How to engage your customers with SMS in the customer journey

There are many benefits of using SMS - from reaching new audiences to boost user engagement and even increasing sales. SMS is a powerful communication channel with among the highest open and engagement rates of all channels. One of the reasons why SMS is so effective is because delivery is immediate, and consumption is almost instantly. SMS or text messaging has become an indispensable tool for businesses in today's mobile-first world.

We can all agree that the most effective way to increase engagement and conversion of a marketing campaign is to send the right message, to the right person, at the right time. However, today that is not good enough. We also need to consider sending to "the right channel”.

Customer journey mapping helps Marketing and CX professionals better understand their customers and identify opportunities to strengthen and build long-term relationships. However, customer journeys often only use one channel, email. In addition to email, SMS is a channel to consider. If you do, you may take advantage of an important opportunity to connect and engage with customers at different stages of their customer journey. 

The engagement rate for SMS is outstanding

SMS is almost always opened and read instantly. The key SMS metrics are impressive:

  • On average, 90% of all SMS are opened and read, compared to only 20% of emails
  • Comparative response times are impressive: 90 minutes for email versus 90 seconds for SMS

Knowing these numbers, it's obvious why more businesses are starting to use SMS as part of their channel mix. However, a strategic approach needs to be taken when adding SMS to your mix and pairing it with email as part of your customer journey. Each channel has unique characteristics that need to be considered.

SMS has generally been adopted as a common (and often the preferred) method for day-to-day communications, while email has been better for long-form and more creative messaging. SMS is also a quick way for customers to provide invaluable feedback and rate their customer experience. Used strategically and not intrusively, SMS allows you to engage with audiences on a platform that is convenient for them. Your helpful assistance along the customer journey will keep your brand top of mind.

Examples of SMS that can add value in the Customer Journey: 
  • SMS for lead generation SMS can be a useful channel to generate leads for your business. By using SMS to reach out, you can entice prospects to take action and provide their contact information. This is especially effective for businesses in the hospitality or retail sector.
  • Engage with new audiences - SMS reaches people on their phones when they haven't downloaded your app.
  • SMS for customer onboarding - Send an SMS to check whether the customer is happy with the onboarding experience or to help them get started.
  • SMS for customer relationships - SMS is often used for managing or nurturing the customer relationship through helpful and timely reminders about things like appointments, reservations and renewals. This is especially effective in businesses with a booking- or a subscription- business model.
  • Share valuable transactional information pre- and post-purchase - when the customer places an order, keep the customer engaged throughout their journey with SMS – order confirmation, delivery notices, delivery updates, stock refills, waiting lists etc.
  • SMS abandoned cart - for re-engagement, use both SMS and or email. You don't have to choose one over the other. On the contrary, you can use email and SMS in a sequence. For example, send out an email two hours after someone abandoned their cart, and if they didn't open the email, you can follow up with a text message.
  • SMS promotions and offers - send personalised SMS based on a user's habits and/or purchase history or show gratitude with a birthday greeting discount. Or, you can send your customers a text message that reminds them that they only have a little time left to benefit from your VIP sales and add a link to the countdown page.
  • SMS product replenishment - if you sell products that run out or have a certain shelf-life, automated replenishment SMS is a must.
  • SMS customer feedback - following a specified period after purchase, send an SMS for a product and service review or feedback to create positive sentiment. Besides, you can also use the feedback to optimise your product/service.
Ready to add SMS in the customer journey?

SMS and text messaging have become a crucial component of the customer journey, with a wide range of use cases. You can start by considering your goals for SMS in your marketing mix. How can you use messaging channels to boost your existing email marketing strategy, and what unique experience can you create on each channel? Map your customer journey and tailor it according to your customers' habits and preferences (email and/or SMS or rich channels like WhatsApp). Choose the right channel for the right message and your call to action.


All successful email and SMS campaigns start with a strong database of qualified customers and prospects. Being GDPR-compliant is important. Besides the regulatory part,  it will provide you with a strong email and telephone database that will increase your open-, response- and click-through rates. 

Do you want to connect SMS to your CRM or MarTech application?  Talk to one of our messaging experts!

Contact us