Bag of Alkaline Herb Shop herbs displayed with leaves and greens.
With SMS marketing, Alkaline Herb Shop was able to achieve 20% month-over-month growth in revenue, which translates to over 160 times its return on investment. — Alkaline Herb Shop

Why it matters:

  • Text message campaigns have a 98% open rate, compared to the 20% open rate of the average email campaign.
  • For brands like Alkaline Herb Shop, SMS campaigns can deliver both targeted customer communications and quantifiable sales conversion success.
  • SMS push notifications helped the wellness brand to recover at least 33% of its abandoned carts.

Amid consumers’ ever-burgeoning focus on self-care, there’s perhaps never been a more competitive time to start a health-geared brand within the booming $4.5 trillion wellness industry. On the other hand, however, there have seemingly never been so many tech tools available to help entrepreneurs launch a new product and grow their customer base.

Alkaline Herb Shop, an online purveyor of organic herbs and supplement powders, is making the most of the digital tools available in our direct-to-consumer era—most notably, text-based marketing.

Founder Suhail Rivera, who came to alkaline-based healing after a career as an attorney and decided to turn it into a full-time career, grew the brand’s initial audience using her own social media presence as a springboard, then shifted gears.

“Rather than focus on Instagram, we’re focused on building our own lists and bringing our efforts all together within our tech stack,” Rivera told CO—. “Now, we’re focused more heavily on other channels, [such as] SMS marketing, email, and our referral program. We’re even offering a free cookbook when shoppers sign up to receive our email newsletter to spark inspiration from the first touchpoint.”

[Read here on how texting has become a major sales channel for brands.]

SMS is such a delicate and personal channel. It’s even more important to make sure we send the right message to the right people at exactly the right time.

Suhail Rivera, founder, Alkaline Herb Shop

Connecting with consumers via SMS marketing

Just operating social media accounts today is not enough; connecting directly and authentically with consumers is practically a necessity for a young brand starting out. For Rivera, that means leveraging one-on-one, brand-to-customer digital marketing to deliver content that is useful to the consumer in order to ultimately drive sales conversion.

“There are so many brands in health and wellness that our main goal is to showcase our differentiators as a brand,” she said. “SMS marketing is so effective at helping us cut through the noise.”

Via a partnership with e-commerce marketing platform Yotpo, Alkaline Herb Shop has driven dramatic growth in revenue without relying on Instagram for the heavy lifting of customer acquisition, she said.

In addition to social media, which can build a large following but not necessarily translate to digital sales, Alkaline Herb Shop’s SMS campaigns have helped deliver both targeted customer communications and quantifiable success.

“For us, moving away from Instagram and influencer marketing and instead focusing on more direct channels, like SMS marketing, has been huge,” Rivera said. “Month after month, SMS is reliable and a great source of revenue. This multi-channel marketing strategy has been very successful for us.”

In fact, SMS marketing has been an extremely successful form of customer engagement for many brands and retailers, statistically even more so than email. According to data from Gartner, text message campaigns have a 98% open rate, compared to the 20% open rate of the average email campaign.

Texting the right message at the right time

Like email, SMS or text-message-based marketing is a cost-effective method of advertising and can deliver a meaningful return on investment when done correctly and with the right tech partners. According to Rivera, her brand was able to achieve 20% month-over-month growth in revenue, which translates to over 160 times its return on investment.

The brand tapped Yotpo’s SMSBump technology, which allows for precise audience segmentation and targeting, enabling Alkaline Herb Shop to deliver the most effective blasts and reach the customer at just the right moment in the purchasing funnel.

For example, if a customer has browsed a site and left something in their cart, the system can trigger an automated text message if the shopper has not checked out within a certain window of time. According to Rivera, these SMS push notifications have helped to recover at least 33% of abandoned carts.

For Alkaline Herb Shop, it’s promotions that drive the most customer activity. “Our buy one, get one (BOGO) free [text] campaigns have been the most successful so far,” Rivera said. "They’ve been huge for us and so popular with our customers.

 Plants displayed on a table by Alkaline Herb Shop.
In addition to social media, Alkaline Herb Shop’s SMS campaigns have helped deliver both targeted customer communications and quantifiable success. — Alkaline Herb Shop

Making the most of direct communication with the consumer

However, because customers must opt in to receiving messages directly to their smartphone, it’s important that brands earn their attention via messaging and content that is highly engaging and delivers a benefit to the customer beyond its promotional value.

“SMS is such a delicate and personal channel,” Rivera said. “It’s even more important to make sure we send the right message to the right people at exactly the right time.”

Because Alkaline Herb Shop’s organic herbs and supplement powders are versatile in use but may be foreign to new shoppers, Rivera relies on the SMS touchpoint to aid in delivering engaging, digestible information.

“We take advantage of our revenue-generating channels, like SMS, to educate our customers,” she said, “and we share reviews from other customers via text as well. Many of the product pictures we send also feature reviews, so customers see that social proof right away.”

[More here on managing online reviews.]

In the future, Rivera hopes that its SMS marketing strategy will continue to inspire an even more robust collection of user-generated content, with ratings, reviews and user-submitted visual content across as many touchpoints as possible.

“User-generated content will only grow in importance in 2021 as more and more people turn to online shopping,” she said. “It’s so important to provide social proof in the form of authentic reviews and honest ratings to build trust with first-time shoppers as well as repeat customers.”

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Published March 08, 2021