that will serve as the engine of your business. Whether you need to send out a massive blast, or an extremely personal 1:1, Helios gets it done at lightning speed.
We recognized that the demand for personalized commerce experiences isn’t going away. Most of our interactions happen via text nowadays and personalized conversational commerce is no different. People rely on text messaging every day to talk to friends and family. As a function of behavioral evolution, we’ve all gotten used to checking and responding to text messages quickly. We now initiate conversations whenever we want. Those trained behaviors and expectations don't disappear when it comes to brand interaction.
SMS marketing has quickly become the norm for exceptional customer experience. Getting onboard now will still get you on the front end of the curve. Before you know it, not having SMS marketing with intuitive personalization and campaigns will mean you’ve been left in the dust. Without natural conversations, your brand will suffer attrition, which leads to reductions in revenue. It’s not about a cute ‘thank you’ message after a purchase. Your brand needs to engage your pipeline via SMS throughout the entire buyer's journey. Each stage of your funnel should be ready with an SMS campaign and representatives should be ready to handle inbound messages.
In summary, SMS marketing is the present and future of commerce. Consumers want to have meaningful conversations throughout their journey with your brand. Helios has all the features your company needs to be at the forefront of industry disruption. We do it faster, better, and at a surprisingly low cost. Find out more about Helios and revolutionize the way your business grows.
Want to learn more about the power of SMS marketing? Check out our other articles from our blog!