The Unofficial Shopify Podcast: Entrepreneur Tales

Get 99% open rates – affordably – by leveraging this channel

Episode Summary

How SMSBump generates $500,000 every day for Shopify merchants.

Episode Notes

We've seen SMS drive 20x ROI for our clients, but Shopify merchants have been slow to adopt SMS marketing. If you've been ignoring SMS as a channel, this episode addresses the common objections and risks around SMS marketing, and breaks down how to run SMS as a successful channel for your store.

You'll learn:

Mihail is the founder and CEO of SMSBump, Shopify's first texting marketing platform. He has 8+ years worth of eCommerce experience and has worked with brands such as Facebook, MasterCard, Amazon Pay, Google, Square etc.

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Episode Transcription

Kurt: Today on the unofficial Shopify podcast, we're talking about what I have found to be an unconventional way to make more money, but a great way to do it. We're talking about SMS Marketing. So I have found other clients that have committed to SMS marketing. It has a tremendous return on investment. It does not create pushback and is seen as a value add for their customers. However, before any of those people jumped into it, they were all pushed back on it. They're like, "Well, is there going to annoy people? We don't want to be seen spammy. Should we do this? Are other people doing this?" And that's the pushback I've seen from other merchants around SMS marketing.

Kurt: I understand why they think that it's really ... it's the same as the problems we've seen with email marketing in the past. There are bad actors who abuse it, but you can use it as a great service and a wonderful profit center and a great way to add value for your customers. So on the show today, I want to approach it with an open mind and I want to make the case for SMS marketing. But first we're going to talk about the objections to it and why people ... why merchants have a tendency to push back on it. So approach it with an open mind and to talk about it today is a master of SMS marketing, Mihail Stoychev from SMSBump, who has made a stunning amount of money for their clients through SMS marketing. So he is a perfect person to join us and help make the case for it. Mihail thank you for joining us.

Mike: Thanks a lot for having me Kurt, and just so we can be a little bit easier around the podcast, you can just call me Mike. I think it's going to be better.

Kurt: Can I call you Bulgarian Mike?

Mike: That can be as well.

Kurt: I'll go with Mike. You're just Mike.

Mike: Right? Lovely. I like how I've been renamed officially, on official podcast. Official renames.

Kurt: Officially Mike. Michael, tell me ... first, why should I listen to you? Why should I care what Mike has to say about SMS marketing?

Mike: Currently we are the biggest SMS provider for Shopify. We deal with SMS automations and SMS text marketing. Right now as of today, we have Node of 13,000 stores on Shopify, 630 on Shopify Plus. And why should you listen to me? Because every day we generate half a million dollars for our customers.

Kurt: So we got a half a million dollars generated every day. That's crazy. With SMS you get 99% open rate. So essentially all your messages get opened short of the person's phone got lost.

Mike: Yeah, exactly. Or if your phone is switched or if you are in-roaming, can you have a bo- [inaudible 00:02:48] on the package?

Kurt: First glance, Michael, 99%, that's not possible. But think about it. Have you ever ignored a text message on your phone forever? I mean, most people are checking their phone a hundred plus times a day. It's not like email where it's easier to just like select all archive and a really great open rate and email is 35%. So if you like one in three people, open your email, you did a great job. What's a typical click-through rate for SMS?

Mike: So a typical click-through rates that we're seeing across customers is around 20%. The ones that are doing really good are going to 30%, but for people who have very segmented audience that they're not annoying by text messages every single day. I have seen also 50% and 60% click-through rate. But again, this has to be segmented, this has to be done in a very organized and strategical way. And you need to definitely have your own verbose across the SMS as unique channel and not just type of like shoot the same information over email, over Facebook Messenger, Push Notifications and SMS. You need to have strategy for each and every channel.

Kurt: It's another touch point, but I shouldn't treat it as like I blast the exact same thing across all channels at the same time.

Mike: Well, perhaps that would work on bigger holidays like July for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. But again, you need to be doing it in a diligent way. So if you're running a Klaviyo for instance, and you're doing an email blast, we integrate with Klaviyo's, so it's going to be great if you can say everyone who actually responded or made a purchase from Klaviyo will not get a text message provided that their subscribers in both email and SMS. Because one thing that's very important for SMS, you need explicit consent, which means that if someone gave you consent for email marketing, this absolutely doesn't mean that you can text message them. So when you install SMSBump, you will actually start with zero subscribers and we offer all the great tools for you to build up your list with time.

Kurt: That's good info, but I've put the cart before the horse. I've jumped ahead. I want to back up. First, you're the founder and CEO of SMSBump, right?

Mike: This is correct. Yeah.

Kurt: But prior to then you've had about a decade worth of e-commerce experience and you've worked with some big brands. What'd you do before SMSBump?

Mike: My journey started eight years ago. And we basically found a digital agency, which turned into a software company. We were primarily developing tools for e-commerce, but I would say open source e-commerce. So back in the days Shopify was a very small player. So we actually started with a Magento, we did OpenCart, we did WooCommerce and as we actually progressed across the ladder and started to make a name for ourselves, we able to work with some pretty big brands. The first big brand that we were able to land was a MasterCard, so we were able to do a project for them. And from there, actually the gates opens. We worked with Stripe, we worked with Square, we did the project with Klarna, with Amazon, with Google, Facebook.

Mike: So we were able to develop specific pieces of software for each and every company that we were working with. And it has been a tremendous effort and a tremendous experience just being able to work with those super big brands. But what I found out was that actually the first one was so tough to get, but as soon as you launched a big customer and you can put it out and say, "We've worked with MasterCard and we did this, here is the what we were able to create. Here's how we did it." It's like, it's much easier for you to sell and go to the other big players and work with them.

Kurt: For sure, it's social proof. No one wants to be the first person to take the chance. And this works in all kinds of things, like a Kickstarter campaign, the first time, or even a Facebook post. Like you need the person who's going ... it's slow until you get the first backer or the first commenter, and then you get two, then three, and then suddenly everybody else jumps in, because it turns out a whole bunch of people were waiting and looking for that social proof. The same is true of portfolios of social proof in businesses. Say you're jumping into Shopify being a Shopify partner. First you need to show any Shopify merchant and then show a better class of merchant and the kind of merchant you want to work with. Like for us, for sure, it was a watershed moment to be able to put Jay Leno in our portfolio on our homepage.

Kurt: And once we did that, then people are like, "Oh, all right, these guys, we knew they were legit. But now they're like super legit you can't mess with them." And so for sure it's, once you have that big name in there, it makes a huge difference. It's a trust signifier. So I think that's a lesson in social proof. That's why if you have ... if you're a merchant and you have those press features, you always want to have that logo roll call where you've got like New York as seen in New York times, wall street journal, et cetera, on your homepage if you could do it. So totally off topic of SMS.

Mike: Well, oh, that's the gym we're dropping right here. So as long as it's beneficial to the audience, I think it always gets appreciated in like.

Kurt: So you had that experience, it sounded like you had a successful business. What was the thing that made you go, we should start selling text messaging as a service?

Mike: We used to work with a very big customer base out of the middle East. So in the middle East there is always this problem where people don't want to pay with credit cards, so cash on delivery is super huge there. So when they check out with a fake email or if they make a spelling mistake and they can't send them the information, then the courier can't get in touch with them. Or if they don't collect the phone number properly. So they were getting a lot of returned orders.

Mike: So that was prior to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and Telegram and all of those cool Messenger Apps that came out a little bit later. So it was back in the day. So that the most straightforward solution for us was to offer them a cash on delivery notification via text message.

Mike: So we did kind of a research. We saw that Twilio does that, we develop like a whole business logic around it and overnight it just solved the problem. I mean, people were getting the text messages, they were confirming the order, which means that they had a huge saving on carrier costs and delivery costs. And once we did that, we were like, "Okay, so how about you sending a little bit of confirmations? Note on the shipping notification and cash and delivery. And how about you do blast campaigns and how about you also do abandoned cart reminders?" So there were like, "Eh, no, maybe a little bit later." And then we were like, "All right, well they don't want to do it. So let us do it." We developed SMSBump and we just launched it. We were like, "Yeah, we're going to develop it. We're going to launch it and shipping on every platform."

Mike: So we did Shopify, we did would have BigCommerce, we did OpenCart, we did WooCommerce and then we just left it. I mean, we had so much work, working with those super big corporations that we just didn't have time for it. So we completely left it off. And I remember about, maybe it was about June 2017, we saw that kind of like email is shifting a little bit downwards and that SMS is maybe something of potential because we were starting to get requests for building up SMS for customers. So I was like, "Hold on a second, we have the solution which we're not ready paying any attention to." So remove the dust off and then do a complete relaunch.

Mike: And actually it was a couple of weeks ago prior to Black Friday when we were able to relaunch SMSBump on Shopify. And then the business case there was obviously order notifications and Abandoned Cart Reminders and yeah, I think we were one of the first steps to do SMS as a package service there.

Kurt: So early on, you saw the opportunity with SMS from experience through client work and that's how I think how a lot of, especially for like App SaaS solutions providers is, a client approaches you with a problem, you come up with a solution and they go wait a second. More people than just them could benefit from it. Right? Certainly that's been the case for us, but at a much smaller scale, not doing anything nearly this complicated or cool. You jumped into it, how did you validate it early on?

Mike: Right. So the way we validated it, we kind of like collected the ... maybe we have about 150 customers and once again, this is back in 2017 when there were only a few Apps on the marketplace and most of them were the typical Apps you would see for open source e-commerce where the merchant needs to do like 15 steps in order to get started. So we were like, there isn't an App which actually allows you to install, set up, be able to create the list and then start blasting campaigns once you have the subscribers. So we were like, "Okay, there isn't a finished product that has nice UX, that is in symphony with the way Shopify wants to show itself, you'll need to bet tech guy in order to run an e-commerce store."

Mike: So I think this is the type of the business logic we had when we were building the product. So what we did is we kind of emailed blasted the whole list and told them, "Hey guys, we're launching, why don't you give it a try, get some free credits on us, let us know if you liked the product." And I think what happened is that those people quickly sold the results of text marketing and they started writing on the Facebook groups, "Hey this stuff works. You should really try it." And this is how we started climbing up the ladder.

Kurt: From there, you're going to run into objections from people and certainly I've heard the objections. Let's address those right now. Let's get them out in the open. Let's put them on blast. What are the ... when you say, "Hey, try SMS marketing," what do people say? What are their objections? Why is everybody not doing this? Because it is such from the clients we have who are running SMS regardless of platform, it is a really great channel.

Mike: Yeah. So I think there are a couple of objections. So the first thing that we have is that when people install the App, they expect to be able to blast the campaign instantaneously and then we just have to put them on a hold and say you can't do that. There are different laws protecting customers across the globe. So for the United States we have the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which actually this allows you from sending text messages to someone who hasn't explicitly subscribed for text messages.

Mike: And of course there are fines associated from that. So we're looking from $500 to $1,500 per text message if you send unsolicited text message without a proper opt-in. And then in the European union we have the notorious GDPR, in Singapore and Australia there are other restrictions as well, middle East, another level of complexity. So I would say the immediate objection of someone is like, "Hold on a second, my customers gave me consent, why can't I just go and mass text them?"

Mike: So this takes a little bit of time to process. Maybe there are some Apps on the market which are a little bit more lax on that, but SMSBump is committed to be 100% compliant across the globe. So we only allow you to text customers after you have gathered those contacts in a very compliant way. And that will be number one, so compliance.

Mike: Then we have the people who are just coming out and they're like, "All right, well I have this group of people that I have collected from Klaviyo or Mailchimp or another source, can I just import the numbers in blossom campaign?" Well, again, we have to see your form, we have to see how you collected those guys and if that makes sense. We can allow it out. Other than that you're putting your business to risk, you're putting us to risk and then if someone goes in the States, especially takes you on a class action lawsuit and then all of the people start coming in and saying, "Hey, this guy texted me as well, you can go out of business."

Mike: So we definitely discourage people from taking a shortcut and trying services that can instantaneously get all of your subscribers and must send them a text message because this is just not cool and I think everyone will hate it. Yes, it's going to make you some money, but longterm it wouldn't prove you right.

Kurt: For the brands who have jumped into it, it feels like early days using it at all just immediately makes money, because it has this super high open rate and super high engagement and so few other brands are doing it. You really stand out when you do it. You talked about some of the objections and compliance was a big part of that. And there was some risk in there. Are there any other risks that I need to be considering with SMS?

Mike: So, I will say compliance is one thing. Doubt will be like the major blocker. The next kind of like think lurking around the corner is for you to be able to do all new channel the proper way. So again, segmenting, making sure that people that want to be text marketed that are the ones that are getting this and then dividing them into different sub segments of people. So you can be like people who spent more than a hundred dollars and people who are based on the East coast or VIPs that have purchased Gucci back A and heaven shops from the new collection.

Mike: So, I would say that as long as you kind of like follow the guides, do the best which there are hundreds of guides on our website and quiet hours is a very important thing which shouldn't be admitted.

Mike: Quiet hours means that basically you can text message anyone from 9:00 PM to 9:00 AM and first of all, it's not cool. Someone might've sleeping. So following this alone will be increasing your unsubscribes greatly. Of course, we as a platform do not allow it at all. So even if you don't set up quiet hours, we will still block your message and then push it in the beginning of the next morning. And then also abiding by the national do not disturb registry. So if someone wants to globally unsubscribe for any sort of marketing messages in the United States, they just pulled their number in a special registry so no brand can actually reach them out. So also this needs to be taken care of by the SMS provider and you need to be on top of this because otherwise, you can be facing some ferocious customers.

Kurt: Oh, for sure. Well, the do not disturb hours, I hadn't even considered that. But you're absolutely right. I don't think twice about it because my phone is on do not disturb set it automatically, but a lot of people don't. It'd be super annoying to be getting text messages in the middle of the night. The do not disturb registry. How does that work? Like is that handled automatically? How does it work?

Mike: Yes, sure. So every serious text message aggregator is taken care of that for the customers. So someone like us and then of course we don't allow customers to message those numbers ourselves. So it just happens out of the box. Going back a little bit, talking about compliance, whenever you were doing any type of pop-ups or any subscription forums or any keyword promotions, they always need to be followed with like the legal verbiage that you consent to, sign up for automated recurring marketing messages and that consent is not a condition to purchase messaging, data rates may apply and then stop-to-stop and help-for-help. So this is kind of like the verbage with needs to go with each and every marketing promotion that you do which concerns text.

Kurt: And that's handled automatically? You don't have to like are there templates? How do I ... the tools keep me out of trouble.

Mike: Right. Great. So if you're using our Pop-up forum or any of our tools, we always kind of like hand coded. So even if you try to remove it, you wouldn't be able to, which pisses some customers, which don't like legal language, but, if you make the font a little bit smaller but still a normal person will be able to read through it. It's fine. However, this kind of a template needs to be everywhere where you are served and yes, or to actually reminds you and makes it sure that this text always stays where you're trying to collect subscribers.

Kurt: So are there any other objections, risks, things we want to address? Get out in the open before I move on to, all right, I'm sold. How do I apply this thing so that it makes me money?

Mike: I can't think of any other objections. Do you have any other objections? So from your customers that you work with?

Kurt: I think the field, it's spammy and the like, they don't really think beyond that just wait spammy if I got a text message and spammy but people opted to it. It's how everybody already communicates and it's not like some big spammy brochure, glossy email, whatever. It's one 140 character text message. Like how spammy could that possibly get?

Mike: Yeah, maybe they had some bad experience, there're a lot of messaging bots not only on Shopify but just as a whole that are just blasting different messages and they are based across the world. So, they're just buying those huge pool of numbers and they're just trying to send as many spam messages as possible. So maybe everyone dealt with this and this is kind of like the stereotype they get for text messages. But again, if you do it in the proper way and you voluntarily consent and opt-in, I think it's just going to work great.

Kurt: And it sounds like really the biggest thing is messaging people who have expressly said chill, like check the box. That was like, yes, I want to get text messages?

Mike: Correct. And then those people also should get a welcome message. So not only they can text the box but once they check mark that box, click okay, they should get a text message saying congratulations, thanks for subscribing for a program. And again, this verbiage that I said, which again is taken care of by SMSBump. But if they signed out and they don't know they signed out and if no one messages them for one or two weeks and all of a sudden they get a text message, of course they'll be pissed off and of course they'll conceive it as spammy, coolant. But again, if you do the things in the proper way, I don't think you will face any resentment.

Kurt: Yeah. If you aren't a spammer, you're not going to be producing spam. What I found is the people who are worried about it, are the ones who are least likely to offend anybody. Because just by virtue of you being aware of it, by being self aware, by thinking about it already means you're well ahead of the people who would send out spam. With any of these new channels, I got to build another list. Like the value in email is only as valuable as my email list. Same with Facebook Messenger. SMS is no different. I got to build a list of phone numbers I could contact. I need to build my SMS list. That's the hard part. How do I do it? What are the strategies here to collect these phone numbers that get people opt-in?

Mike: Awesome. So, that's a great question. So the easiest way for you would be to email your whole list and ask them to become text subscribers. So we have built a tool, which actually allows you to do that. It feeds all of the people from Shopify who are email subscribers. And we have built a few templates, which you can customize. And then instantaneous, in less than five minutes, they will get an email. And then on this email, once they click, I want to be a subscriber, they will be taken to a designated page where they have to fill in their phone number and this is how you starts in less than two minutes.

Mike: So next thing you are kind of like using pop-ups. So using pop-ups, people say, "Ah, I'm not our pop-up, they're so annoying," But the pop-ups can be shown only on a mobile device. And the cool thing about them is that people don't have to enter their phone number. So once the pop-up is shown, there is like a big button showing you, for instance, the texts can be sampled like instant 20% off. Joined again, text marketing list and be among the first learn about our latest product releases and launches. So I'll be like, "Yeah, I'm really cool with that. Let me just click."

Mike: So you're clicking on the button on a mobile device, then we're opening iMessage or Android message. There is a prefilled text you just have to click send and this is how you become a subscriber. So those two I would say are the ones that work really good and cost almost next to nothing for setting it up.

Mike: Next one is very utilized by a majority of the people that use automations such as Abandoned Cart Reminders and parcel notifications. So the way it works is that you kind of change the verbiage of the checkout and here is a very important woman that this needs to be always uncheck marked by default.

Mike: So you change the verbiage of the checkout saying that people subscribe for if they check Mark this box, they subscribe for text messages by brand ABC. And again, you have the legal texts on the folder. So if you have check mark this box, if you have entered your phone number and if you have pressed on next going to the shipping information on Shopify, again, you become a subscriber, again, you get a welcome message and an Abandoned Cart Reminder should you abandon the cart.

Mike: So we have three already. Number four is keywords or text words. So something like texts Domino's to for instance, 81787, which is US based short code, Canadian based short code and get like a 50% off your first bits of delivery. So this works really good. And you can just base it on the Instagram or Facebook Messenger on TikTok, Pinterest, wherever your customers are based. You can create beautiful banners and you can actually create a footer and put this all on your email list. So whenever you're sending an email, your customers can know that they can get a discount if they become text scribers as well.

Mike: So here we already have four, number five, which will be the last is a short link. So what is a short link? Short link is pretty much a way for you to create a specific page in Shopify, get its URL, and then embed this URL into your email marketing of choice. So it can be Klayvio, it can be MailChimp, it can be any of the other tools popular into market, so that you can design a beautiful newsletter. And just on the cold traction button, you kind of embed this link. So whenever the customer presses it again, they're sent on a page where they just need to feel their daring information and they become a subscriber of all that.

Kurt: If you had to arrange, if you had to pick the one that was the most effective where I'm like, "All right, I want to start gathering my list today and I've got 20 minutes to set it up," which is the one you go with.

Mike: I think the checkout is 100% definite must, but out of the checkout, which you need to do 100%, I will pick a probably the pop-up, the shows only on a mobile device.

Kurt: I like that. That's pretty clever. Speaking of pop-ups, does SMSBumps specifically ... Does it integrate with any other Apps? Are there any advantages there?

Mike: Yeah. So we integrate with Justuno right now, we also have on the upcoming integration with Privy and we are kind of working with another App but we haven't made that big of a progress so no one else was here. I always say, yeah. Sometimes things happen a little bit slow with technology partners, but it's just part of the business.

Kurt: Of course. After I've got my list of building my list, I'm seeing early success with it. How do I monetize it? That's the all important part. What's the actual use case here?

Mike: Right. So just one step backwards, while you're gathering your list, you can still make money. How? So for instance, for the pop-ups, for the emails, a customer pays nothing. So they're free to use. However, if you do some type of a promotion where you're saying, let's say a free shipping on your next order or instant, 10, 15, whatever percent you feel comfortable with of, when you give us your phone number, not only you're building up your list, but the customer gets text message with a discount code you promise them. So they immediately become someone who is prone to purchasing from your website. So as you're just growing up your list, people are more likely to actually spend money because you're giving them something instantaneously. So there is an instant gratitude here.

Mike: And once you have built up your list we have a tool which is called segments. So this actually allows you to segment all your texts subscribers by different settings. So I think I mentioned this in the beginning, but just to give a different example, you can say, give me everyone who hasn't purchased anything and everyone who is, let's say 200 miles away from Metric Boston. So in this way, if you have a local presence and if your customers are only in this region, you can text market on doors people.

Mike: So you can do Shopify tagging. So you can say, give me everyone who is tagged with influencers and send them a specific type of a discount. Or we also integrate with a smile and loyalty lions. So you can say, "Hey guys, you have more than 3000 points, why don't you come and spend them today? We have great products."

Mike: So you can kind of like build those very sophisticated segments of different people, different demographics. Of course you can target European union or Australia if your customers are based there and based on those segments that you can create, you can push different campaigns and then measure results with them.

Kurt: What would be like the easiest, no-brainer everybody should do this segmentation?

Mike: Definitely people who spend more than X and less than X. I think it's something for people that don't do tagging. And unfortunately I see a lot of stars not tagging their customers, which is a great opportunity in my opinion. But for people not doing tagging, I would say amount spent and most probably last purchase date. So people who haven't purchased for certain time, if you have more than one product on your store.

Kurt: It's similar to email in that I could do broadcast campaigns, I could segment and I could do automations. Walk me through the difference between those and a couple examples to illustrate it.

Mike: Sure. So the broadcasts, one similarity, especially for customers based in the United States is that we're allowed to actually send images or GIFs however it's pronounced properly. So it actually makes the message a multimedia text message. This can be a great way for you to push product launches. So those works really well. For the texts campaigns, also and our trick would be to send it based on the customer time zone, especially for people that are spreading their customers across multiple countries or different time zones. We have a setting where if you set the campaign someone from the West Coast would be getting the same text message at the same hour and someone on the East Coast will again get. Sorry, will again get the text message at a designated time that you send it. So if it's like 1:00 PM in the afternoon the person on the West Coast and the East Coast would get it.

Mike: And of course, since a lot of people presume that I would say text messaging is the same as email. We have created a small tool to help them out, construct good campaigns. So it's called message trends and it kind of helps you out as you're building your campaigns and it gives you just hints on whether you're doing something good or bad.

Mike: For instance, one tip that I have here is that with text messages you can do on the embed link. So as soon as the customer clicks on the link, they will have the discount automatically added to their card. And at the same time, if you also include the discount code, which is a very small change, you're likely to get up to 30% more purchases. Why? Because I might be shopping on a mobile device and yes, I will see this text message. But what if I want to shop home and not continue or finalize the purchase on my mobile device.

Mike: So I definitely want to capture those segments of people. So if my discount code is SMS 30, not only I'm going to embed it onto the link, which happens automatically with us, but also I'm going to just make sure to place it in the text message so that, again, people are able to check out from there. So this is kind of an overview of the text marketing automations, their work is flows. So are you're able to set different settings, for instance, Abandoned Cart. Someone abandons the cart, wait 10 minutes, then hit them with this text message. Then if they don't check out, wait 24 more hours, hit them with a second text message. So they kind of work like a flow.

Mike: And I think we can mention this, but we're working on something really cool, which is not released as of today, but it's going to be released prior to Black Friday a hundred percent, so here are the sell. We're going to be able to create different flows saying for instance, "If a customer show up from a store, they abandon the cart, wait 15 minutes and if the products left in the cart are more than $200, then send them a multimedia text message."

Mike: So we'll be able to send an image with all of the products that they left in the cart and offered them a big discount. And if their products in the cart costs less than $200, then they can get a small discount or no discount at all. And then we can say, continue.

Kurt: It's awesome.

Mike: Based on the way customers reacted to this text message, we can send them the second one and check this out. We can say, "Split test this." 50% of the people will get this message, 50% will get this message. Well, there are people react the most with then continue the whole flow with this.

Mike: And last but not least, and I'm dropping way too many gems here, but we are working on the way that we are able to detect what country that the client is based at. For instance, let's say on the checkout, which is something very simple in Shopify, but based on their location, we will be able to send this Abandoned Cart in their native language. So if I'm based out of France, we will be able to send you the Abandoned Cart in French and if you are based out of the UK, you will be getting this text message in English. What is this good for? So for people that operate in multi national environments, or let's say Europe, because each and every country has their own language. And even if you're sending in the United States in Mexico. So if I detect the person is from Mexico, I'll able to send them the text message in Spanish and automatically people will be much more likely to complete this order when you're sending it in the language that they're speaking at.

Kurt: I think a really a broad general question. How often should I be texting people? Like with email, it's the automation plus one a week. During the holidays it's entirely possible. You may send someone 40 emails in six weeks. How often should I be texting?

Mike: So I would say twice a week or maybe once every three weeks. But a more bulletproof answer would be whenever you have something to say. So if you have a relevant promotion, if you have some good exclusive content, don't forget that those people sign up for exclusive deals. So give them those deals, send them information first. Don't forget you're going to get from 90% to 99% open rate.

Mike: So definitely send out relevant information and send it out first. And once you get this initial kind of like golden point at where you know how comfortable people are. I've seen brands that push relevant content every day, but again, they have whole marketing teams working for them so they can really schedule the calendar out. But in general, once every two to three weeks or once a month, if you're a smaller brand and there isn't that much going on, and then during holidays you can be a little bit more aggressive. But always try to see whether people actually purchase the product. And if you are to repeat a campaign, make sure to omit and remove the people that have already purchased because otherwise that might get a little pissed off.

Kurt: Yeah, of course. It's always good to segment the purchasers out. So if someone gets a text message and they reply back to it, what happens?

Mike: So if someone gets a text message, the good thing is that they can reply back to it. So that will go to SMSBump where we have a section called chats. So there if you have a support team of here, if you're doing support, the important thing is to get back to those people as soon as possible. So I would say within 15 minutes is kind of what people expect to get in terms of response time. The cool thing with us is that we're able to actually sync all the data with Shopify. So all of the subscribers that we find are part of your marketing list and are also your customers, we're able to pull all the data.

Mike: So when the support reps respond to those customers, they're able to see their whole profile. So how much money did they spend, how many products they've purchased from you, what is their average order value, which are the latest products, where they're based at. So based on this information, they're able to give you certain type of discounts and promotions if they find this relevant.

Mike: For bigger brands we integrate with gorgeous, which we absolutely love. So the only difference here is that the information from this text message will be directly going to gorgeous. So the support team never has to log into your Shopify store. And one advice that I have, which kind of correlates with your previous question. I will definitely recommend people not only thinking about this says, "Buy my products, buy my stuff, we're the best." But also asking people, "Hey, how was your last order? Or did you like the jeans that we sent? Just reply to this message. I'll be happy to help you out. I'll be happy to be your personal stylists."

Kurt: I love this idea. And that brings me to my next question, which was, "Can I use this as a customer service channel?" Because I think if you could use it as a customer service channel, it becomes a tremendous value add. And I think it really removes all of the risks from it when it changes the conversation to, "This is a high touch service reaching out to me," as opposed to, "I'm getting a product announcements," which is valuable, but this has like a much higher touch thing on the end of it.

Mike: That's an awesome question. So I wouldn't be able to mention the name of the merchant, but we actually worked with one of our merchants on creating exactly SMS as a support channel. So what we did is only on the mobile, on the footer, you would get a box where it says need help. And then there is a button which says, text. So once you click this button, we will open your iMessage or Android App and then you can directly ask a question to the brand. So whilst they do this, again, we would follow the same flow that I told you. It's either going to go to SMSBump or Gorgeous or Zendesk or whatever you're using it as a support desk. And then in this way, the customer are directly able to communicate with the support teams. So the answer to this is a big fact. Yes.

Kurt: That's very cool. You said, "Yeah, we've got this client, but we can't mention it." Are there any brands that would be a great example of someone who does SMS as a channel really well?

Mike: Yes, sure. So I think all of us are kind of like inspired by fashion though and everything they do. So you should definitely check them out. I think they're very well ahead of the game. And when I think of Shopify, one of the process comes to my mind is fashion though. So I think we all have a lot to learn about them in terms of marketing. So they're definitely someone that we need to be aspiring to. So maybe my top one would be this. I'm not a very cool example is a brand which is called Billy. So they do women type of products and again, other great brands are like Sashka Co. for bracelets. I think they're doing a great job as well. The McAfee Institute are working really good as well, Itzy Ritzy, there is the 1 Up Nutrition as well. So a lot of great brands I think in the sector are kind of like pushing what's possible with text messages, experimenting with new ways to interact with customers. So those definitely need to be on the radar.

Kurt: What would you say to someone who's on the fence or they're like, "All right, I hear you. I'm considering it." What would you say?

Mike: SMS is great, not only for one time purchases, but for recurring purchases. So if you're using a product as recharge, we do amazing stuff like recharge. So we do upcoming charge notification, which you can actually respond with a keyword and you can skip a shipment. So here are we talking about people reducing the dropout rate, reducing the churn of people who are likely to drop just because they can't post on the payment with one month or we're able to up sell your product. And then we're like, "Hey, how would you like to add this roll bar into your monthly purchase box?" And then reply, "Yes." And the only thing you need to do is just reply, yes, and then that's it. We have your credit card on file, we're updating the purchase, everything is fine. You're getting the confirmation.

Mike: Also, another great use case for this is, credit card declines. So from time to time people forget that their credit cards have an expiration date. So actually if recharge can process their payment, they would send them an email. But if you have given your spam email your name, we'll be able to dig through everything in order to find who is texting you or who's emailing you. So what we do is if the credit card gets folded or if it expires, we're sending you a text message with a link where you can update your credit card.

Mike: And this works super good for subscription businesses and for everyone on the fence. Again, guys, we'll be more than happy to give you a free tour of the product. You can try it out, see how well it works out for you. We'll be happy to onboard you, help you all set up your automations and take you through the first sales that you can get with a text messaging.

Kurt: If I were to get started with it today, what's it going to cost me?

Mike: So right now, 80% of the platform is free to use. For people that want some of the extra features they have to pay from $20 to $60 a month. We also have a high tier plan, which is the enterprise, which usually ranges from $1000 to $2,000 a month. And then the few of the platform or the text messages dose very country by country. But for the United States, I'm happy to say that we provide the best rates on the market. So as low as 1.5 cents per text message.

Kurt: Do you have a special offer for us?

Mike: What we will be happy to give everyone joining in one month for free on our highest plan, the SMSBump Plus. So all you need to do is email Mike at or Chris at and then just write unofficial special offer and we'll be happy to give it the white glove onboarding as well as the promo packages I just mentioned.

Kurt: All right. I have noted that in the show notes. Final question Mike. Where can people go to learn more about you?

Mike: So they can find this on the Shopify App Store. If you just searched for SMS or SMSBump Plus or SMSBbump, that's one word or two words, whatever you try out. We'll be showing up. The App is with two check marks, two ticks, which actually signifies a received text message. So there or they can find us on Facebook Messenger at SMSBump anywhere. Basically we're at every social, we're very approachable. We're now going with Intercom as well. So if they want to engage with us or ask us a question, they can find on Intercom as well.

Kurt: Wonderful. Mike, this has been insightful and inspiring. Thank you.

Mike: Thank you so much for having me, Kurt.