It’s interesting how reports talk about consumers as if they were a unique species. For example, recent McKinsey research found “55% of consumers reported turning to brands they trust during lockdown.” Those 55% are you and I. Our buying behaviors have changed, and quickly. The speed and degree of change in our buying behaviors has many marketing organizations scrambling to remodel their approaches.

“Managing this hyperlocal activity and engagement will require marketers to rewire their operating model to provide a more granular presence at scale.

This approach will need to build on many of the capabilities developed around personalization (particularly analytics, trigger-based messaging, and agile test-and-learn approaches) and require renewed thinking about how to scale content supply chains and manage performance.”
- McKinsey: Reimagining marketing in the next normal

The Speed factor

A key factor for success is how fast marketing departments can adjust. A critical component of that adjustment is how well they stay connected with customers.

There’s a lot of discussion happening about what martech is needed and what messaging is appropriate. But there’s not a lot of discussion about the importance of how to accelerate the ability to get things done.

Sure, everyone thinks they’re going fast, but only a handful of leaders in each industry are actually doing so. Those leaders also excel at the ability to maintain a relevant connection with customers. It’s never been more important than right now for marketers to quickly start communicating with their customers in a way that’s natural and normal by today’s standards.

When it comes to connecting with us as consumers, one of those ways is SMS. With 23 billion messages sent everyday, it’s part of our daily routine. Features allowing companies to send two-way messages that capture our feedback and confirm our appointments are now natural and normal. Marketers can get started using this communication channel immediately - no integrations or fancy, expensive martech required. Merely logining in to a portal, uploading contacts that have opted-in and hitting send gets you started engaging with customers through SMS.

This brief video demonstrates how easy it is to instantly start sending SMS messages to your customers.

SMS now has many flavors

The different types of SMS enable marketers to be more purposeful and precise with their messages.

Table 1: Types of SMS Messages

Two-wayIdeal for:Confirming appointments NPS & CSAT feedbackIdeal for:Promotions Surveys
One-WayIdeal for:Two-factor authentication Notifications and updatesIdeal for:Product announcements Company news and updates
One to OneBulk


With this portfolio, Marketers can select the right type of message to engage in ways that increase customer convenience along with the ability to collect insights on how well the company is meeting customer expectations.

Proven methods

We asked marketers to share how to use SMS messages to effectively connect with customers. Here are some of the examples they provided and why they believe their approach works.

Recapture Abandoned Carts to Finish Purchases

With the increase in online purchasing and the rise of micro moments of shopping, providing a frictionless ecommerce experience is now a matter of survival for many companies. As we shop in those micro moments, we often get distracted and don’t complete the transaction. Here’s how one retailer is addressing this opportunity with SMS:

Hi <customer first name>, it’s the team at <your company name>. We noticed that you placed <product name(s)> in your cart but didn’t check out. Complete the purchase by <date> and use coupon code <code> to save an extra 5%. <>

Why This Template Works

  1. Incentive + Urgency

The 5% discount code, paired with an expiration date, provides customers with a reason to act fast. Additionally, perks like the discount can encourage customers who are on the fence. Test to see if a percentage or dollar-based discount works best for your business. Limited availability and expiration dates can also increase conversion rates by creating a time-bound, promotional offer.

  1. Personalization

Using their name creates a more personal connection. The first few words in your SMS are shown in the notification window of most phones. With their name front and center, customers may be more inclined to open it.

71% of consumers shop in “micro-moments” (shopping while doing something else). More than one in three say they do so at least weekly and up to multiple times daily.
- NRF Research

Capture Customer Feedback and Reviews

Understanding how well your products and services are meeting customer expectations is obviously important to every marketer. The challenge is always in how to effectively capture that information in a timely and actionable way. Here’s an example of how one business is capturing feedback through SMS.

First message:

How was your experience with us on your last visit? Reply with a rating (1-5, 5 being the best) to let us know how we’re doing.

Replies depending on response:

[If they reply with a 4 or 5, then send this message]

We’re glad to hear you had a great experience! If you’re up for it, could you leave us a review on <Yelp or similar site> so that others know about your experience? <>

[If they reply with a 1, 2, or 3, then send this message]

We’re sorry to hear your experience was subpar and would like to see how we can make it better. Can you give us a call at xxx-xxx-xxxx and we’ll make it right?

Why This Template Works

  1. Easy Action

The ability for customers to quickly and easily respond results in high response rates.

  1. Aligned with the Customer Journey

The message is in tune with the post-purchase flow. Also, when you encourage customers to share reviews and step in when things go wrong, you build trust with them.

8x8’s SMS Engage provides a templated way to create and send this type of survey at scale. The online portal makes it easy to send messages, then capture and analyze the results. Here’s the documentation on how it works.

Product Promotion

A jewelry retailer uses SMS messages as a core part of their promotions. Here’s an example that delivers strong conversion rates.

We are going to add a new, one of a kind necklace to our website. As a VIP customer, we wanted to let you know before we send it to others. Log in to see a photo of it:

Why This Template Works

  1. Urgency

“Let you know before we send it to others” strikes the fear of missing out and motivates a buying decision.

  1. The language of positioning

It’s true that no one believes they are influenced by marketing. Yet, language matters. As much as we hate to admit it, words and phrases such as, "new, one of a kind," trigger emotions that position the product, in this case a necklace, as different and better than common, mass-produced items. The result is that positioning language garners attention by triggering a mental model for how a product or service compares to similar items.

  1. VIP Treatment

Providing special privileges and offers to customers elevates their engagement with a brand - just ask yourself what impact that frequent flyer status used to have on your choice of flights (back when we used to fly).

Authenticate Customers

As companies work to stay ahead of very capable hackers, the use of SMS for mobile verification as part of two-factor authentication processes has become a key use for SMS. Here’s an example of how to add a degree of friendliness to it.

Your <company name> security code is: xxxxxx. Thank you for being a customer!

Why This Template Works

  1. Clear and Direct

This one-time password (OTP) is straightforward and enables customers to take immediate action.

  1. Courteous

Every message to a customer is an opportunity to reinforce the perception they have about your company. Being courteous with this touchpoint is a way to add a positive touch to a simple interaction.

Iterate and Test

These examples are creative catalysts that marketers can use to develop messages and points of engagement that work for their customers. As always, it’s an iterative process to find the formula that works best.

The key is getting started now. Here’s how with 8x8.

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