1. Blog
  2. Ecommerce Marketing

How to Optimize Your Email and SMS Marketing Campaigns with Reviews and Surveys

Jun 6, 2023 | 9 minute read

How to Optimize Your Email and SMS Marketing Campaigns with Reviews and Surveys

Megan Wenzl

Content Marketing Manager

As ecommerce brands battle to grab the attention of today’s highly conscientious and digital-savvy consumers, there’s a growing need for them to leverage email and SMS marketing in creative ways. Perhaps more than anything, though, brands are under more pressure than ever before to impress their shoppers with personalized communications and marketing, and to provide the consistently positive and rewarding shopping experiences that turn one-time buyers into lifelong brand advocates.

As these demands cause the value of zero-party data to skyrocket, so too has the importance of integrating customer reviews and surveys within your email and SMS marketing strategy. In this blog, we’ll explore this growing need for actionable customer feedback as well as the myriad of ways you can use email and SMS marketing campaigns to gather these insights, drive conversions, and build lasting trust and loyalty with your customers.

What is Email and SMS Marketing?

First, however, let’s learn a bit more about what we mean when we talk about email and SMS marketing in today’s ecommerce landscape.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is the practice of communicating with your customers via email to personalize their journey with your brand. You can do so by using a variety of effective techniques and strategies, whether it’s offering an exclusive promotion, providing product recommendations, or reminding a customer of an item they’ve abandoned in their shopping cart.

While email marketing is by no means new in the ecommerce space, popular strategies have evolved to reflect shifting customer preferences and expectations, and having the ability to personalize communications and create memorable experiences has become particularly important.

What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is an outreach method that allows you to reach out to customers directly on their smartphone or other mobile device, and has become an increasingly critical capability to have as consumers rely more and more on their personal devices to browse products and make purchases on-the-go. Moreover, because customers need to opt-in to receive mobile communications, SMS marketing helps build trust among consumers who are more wary than ever about issues surrounding data privacy.

By using a combination of email and SMS marketing in your broader communication strategy, you gain the flexibility needed to meet individual customer preferences, as well as to create memorable, personalized experiences across all touchpoints in the buyer’s journey. This, in turn, can help you to drive revenue and build customer loyalty.

What are the Benefits of Integrating Reviews and Surveys into Email & SMS Marketing Campaigns? 

While email and SMS marketing have their own inherent benefits, the integration of customer reviews and surveys can provide a number of additional advantages, many of which are essential for standing out in today’s highly competitive online marketplace. Here are just a few to keep in mind:

  • Building trust. Trust is everything in the minds of consumers today, and including reviews featuring user-generated content (UGC), such as photos and videos, in email and SMS communications is a great way to back up the quality of your products with strong, verifiable social proof. Moreover, growing your gallery of customer-provided imagery allows you to take this UGC and display it at other key points in the customer journey.
  • Enhance customer experiences. Knowing as much as possible about your customers makes it easier to enhance their experiences. The valuable customer insights generated through reviews and surveys can greatly enhance your ability to personalize email and SMS marketing campaigns to satisfy individual needs and preferences.
  • Cultivating brand loyalty and advocacy. In addition to helping build strong customer relationships and brand loyalty through more personalized email and SMS outreach campaigns and rewards programs, reviews and surveys allow you to pinpoint your most satisfied customers and convert them into brand advocates through the use of referral requests.

How to Use Reviews & Surveys to Optimize Email & SMS Marketing Campaigns 

Once you’ve gained the ability to leverage reviews and surveys alongside email and SMS, the next step is to implement some steps to help maximize the overall benefits. Here are five particularly effective ways to optimize email and SMS marketing campaigns through the use of reviews and surveys.

Sending Review Requests to Maximize Feedback

It’s no secret that reviews are an incredibly powerful marketing tool in today’s ecommerce landscape. In most cases, consumers have no shortage of options when seeking out a specific product, and their purchasing decisions have become increasingly influenced by the feedback of other customers.

Review requests in both sms and email with the image of the product the customer purchased

However, there’s no guarantee that every customer will leave a review after making a purchase, much less a high-impact review featuring valuable user-generated content (UGC). This is why a platform like Okendo makes it easy to reach out and request reviews directly from your customers via email or SMS. Moreover, in addition to maximizing the overall volume of reviews, Okendo allows you to maximize the generation of higher-quality reviews by offering incentives, such as exclusive discounts or rewards, in exchange for reviews containing photo or video content featuring your products.

While it can be effective to ask your customers to take a survey post-purchase or post-review, the reality is that you’re always fighting for your customers’ attention.  That’s right. You likely aren’t the only brand reaching out to your shoppers for feedback. Which is why you need greater flexibility when communicating with your customers.

One way to boost engagement is to text or email your customers a shareable survey link, which is highly effective at catching their attention at the right moments. Indeed, delivering shareable links via email or SMS allows you to be more targeted in your communications, thus preventing your surveys from getting lost in a shopper’s overcrowded inbox. This means increasing the amount of survey responses you’re able to collect, and powering more insights to better inform your business strategy.

Including User-Generated Content in Abandoned Cart Emails

Customers abandon shopping carts all the time, and while this is understandably frustrating, it also provides your brand with an opportunity to step in and turn the buyer’s initial hesitation into a sale. In fact, a report from Klaviyo found that brands have been able to recoup up to 14% of lost sales by sending abandoned cart reminders, and earn an additional $5.81 per recipient on average.

Of course, simply reminding a customer of an item they left behind won’t always be enough, and it’s important to create abandoned cart emails that not only remind potential buyers of the item, but also build trust and provide additional motivation to actually make the purchase.

User-generated content of high-rise legging activewear for abandoned cart email marketing campaigns

One of the best ways to capitalize on abandoned carts is to include UGC and star ratings in your email reminders. This allows shoppers to make a purchasing decision based on social proof provided by like minded consumers, just like Nimble Athletics. After introducing customer reviews and UGC into their abandoned cart emails using Okendo, the brand observed a 74% relative increase in Click-Through Rate, in addition to an impressive 16% increase in Average Revenue Per Recipient.

Leveraging Zero-Party Data to Optimize Product Recommendations and Rewards

The wide range of zero-party data collected through the use of reviews and surveys can be infinitely valuable, particularly as it relates to customer segmentation and adding a personalized touch to email and SMS marketing campaigns. Put simply, personalization removes the guesswork from trying to target the right customer with the right product or promotion. And with SMS marketing specifically, the cost can take a sizeable chunk out of your budget, but zero-party data can dramatically reduce the loss of marketing spend on failed or ineffective campaigns.

For example, when you ask for customer attributes as part of a review strategy or ask demographic and behavior questions in a survey, the information you learn can be used to place your customers into segments based on those shared characteristics. These segments can then be targeted via email or SMS with personalized product recommendations that speak directly to their individual attributes.

This is the favored strategy of Groove Life, a Tennessee-based, adventure-inspired retailer selling wearable accessories tailored to an outdoor lifestyle. Using the customer insights gained through reviews, Groove Life is able to consistently power SMS marketing campaigns with product recommendations that speak to each customer’s unique lifestyle and preferences.

Beyond product recommendations, zero-party data provides a number of other personalization opportunities, including the ability to offer individualized rewards based on specific attributes. For example, by asking for a customer’s birthday in a survey, you can trigger the delivery of a birthday discount to be sent to the customer via email or SMS. This type of hyper-personalization not only builds stronger relationships with your customers, but leads to an increase in conversions.

As Nikki Tooman, Co-Founder/CEO, Sticky Digital, explains, “Surveys are really important for your customers to know you’re listening and that the brand wants to know more about them, their interests, and what makes them your customer. You can use survey data to enrich your customer profiles and segment messaging to be more personalized and in line with the specific wants and needs of your customers.”

Using Reviews to Request Customer Referrals and Boost Brand Advocacy

Finally, one of the most effective ways to drive new sales and increase average order values (AOV) is by recruiting loyal customers to act as advocates for your brand. And who better to recruit than those who consistently leave positive, 5-star reviews after purchasing your products?

Using a platform like Okendo makes it incredibly easy to zero-in on the most satisfied reviewers or even NPS promoters, and to follow-up with a referral request via email or SMS. To see just how impactful this strategy can be, look no further than Amora Coffee, who has made dramatic improvements to brand advocacy through the use of reviews and Okendo’s Klaviyo integration. More specifically, after targeting satisfied customers with referral requests, Amora has improved its referral success rate by nearly 20%, in addition to increasing its average order value by 12% from the broader optimization of its email and SMS marketing campaigns.

In today’s highly competitive world of ecommerce, brands are under immense pressure to impress customers with personalized communications and marketing. Merchants must provide consistently positive and rewarding shopping experiences that turn one-time buyers into lifelong brand advocates. One of the best ways to achieve this is by leveraging email and SMS marketing and integrating customer reviews and surveys to gather actionable feedback. These valuable insights can then be used to help to drive revenue and build customer loyalty.

To learn more about how reviews and surveys can help optimize your brand’s email and SMS marketing campaigns, in addition to boosting brand loyalty and improving customer experiences, check out Okendo Reviews and Surveys

Ready to learn more?

Let's Talk