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Unlocking 20% More Growth This BFCM With SMS Sales - Recording

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SMS marketing brings real-world human experience to the digital purchase journey. If you’re running a Shopify Plus store or any medium-large size store on Shopify, you should come away from this webinar with actionable steps you can take to find 20% more revenue using SMS text marketing.

SMS marketing brings real-world human experience to the digital purchase journey. If you’re not integrating SMS as part of your marketing strategy, you’re clearly missing out on extra revenue that this marketing channel can provide.

What You'll Learn How to:

📱 Build up your SMS list in the weeks leading up to BFCM
🛍️ Recover 2x more abandoned carts
⌛Increase your response speed during Q4
📉 Reduce overall customer support costs
💬 The difference between standard SMS Marketing and SMS Sales

Watch the replay right here or read the transcript below:

wbr_sms_sales_play


Transcript

Chad Rubin:

We are alive. Hello, and thanks for joining and for taking time out of your day, Tivan really appreciate it. For those that don't know you, I'd love for you to just introduce yourself and what a little bit about Tone and we'll get into some great value.

Tivan Amour:

For sure, thanks for having me. Hi everyone, my name is Tivan Amour, I'm the co-founder and CEO of Tone Messaging. We are the only two-way SMS marketing platform available. The quick Genesis of it, I'm actually a recurring or excuse me, a recovering e-commerce entrepreneur. I started one of the first successful Kickstarter campaigns in Boston, doing a bicycle company called Fortified Bicycle. Our biggest challenge for Fortified was actually getting people to buy these $800 bikes online, a lot of interest, but it was really hard to convert people until we started texting people. So we let people text us while they were shopping on the site. We even sent a one to one messages, when they were abandoning, ended up doubling our conversion rates onsite, tripling our abandoned checkout recovery rates, and that prompted us to sell the bike company and start Tone to enable all eCommerce merchants to kind of leverage the same little secret that we discovered. We now have several thousand companies, many of them on Shopify, that use us for everything, from live texts to abandon checkout recovery to two-way SMS campaigns. The unique thing that we're doing is we actually have our own Tone sales agents that use Tones technology to take the brand voice that you all craft, and propagate it in thousands of customer conversations every minute.

Chad Rubin:

All right, that's it, this webinar's done. Thank you so much for joining now. No, I'm just joking. I really appreciate you joining, I think last time I saw you in maybe a year ago at Shoptalk in the flash and in person and it's of course, this is a great way to host you and to have you, and to share, at least specific, I like to share the stage with somebody who actually I'm using your own software, right? So not for it's Kibana, but for those that are actually new to joining these webinars before it's Kibana, BS is running our company called Think Crucial, we manufacture and sell home appliance, parts and accessories. I met Tivan walking around a booth area or over conference just I was like aimlessly wandering, and I think that's where a lot of times you find a lot of great value. And he told me about what he did and I was like, wow, wow, we can leverage this, we can use this. And we started using it, and we've seen a lot of progress. It's sort of one of those softwares that you don't hear a lot about, haven't raised a ton of money and Tivan, we were talking a little bit about, before you joined how much money you raised, relative to the rest of the SMS world, but you're doing some really unique things like the fish pond is large, and you're fishing in a, well, it's a little bit of a lazy pond but the same way you're catching some awesome fish. And so anyway, so starts Tivan out of Think Crucial running an operations platform, we help merchants and brands sell, direct consumer and direct to everywhere, whether it's orders, inventory, purchase orders, and profitability. But this webinar specifically is driven around SMS, there's a lot of talk about SMS, and I wanna get into a little bit about how Tone is different, and also sharing opening the Kimono a little bit about what Crucial has been doing with you and your team. So why don't we start there, 'cause like there's so many companies that are offering SMS, in fact, someone just asked in the chat, do you offer a popup feature? So can we start with how are you approaching this market differently than others?

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, so I think our differential approach really centers around our unique insight, that the way you drive the most longterm lifetime customer value with customers is by creating a personal relationship with them. So whereas every other SMS marketing company out there is basically peeling and sticking the marketing automation model from email to SMS, we're approaching it more like a sales and service channel where you know, what would it be like if every brand in the world had a person that customers could text with and basically called their friend. How many more repeat purchases would you see? So what we see is about 24% more revenue driven just by the simple fact that every single message that sends out presents as a human, like Sarah, Rob, or Chad at a brand, and we've got customers that text in two years, three years later, still talking to that same person and still expecting the same level of service. Should I go into like a ?

Chad Rubin:

No, I think that's, no, I think that's fascinating actually, so you're telling me that these are real humans that are responding over texts, is that correct?

Tivan Amour:

That's right.

Chad Rubin:

And I feel like that's really non-consensus because now everyone's all about, like using bots, and using forms to fill in the blanks, I just signed up for a text messaging service with Four Sigmatic. They have a popup on their site, you put your email, you put in your texts, your estimates number and-

Tivan Amour:

What about mushroom coffee brand.

Chad Rubin:

Mushroom coffee data, exactly so I am on my second day of not having coffee, I have everything in my life has kind of revolved around family and coffee. And so I'm breaking some specific habits and wearing a whoop, and I've actually had my first real day of 100% sleep, which is fascinating, I'm digressing. But I guess what I'm pointing out here is, SMS is a real thing, there's a huge opportunity, I do want to dig into your approach, I SMS. So I just signed up for Four Sigmatic. Now they hit me up on my phone, I'm in the VIP Shroom club, and is that what you're offering right now? Or is it something different?

Tivan Amour:

So starting from the top of the funnel or lands on the website, and with most SMS marketing right now you've got an opt-in pop-up that might pop up and say, put your number in here to receive or to receive our exclusive offers as they come up, we definitely offer that. The second thing that we offer that is that in fact, very unique is what's called LiveText. So we've originated this thing where you can tap to text, to just start asking a question. And the reason we did that was we found that many brands had, if you guys remember like 2015, 2016, everyone was about live chat with a chat bot built in, and you don't see it as often anymore. And what we find as we're talking to brands is we say, why don't you use live chat? And they say, well, we started using it, and then we realized two things, one our customers really were not down with the whole bot thing, and two, when we had humans jump in, we weren't able to have the supply of humans quickly enough to actually close the sales as we want it, so we were not able to create the experience. So what we do with LiveText is, we take the idea of live chat and we make it actually usable. I'm sure most brands right now have a greater than 60, 70% mobile traffic, and just over 50% conversions on mobile. So what LiveText enables you to do is actually meet the customer where they are, and asynchronously closed them, even if they're not on the website. So you tapped a text and then within minutes you can actually start talking with a real human at the brand powered by Tone. And then further down the funnel, tons of customers are abandoning checkout. Typically what's happening right now is you'll send an abandoned checkout email that might convert somewhere between seven to maybe 15% of customers depending on the consideration level of the purchase. And text message might add a few points to that, maybe up to an additional five to 10. What we do is we actually send an abandoned checkout message that says, "Hey, Chad, this is Tivan from Fortified Bicycle, I saw you were looking at this product, any questions I can answer for you? Or do you want me to see if I can get you a good discount?" We see a 42% response rate to that initial message, and then we ended up converting somewhere between 25, all the way up to 60% of those conversations within the first couple of days. That moment is actually what starts a relationship that then creates a lot more repeat purchase than say, just a one way message that sent out. we do is, we actually take all these one leads that we're creating, and we enable segmented campaign sending not just one way, not just like "Hey, we're having a sale," but Hey, we're having a sale, and let me know if you have any questions, or do you want me to help you find this in your size?

Chad Rubin:

Love it, Natalie from Kansas city asked, so who's doing the talking, is it the brand, or is it Tone? Are you providing this software method, and they did the talking? Walk us through what that looks like on your site.

Tivan Amour:

So the Genesis of this to answer the question in short, yes, the Tone platform does all the talking. When we were first playing around with this, with the Fortified brand, we went to a bunch of our friends, he ran Shopify stores and we said, you've got to do this yourself. Here's how you do it, and at the time we had connected like the brand and checkouts in Shopify to a Google sheet using Zapier, and then we had the Google sheet sending automated text messages, and then we had our humans responding. And we basically said, "Here's how you do it, you should do it." You know, pro bono, we're giving you this. And everyone said that's nice, but there's no way we can do this ourselves, it's gonna like, we already pride live chat, we can't keep up with the messages. So they all just said, can you do it for us? And we said, I guess, sure, maybe. And so what we've done over the past few years is figured out the best way to ingest all of the customer service templates, all the FAQs, all of the sort of standard knowledge about the brand in a matter of minutes, when you first onboard to handle 80 to 90% of these pre-purchase questions that customers have. And then over time, our app dynamically learns about the brand, both organically through research and through very quick training that you actually do in the Tone app, as you're prompted. So we send automated slack messages, SMS and emails, whenever there is a knowledge gap that we need. And so usually it's the head of customer support or somebody in marketing who might be running the Tone program. And they'll just jump in really quickly answer a question that answer is then saved templatized and used for a future conversion.

Chad Rubin:

That is amazing, so if you were saying you can get to 80 or 90% of the questions, let's just use my business as an example, because we are a customer, we manufacturer vacuum filter straws and filters, and we make mask filters as well, which you've been super helpful on the bottom of the funnel, which we'll talk about momentarily, but at least what happens for that Delta that 10% of the questions, if you're selling a complex product could be an electric bike, it could be a vacuum filter, and they want to know if this model fits this vacuum, how does your team ramp up on that? Or what is the process internally of that flow of communication look like?

Tivan Amour:

So the thing that enables Tone to work so much better than like the average customer service team that's trying to do it themselves, is that we spent the better part of two years building an AI guided templating system that basically reads the context of any conversation and tells the Tone agent what's most likely to help convert the sale, which template. So they're basically just pressing individually, like one button to get the template to send. In the edge cases, the next level is very fast research, so our internal tools make it really, really easy for brands to, or excuse me, for our agents to find answers. And then the final line of defense is actually sending an automated message to the brand, in their preferred channel to get an answer quickly. And we'll give them context on the conversation, we'll give them context on the type of sale, and it's all, there's a little bit of time pressure there because we're trying to make sure that we close the sale as quickly as possible. Does that answer the question?

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, yeah, I think, yeah, for sure. So then the next question I have is, So Crucial is using this today, I think we've actually just use you bottom of the funnel, I didn't even know that you were on top of the funnel. So now that I know that you have tofu, that's amazing. We've been using you for our win-back campaigns.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah.

Chad Rubin:

So when this pandemic was happening, we quickly started pivoting from making vacuum bag type of bags to providing filtration media, for a lot of factories that were pivoting into making a masks, covering, facemasks. And we had people coming to our site, our traffic was up, I don't know, 1000 2000%, and people, some of them were buying and some of them weren't. And so what I found super helpful was actually you were saving the sale on the backend, right? And helping us, made sure that we actually get the sale even after they bounced from our side.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, I'm looking at your last 10 orders here, just logged into your account. It looks like pretty much all of them are air filters, which is great. Yeah.

Chad Rubin:

Interesting. So, I maybe we can split up this conversation between top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel now. So top of the funnel, what are some specific strategies that you would recommend to capture on the fourth quarter and Black Friday, Cyber Monday? Like anything come to mind?

Tivan Amour:

For sure, and we've got about two years of data on this, now. I'm starting with, let's start with where we are right now, so starting today between now and basically up until Black Friday, the game is setting up the scaffolding, so that we can convert as well as possible. So what that means is building it, so that you can build lists as quickly as possible, starting with opt-in popups, make sure that those are all running. If you're using Tone, adding live text, to make sure that you're collecting moods that way-

Chad Rubin:

And clarification question, do you provide the popups and the live chat amplitude, or popup that comes up

Tivan Amour:

We have our own box popup tool, but we also recognize that there are plenty of brands that already have a popup solution, and so we will integrate with things like just you know, to enable that. So LiveText is another way to get top of funnel volume for people that have questions, making sure that you've got a compliant opt-in and you're collecting numbers at checkout, whether or not you are leveraging the abandoned checkout system, making sure that you at least have an opt-in, so you can start marketing to those people. And then bonus points for starting to think about segmentation of these people. So it's one thing to just build a massive list and start blasting to it, but to actually maximize ROI it's important to make sure that you segment and target bait different types of content throughout this, you know, one and a half month sprint, based on likelihood of conversion, lifetime value of customers, how likely they are, in Tones case, how likely, we like to see segmentation around, how likely people are to respond. We'll have a merchant's differential, do differential campaigns based on whether it's gonna be conversation or whether it's gonna be more of a push, making sure that you've got scaffolding set up around abandoned checkout. The moment that the flood Gates open, you're not gonna really have time to like iterate on that stuff. So making sure that you start pressing abandoned check out campaigns to see what works. And then of course, shameless plug trying to add two way as quickly as possible, whether it's through a tool like Tone or whether it's through an integration with your existing customer service tool. Like I said, we see that it adds upwards of 24% to be able to talk to customers, and it becomes increasingly important when customers are much more flippant about where they're shopping, they're getting a deal here, they're getting a deal there. We see so many customers tell us, "Oh, I'm buying from you right now because you actually responded to me," can't get a response from anywhere else because it's may have. So there's a lot of the top five to six things that we were looking for.

Chad Rubin:

What's a brand that you consider as just absolutely crushing it right now, from an SMS perspective? Maybe top three, if you can? And that we would want to learn best practices from.

Tivan Amour:

For sure, I would say one of the Pioneers using the Tone platform right now is a guy named Shea Parton, he runs a company called Apolis, and I think the URL for it is apolisglobal.com. They have done the best job of fully integrating SMS into their business, to the point where they barely use email, Tone is actually running most of their service and support as well. Kind of an unintended consequence of us, I think he found us through the app store, and then he just like kept trying and kept asking, and now Tone is really a mainstay within his business. But what you'll notice if you go to apolisglobal.com is either in the... If you're on your mobile phone in the hamburger dropdown, you can actually tap to text, and you will get support in minutes, about anything that you want, and what they do is they make custom bags, market bags that you might like go to whole foods with. And there's plenty of like customization questions that customers have, and he's built a Tone app around his business to properly respond to all those types of questions. He also sends weekly campaigns, and you may actually increase the frequency with which they do that, but you'll see that they're all conversational. Most of them have images or GIFs to keep them really engaging. And I think that he saw this future two years ago, I think before we were even totally thinking about it. But I believe that this is gonna be the gold standard of how SMS is used in business starting next year.

Chad Rubin:

I did just hit text us on my desktop, I run a Mac. What pulled up my eye message, it populated the response, not the response, but my question. And it looks like there's a semicolon in it, I don't know why, I don't know if that's an issue on my side, but-

Tivan Amour:

Depending on what browser you're using, you may get something different than is standard. What customers are doing for the text us is, they're actually mobile and they're tapping the number on the website with display, with something like, "Hey, Apolis, I have a question."

Chad Rubin:

Okay, got it so we've got Apolis. Any two others.

Tivan Amour:

Sure, maybe a CPG brand, like Usual Wines.

Chad Rubin:

I love Usual Wines, by the way, they were on our last webinar, yeah. I love their single serve, rozy.

Tivan Amour:

Was it Kenzie that you spoke with or

Chad Rubin:

That's a great question, I'll get back to you on that.

Tivan Amour:

Cool, so yeah. So Usual Wines is great, they've got a really cool feature where a lot of their customers are reordering by using live texts, so they've got the number saved as like the wine number, and they actually put the live text number in their packaging that says, "Want more wine, text us to make it," They just opened up a new channel of conversion.

Chad Rubin:

That's great, how is Jessica by the way from Usual.

Tivan Amour:

Cool.

Chad Rubin:

All right, so one more do, one more, I can keep it up.

Tivan Amour:

One that we've just started working with that I'm really fond of, particularly because of what products they're selling right now is a Nomad Goods.

Chad Rubin:

Customer of Skubana as well.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, nomadgoods.com, they're blowing up right now, mainly because they've got a really cool remote work lighting, to make it so that, I should probably be using one right now, but they've got like a light that makes you look better on camera as you're on a Zoom call. So they actually are using abandoned checkout, and then they've just started using live texts on their product pages. So if you go to any of the product pages, right under the product description you can actually tap to ask questions about the products.

Chad Rubin:

That's awesome, so one of my favorite people just chatted here to the live He's an icon, the e-commerce whispered . He actually had a really interesting question, and I was thinking about in my mind, 'cause I'm actually in the subscription business myself with filters, he's talking about it in regards to a beverage. Do you support transactions reordering via SMS for subscription?

Tivan Amour:

So at the moment we don't do any direct text to order through Tone, however, we are working with a few partners that will enable that. And at the moment, the way that like a Usual Wines does it, is simply by passing us the info, the customer will give us the information about like what they want to order, and we'll create a cart for them in the background and enable their checkout really easily by sending them the link to the cart. But we do have plenty of stuff in the works, some partners like ReCharge, that will enable that faster.

Chad Rubin:

And last question I may get to Apolis, just let me know if there's tons of questions in the questions tab, and we're gonna do a lightning round on those. But before I do, let's just say, I'm selling a vacuum filter, specific vacuum filter and I wanna tell the customer "Hey, we're going to remind you like opt-in and I'll remind you every three months for replenishment." Can we execute that sort of strategy with you?

Tivan Amour:

Opt-in through text message?

Chad Rubin:

Well, the opt-in on my shopping card, right? To get text message alerts from us. And let's just say they're like, I'm gonna opt-in for every three months, I wanna be alerted to the fact that my filter needs to be changed. Can that work with what you're offering today?

Tivan Amour:

At this very moment, if you signed up, you wouldn't be able to do it, but that is very near on the roadmap likely this quarter.

Chad Rubin:

Okay, we'll talk offline on that. Alright, so we're gonna do a lightning round here with questions. Thank you, Polly, for bringing that to my attention. So do you recommend more of a pull versus push strategy in SMS? One of the biggest fears we have is just blasting customers, if it is a pull strategy respond to inbound is mostly how long does it take to grow your SMS list? What acquisition channels do you recommend for growing your SMS list?

Tivan Amour:

Yup, so to start with pull versus push, I think both is absolutely what you should be doing. There are plenty of conversions to be had on the push side without knowing customers, and on the pull side, which is really, really where we shine, there are so many customer questions that go on answered. We did a study to find that up to 48% of customers are actually leaving websites, because they have a quick question. They don't wanna send an email in for that and they don't want to, you know, battle with a bot So pull very important because it's a need that's not really being addressed, and SMS is the fastest, most convenient way to do that. If you use something like Tone, and a couple of insights that we have about push to sort of figure out how to modulate it. So we've seen that brands that do very regular push campaigns, just for the sake of push and don't really have anything new to say, actually see diminishing returns, and more unsubscribes, and more negative comments. So similar to email, but perhaps even more pertinent because SMS is so personal. It's really important to make sure that everything you're saying is something novel that you mix up different types of content to use Apolis as an example they have a mixed right now of new product releases, they don't do too much discounting but some discounting, and then just some brand building around like what they stand for, their sustainable practices, that sort of thing.

Chad Rubin:

And I think that's the way forward, I give you just sign up for an SMS list to get a 10% discount, and you're constantly just pushing those discounts work, it gets old over time. And so I do believe this strategy of creating this human interaction with the client will give you a much higher MPS score, and of course that customer will then go to their family and friends and be like, can you believe what just happened? I'm at Thanksgiving dinner, I'm getting a text message about my vacuum filter and they want to see how it's going. I think that's a really great approach

Tivan Amour:

Perhaps a to put a cap on it the right way to think about it or the way we're seeing the world going is, you should be using a SMS marketing push as much as possible, but make it pullable in the sense that when you blast that out make sure that you're daring the customer to engage with you, and allowing you to prove your value by engaging them and talking to them.

Chad Rubin:

Brain actually brings up a good point. Are you learning from other international markets? What do you think it'll take to get the U.S. market to catch up to China and other countries with text commerce?

Tivan Amour:

I think it takes more companies like Tone, to say look, the future is actually conversational, I think it'll take more adoption by companies. I think this next year we're gonna go from something like 40 to 50% of companies, DDC brands using SMS to something in the 70 to 90%, depending on how good we do our jobs. And so I think those two forces, more innovation from companies like us and just greater demand will push us forward.

Chad Rubin:

All right, so how do you introduce yourself, the SMS? Is it, hey babe, versus company name?

Tivan Amour:

I saw that question come through and I was excited about it. One of the first tests that we did in 2018 was to figure out the difference in rate between presenting as a human saying, hello, I'm so and so from this brand and just saying brand colon, and we saw up to 40% more sales by saying, hello, I'm a human. Because what you're telling the customer is, it's actually worth your time to engage with this piece of marketing because you've got someone here that can help you. And when it's just like, hello, I'm a brand. What you're basically doing is telling them that this is spam and a new channel, right? Hey, I couldn't get your attention to email, but now I'm going to, I'm going to talk to you're an SMS and I hope you, whereas when it's a human especially, if the human is like cordial, entertaining and fun, you wanna engage with them, that's how we're built as human beings.

Chad Rubin:

And how do you make sure that you're hiring the right people of Tone that are engaging and fun and human?

Tivan Amour:

That's one of the things we spent the most amount of time on from the get, go, and iterated on, on an almost weekly basis. There's a very unique type of person that does this job best. So we have a very, very empirical way of finding those people at scale, and using the platform to train them up really, really fast and making sure that also the platform is doing most of the heavy lifting, so that there's a consistent experience across all the thousands of brands we work with.

Chad Rubin:

So for a lot of the brands that are dialing in today they may have no SMS strategy, currently, maybe they're using a different SMS platform that has a push methodology, but they have a huge email list. Let's just say they have a hundred thousand email subscribers. How do they go from taking them from an email subscriber to an SMS subscriber without the opt-in on Shopify or any other shopping platform? Like what is your best practices suggestion to convert those into SMS, so it's more of a reach, more response time, and more of an ability for you to convert those customers into cash.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, we've seen a couple of different strategies, the one that we're recommending right now for brands to actually send out an email and let people opt-in to receive SMS and actually give them a why. So send out a series of emails that say like, hey, our best deals are actually going to be on SMS, this black Friday cyber Monday, click here to sign up to the SMS list and be the first to know, that the work best. I'm also doing a similar strategy on social and letting people opt-in there, and giving them a strong CTA as to why they would do it.

Chad Rubin:

That is awesome.

Tivan Amour:

And I'm-

Chad Rubin:

I'm literally gonna have to take all these notes and then share them.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, the reason this is so important is because particularly over the last year, the price of sending an SMS has come down so precipitously that knowing that SMS converts at like five X higher than email, depending on the type of product, it's really, really important to allow customers who are more prone to wanna engage on SMS to do that now, because otherwise we're going to send out this email to a hundred thousand people come Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Most of them aren't gonna see it, and they would have converted on SMS. Had we gotten them on that list? They're really important to start doing that, especially now.

Chad Rubin:

I'm going to put you in the hot seat for a moment here at Lindsay wrote again, she is a self help guided journaling company, and she wants some suggestions on engagement texts that aren't obviously by now, but still show passion for the customer. Can you walk me through maybe a cadence of three text messages? I know I'm putting you in the hot seat, so take a moment.

Tivan Amour:

Oh no, it's fine. This is what I did for a living, I'm getting our first hundred brands. We'll go back to that time. So I'm guessing this is a one way cadence, this is not a do responses. I don't know if Lindsay can respond in but is this one that's gonna generate responses? Or is this just one way?

Chad Rubin:

I think let's do two ways, that's your focus is two way. So you do an outreach Tone, does an outreach, they respond back or you're trying to not give them that hey, buy now sign, but you're trying to give them the, hey, we wanna cultivate this relationship and get you to buy.

Tivan Amour:

So this is self-help meaning that it's very much a consultative sale, that what we found stimulates the highest response rates is a yes or no question, right? It's something the easiest thing that customers can respond to. So you might ask a question about, why they were interested in purchasing your product. Hey, this is Lindsay from so-and-so, thanks so much for looking at our product. Were you interested in our products because X and that enables a quick yes or no.

Chad Rubin:

We're like, are you journaling today? Are you currently journaling today,

Tivan Amour:

Are currently journaling today, or are you interested in using our journals because X? Because of the specific way we do it, or because of the time of year, or what makes you interested in journaling right now? Getting, trying to elicit some sort of response from customers enables you to engage them, and what's really cool about this is we find that customers will answer a yes or no question, and then the moment that they realize this is the human, they're an open book, they just tell you everything, they're like, yes, and I'm doing this because, and by the way, I wanna ask you some buying questions. That first question should be yes or no, it gets them to engage. The second question may or may not be conversion related, it's a decision tree really based on how involved the customer is. This is how we started the whole business. If the customer is clearly showing buying signs asking about price, asking about features, then there's definitely like a conversion moment where you start sending links to different products, perhaps offering a different deal. We have plenty of businesses right now, that actually have this bifurcated yes or no in the beginning. And then based on what the customer says, we're either offering a discount or we're sending a link or offering a certain type of discount for a certain type of customer. That third message, then I don't have an immediate answer for the third message, but I would say that the answer lies in, it should be contextual based on what the customer has responded to the second message.

Chad Rubin:

How about adding value with a blog post perhaps saying like, "Hey, we just did a great blog post on the five things that can make so much more productive in your morning routine."

Tivan Amour:

I think that's a great idea to test, I wouldn't be able to confirm or deny that we've seen that, because the attribution for that is like a pretty long cycle. I do think it creates a good customer experience. I mean if anything, this customer that's engaged is now a warm lead that you can send that kind of content to in larger blast, for sure.

Chad Rubin:

Right, by the way, I was my dashboard in Tone, it looks like my cost of the sale was roughly about 20%. Is that what you're seeing with win-back campaigns?

Tivan Amour:

So that's about a five X, four to five X ROI.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah,

Tivan Amour:

so the main determining factor for ROI is actually going to be average order value. Is your AOV in the sub-hundred range?

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, it's about $22.

Tivan Amour:

Yep, so for brands that are, we actually have an ROI calculator on our site. I hope I don't misquote it, but in general brands that are selling thousands of dollars AOV, are seeing hundreds in ROI, brands in like the hundreds of dollars are seeing like large two digits, and then brands like in the low single digits are often in like the five X range. So that seems in line. But if you want to, by the way, if you want to optimize your campaign I've got some account managers ready to help.

Chad Rubin:

We definitely, it seems like based on this conversation, it seems like we need to add more of your function and feature, and we started using you, I think very early on in the process.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, there were

Chad Rubin:

the nascency of Tone,

Tivan Amour:

We appreciate that, we didn't know you were using it for a while until I got like a real text message from you. And I was like, Think Crucial.

Chad Rubin:

Tivan, it wasn't me texting you, that was a bot

Tivan Amour:

You used your bot to text me, that's great.

Chad Rubin:

Do you actually, that's a great question. Do you support other types of businesses outside of e-commerce, SAS or B2B?

Tivan Amour:

We do, we do run spaces, we do that by case basis. We don't have like a self serve option the way we do with e-commerce platforms, particularly Shopify, but we have seen some success with some Betas, with some B2B companies that sell software, particularly in re-engaging customers who like basically abandoned in the signup funnel. So we've got a couple of customers that we're testing, running some tests with now, the numbers seem to actually be pretty similar, something in the 30 to 40% response rates and then something in the 15 to 30% conversion rates in that first conversation.

Chad Rubin:

Tanisha, hopefully I'm getting her name right, she had asked how do we elevate our campaigns and grow our customer base on Tone?

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, I think I addressed this a little bit in the comment about scaffolding, particularly for now through Black Friday, but number one thing you should be doing is trying to grow your list in every way possible. So if you're using opt-in, popup or if you're not using opt-in and pop-up add that, if you're not losing live text add that, also CTA is around both of those really important.

Chad Rubin:

How about referral programs? Have you seen anything work on the SMS side to get your customers NPS high enough where they're now saying, "Hey, I've used this dog food company, I love it." Anything there on the SMS ad.

Tivan Amour:

I have seen it anecdotally work, I don't have the data on like the specifics of how well it works. What I can tell you that we see every single day, thousand times a month, is customers texting in saying, "Hey, a friend gave me this number, Sarah, a friend gave me this number, she said, you could help me order some wine." So there's definitely a way for us to grow into that and start leveraging that, maybe automating that a little bit more, enabling that through campaigns.

Chad Rubin:

Kyle, customer of ours sells dog bones and whatnot, paid years. He's wondering how does this compare to PostScript?

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, so PostScript, Attentive, SMS Bob, all the usual suspects have done a great job. I think moving the industry forward, particularly in one way, SMS marketing automation. I think the reason we're talking about SMS marketing right now is because all these companies that have cropped up and done a great job of spreading the gospel. Our perspective on the future of this channel is it should not look like email, it should not be just, whatever you were getting an email now in your SMS inbox, which I believe is kind of where things are going right now. We believe that future is you have a friend every brand, our thought bet, I have a friend at that brand that I text with, they know everything about me and they're always ready to help within minutes notice. So that's the fundamental difference, when you drill down into features, we do a little bit less of the automation right now, but we do a hundred percent of the conversational sales. And we're building into a lot of the automation, I think two years from now, you'll be able to recall every other marketing company out there, a sort of tried and true SMS marketing company, and we seek to be an SMS relationship automation company.

Chad Rubin:

I love that delineation, it's nice. So what does estimates look like in the next year? What are the things that you're working on? What is SMS evolve into? Give me a glimpse of the future.

Tivan Amour:

So re running a startup, I think that the way that, once we've sort of like found demand and now customers are onboarding, my mind is often like, okay, what have we delayed now, that we have to accelerate? Like, what did we know, it's was kind of a thing we had to our customers are begging us for it, and it's not too late, we have to build it. For us, that's integrations. Like we have no shortage of people who are coming on and saying, we want to do this too as much marketing thing but we need it to integrate with five different things, whether it's a customer service platform like Zendesk or Gorgias, whether it's a marketing platform like Klaviyo or whether it's a new e-commerce platform, or whether it's like a custom headless integration. So for us, it's all about just enabling, making sure that anyone who sells online can activate their conversational SMS sales team through Tone, and then throughout the rest of next year, one of the things that we do inherently to increase sales for our brands is taking these insights that we're getting every minute from customers telling us basically who there are. We have customers sending us pictures of their dogs every few hours, for our pet brands. And we're using all of that information, someone empirically and someone anecdotally to close sales. But we have all the data, so taking all those insights and actually using them more programmatically to maximize conversion rates is something that you'll see from us in the near future. So, it won't be long before you log into the Tone dashboard and we've got a sort of either a guided approach or just like showing you what we're doing to increase conversions based on what people are saying.

Chad Rubin:

And Sue Haas asked an interesting questions, I'm coming from the inventory side Situban. Can you SMS to manage inventory with multiple in FBM? So this seems to be talking about stock alerts, what I'm seeing, we don't to be totally room Tone and she bought a don't happen. We don't have an integration yet, but that's in a very interesting leading indicator.

Tivan Amour:

I thought we're talk about integration here, we're not doing all of that.

Chad Rubin:

Well, we have to talk about post-webinar is now I'm enlightened to a lot of this new functionality that you had.

Tivan Amour:

You said we were gonna have a partnership conversation then all of a sudden we're in a webinar. I guess the question is, is there a-

Chad Rubin:

So you're a betting company, you ran out of stock of inventory because everyone's moving during the pandemic and they are buying queen beds and moving to Florida. Great, so now you're out of stock of these beds and here we are, you have an SMS list. How do you programmatically say, okay, Situban, we're gonna accept a thousand, 3000 queen sized beds, and we want everybody, once we hit that button we want everyone to get a message saying, boom, guess what? Back in stock, it's your big day, pick it up.

Tivan Amour:

Yup, right now our brands manually do that, they send back and stock messages whenever there's a big item that came back in stuck, and they will have customers sign up to like a back in stock list and import it into Tone. The programmatic version of that will become pretty much as well, particularly perhaps with Skubana.

Chad Rubin:

Nice.

Tivan Amour:

Now, we start this conversion

Chad Rubin:

So customer of ours, Polly with Unbound babes, this is a great question. So is there a way that you can essentially drive paid ads to an SMS sign up, nurture them over time? Do you have any insight around that, along with maybe what the CAC would be on, something like that? I know I never went tack is different, I get it. But have you seen anything happen on the brand side of them building a list via paid ads, at paid acquisition? Two of a landing page and then driving it overtime.

Tivan Amour:

Most attempts at sending paid ads direct to SMS, I would say don't work out in your favor as much because you're losing the opportunity to convert an interested customer, that you could convert right away. The one caveat to that is if you have a high enough average order value to actually sustain that, it might make sense to get them on a list. But I think the best approach is to send them to a landing pitch that could convert them and then make sure that your opt-in game is really, really tight on that landing pitch. But also please prove me wrong, we'd love to hear that, that-

Chad Rubin:

Well, maybe you bring me, you bring them to a landing page that you made with Shogun, right? And then you have some sort of text to human at the bottom, which essentially allows to ask questions if they want to, that's one way I would do it. I have seen Daily Harvest, I'm not sure if you've heard of them before. So I'm a client of theirs, and they give me these smoothies, they put milk in and we make our own milk at home and we make these smoothies, anyway, they actually created a text, a real person number like a nutritionist hotline with texts, have you seen this?

Tivan Amour:

No, but I've seen a few variations like that.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, super cool, I think that's an interesting way to get people that maybe wouldn't normally be interested in your practice be interested. So you can get nutrition and ingredient advice from nutrition advocates, from catching this hotline at Daily Harvest.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, so perhaps the answer to the question, Chad is, I believe from your perspective is, yes, you can send ads directly to a page where there's a text opt-in but it should be conversation in order to enable a conversion on that.

Chad Rubin:

Yeah, that's the key is the conversation piece.

Tivan Amour:

But that was you using my [inaudible] not me.

Chad Rubin:

What didn't I ask that I should have asked in this conversation?

Tivan Amour:

I was surprised, I think there were a couple of questions here around like more Black Friday, Cyber Monday specific strategies.

Chad Rubin:

Let's get into it, we have a couple of minutes left. So we did talk about a little bit about the strategies that you'd employ, but obviously all about value and want more.

Tivan Amour:

Yeah, so let's try and be as actionable as possible with a little bit of time we have. So we talked a little bit about building scaffolding leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday. And I think we have notes around that, when we get to BFCM a couple of the strategies we've seen work best for our thousands of brands. One, making sure that the discounting strategy around SMS is actually unique to SMS, tends to drive a lot more conversions. So we find that brands that kind of send the same discount in all channels, actually do worse than SMS, because it's not that nobel. And because it's such a personal channel you can actually leverage that and say, "Hey, I'm sending you a special deal on SMS because you are on my personal SMS list," and it actually what we found is it actually doesn't the increments, the differential doesn't have to be that high. We found increments of just two points, make a difference. So if you're doing a 20% discount, if you just add, if you make it 22% and say that it's this personal discount on SMS, that actually tends to move the needle. So coming up with a differential discounting strategy on SMS, definitely something to test. Making sure that you queue up several campaigns in advance, what we see work the best is at least one campaign before the night of Black Friday, one campaign on the day, and then at least two more campaigns between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, likely with one campaign on cyber Monday as well. And making sure that those campaigns are unique in themselves, and they're not saying the same thing I'm actually through a better click through rate and a better conversion rate. Another thing is-

Chad Rubin:

So your saying two different things, you have any example of that, just so we can have something to chew on here.

Tivan Amour:

So one campaign might be a a message about a global discount that you're doing across the entire site and other pain might hone in on a bestseller, or might talk about how quantities are dwindling for a specific product, driving sales for a specific product. Another thing we've seen is actually diminishing discount or augmenting discounts over time. So you start with one discount and then over time you actually increase the discount or decreased the distract, depending on what you're trying to do, but just like changing discounts throughout sometimes makes sense. One thing that's not talked about very often that we've actually seen a lot of success with merchants is you're already going to be doing quite a bit of discounting, so you've built into your plan somewhere between 20% and upwards of maybe 60% off, depending on what your margins allow for, creating product bundles to increase the average order value of keep-

Chad Rubin:

Hold that up, hold that up, keep going.

Tivan Amour:

It's a super, super clever deal. And it actually works best in SMS because you can talk up the sort of like personal element of like we've made these products bundle specifically for our SMS list, something only you're getting. And it's also like a limited opportunity. And then finally, another sort of shameless plug, actually answering customer questions, whether you're doing it with Tone, or whether you're enabling it through an integration, using another SMS platform, a quick little anecdote. When we started this company, and we had our first BFCM, there were maybe 40 to 50 companies, we were doing this for. Our average response time was 25 minutes going into BFCM, it ended up being like 45 minutes during the BFCM. It was still revolutionary because most people weren't getting responses at all. But what we found is we lost so many sales that first BFCM, because we would, when we finally got to a customer who had a question, they said, "Sorry, I already went to Amazon bought," or sorry I already went to another competitor. So next time we figured out that we really had to focus on average response time. This is exactly what's happening on your website, every second during BFCM, customers are quickly looking, they're trying to figure out if they want to get it, they have a question around pricing or shipping time or something around the product. And they are out within minutes, if not seconds, if they don't get an answer. So finding a way to enable that conversational approach as much as possible is really important.

Chad Rubin:

And what is your time to first response expected to be BFCM?

Tivan Amour:

I can only tell you that as our AIT has gone down our averages, our conversion rate has gone up, right now, during normal times, we aim for under three minutes, during BFCM and we expect that to maybe double, maybe triple, but definitely under 10 minutes is a good benchmark apart from the competition.

Chad Rubin:

Like our support team, can we track time to first response, when we track time to resolution, are you tracking time to resolution as a sale? You track that metric at all?

Tivan Amour:

At the moment, I don't have data on that, but I can tell you that the vast majority of our sales are converted within the first eight hours of contact.

Chad Rubin:

Wow, that's impressive.

Tivan Amour:

Just 'cause you know, you've solved the issue right away, but in an email back and forth, Zendesk is like, you know, they have one question, you answer it, then they have another one and they either drop off, or the question isn't fully answered, text allows you to get through all of their objections right away.

Chad Rubin:

All right, two more questions came in. One is, can you employ this Tone for eBay, Amazon merchants as well?

Tivan Amour:

At the moment no, because eBay and Amazon own that customer relationship. It's part of the reason it's so important to build these lists as much as possible 'cause while Amazon is enabling you to increase your top line, their also in some ways stealing customers from you. So it's important to try and capture as many customers as possible, and build those strong relationships as much as possible, so that they opt to buy direct from you instead of through Amazon.

Chad Rubin:

Right, I have some ideas in ways that you can probably, he asks for some strategies that you can't do it. So one of the ways is obviously, one is, if you're Four Sigmatic, I saw them have a sampler on Amazon, the sampling, and they had maybe one or two course skews, but the majority of those skews are off Amazon. I would be curious to see when you get the package, if there's anything on the package that's scannable, that says, "Hey, you have questions, text the nutritionist now, and there, then you start engaging with the customer in a different way.

Tivan Amour:

Yep.

Chad Rubin:

And there's a paradigm shift. Go ahead.

Tivan Amour:

That's exactly the type of strategy that a Usual Wines does, and it works, it certainly works well to capture customers who have their first experience with the brands on Amazon.

Chad Rubin:

All right, I'm gonna have to do buy some more wine then, so appreciate that. So Tanisha parks was asking about getting more analytics from the app itself. So they want to export top interactions and understand how, why they've converted.

Tivan Amour:

So that's exactly what I was getting at for next year, all around insights around the data that we're collecting right now, right now, and Tanisha, you're welcome to reach out to your account manager to do a sort of run a custom basis for you. But we plan to know within any given account the top reasons that customers aren't buying and the top reasons that they are, delivering that in a really beautiful zoom manner through our dashboard is definitely one of the next steps, because there's so much you can do with that data, but yeah, Tanisha, please reach out for us to be helpful in that.

Chad Rubin:

Sure, now, by the way, some of these strategies that I'm talking about, I buy a lot of things on online, learning from a lot of brands online, and even yesterday I posted the strategy, the top iron on Amazon, their review strategy, that was super unique. And so one of my sort of shameless points I want to push here is that we're all about building an audience, the same way you're looking to build an audience, and build that two way interaction is we have a run D to C group, to Slack group where we have top brands and merchants come and share tips, tactics, calibrate their ideas and recalibrate ideas around some of the things that we're even talking about today. So Gina, if you can post that link into the chat, that'd be awesome for people to sign up, mean, that's one way that people can, if you learned something on this webinar, you can learn 10 accid by surrounding yourself by the right people and being part of a community. What do you think, Tivan?

Tivan Amour:

Oh, I'm so sorry, I was reading chat, do you mind saying again?

Chad Rubin:

No.

Tivan Amour:

About repeating question.

Chad Rubin:

Cool, I think that's about, anything else you want to share?

Tivan Amour:

No, I think the only thing that I'd probably want to end with is, I am very bullish on this year of being one of the biggest years in e-commerce ever. I think that what we're seeing from our brands is that, since the beginning of COVID in mid March, early April, people have been building their lists like crazy, just because of the influx of customers shopping online. So if there's any, if you're not in SMS now is the time to get an SMS because not only are more people shopping online but there's gotta be something to replace that personal contact that we had in brick and mortar retail. And so more and more, we're actually seeing more inbound from customers actually looking to engage and wanting that personal touch that many of us are no longer experiencing during quarantine.

Chad Rubin:

And for those that want to get in touch with you webinar, where can they find you?

Tivan Amour:

You can go to tonemessaging.com and book a demo with our team. We try to get back to people within 10 minutes or less, but please bear with us, if not, because we've got quite a bit of an influx over the past couple of weeks-

Chad Rubin:

For sure.

Tivan Amour:

Book a demo with us, then we can help figure out what your, to ask them that as you should be going into BFCM.

Chad Rubin:

Thank you Tivan, I really appreciate you joining, thankful for what you've shared today, we'll be in touch, and talk to you soon.

Tivan Amour:

Thank you, let's talk that a stock alerts integration,

Chad Rubin:

We will, I'm gonna be talking to you after the webinar right now.

Tivan Amour:

All right, thanks guys, I appreciate it.

Chad Rubin:

All right, thanks everyone for joining as well, thanks for taking time out of your day.

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