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Unprepared Ep 9 - SMS Marketing & Quick Wins with Alex Beller of Postscript

Timestamps

  • [00:00] - Intro
  • [00:59] - Things that merchants should do now
  • [03:37] - Why you need to build your list early
  • [04:13] - Ways to make customers opt-in for SMS
  • [08:00] - Short term strategy

Resources:

  • Alex Beller’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alex-beller-70452852
  • Postscript Website: https://www.postscript.io/

Key Points:

  • Postscript is an app that helps with customer communication.
  • The issue with brands when they want to start their idea at a later date is that SMS is hyper-regulated. 
  • Everyone who gets into SMS starts from scratch. You have to build your opt-in and you need the explicit written consent from each contact in order to text them
  • SMS channel is sensitive and needs a personal, targeted approach. 
  • If you send all your contacts a text campaign without them opting in your list, you may be served the class-action lawsuit for millions of dollars.
  • The statutory rate is $500 dollars per message you send in class action penalties.
  • Grow your list early so that when quarter 4 (October to December) comes, you're ready to send out marketing campaigns via SMS to compliant, opted in subscribers. 
  • Gather your opt-ins at check out. Although it won't be high volume, you're still gathering compliant opt-ins. 
  • Utilize mobile pop-ups. Add an additional field for phone numbers on your mobile collection pop-ups. 
  • You can still keep your email collection going while increasing your collection for mobile numbers. 
  • Postscript can help you with the collection. They have all the compliance language on their website which brands can use. 
  • You can also try the two-screen pop-up or it's email first then it goes to SMS, or have them both on one page. 
  • Starting the collection by adding a box to your mobile pop up and adding the proper language at checkout. You can gain thousands of opt-ins within six months from when you started. 
  • You don't have to start marketing yet since it’s about building the asset. The contact list is built so that you have a huge list of engaged customers in Q4 in the holiday season.
  • About 23% of all messages that have gone out in March have been related to COVID or Coronavirus.
  • It's been a really positive sentiment since brands are checking in with their customers.
  • According to the sentiment analysis on all the responses to those campaigns, the sentiment was so high and people appreciated this non-marketing touchpoint in a pretty personal channel.
  • It's a message for brands that it is okay to send a text that isn't a marketing message or a call to action, especially in a time like this.

Transcript

Chase Clymer  

All righty, and another episode of Unprepared here. And today, we're going to welcome Alex Beller. Alex is coming to us from Postscript, an amazing channel, I guess, as you will. SMS is the channel. You're an app, I guess, I don't know, what do you guys like? How do you like to self-identify?

Alex Beller  

I mean, I think everyone who builds tech products wants to be called a platform. But I think that's the honest answer is we're an app. We're now let's be honest about it.

Chase Clymer  

Alright, so from the perspective of an app, yeah, the whatever. You guys’ platform is amazing. We recommend Postscript highly. So it's an SMS platform. It helps with communication with your customers and right now with Ecommerce blowing up and self-imploding at the same time. I don't...it's very all over the place. Something you can't control is the communication you have with your customers. 

So I wanted to have Alex on and talk about, hey, these are some things you should probably be looking at doing if you're not doing or maybe testing if you aren't doing them. So with that, Alex, do you want to jump in here and...

Alex Beller  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

Start ranting?

Alex Beller  

Absolutely. I appreciate you bringing me on. So I want to talk about two things today. One is a long term investment that every merchant should be making right now. And the other is a little bit more short term content discussion and customer engagement discussion. So let's start with the long term investment. 

So last year, going through q4, we saw enormous demand from new merchants trying to get started. In October and November, merchants were like, "Oh man, I really want to text my customers on Black Friday." Which you know what? That's a pretty good idea. I am someone who's anti lots and lots of SMS campaigns, I think the channel because it's so sensitive and it can be annoying needs a very personal targeted approach. But sending a campaign out on Black Friday pretty reasonable. But...

Chase Clymer  

Makes sense.

Alex Beller  

The issue that comes up when brands arrive at that idea of late is that unlike email, SMS is so hyper regulated, that you can't have the idea to text all your customers on Monday and do it on Tuesday. Instead, everyone who gets an SMS is starting from scratch. What that means is that you've to build your opt-in subscriber list up from zero and get what's called explicit written consent from every single user in order to text them. And in layman's...

Chase Clymer  

So you're saying that this giant list of customers I have from the 10,000 orders I have already shipped, and I've got 7000 phone numbers here, you're saying I just can't use that? 

Alex Beller  

I'm saying if you send them a text campaign...first of all using platforms like PostScript, you wouldn't be able to. But if you send them all a text, you will probably be served a class action lawsuit for millions of dollars because the statutory rate is $500 per message you send in class action penalties. So it's totally obscene and out of control. But no, you cannot do that.

Chase Clymer  

That's why I asked the question. 

Alex Beller  

So...a very good leading question. So, why I bring this up, is because even though there are lots of folks out there who...all of us are thinking about other things right now and life is distracting. But now is a really good opportunity to just start building your list. 

Maybe you can't wrap your head around marketing flows yet. Maybe you don't have the bandwidth to think about a campaign calendar for SMS. But if you think that you might want to come Q4, be sending out marketing campaigns, be sending out triggered flows via SMS, now's the time to start building that opt-in asset so that whenever you are ready and when q4 does come around, you're sitting on this gigantic pile of compliantly opted in subscribers who are going to open your message at, like 90 to 98% rate. 

So there are a couple of like simple, specific things that I would recommend for people who just, "Alright, let's start to build the list, but like, I don't want to think much about it". 

Chase Clymer  

Alright, let's hear them. 

Alex Beller  

So the first is gathering opt-ins at checkout. This is so basic. It won't be that high volume, but we have a guide up at postscript.io where you can go. If you message with our site, our team will point it to you as well. There's a little chat widget on the site. And you can add the proper compliance language so that at checkout, you're gathering compliant opt-ins. That's like a really good [and] easy thing. 

The other thing I want to bring up is how many people would you guess, are utilizing a mobile pop up of some kind? How many merchants?

Chase Clymer  

I'd say 75%. 

Alex Beller  

So I'm...what I'm here to advocate for is every one of those 75%, I don't want to mess with your email collection rates, I don't want to preach to you take this tech down and put something else up. But add a phone number as an additional field on your existing mobile collection pop-ups. Don't mess with your email collection. Keep that going. If you want to really go in on SMS and focus on collecting phone numbers, we can talk about that. 

But on mobile, when your users are literally on their phone, add a phone number as an additional field. We have all the compliance language on our site. You can grab it copy and paste. But there's a bunch of different ways to do that. 

You can have a two-screen pop-up or it's email first then goes to SMS. Or you could just have them both on one page. But starting this collection effort now in just those really simple two ways of adding a box to your mobile pop up and adding the proper language at checkout, you'll be sitting on thousands of opt-ins six months from now. And that'll be more than worth the hours of effort to execute this today.

Chase Clymer  

Oh, yeah, I mean, that's what you got to do. We actually just migrated a brand. That's a band. I'm not gonna say who they were. But we brought a metal band over and the way that they split it up was they're doing email collection on desktop. And then the widget is SMS, I just flipped you off, SMS collection (laughs) on mobile, so they're just putting it right down the middle. That's one way to do it. 

Alex Beller  

Yes, it's super simple and clean. Some folks want to keep email on mobile and like add SMS as a secondary optional field. That's cool. You have to be sure to get the compliance language right there too. 

But either way, to your point, this is just like, let's get this fundamental up there. You don't start marketing to them, yet. You can send a confirmation if you want to, but just to be building the asset, just so that you're sitting on a huge list of engaged folks in q4 in the holiday season.

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely, I mean...right now is the time to do it. Obviously, if you are a little newer and you are getting some of these sales, SMS is a great channel. I think if you haven't even started on email either, get started there. 

Alex Beller  

Yeah.

Chase Clymer  

You need to start collecting this information, make sure that your Facebook Pixels installed, make sure that your analytics is set up right. You have all that jazz...so you have all that data. 

So you know when, come the big time for the sales the holiday season, you've got all this data that you can remarket properly. And you can get some cheaper sales, especially when it comes, what owned marketing I guess is the big term these days with SMS and email. Alex, is there anything else that I forgot to ask you?

Alex Beller  

No, no on that. But if I have a minute, I want to talk about one other short term thing.

Chase Clymer  

You have a minute and 55 seconds.

Alex Beller  

Great. We're going to keep it short. So we've been pulling a bunch of data over the last week and looking at what's changing the content of all the messages going out on our platform. And what's interesting is that about 23% of all messages that have gone out in the last month have been related to COVID or Coronavirus, which is a startling, huge percentage. 

But we did some, for example, the most used emoji in posts or at messages the last month, it's like the face with the mask on it emoji. And I bring that up because it's been really positive sentiment. It's brands like checking in with their customers and saying, like, "Hey, we know this is a difficult time, stay home, stay safe. We're with you reply back and we'll chat with you." 

And we did a sentiment analysis on all the responses to those campaigns and the sentiment was so high, people appreciated this non-marketing touchpoint in a pretty personal channel from a store or a brand that they probably feel a connection to because they opted into SMS. 

And so I just want to share that insight because the sentiment reaction from users was so high that I just want to share that it's okay to do that. It's okay to send a text that isn't a marketing message that isn't a call to action, especially in a time like this. Just a heartfelt simple check-in written from the owner of the brand and signed off personally. I think that's a great use of the channel.

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I would second that as well. Alex, thank you so much for coming on.

Alex Beller  

Yeah. Thank you.

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A few weeks ago the world changed forever. Every business, every entrepreneur, every single person was unprepared for the sudden change we'd all experience. I'm going to use this time to create content focused on what you can do right now to help your business grow. We're all in this together, we're all unprepared.