The Unofficial Shopify Podcast: Entrepreneur Tales

Lessons Learned from 7-figure SMS Marketing

Episode Summary

Adding SMS Marketing to your BFCM strategy.

Episode Notes

After early success in 2017 with SMS while working at Lumee - Kim Kardashian's favorite selfie case - Jeremy Horowitz went all in on SMS marketing.

You'll hear:

Jeremy has been working in the eCommerce space for 5 years building both eCommerce brands and tools for eCommerce companies. He currently runs an agency and podcast of the same name – Messenger Mastermind – where he works with 7-Figure eCommerce companies to build out their Owned Channels (Email, SMS, Push Notifications, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Groups) to drive more profitable revenue growth.

Previously, Jeremy was LuMee's (aka Kim Kardashian's favorite selfie case) eCommerce Manager where he owned the DTC experience of and built tripled the Revenue generated from Email year over year. In addition he also built the SMS, Messenger and Push programs to drive a combined 6-Figures in Revenue per year.

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Episode Transcription

Kurt Elster: Hello, and welcome back to the Unofficial Shopify Podcast. I’m your host, Kurt Elster, and today, we continue our discussion of the SMS revolution. I am firm, a firm believer that the SMS revolution is coming whether you like it or not, and lots of merchants push back on it. “Oh, people are so protective of their phone numbers, and SMS is gonna scare them.” And sure, that possibility is real, but the same thing exists to a much lesser extent in email. More importantly, the opportunity here is massive, and whether or not you like it, your competitors are certainly going to jump. At least some of them are gonna get involved with SMS, but it’s already here.

You can start using SMS today. In fact, you could start using it in the next hour. We, in this episode, we’re gonna go over largely two things. First half is going to be back to basics. Okay, here’s what you need to know about SMS. Here are the tools to check out. Here’s how you get started in literally 30 minutes. And then the second half is if you’re… Once you’ve got SMS set up, or you already have it set up, go ahead and skip forward about 20 minutes. We’re going to discuss Black Friday Cyber Monday strategies using SMS.

And to tell me about it is Jeremy Horowitz, from Messenger Mastermind. You just heard Mark Arruda last week, from Constantly Varied Gear, talking about their six-figure launch strategy. That was something he worked with Jeremy to come up with, and they ended up establishing this agency together, Messenger Mastermind, so this is a good follow up to that episode. Jeremy, thank you for joining me.

Jeremy Horowitz: Thanks for having me on.

Kurt Elster: All right. Let’s start with the easy one. Who are you, and why are you in love with SMS? What’s your attraction to this thing?

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, definitely. So, I am Jeremy Horowitz. I am currently the host of the Messenger Mastermind podcast, and we also run an agency of the same name, helping primarily Shopify, but all e-commerce merchants build out their owned channels outside of email, so if you think about obviously SMS, what we’re gonna talk about today, Facebook Messenger, push notifications, how do you ripple out the big wins that you’ve built out in your email provider, most likely Klaviyo, into those other channels, as well, so that you can diversify your marketing strategy, so you’re not completely dependent on one platform.

And honestly, this really came from my time as an e-commerce manager for a Shopify Plus brand called LuMee. For anyone who’s not familiar, they are Kim Kardashian’s favorite selfie case, and about two, three years ago, I started managing their e-com site, and one of my first big projects was email. So, migrating from Mailchimp to Klaviyo, building out flows and automations, plus campaign segmentations, we tripled the revenue that the channel brought in to in about a year and a half.

And then from there, I was like, “Oh, well okay, we’ve built all this open stuff, but we need to continue to grow.” For anyone who’s not familiar, we sold phone cases and phone accessories, so all of our traffic was on mobile devices, and as you really start to dig through and kind of hit your upper limits of email, you really realize that email is an amazing channel. I always refer to it as old reliable, but it is not growing, and it’s also not where… It’s not the first place that everyone is on their phone. SMS is. Right? You text your friends all the time. You text probably coworkers. You text probably everyone that you know.

And so, back in late 2017, we were really interested in testing out the channel. Since then, for the brands that I’ve worked with, and that are our clients, we’ve driven over a million dollars in revenue directly attributed to SMS. I’ve seen it be an enormous win, and there’s a lot of really, really cool things that you can do in SMS, that you probably could do in email, but they’re just not gonna be close to as effective, and really ever since then, it’s really been an important part of every marketing program that I recommend any e-commerce company today build. Just because of the immense and immediate results it will drive for your store.

Kurt Elster: All right, quick follow up there. You said, “Hey, there are things with SMS you could do in email, but they won’t be as effective.” Give me an example of that.

Jeremy Horowitz: The speed of the open rates of SMS allow you to do some really interesting things. So, one quick stat to throw out is 90% of SMS messages are opened within the first three minutes of being received, whereas email, right, I mean it could take a week for someone to open your email. And so, something cool that we’ve done is run instant flash sales, or instant giveaways, where instead of giving someone, like the first 500 people within the next two days to sign up for this giveaway, we’ve even tested some stuff of like the first 100 people in the next 10 minutes.

And it just… It’s insane to see the traffic move on, like those real-time stats in either Shopify or Google Analytics, of seeing the visitors on site, it literally… As soon as you send that message out, you see people on site, and it just allows you to do things a lot faster. Sorry, I’m gonna just take this, because I really love this story.

So, the second thing we did was we personalized all of our text messages back at LuMee, so we would send all of our text messages being like, “Hey, this is Maria from the LuMee team,” and then we sent the marketing message. And people really thought Maria was a real person. They thought that she was a member of our team, and when they would really, like when we would send either funny text messages, or something a little bit more personalized, sometimes the people… They would actually reach out to our customer support team and respond like, “Hey, can I talk to Maria? We’re having a great conversation in text message,” and they wanted to continue that in either email or live chat follow up. And so, that was always something that was just… and it’s that extra personal touch, that I think you could probably try to recreate that in email, but it’s just so much more difficult.

Kurt Elster: Let’s run through the basics of getting started with SMS. Actually, let’s back up. Give me some of those SMS stats. Open rate, click-through rate, that kind of thing.

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, sure. So, right now, within 24 hours of sending out a text message, we’re seeing and you should expect a 95% open rate. Click-through rates, on the low end of 7%, and on the high end anywhere north of around 20% to 25% of people actually clicking through and getting to the site.

We also track a pretty interesting stat, which is dollar per subscriber, so if you divide the total revenue that a channel has driven to your store by everyone on your list, and we see that SMS is by far and away the highest revenue driven per the number of subscribers we have on our list for all of the brands that we work with.

And so, when you think about that, if you have ever considered of exiting a business, or talked to investors, in e-commerce specifically, one of the first questions you’ll always get is how big is your list. That’s almost always referred to as email, and so if you really think about building your SMS list, which has a significantly higher value. I mean, for some of our clients, their dollar per subscriber in email is around 30 to 50 cents, whereas their dollar per subscriber for SMS is 9 to 10 dollars. That list just becomes one of your most valuable assets, and we’re just seeing really consistently across the board that in email, SMS, Messenger, push, even organic Facebook channels, SMS is always the number one channel for dollar per subscriber.

Kurt Elster: Whoa. Okay, so this thing is highly effective, and highly engaged. We’ve made the case for it. Give me the basics of getting started.

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, so I like to think of it as the kind of… I’m probably gonna catch a lot of flack for this. The more effective email. So, the first and simplest way is to download one of the SMS vendors from the app store, so we work a lot and we work closely with Postscript. But we’ve also had relationships with SMSBump, Retention Rocket. If you… I’m sure you’ve heard the news by now, Klaviyo is gonna be rolling out SMS, as well.

The most important thing is just to get started today, and start building your lists, and so download the app, set up all of the compliance and regulation stuff that you need. Make sure that when you’re capturing the person’s phone number, you very, very clearly state that you are capturing their phone number to send specifically marketing messages. Something that is an enormous no-no, and definitely do not do, is email phone numbers that you have previously collected, that you did not explicitly say you’re gonna be sending marketing messages.

And then once you do that, you… All of them have a checkout integration. So, literally just go and make the phone number that you capture at checkout optional, and change the messaging to say, “Sign up for,” I think our typical line is like, “Sign up for our best deals and discounts through SMS and email.” That way at checkout, every single person who hits your cart, you’re gonna collect their email, which should, if you haven’t already set this up, definitely set up an abandoned cart flow in email. And then you can literally… We even most of the time just copy and paste the same structure of that abandoned cart email flow into SMS, as well.

So, you’ve got abandoned cart reminder follow ups in email, and then you stagger those SMS messages, so that you’re maybe sending the email 30 minutes after someone abandons cart, and then the first SMS message an hour after. And you don’t really have to put too much work.

Kurt Elster: Why do one before the other?

Jeremy Horowitz: Sure. That’s a fantastic question. Let me take a step back, and I think the important context to always think about in marketing in general, especially in our space, is you have to treat your customers like your friends, and like how annoying would it be if Kurt,
we were making plans, and at the exact same moment, I sent you an email and a text message about the exact same thing?

Kurt Elster: Good point.

Jeremy Horowitz: Because a lot of concerns that we hear from most other companies that we talk to is that the one channel’s gonna cannibalize the other. Like if you introduce SMS, you’re gonna be losing revenue that email’s driving. We actually find the opposite, so we find that by adding in these SMS abandoned cart messages, we see abandoned cart recovery go up overall, store-wide, and the actually… The emails perform better, because right… Everyone’s just so busy, and everyone’s on their phone, and they’re doing 19 things at once, that they might receive the email first, and see it, and be like, “Oh, I do want to do this,” but then they get distracted, because they’re probably in the car and driving their kids to school or something. Right?

But then you have that follow-up text message a little bit later, where they might be at their desk, and so they might see the text message there, and they have the five minutes to actually go through check out process, and really pick all of the things that
they want.

Kurt Elster: It’s funny that small businesses have this idea that, “Oh, these channels will cannibalize each other,” when you would think most merchants would realize from experience, “Hey, when I increase the total number of touch points across channels, or within a channel, I’m more successful.” And could you imagine Proctor & Gamble being like, “Well, we can’t use billboards, that’s gonna cannibalize our TV commercials!” No one would ever say that. I always find it, that’s such a strange push back.

Jeremy Horowitz: The landscape and the marketing landscape has never been more competitive. You need to do something to stand out, and so your options are you could totally send more emails, right? You could send 15 abandoned cart emails in a week. I would really challenge to see what your unsubscribe rate is if you go to do that. Whereas by diversifying your channels, but spreading all of these things out… Yeah, right? I mean, none of the big players who are doing billions of dollars a year are looking to have less touch points with their customers, and I think it’s so important, especially as you’re growing, to really build value in each of those channels.

And SMS is just such a personal channel. You have that immediate open. People are treating this the same way of texting their friends and family, that it’s just… It’s too high value to pass up.
Kurt Elster: Let’s do it this way. If you said, “Hey, if you’re gonna do SMS, you gotta do it right.” Illustrate the wrong way to use SMS, like let’s do an example in which someone… in which you have secretly gone to work for a competitor under an assumed name. We’re doing covert ops, black hat stuff. Run me through how you’d set this thing up wrong. The most wrong way to do it.

Jeremy Horowitz: Okay, so if I’m a secret operative, Jerry Black, and I’m going to work for a competitor, so two things. One, I think there are a lot of rules around text messages. There’s something called TCPA, which sets out a lot of ground rules. Things like you cannot text message someone before 8:00 AM in their time zone, or after 8:00 PM, so the first thing I do is start sending text messages in the middle of the night. Which also is kind of a common sense thing. Who’s gonna be… The overwhelming majority of your customers are not gonna be reading text messages from you and excited to buy in the middle of their night. They’re gonna want to see it during the day.

The second thing that I would do is send like seven text messages in a row. If someone doesn’t read your first text message and respond immediately, they saw it. You don’t have to worry about them not opening it, or any of those types of problems. They saw it, and they just didn’t want to react.

The third thing is immediately leading with a sale or discount, and putting in no effort to build value in the channel ahead of time. I think that that is a big mistake that I see a lot of people make, is that they don’t build value ahead of time, so that when it comes to the time where they have to make a sale, they’re more gun-shy than they really should be or even need to be. And so, I think that’s a really big win of, especially with text messages, they force you to… You have to have an explicit opt-in, and so why not make that’s something that’s super valuable for your customer, in a manner that they want to receive text messages from you, and then you have those super-high open rates. They’re super engaged. They want you to send the more, and that just… It’s a nice self-feeding cycle, where it can really grow and hopefully scale over time.

Kurt Elster: Okay. I like that. That was a good way of setting it up, as opposed to like, “All right, list off the rules we can’t break,” as opposed… I like this new system of, “Hey, what’s the absolute worst way to do this?” I think I’ll do that more often.
Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, that’s pretty fun.

Kurt Elster: It reframes it. Going backwards, you had used a phrase that I heard when we were both at Klaviyo: Boston. We heard this phrase a lot. It was, “Owned channel,” as in owned channels. Tell me, what is an owned channel? What does this mean?

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, sure. So, I think I’m gonna take a step back again, so you have three types of channels, right? You have the channels that you don’t control, the channels that you control, and the channels that you own. So, things that you can’t control, like press, PR. If someone decides to write an article about your business, there’s not too much you can do, in theory. You can’t tell them to take the article down. I mean, I guess… Well, legally.

Things you can control are things like social media, right? You can put the content that you want to put on Facebook and Instagram, but as soon as they decide to change the algorithm, your traffic could go from 100,000 people a month to 10.

And then you have channels that you own, right? So, things like email, things like SMS, things like push notifications, where you own the relationship with the customer, and you also own the means of distribution to sending messages to those customers. Like in SMS, for example, every phone number that you collect, you can send a message to whenever you want, and it gives you a lot more freedom. We actually recently talked about this on our podcast, where Facebook specifically, they’re changing a lot of their copywriting rules to be more compliance-specific, and so it’s really taking away from a lot of the creative things that you can do from a copywriting perspective in your Facebook ads.

Whereas on the flip side, things like email, SMS, push notifications, there’s… You can pretty much say whatever you want, and I’m really more saying this like to being a creative, value-building manner. Another thing from Klaviyo’s was Chubby’s subject lines, and if you don’t follow Chubby’s emails, you’re doing yourself a great disservice, just even from a enjoyment perspective, but also as a digital marketer, it’s essential to know how they run their business, because it’s so effective. But they just do these wild things, like, “I’m real,” and then from the display name is The Abominable Snowman.

And so, it just gives you way more opportunity to be way more creative. You control the process. But then also, and the more important piece of this, when you need to drive a sale, you go to your own channels like email, like SMS, because you know that if we need to push more messages out, or we need to say something really specific in a timely manner, those are the channels that you can rely on, versus trying to get approved for a Facebook ad, or trying to get a Instagram post out to more than 5% of your organic audience. It’s really the value of we know that no matter what happens, we control the… we own the relationship with the customer in these specific channels, and we can leverage them up or down as we need to immediately, versus having someone else kind of be the gate master of really throttling your access.

Kurt Elster: And this metaphor extends beyond just marketing. You could think about it for platforms, too. Like Etsy, Amazon, eBay, I don’t own those channels. Those are marketplaces in which I’m really just renting a stall, versus Shopify as an online store, that’s an owned channel. You own the list, you own the experience.

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, exactly.

Kurt Elster: I love this idea, like if you’re prioritizing things when you’re thinking long-term, you really would want to focus on those owned channels.

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah. I mean, I think Amazon is the perfect example. If anyone who’s listening to the podcast doesn’t know someone who has been burned by Amazon, and lost their business, because Amazon decided to just shut them down, I would highly recommend to go search those people out. They have incredible stories, and they’re amazing entrepreneurs. But yeah, you are… Amazon is granting you temporary access to sell to their customers, whereas a Shopify store is your ability to build the direct relationship, where you can sell to your customers over however long you want to.

Kurt Elster: Moving forward, once I’ve got SMS set up on my site, or I’m already running it, what is the one way, the most effective way to grow my list? Just like email, I gotta start over, and I need to get people to double opt-in with their phone numbers. How do I do it? How do I grow that SMS list from zero?

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, so here’s the beauty of it, so once you have the abandoned cart set up, you’re automatically collecting phone numbers from everyone, every single person who hits your checkout who opts in. The second piece is you actually have email, so you don’t have to start over. You have all of those people’s phone numbers, and so what we actually find to be the most successful is sending out an email with some sort of incentive, either a giveaway, or early access to a product release, where they text a keyword. So, Ethercycle to the number 91466. And it automatically opts them in as soon as they type in that keyword into their phone number and send the message.

And then we essentially just have an automated reply, so that anyone who types a keyword automatically gets immediately back a text message from us. And so, if it’s a giveaway, you get a message like, “Hey, you’ve been entered into the giveaway. Wait and find out more later.” And the beauty of it is is that you can just cross-pollinate your lists, so this doesn’t necessarily need to be just email. If you have a lot of social media followers, like on Instagram or Facebook for example, you can do the same thing, where it’s just, “Hey, text this keyword to this number and automatically get subscribed to our list.”

And we see… It’s been super, super effective. I mean, we have a couple of different versions of how we build this out now, and we like to rotate them, because it’s not like you just send the email once. We like to send this email about once to twice a quarter for different incentives and different reasons. And we just see our SMS subscribers shoot up really, really quickly, by even just sending out those simple emails, and it’s like a social post or two.

Kurt Elster: One thing we didn’t discuss. You touched on it a little bit. You said, “Hey, you gotta pay 7 cents a message,” which in email, would be almost insane. Give me… What’s the cost? What should I expect to pay for… You rattled off several services. What would be my typical expense with SMS?

Jeremy Horowitz: So, just a quick run through for anyone who isn’t familiar, the way that currently, that all the SMS vendors operate, is you pay per message sent. And so they all vary, and they’re all still adjusting and working on their pricing, but I would assume that it roughly costs about 7 to 10 cents per message sent. We are seeing that most of our clients are somewhere around a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand dollars a month for SMS. Our clients with our bigger lists, north of like 30,000 to 50,000 people on their SMS lists are up in the couple thousand dollars per month. But I would expect it to… To be perfectly honest, once we really build out your list to be really healthy, you’re paying probably as much as you’re paying for email every month in SMS. But you’re seeing really, really high returns.

I mean, for some of our clients, the top performing messages we’ve ever sent have been around 90 to 100X ROAS. We normally more average at out around 20 to 25X ROAS. So, I mean your money is definitely coming back. You just have to be a little bit more selective of the text messages you send, versus the emails you send.

Kurt Elster: Okay. Now, you have done a phenomenal job in under 25 minutes, giving us the total rundown on, “Hey, here’s how this works.” Now, we’re going into Black Friday. We’ve established that within an hour you can have this set up, which means even if you’ve started from zero, you could still get this going and have it be an effective channel for Black Friday. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Let’s hear that. Give me the high-level overview, and then let’s dive into it.

Jeremy Horowitz: Here’s how I see it. Your email, you’re probably gonna be sending anywhere between 10 to 20 emails over the weekend to hopefully get a 10 to 15% open rate. You’re gonna be blasting all of your ads at full capacity, because they’re gonna be 30% more expensive than they are the rest of the year. Your problem is is that you’re competing in super, super diluted and competitive channels. Everyone is doing the same thing that you’re doing, and everyone is essentially fighting over the same shrinking eyeball space in those places.

So, just sending SMS campaigns alone will set you apart from everyone else, because almost no one is doing it right now. And so, by sending an SMS period, just sending one campaign over the weekend, being like, “Hey, we’re running this promotion. Click to the store now.” Throw a GIF in there with some emojis, and you’ll already be head and shoulders above everyone else.

Now, if you really want to take a little bit of an advanced tactic, and something that we’re big fans of, and is a really important part of our six-figure launch strategy that we’re building out, that Mark… Go back and listen to Mark’s episode if you haven’t already, because it’ll be super important for Black Friday, but building hype is one of the biggest, one of the most successful tactics we’ve seen and built out over the past three years, to really have meaningful revenue lifts on product and launch days. So, by the time you’re listening to this episode, add one email into next week’s calendar of, “Hey, sign up for early access to our BFCM promo by texting this keyword to this number.” And it’s free for you, doesn’t cost anything. It’s one additional email. But it does a lot of really important concepts.

It subscribes people to… we call them hype lists. Other people refer to them as early bird lists, or early access, but you’re essentially already collecting all of the customers who are engaging in opening your emails, saying, “I am interested in hearing what you have to promote on the specific day.” And so, you’re getting that little micro-commitment ahead of time. You’re building your SMS list up a lot, and then it’s just sending the broadcast out through SMS on that day. Being like, “Hey, you signed up. Here’s the promotion. Go shop.” And what I love to do is I always have the Shopify wide view up when we have those specific marketing messages go out, and just see the visitors on site skyrocket around those moments. Because you’re channeling everyone who’s already super interested in what you have to say into this new channel.

You’re giving them early access, so they feel special. And you’re hitting them in a channel where you know that they’re gonna open the message, right? 95% open rates, 90% of them are gonna open within three minutes of receiving it.

Kurt Elster: Oh, wow.

Jeremy Horowitz: Right? And so, the one thing to make sure is that you have all the promotions live on your site, because that’s a CS nightmare if you haven’t set everything live yet. But right, just having everything live on the site, sending out that message, hitting people in that channel where they’re gonna get it open, they’re not gonna be inundated, they don’t have to scroll through 30 different promo emails from the 19 brands that they subscribe to. And yeah, right, it’s a click of a button, they go from their text message to your site, and they’re ready to buy.

Kurt Elster: Off the top of your head, could you just read out what an example SMS message would look like in this example?

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, so we’re big fans, and I’m not sure if everyone does this, but I know Postscript does. You can have auto pieces, sorry, auto tags in every SMS. So, every SMS starts with the company name, so let’s just go with… I’m gonna stick with Ethercycle as the example, right? So, Ethercycle, and then, “Hi,” function first name, so Ethercycle saying, “Hi, Sally. Our BFCM promo just launched. Get early access by clicking this link.” We’ll toss some emojis inside that message. Have a GIF above it, and then you just drop a space in the message, just like you would in a text editor, so that the link is on a… We usually actually point the pointing emoji, the sideways pointing emoji, and then a tiny URL in one line of itself. And that’s it.

Kurt Elster: It seems deceptively simple. Is it this easy?

Jeremy Horowitz: I mean, it’s something, it really is. I would love to say that there’s some weird, crazy, complicated piece, but I think if you have built that relationship with your customers, if they know that they’re bringing, you’re always gonna bring them value, they love to receive those messages, and you can definitely spell out the promo if you want, and if you haven’t done that in other channels, it’s a great way to do it. A, “Here’s our BOGO offer for the next 24 hours.”

But we actually find the… As long as you’re covering all the information, the shorter and simpler the messages, the more effective they are.

Kurt Elster: Okay, so really the answer is don’t overcomplicate it. Use it as an additional touch point or reminder to be like, “Hey, check out the sale,” or, “Check out the email.” So like, really you’re using it to bolster your existing owned channels, and what else? I mean really, the efficacy is in that a lot of people aren’t using it yet. That so many people are so hesitant to dive in on SMS, that it is just like this tremendous blue ocean strategy available to merchants right now.

Jeremy Horowitz: Yeah, so I would say same wins that you’re seeing in email, roll out into SMS. So, something that I actually picked up from your episode with Ezra, that I think is brilliant, is sending post-purchase cross-sale and an additional promo to your customers that have already bought during your holiday period. Right, so just creating some sort of logic in the back end that for everyone who has bought in the last 5 to 30 days, send them this promo, as well. And it’s just insanely effective of if you have their phone number, and you text them like… and you can slightly personalize it, so it’s like, “Hey, Sally. We saw that you bought product X. We think that product Y would look really great with that offer. Here’s 30% off to come back and buy again.”

Don’t underestimate the likelihood that someone who has already bought from your store during the holiday period will buy again. And you have so many different variations of opportunities for messaging of… You can either position it as gifting for someone else, gifting for themselves, just buying again, because more people will like it, and they, because you have those late buyers, the people who like, “Oh, I forgot to get a gift for them. I need to get something now.” And so, just really leveraging those high-purchase customers, and hitting them at least once, if not twice, to come back and buy again, will be a really big profit puppy for you this holiday period.

Kurt Elster: What else should I be doing? This seems too easy! I’m trying to dig out more, but really the advice is, “Hey, just go do SMS, dummy! And you know those emails that you spent all the time on? You’re gonna do a 15-second version of that in SMS.” What am I missing? This is too easy!

Jeremy Horowitz: I would-

Kurt Elster: Make it harder.

Jeremy Horowitz: Okay. I mean, okay, so we can go more advanced here, so-

Kurt Elster: Yeah, let’s go more advanced. They can handle it. They can do it.

Jeremy Horowitz: Okay, so to build your list, something that is… We call it the two-for-one capture, and this has been something that’s been extremely effective. It requires a little bit more coordination, because you’re now moving to the complete top of funnel. But for however your pop-ups on site are for capturing email today, on the thank you page of that email capture, now give them an option to opt-in for SMS, as well, with a slightly higher incentive. So, for example, if you’re running a 10% discount code to capture their email, offer them a 12% discount code to capture their phone number. And it’s a little… So, you have to stagger the follow-up messages, right? Because probably today, what you’re doing is you capture their email, you immediately send them the welcome email with that 10% off discount code.

If you push that back to 30 minutes after you capture their email, and then you have… We do this as a keyword opt-in, and we’ve been testing this for the past month and been seeing insane numbers. Right, so on the thank you page for the email, say, “Hey, do you want 12% off if you text this keyword to this phone number?” Right? Because as soon as they text the keyword, you on the back end will configure a reply like, “Hey, thanks for signing up for Ethercycle’s SMS list, here’s your 12% off discount code, ETHER12.”

And right, they’re gonna open it almost immediately or within three minutes, so then you can just… You know that they’re immediately gonna get that message, and then the email’s almost the follow-up message, and so basically what we’ve figured out is that we can just draft off of our current optimized email pop-ups, and now capture SMS, as well. And then it just even accelerates us more, because they’re opening SMS faster, they don’t have to go their email client, they’re going back, clicking back to the site and converting. And it’s been really awesome, because then you have all of those numbers now to then broadcast out for product launches and promotions.

Kurt Elster: Okay. What else?

Jeremy Horowitz: So yeah, I mean, now we’re gonna get a little bit into just the limitations of the tools. I mean, they just have to build all this functionality out. I mean, start segmenting your SMS list, right? The same way that you segment your email lists, who are people that have bought product X? How many people have purchased three times? Send win-back flows for people who haven’t purchased 180 days. Set up browse abandonment SMS messages, right? For capturing people’s phone numbers at the top of the funnel. Send them browse abandonment SMS messages to bring people back to buy.

I know it sounds simple, and at a certain time, if you figured this all out in email, it really at a certain point is copy pasting and just customizing in for the SMS, just message. But there are so many low-hanging fruit huge wins that obviously you can’t get all this done in time for BFCM, but definitely January 2020, dedicate… I don’t know, three or four hours a week for a month to do this, and you… I personally, my wild claim, I personally believe that everyone who meaningfully invests in SMS could build out an SMS list and an SMS channel that’s driving six figures from SMS alone to their Shopify store a year, and for the bigger brands, could be even seven figures in revenue just coming from SMS.

Kurt Elster: Whoa. Okay. And from what I’ve seen, this has worked. So, my personal experience has been I’ve got several clients running Retention Rocket, several running SMSBump. I know Postscript is very popular, and what we have seen is in 100% of cases, it operated at a positive ROI. And this was with brands that skewed way young, where the audience was like 18, 19, 20, and brands that skewed much older than that, where a typical… It was like 45 to 60 was a typical age. They performed similarly well, and on the lower end of the spectrum, we were seeing when we ran campaigns, and we did the same thing, what you… the SMS was just the truncated version of the email strategy, and we did 20 to 25X ROAS on the thing.

It was just utterly wild. And not just once, like over and over, and we did exactly what you said. You said… Well, we did it to run like 24-hour flash sales. I think that was the example used with LuMee. And it worked! It worked really well. The only thing we haven’t tried yet is, you know, hey, make it from a person with a brand voice, as opposed to just like a very, more transactional.

So, I have seen the success over and over, and now that I see there’s so many people jumping into the space on the partner side, and merchants’ hesitancy to adopt this, that’s why I’ve been banging this drum so hard recently, is because I just see this tremendous opportunity that works for everybody. It’s easy to set up. It’s inexpensive to set up. And so many people saying, “Hey, Kurt. How do I scale my store? How do I market my store?” Well, get out of your own way and try SMS. You will be blown away by what it does.

And I don’t care what tool you use. Pick the one that fits for you, right? You rattled off several earlier in the show, like listen, all of them, similar to email, yeah, there’s nuances there, but ultimately, they’re all doing the same thing. They’re sending out a message on your behalf, right? Just try it. Please just try it. I swear it will be a worthwhile experience.

Jeremy Horowitz: Definitely. Yeah. It has never been cheaper to build your list, and you will… Most likely, it will never be as cheap moving forward in the future, so the greatest disservice you can do today, even if you’re not using it as a primary marketing channel, is at least to build your list. Start building your list now, so that when you are ready, you have those opted-in, consenting people, who want to receive your messages.

Kurt Elster: Where can we go to learn more about you, Jeremy Horowitz?

Jeremy Horowitz: We have a dedicated landing page, dedicated just to you, Kurt. We have a ton of resources for people from the podcast, so if you go to For this, we have two episodes related to advanced tactics, and also one to advanced tactics, and one to getting started for SMS. We also have a PDF for to download the cheat sheet on how to build out your marketing strategy for six-figure launch days. And we also will be including another special podcast episode, that you have to go to the site to find out what it is.

Kurt Elster: All right. I have included it in the show notes as the very first thing in the links, so if you’re listening to it on your phone, tap or swipe up on the show art. It will show you the show notes. Scroll down to links mentioned, it’ll be the first thing. Jeremy, this has been enlightening and fantastic. I appreciate it.

Jeremy Horowitz: Thanks for having me on. I’ve listened to the podcast for a couple years now, so it’s great to help back, help and give back to the community.

Kurt Elster: Talk soon.
Jeremy Horowitz: Have a good one.