ryan o'connor on SMS and email marketing
Digital Marketing, Social PR Secrets

126: Why Your Brand Should Be Sending Texts, With Ryan O’Connor

SMS has a 98% open rate. Yes, you read that right. So why aren’t most brands using it? Well, it’s not that simple. In this episode, the founder of Worth eCommerce, Ryan O’Connor, shares who should be using SMS versus email marketing, how to go about it, and tips to maximize your returns. 

In this episode of the Social PR Secrets Podcast, host Lisa Buyer talked to Ryan O’Connor for the first-ever SPS episode on SMS marketing! Ryan is the founder of Worth eCommerce, a Portland-based email and SMS marketing agency helping businesses scale their customer relationships with email and SMS Marketing. 

Why Use Email and SMS?

For the first half of his career in eCommerce, Ryan was focused on getting new commerce. He only thought about conversion rates and user experience. But quickly, he realized he was only looking at surface level. Instead, he started working on creating a brand with supportive customers he could turn into VIPs who would be loyal for life. And now, he helps businesses do the same thing. 

Emails and SMS allow businesses to develop longer relationships with customers. To do so, companies should focus on communication and content rather than the actual user experience and design of the email. Indeed, Ryan has found that high repeat customer rates are usually due to great content. Emails and SMS will expose your customers to your brand in a way nothing else will

Turn Customers Into VIPs

The first step to any email or SMS strategy is to grow your lists. A good way to do that is popups on your website offering a discount or another offer against their contact information. With this strategy successfully implemented, Ryan is able to collect 10 to 15% of website visitors not ready to buy and turn them into first-time customers. Ryan advises businesses to start with one channel first, usually email. Email is a richer experience. It’s longer, has more designs and customers invest more of their attention in it. Conversely, SMS is a very small touchpoint and people are less willing to give their phone number.

Once you’ve built a list of about 3,000 emails, you can start thinking about SMS. You will only need a few hundred SMS subscribers for the strategy to be profitable. Indeed, it requires little time and effort and it will have a high engagement rate. Why? Well, if someone is willing to give you their phone number it means they like your brand and are loyal. In short: they want to hear from you. So give them the VIP treatment: send them the best discounts, first access to products, podcasts, and more!

SMS Tips

So what should you do and not do when using SMS to market your brand? Ryan has the answers!

✅ DO: Use the right SMS sending tools. If you use Shopify, PostScript is the most robust option. For other eCommerce platforms, you can use SMSBump. And if you are a bigger company, Attentive Mobile will be perfect for you.

❌ DON’T: Send too many SMS. That list is your goldmine, you don’t want to draw resources from it too fast. Save your best content and promotions for SMS. 4-8 times a month is a good start point. Once your list grows, you can send more or even segment your audience.

✅ DO: Use gifs to make the text stand out. Some kind of fun image will trigger an emotional response within your customers. 

❌ DON’T: Focus on SMS only. SMS should be supplemented by email. They both serve a different purpose and should be considered with two different strategies in mind.

This episode is a great starting point for anyone wanting to learn more about SMS for their business. For more, make sure to check out Ryan’s podcast, the Relationship Commerce podcast. He will also start an eCommerce mastermind soon, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!

“One sale won’t create a memory structure, but content marketing and exposure to your brand will.”– Ryan O’Connor

Some topics discussed in this episode include:

  • SMS marketing
  • Email marketing
  • VIP customers
  • User experience
  • eCommerce 

Contact Ryan O’Connor

References and Links Mentioned