Customers Who Click
How to Integrate SMS into your Marketing Automation
March 29, 2022
In episode 104 of the Customers Who Click podcast I spoke with Navin Jain from Klaviyo about the impact SMS is having in the eCommerce world, and how brands can integrate it into their marketing automation strategy. SMS is a very intrusive channel. You have to get it right to avoid unsubscribes and annoying your customers. Talking to customers like you know them is so important these days, with the vast majority of customers stating they want brands to care, and they want to be spoken to directly, not as if they are 1 in a million other customers. Jeremy is on the Customer Growth team at Klaviyo, a CRO agency specialising in turning data into business intelligence. Jeremy has been running CRO programs for over 14 years. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or head over to
Key highlights:

01:25 - 04:19 - Biggest Opportunities for D2C Growth - SMS of course, it’s really easy to ask for phone numbers these days, particularly if you frame your ask in a way that helps the customer. If you’ve already got a big email list but not SMS, ask your current subscribers to add their phone number in exchange for a small incentive.

You give your email to everyone, but only a handful of brands get your phone number. This makes your messages for more likely to be read than an email, but it does also come with its own complications.

Send exclusive offers out to your SMS base, if you don’t want to discount then give them early access to sales, or other promotions.

07:57 - 22:44 - Top Tips to Run a Successul SMS Program  - Firstly, don’t send the exact same message as you do in email. Not only is this a different medium with different expectations, but you’re not adding anything to your messaging by doing this. 

Second, you don’t need to message everyone. You shouldn’t be doing it with email, you definitely shouldn’t with SMS. It’s really important to be segmented, partly so that customers get the right messages, but also so that they don’t get overwhelmed with them.

Third, SMS doesn’t replace email, it compliments it. SMS is more expensive, so you can’t just replace your email flows with it, and if someone is engaging with your emails and theyre performing, why bother with the more expensive SMS? Navin mentions one brand who cut their SMS spend by 38% by not sending to customers who engaged with an email recently, and this generated a net ROI of 8%.

Fourth, use them as alerts. Let customers know of new product launches, or when their desired product is back in stock. One idea discussed was to ask customers to add products to cart in preparation for a sale, and then use the SMS to bring customers back when the sale is actually live so they can complete their purchase.

23:11 - 28:11 - The Big Mistakes Brands Make with SMS - A huge, and common mistake is that brands will start collecting the data, but don’t do anything with it, they don’t set up a welcome flow. Customers want to hear from you straight away, not in a few weeks or months when it’s convenient for you. If you’re lucky and they bought from you you might get away with it, but if they didn’t purchase, its quite likely they’ve forgotten who you are already. At a bare minimum, just add an SMS into your existing welcome flow - remember, its a Welcome Flow, not an Email Welcome Flow.

Another big mistake is acknowledging that SMS is quite an intrusive channel, and so just sending a promotion every 3 or so months with nothing inbetween. Yes its an intrusive channel, but if you’re sending valuable, quality content, customers are happy with that. They just don’t want to be bombarded with sales messages every week.

28:11 - 35:16 - Gathering UGC & Recovering Carts - If you’re asking for photos or videos with your reviews, then it makes sense to send that request to someones phone as thats where they’ll take it. Send a link to Okendo, Reviews.IO etc in the SMS so customers can just record a quick video or take the photo immediately.

Abandoned carts are another huge opportunity, and conversational, or 2-way SMS is becoming more and more available. This allows you to actually have SMS conversations with your customers, build those relationships, and crucially gather feedback to help you optimise. The conversion rate on this is incredible, I achieved about 20% with one client.

35:43 - 38:43 -  Integrating SMS into Your Email Flows - It’s probably still worth focusing on email as the priority and using SMS as a supporting channel a lot of the time, even if its purely on cost. If you send 50,000 emails and 10,000 open, then your SMS is only going to 40,000 people, although open rate is becoming less useful, but by getting customers to engage on email, you can reduce your costs by not sending SMS to those who don’t need it.

Really think to yourself, would I like to receive this message as an SMS?  If the answer is no, don’t send it. But there are plenty of opportunities to sprinkle SMS throughout your automation.

38:55 - Who Would Navin Like to Take For Lunch in the D2C Marketing World?


39:44 - Navin’s Must-Have Ecommerce Tools:

If you’d like to hear more from Navin, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or head over to