On today’s episode we have the co-founder of Postscript, Alex Beller. The guys dive into the future of SMS marketing and optimizing customer communication through text messages. They talk about how SMS marketing can increase conversion and engagement rates and how the approach differs from email marketing. Alex even throws in some tactical tips to optimize your SMS marketing messages!
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This is a direct transcript. Please forgive any grammar or spelling errors.
Alex: We’re seeing demographics of all kinds. We’re seeing audiences of all kinds do really well. But the strategies taken to get there in a channel where consumers are more sensitive are pretty radically different. In each case,
Jason: We’ve found that the bigger the list got the less money we make per email.
Alex: Brands treat the channel closer to how we all use it to text one another, are like seeing better results ever.
Jen: You’re listening to eCommerce Uncensored with Kevin Monell and Jason Caruso.
Kevin: Thank you for joining us. On another episode of eCommerce Uncensored. My name is Kevin Monell and I’m here with
Jason: Jason Caruso
Kevin: Today’s episode. We’re joined with Alex Beller the co-founder of Postscript, the SMS marketing software. Um, really cool interview. I mean, we’re new to SMS. I think the whole world is kind of new to SMS, but it’s early, like one of those channels that we really haven’t tapped into too much yet.
So it was a really interesting to pick his brain.
Yeah, it was man. He was really, uh, no, he said he dropped out of college. But he’s like, you could, like, you could just tell you was a smart, he’s a smart guy, you know? Um, very, very, very interesting. Um, and I, I really like the, the possibilities or the opportunity of SMS, even though we haven’t used it much.
And I definitely think what our new, our new product that we’re coming out with. I think
we use it a lot. Yeah. Speaking of SMS, we do have our SMS set up in our Klayvio account for this podcast. So if you have any questions, comments, you want to shoot us a message. You can text us at 8 4 4 6 4 3 0 7 4 5.
And, uh, we’ll get back to, you got a couple of people chatting with us in there, so it’s pretty cool. Anyway, enjoy this interview with Alex Beller co-founder of Postscript. Yeah. Alex, thank you so much for joining us. How are you today?
Alex: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me guys.
Kevin: So we started to get into it before we got them, but I actually wanted to share the story of how we first met on, uh, before we get going, because I thought it was a really cool scenario.
Cause we were, I was on a zoom call with one of my clients and we were talking about Postscript and I don’t know what happened, but she, she wanted to get in touch with customer support. So she just went on your website I think, and just started a chat. And she’s, she’s on with me still on, on zoom while she’s doing this while she’s chatting with support and she’s like, oh, I’m just going to bring them on tours.
Yeah. I was like, hold on, wait, wait, bring Alex on Alex. The customer. I didn’t know. At that point it was Alex. I got it. Got it. I don’t know this story. I don’t know the story, Alex, by the way. Yeah. So she just shares the zoom link in the, in the customer service chat with whoever’s on the other end and you show up the co-founder of Postscript.
Yeah, isn’t a Postscript
Alex: Postscript. No S no. Okay. No, that’s a good
Kevin: Sorry. So it was pretty cool because you, you explained to us that you’d like to jump into the customer service chat every once in a while, just to listen to your customers, which I thought was really cool and a really cool lesson as well, too.
A lot of people out there is like, you know, if you really want to hear how people are interacting with your product or learn new things about your product, it’s a really good way. So I thought that was really cool.
Alex: All the answers are there, like, like all of the answers are in the customer support queue.
Um, Not as much as I should. Uh, I probably do it every couple months. I’ll jump in, um, all take a shift. I will be by the way, I’m a total weight on our customer support team, as opposed to we’re now, like we’re not like 220 people when we started me and my partners would do all the support. Like we had a live chat widget in the app and on our website.
And when people would chat in, we had it set up to call our cell phones and we would drop like, one of us would wake up in the middle of the night. Cause we didn’t, we were in, we were can I curse? Yeah, of course uncensored. I figured we were fucking, we were fucking nobody’s right. We had no customers. And so I would like wake up in the middle of night.
That’s what we would do. Um, and uh, when we started hiring a real sport team, they like took on that ethos and they go above and beyond and like, we care a lot about. Just investing a ton there so that people don’t have to wait for chat support, they can like actually get like help live. We aim for two minute response time anyway.
And so I, I jumped in there because like, I want to talk to customers and I also want to understand the experience of our support team. And like, but from the early days of me alone to now where we have big team doing it, like they have like systems and processes and macros and like all kinds of stuff.
And I have not been along for that ride at all. So I get in there for a couple hours shift and I’m just like, like I I’m doing my best, but I also like need one of them to like, be on zoom with me to like help me. Cause I don’t know, I just don’t get it anymore. Um, but it does bring out like good learnings and insights and I’ll do crazy stuff.
Like, you know, we’re talking to a shared customer of ours or YouTube, we’re speaking. She got a question. And I was like, yeah, I want to jump on live right now. Let’s go to a zoom. So now that was fun, but I’ll be honest. I’m not doing that quite every week. And
Kevin: then the rest of the team’s like, oh, Alex is on chat again.
Alex: And they’re like, they’re like, this is going to kill our stats. Like this. Guy’s going to kill her. Like, he’s going to take too long because it got tickets because I’m just in there chatting. I’m like, what else is going on in your business? Like, like what are features you need from Postscript? Like that live back and forth is so good.
Jason: You know, it’s, it’s funny. Two things like I was just listening. Number one, I do this to Kevin too. I say, leave my shit alone. Do stop touching my Facebook ads. Stop touching my frigging emails. Cause every time Kevin thinks he can do better, he touches them and it fucks it all up. So I come stay away from my stuff.
That’s number one. But number two, you know, it’s interesting because when you first start out, start out in business and I think everybody listening can relate to this. We like to complicate everything, because we think that the secret is in the complexity of the system or the complexity of whatever. And the truth is man, like, like you said, it’s like, you want to know what your customers are bitching about.
Just go on chat with real fun. Like the answers are just right there. And like, then that can turn into like your sales page or your, your webinar or whatever you’re doing. You know, Alex, our mosey talks about this in the a hundred million dollar offer. He’s like turn like their problems into, right? Like you turn their problems into like a, uh, like a.
Like sort of like a strength of your company and it basically kind of answered all their questions. So I think that’s what you were doing. Basically. It’s like, look, I just want to figure out what’s going on with my software and figure out what the hell is going on.
Alex: Know. So, yeah, but it applies to e-commerce brands too.
Like before we started Postscript, I was, I was running e-commerce brands. Right? Like that, that was my job for years. My partner, Adam, we were working there together. And like, if you have, if 50% of your customer support is like, where is my order? Which it is for many of us, right. Then like there’s probably some customer experience improvements you can make to like proactive order tracking orders or orders and text messages and like, and email flows about that.
Or like having a different interface on site. I’m just pulling that example out of the air. I just say it because like live interaction with your customers is where you’re going to learn to your point about like their needs, what they care about, what they don’t and like. That’s the most valuable thing for any of us, whether you’re making software like me or selling a product.
Jason: Yeah. So I just had an experience recently, so Kevin and I are building, or our, our I’m starting this new business around golf. I used to be a former. Yeah. I used to be a former, uh, PGA teaching professional and yeah. So I’ve been wanting to do this frigging business for like 10 years. And I just, we have so many things going on.
It’s just hard. And then I moved to Myrtle beach and I’m like, I’m doing it. So that’s what we’re doing. So I was, um, I was using this, this company called convert kit now. Um, they are like an email provider that the business is more like a, we’re actually switching from convert kit to Klayvio. But in the beginning I was just setting up Klayvio and.
I w I had to confirm my email from Klayvio now I was using a Gmail account and I can never get the confirmation email is driving me crazy. Could not get it. So then I started I’m like, I was, uh, I had my convert kit, uh, like the double opt-in turned on and not a lot of people were like double opting into something like, what the hell is going on?
What do I do? I go in my subscribers and all the ones that are not getting it email@example.com at gmail.com at gmail.com. I said, son of a bitch convert kit is having problems with Gmail. So I turned off the double opt-in, but that’s kind of like the idea, right. Is to go through the process, go through the experience, see what the hell is going on, and then finding those holes and.
Alex: Totally. No,
Kevin: it was just, I wanted to step back and talk to you about your, your east. Is that how you got into, uh, the SMS marketing side of this thing you were doing? E-comm and you kind of saw a hole in it. How did it all get, how did you get started? Did you build the platform itself where, sorry.
Alex: So I was born. I was at, I was too, and I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to SMS. I said, this is it for me. And it’s been just smooth now. Uh, so was working in e-commerce for a long time. Uh, dropped out of school, was working at a company called stack commerce stack commerce. Is this really interesting e-commerce business?
They partner with online blogs and publications, and they build them branded stores that sell things that relate to whatever that blog writes about. So they’ll partner with like a apple or like a Mac blog, and they’ll build them a store that sells like iPhone accessories, things like that right there on the Mashable store.
And they’ll fill it with like tech gadgets, things like that. And so, uh, it was an interesting lens in e-commerce and was working there for a long time and saw a lot of the macro trends that are like mainstream today. Right. Saw email engagement, sort of like plateauing. And like in that business, in particular, it wasn’t increasing, it was steadily declining and saw mobile traffic at the same time, going up and up and up every single year as a percentage of overall shopping traffic.
And so those two things together had us kind of talking and thinking a lot about like, what is the mobile first retention channel and, uh, right around then my partner, my now partner, Adam, he. Came to me, he was a friend and he said, Hey, my brother and I were hacking on this idea, they’re self-taught engineers.
And they were like, we’re hanging on this idea. A friend of ours runs a business on Shopify. He’s complaining that he doesn’t have a way to text his customer. And so they were building a little chop Fiat and we were not inside the Shopify ecosystem. We didn’t use the technology. We didn’t know what Klaviyo was.
We’d no one else was doing SMS yet. Like, it was just a, there was a thing called SMS bump. We saw in the app store, but like, we just didn’t know anything about the ecosystem, but the three of us were like, cool. This feels like one of those entrepreneurial moments, you have a customer willing to pay money, to solve a problem of his.
He wants to be able to text his customers. Let’s build software that plugs into Shopify and solves that problem and we’ll make money. And we thought at the time that this was going to be a passive side business, we were like, let’s each make let’s each make $2,000 a month from this. Like, that would be a huge, crazy success.
And we didn’t know about the ecosystem or even building SAS businesses was new to us. And so we have to wait this for a couple of months, we got published on the Shopify app store and we launched and the first day was crickets. The second day someone came and installed it. And they paid us to use it.
And that was like a mind blowing moment of having someone pay, sign up, put their credit card in $50 a month for at the time was a janky, horribly designed application that barely worked, uh, that let them text their customers. But really that was the start. And it’s been three and a half years. And we were just off to the races where, um, now Postscripts 220 people spread out across north America.
And we only do the one thing now where we only work with brands on Shopify and we only do SMS. And that’s like, we discovered a market that we didn’t know is there. Yeah.
Jason: That’s, you know, it’s funny because Shopify just it’s taken over everything. You know, first it was Magento and then like, it’s very clunky and it’s very hard to like, do anything with, and, you know, Shopify has just has taken over.
So I think like anything Shopify at this moment, I think is just awesome. So my question to you, Alex, is because obviously you’re an SMS company, right? Kevin. And I have our own seven figure business in the wildlife photography space. Uh, we partnered with a wildlife photographer and the first year we did almost $2 million in year one.
Um, we’re finding a little bit more difficult to go from 2 million to 5 million, but
Kevin: that was supposed to be one of those passive income,
Jason: but that’s not, that’s not the case, but my question to you is do you see, because we don’t do SMS for this business. We do it for some of our other clients. And I’m just wondering, do you see it, the effectiveness of it changed depending on the demographic of the customer? Yeah.
Alex: Great question. So. I have a bunch of thoughts on this. Yeah. I want to hear him. You’re going to have to cut me off and stop me from ranting. I want to learn
Jason: about it because I don’t really know that much about SMS and I’m really interested. Cause I feel like it’s an opportunity for us that we’re not, I’m taking advantage
Alex: So it’s an opportunity. It is very early days. This is like email in 2001. Right. Super, super early. And so what we’re seeing is brands and marketers, they’re coming to the channel and they’re doing as they should, they’re doing what they know. Right. They’re taking the email frameworks that have worked pretty well for them.
And they’re like enabling those on SMS. Right. So they’re like, cool. Let’s put on some automation flows, right. Let’s turn to welcome and abandoned winbacks and stuff. And then let’s send out some marketing campaigns. Right. And that makes complete sense. That is like, not exactly what the messaging channel has been built for.
Like email is built to be one, you know, one way asynchronous communication. You don’t, you don’t text that way with your friends. You like texts live back and forth. Right. But you don’t
Jason: say something and say goodbye, I’ll talk to you later.
Alex: Yeah. And so why, why I step back and say this before, getting to your answer about demographics is because using that sort of approach, using the, like, let’s take the basics of email and let’s like, apply it on SMS.
That’s working in many places, but that is not working equally across all demographics, all use cases, for sure. Right? In some places that’s going to work better than others. And that’s all driven by the fact that like consumer’s tolerance to receive a text is way lower than their tolerance to receive it.
Right. Consumers are more sensitive to this like private channel. And so we see brands of all types. We see demographics of all types engaging and doing really, really well on text. But the strategies they’re using to get there are often quite different. They’re like honest to whatever the like actual use case should be for that brand.
Right. I don’t know about, I don’t know about your guys’, uh, your guys’ wildlife photography business, but I’m just going to like, make some stuff up as examples. Like maybe, you know, promotional texts, aren’t like a fit to that audience at all, but maybe like a content message that goes out once a month or even once a week for people who opt into it of like the.
Uh, Jeff, that walks people through the like five top selling images from that month, or like new images that come through, like that’s a photography business being way more image first versus just like standard remarketing, like that could actually really resonate with the audience. So we’re seeing demographics of all kinds.
We’re seeing audiences of all kinds do really well, but the strategies taken to get there in a channel where consumers are more sensitive are pretty radically different in each case. Um, I’ll, I’ll give another example. The firm for many brands, sending out a blast to your whole list with a discount code a couple times a week over text is like not the right approach for, not for all brands, but for many brands, right?
Because we see unsubscribed spike, the value of a text is, is really worthwhile. And the value of that like list will just degrade pretty quickly. And that’s like an email first approach, but. Uh, I was arguing with the brand over owner about this recently. And they, they do drops, they do clothing drops and they have a really, really engaged audience.
And I was pushing him. I’m like, dude, you text your audience too much. You send a text every single day. And like, you’re going to waste money on Postscript and you’re going to burn out your list. And he was like, no, you are wrong. Like, people want our daily drop. That’s why they signed up to our list, whether or not they buy it.
Look at my unsubscribe rates. And I went into his kind of, I looked at it and he was completely right. Like people were signing up just for that brand, not for everyone, but in order to get a daily drop, because that was like, that was the model. And that’s the brand that they were buying into. So I use that as an example, because like that marketing strategy worked incredibly well for that brand on SMS is not something that every other brand could, could replicate, because that’s really just about the like brand promise and merchandising strategy they have.
So there really isn’t like a one size fits all approach to SMS. It really is about a mortal. Approach based on what that brand stands for, what they sell, what the messaging and creative is.
Jason: Yeah. You know, Kevin and I talk about this a lot, because we’ve always felt that you have to use SMS and email in tandem.
Right. Because SMS is very intrusive, right. Like whatever you’re doing it interrupts. Right. And it’s, I think about this a lot, which is so interesting to me, it’s like, they just come through different icons on your phone, but their level of intrusiveness is different. Right? Like I get an email on my phone.
It pops up, I got a text on my phone. It pops up. It’s the same shit for whatever reason. Text messaging is just a little bit more intrusive. I don’t know why, but it’s just an app once coming through one. I mean, it’s an icon. One comes through one icon, one comes to the other icon. Why is it different? I don’t understand. It’s just a different icon.
Alex: I think it’s because, so you’re right. It is just icons, but it is more intrusive. And I think it’s because of the habits and expectations that we’ve all built up around it. Like, I mean, I’m not the best responder over texts. Sometimes it takes a while to get back to certain people in my life.
Not everyone, just certain people, but like, uh, I know for somebody like that, yeah, the expectation is you go back and forth over time, right? Email. You can get to it whenever you want to. It’s going to sit unread inside your inbox when you reply, it might take a while for that person to get back. And the expectation of immediacy is so much stronger on text that I think that’s why we find it more intrusive.
When brands kind of like overstep there, what’s been interesting for us is. We’ve been doing more and more like data science at scale across our customer base because this channel is so early, people are looking for best practices. A lot what’s been interesting to us is, is, uh, getting really, really deep into unsubscribed data because like, that’s kind of like the best proof point for, you know, if you’re over sending, if you’re knowing your customer base, et cetera.
And what we see interestingly is that unsubscribed rates, uh, tend to decline a lot after the first 30 days that someone is a subscriber. So like, if you can keep someone for the first 30 days, they’ll tend to stick around on your list at a much higher rate. And we think the reason for that, why that’s happening is brands who like really, really.
Not just the marketing automation stuff, but they like push content. They push creative in there. They make it fun, engaging. They explain what they’re going to use the channel for. And they respond to people when people text in with questions or customer support. That’s what brings unsubscribed, what rates way down and keeps engagement high up.
So like the point I’m being long-winded, I’m sorry. The fucking point I’m trying to make is that people who treat the channel brands or treat the channel closer to how y’all use it to text one another or like seeing better results.
Kevin: I think that’s, I think the, the, the ability to text more often is kind of what held us back a little bit from using SMS.
Cause we’re huge email guys. Sure. You know, that’s what we we’ve always been doing. And we, we know that we can send an email and make. And we want to do that almost every day. And we all know that that’s not appropriate via text. So how often do you think is appropriate?
Jason:I mean, I’m sorry. Okay. Before you move on, I want to just say one thing, Alex, cause I’m not, I don’t want to say that I’m challenging you on something, but I do want to, I just, I do want to say something because like I’ve been around big e-commerce brands for a long time.
I’ve been doing e-commerce for very, very long time and everyone covets this unsubscribe rate and I kind of like the opposite. I’m like, get the fuck off my list if you’re not going to buy. Right. Like, I don’t want someone there who is never going to buy from me. And like, cause I was looking at like this, like if they’re not spending money, they’re costing you money.
Right? Like, so like if they’re on my list and they’ve been on there for six months and they’re just eating up all my content, like to me. Right. Like, I’ve never, like, I’ve never subscribed to a brand. And then like a year later got an email from them and bought from them. Right. I’ve always been like, like right away, I’m either interested or I’m not sure.
And there are instances where timing matters. So I’m, I’m, I’m completely, I completely understand that we’re like, people just don’t have the money maybe one week and then the next week they do, but over a six month period, if like you’re opening my emails or even if you’re not opening my emails, like to me, It’s like, I want my list to be engaged buyers and I’m not really interested personally.
I know like, there’s this big push with the relationship bullshit. I don’t have a relationship with anybody. My meal list. I don’t care how many times I know I don’t have one. So I’m like, I, I’m very weary of these buzzwords that go around and I try to really work in reality and not like in Lala land.
Like some people talk about, so like, to me, if you’re on my list for six months and you haven’t like bought something and you’ve opened up like one or two emails, I want you off. So like, I just want to say that, like, because I don’t know that unsubscribes are a good indicator because I think we found over time that we want to attract people.
Who want our stuff, right? Like we’ve always been, and I’ve just Alex, this is like something new for me, because I’ve been like studying copywriting alone. Like I’m buying all these copywriting books and they all say the same thing. Like, look, we’re trying to attract people like us. We’re trying to attract people who want our stuffs, our stuff.
We’re not trying to persuade people who don’t need our product to buy from us. So with that being said, do you think that you think the value in someone on your list for a long period of time is you think there is value in that? Like, cause I don’t know if I see it per says,
Alex: This is, this is fucking great. So, uh, there’s a, there’s a bunch here I’m going to, I want to start with the, with the higher level and then I’ll get into tactical stuff. So. I agree that unsubscribed should not be the north star. We focus on a metric that we call subscriber LTV. That is our absolute north star. Just like how only looking at, at, uh, unsubscribes in a vacuum is flawed.
We feel strongly that like the focus on ROI above all else is also like super flawed, right? Like when a marketing automation tool right there, I was dialoguing someone recently a COO in the space and he was like, I’m getting like, like Postscript is telling me I’m getting like 70 X ROI. And that’s really great, but you know what?
Like I bought a lot of the traffic that like became SMS subscribers, like on Facebook. And that’s not factored into your like in platform ROI equation. And I’m like, totally, that’s a great point. Like focusing purely on unsubscribes, flawed, focusing purely on ROI is flawed. We focus on subscriber LTV, and how that breaks down is essentially.
We break it out into these benchmarks across acquisition, right? How fast is someone like acquiring subscribers onto their list versus the site traffic they see, and then multiplying that times, the messages they send per subscriber, the revenue they generate per subscriber and divided by the unsubscribe rate.
This is like a classic, like LTV calculation, right? It’s it’s how people calculate LTV for their SAS business or for whatever business. And then we like benchmark this. And so when we go to someone and we, when we’re coaching someone on a better SMS strategy, we’re talking to them in terms of like, how does their subscriber LTV look, what’s like the value of a subscriber to them because we’re housed within that.
You can look and see like, Hey, your unsubscribe rate. Great. No worries. Or, Hey, you have an opportunity to actually message your account more or, Hey, we need to focus on improving the creative because we need to pick up your revenue per message. So I break that down because that’s a more holistic view of like, how we think about channel performance is looking at like a broader data set than just unsubscribes.
Because I do think that like unsubscribes in a vacuum is like, doesn’t tell you that much is flawed. The other thing to your point, that, that I think about, of like, you want a list of engaged subscribers or engaged buyers to market to. I totally agree with that. I do. However, think that, especially in a channel where you’re getting really, really high open and click rates, like the person I’m marketing to every single week, I want them to be engaged.
I want them to fan of the brand, but what I mind keeping other people on my list, maybe they bought once. Maybe they haven’t bought, even if I’m not marketing to them much. Like, but come November. Do I want them still on my list? Even if I’m not saying to them all year, I would take that as a marketer. I don’t know if you would, like, I would take a bigger audience during the big days
Jason: Yeah, I mean, I, I, for sure I would, um, but my question then isn’t LTV over a defined period of time, more important than just LTV, right? Because lifetime value over a certain period of time will tell you how long you need those people on for. And if they are way past that point and haven’t purchased, it may tell you something else.
Like maybe, like you said, put them aside, wait till black Friday cyber Monday, or some big holiday sale or something. But yeah. I mean, there’s just so many ways to look at this shit. It’s just crazy. It’s like crazy because there’s just so many, I’m not saying there’s like a right or wrong way that you’ve got to kind of like figure that out for yourself.
But like Kevin and I have really gotten kicked in the teeth recently with our wildlife photography brand. Cause we have like 60, 70, 80,000 people on our email list. And honestly, like the bigger it gets, the less effective it is on a micro level. Right. Like long-term it, you know? But like we found that the bigger the list got the less money we make per email, which is fucking weird.
Alex: Do you think that’s because the people that came on earlier. Absolutely in the like ideal customer profile, they’re like perfect for the brand. And as you know, you guys get more aggressive with acquisition and you start opening up the tap. Like people come in that just aren’t as aren’t as like ripe of Leeds,
Jason: I think it’s because we give too much value in our emails.
So people don’t think they need to buy.
Kevin: Yeah. It’s a digital PR it’s a digital product. Sure. It’s a magazine. So we started giving away a lot of articles and information in our emails and people were just like, Hey, I don’t, I don’t need to subscribe. I’ll just get it here. Sure Yeah.
Jason: So, um, but yeah, I mean, I think now I’m saying all that though, Alex, because I do think this is where SMS steps in for me personally, because I’ve, we’ve noticed that tiny.
Is everything right? Like you can send me an email and I’m like walking to the grocery store and I will completely ignore that email or save it for later and then forget. But then I get another email from the same company when I’m sitting home on the couch with my, you know, watching TV and then I respond or whatever, I think SMS, at least where we are today.
Right? Like you said, it’s in the infancy stages. I feel like SMS is like a really good way to get some of those people who aren’t engaged, engaged, because sometimes we’ll just start just ignoring your emails. Like for me personally, I don’t even unsubscribe. I just delete them and don’t even think about it, delete, delete.
I got shit. Or maybe it’s just unsubscribed. Like, so I don’t got to keep deleting these friggin emails, but that’s where SMS comes in and like, okay, let’s try a different channel. You know, maybe this new channel. We’ll catch them in a different way or something. But yeah, I really liked that, that, that approach where like you, you have a email strategy and then you have an SMS strategy that kind of like, you know, piggybacks, they piggyback each other, so to speak.
Alex: Sure. I mean, I think that it’s like my job to say this so everyone can take it with a grain of salt, but like they’re pretty different channels. People interact with them differently. The common shared point is that they are like retention, remarketing own channels. But beyond that, like how many people reply back to most of the brand emails they get?
Right. That’s super rare. People text back all the time. So it is like fundamentally different. It’s a point of engagement. And like though many people want to treat it. Purely a marketing channel. It can be a place of like customer support. It can be a place to facilitate, uh, updating your subscription or to handle reorders, stuff like that.
And what our data shows that when people interact, when consumers interact with a two way interaction with a brand, when they like reply and get support, when they manage their subscription or something like that, then they’re like propensity to spend increases, which does make sense to me. Like if a brand texts me something and I, if they text me an offer and I texted back at question and they never answered.
I’m not going to go back there, but if they answer, if their support team answers my question, I’m like, wait, that’s like, that’s like working with a salesperson in the store. You know, I
Kevin: handle that though, though. I mean, you need to have somebody available to answer texts, you know, around the clock, basically.
I mean, with email, we can send an email and then like, even with our wildlife brand, like I just checked the email like once a day or once every couple of days, just to check in with texts, you got to have someone there ready to respond, because what you just said, you can’t let that happen. You can’t let texts go unresponded to
Alex: totally it’s important.
So like we treat it through it. We advise through a couple different ways. We integrate with the help desk. So, you know, customer support teams can handle it inside there and messages get flagged as texts. Um, and then we also recommend when brands are coming onto Postscript, we say like, Hey, what is your strategy for handling?
Like response is going to be, and most of the time. I don’t know, I don’t have one, like I’m here to do marketing and it’s like, cool, cool. Like, let’s talk about it. Like you’re going to make more money and your customers are going to be happier if you answer them. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be, you know, answering them all the time live, maybe in your welcome series, include a note about how like, Hey, like this is a monitored line.
We’re going to answer your questions. But sometimes it takes us a day or two to get back. Right. You can like educate and buy yourself time in that sense. But we do see undeniably, um, like higher engagement and purchase rates.
Jason:When people take care of their customers on the
channel, I can absolutely see that, you know, it’s funny, this shit almost worked on me.
So I was, um, I’m in this like Facebook group with this guy who is teaching people how to sell high ticket products. Right. So. He has a really cool strategy. He posts something in the group and then he asks people if they want something like a rapport or they want to see his strategy. And then like they start messaging him and then like, he’ll like message them in a Facebook messenger.
Like, and that’s really him. It’s not like, you know, and then he’ll be like, Hey man, like, um, let me, do you mind if I text you like some information, like sure. Now once he does that, it gets kicked into like an automated flow or something. But now, and like, this is why the, like, this is why I’m starting to get into like copywriting cause of like the psychology behind marketing is just fascinating to me.
Now when he texts messages about. I think he’s really just messaging me, but he’s not, he’s obviously not. And it’s so interesting because like my guard is down and like, I, I find myself sitting there like texting as idiot. Like he’s really texting me what he’s, what he’s not, you know? And I I’m so fascinated to like where that’s going to go with SMS, because I personally don’t know if email will ever go away.
Like people have been projecting or, or whatever, because I think, I don’t think it’s going anywhere. It’s not going to go anywhere. Right. I don’t think so. Even though SMS is like huge or it’s going to be, it’s going to be huge. I still think like them working together is like the best. So I love the opportunity in, like you’re saying this conversational, like back and forth.
Cause I do think that. We have such short memories and like, as long as we can stay engaged, I feel like we are definitely much more like I’ve even thought about buying from this guy, because I feel like he’s texting me, you know,
Alex: it’s interesting. It’s compelling. Like I think especially for the next year or two, I think most brands are probably going to bungle this.
Right. Because the vision of the world we have is that like, eventually there’s a job post at most e-commerce companies called like, you know, conversational commerce marketer or like SMS marker. Right. Because it is sort of like a different thing. You’re going to need like auto responses and you’re going to need like two way, like flows built out and like all this engagement based stuff that like is a little different than one to many traditional e-commerce attention, but it is cool.
And I think it’s customer friendly. I think that like a lot of brands are going to make a lot of money by actually engaging with consumers and not just. Sending them offers every day, but like actually having a two-way dialogue, like that’s how human beings communicate. Right? That’s like what works for us through client?
Jason: Who’s using Postscript dude, the amount of money they make from SMS, it blows away email. Like it’s not even close. It’s like way more money than, than, than their email channel.
Alex: We were starting to see that we’re really starting to see that. Um, and they’re not, they’re not sending as much via email. They can’t send as much and it’d be really expensive to send as much too.
But like we’re seeing. The brands who are adopting well, start to generate more from the channel and it’s with like way smaller lists. Like I think a year or two from now is like list mature and grow. I think that’ll increase.
Kevin: It’s interesting that it’s just like S just starting out now. Like, I feel like we’ve been texting for so long and the fact that this is just a thing now, and I’m noticing a whole lot more when you’re opting into a website and things like that, where everybody’s asking for your phone number.
Now, I’ve thought about that though. Like, if someone’s looking to get started collecting email justice, aside from the fact of like having their Shopify opt in and all that stuff, when they’re in the checkout, how would you re what would you recommend people to do to start collecting emails or to start collecting phone numbers without necessarily on the purchase side, but just like organically on their website?
What would you recommend?
Alex: Yeah, so there’s a few tentpoles for collection and then people can get fancy and creative if they want to. The two no-brainers all our data shows. This is you need to add in phone to your on-site popups and you should also collect it at checkout. I’m not telling people to stop collecting email.
I’m a huge proponent of email. You just heard me say, it’s not going anywhere, but like add it as the second screen. Or there’s like the second call to action behind your email capture, right? Like that is especially for your mobile traffic, especially for mobile traffic, they’re on their phones. That is like, that is a no brainer. That is the biggest lever for collection beyond that people get. I’ve started to get really creative using keywords to drive opt-ins. So keywords of like text Alex to 300, 303, right. Stuff like that. We’re seeing brands, insert keywords, utilize our integration with Klayvio to insert keyword, call to action into, into the emails they send out and they use the integration to target those dynamic blocks.
And Klayvio purely to people who haven’t opted into SMS yet. So if you’ve opted into SMS, you’re not going to see anything. But if you haven’t, you’re going to see a call to action of like join our VIP list, text Alex to three or three or three. So we’re seeing people, uh, collect off email. We’re seeing them collect onsite with pop-ups and check out collection.
The last thing that I’m pretty excited about is we’re seeing people do really well with keyword banners, right? Just banners along the top of their site or bottom of their site that have a keyword call to action because people will be surfing, however, and then they’ll just take their phone and they’ll like text and sign up really easily beyond those things.
It gets more creative, right? Not getting into acquiring phone numbers and stuff like that. We see brands starting to insert QR codes into their packaging. And when the QR code scans, it pulls up a like it pre-fills as signup, text sent to a phone number. So you just scan the QR code and boom, you’ve opted into their texts list. And so we’re seeing brands, insert QR codes in packaging, um, which is a cool thing as well.
Kevin: Jared, I really liked that option. I know Klayvio does it? No, I know you guys do it is when you can have it. So when you click on a button, it automatically on your phone opens up your text message stream. So you’re actually feel like you’re text messaging somebody, and it just has that keyword in it.
The only thing with like the phone opt-in that’s got me, and I think it’s, it hangs people up a lot is like all that like legal shit that you have to include in all your opt-ins for text messaging. Is there, is there like a. An end in sight to that, not like an end, but like, are they, is that just a really difficult struggle you’re having with these, you know, phone providers and all these things, you have to have all these legal notices, because email is just like, just give us your email and we’re good to go.
Text messages seems like, and even on a, on a Shopify checkout, you have that big block of text. They have to put the checkbox in and it’s just like, it seems like an extra step. Is that something that you’re moving eventually away from?
Alex: No, there’s no end in sight here and this could change, but it all comes from a piece of regulation in the U S called the TCPA, the telephone consumer protection act.
And what it essentially says is that you cannot text someone unless they explicitly opt in and the legal ease helps govern that. And here’s the thing, you know, in email, there’s a lot of like people out there who like kind of bend the rules, whatever gray areas with tax, the penalties are incredibly high.
If. On purpose, like don’t put up that sort of opt-in right. Or you, if you upload a phone number list, you’re liable for $1,500 in damages per message sent there’s, uh, there’ve been huge cases, TCPA loss of access to faxing. There’s so much money in, in that. There’s so much money in this that there’s huge legal firms out there who just do this full time, who like police the space and ambulance chase towards like, not properly opted in texts.
So that is why it’s like built up this way. And unless there’s like a regulation change, I’m not expecting anything to shift there.
Kevin: Oh, sorry. Oh, Jason and I were just having this conversation about email too, and it’s. It’s a quality, it’s a quality list too. Like if you actually have someone check that box and so it could actually be beneficial to you that you’re actually getting a quality lead instead of just someone who’s just randomly on your list that ended up there by accident. I was
Jason: actually going to say that I have that written down Kev. Is that like that’s exactly. I think the, one of the biggest benefits of SMS is like, I don’t think people are going to join 50 different brands, SMS. Right? So like the people that do do it, you know, and this is where Alex, I think email and SMS may be different or they are different, right?
Like when people actually join your SMS, like list, they are definitely people that are more engaged or more interested in your brand than say email, right? Because you can set up a spam email. You really can’t set up a spam. Cell phone number or mobile number. So they’re probably, people are just a little bit more weary about giving you that, but when they do it means they really want your shit.
So I think from that standpoint, if someone is on your SMS list and they’re not like, you know, engaging or responding or buying, I think that’s because you fucked up because those are people who really wanted to be on it in the first place.
Alex: Yeah. The bar is high. I totally agree. I think it’s a great point.
Like the upside of having all of these like bars to jump over in order to subscribe and the big blocks of texts is, you know, Jason’s point earlier of like, he doesn’t want to engage people on his list, like having that high bar, I guess that’s one of the upsides of it. It was definitely definitely
Jason: an upside.
Um, Kevin has torun
Kevin: right Kev. I’ve got a basket. My kids got a basket.
Jason: Alex, this, this call could have went on for another hour and a half. We’re just getting started Darren, till you do it again, we can definitely do it again. I mean, what would you say before we go? And I don’t, I know that like, I have a tendency because I’m so fascinated with the shit.
Like I have a tendency of talking a lot when I get like people on with technology that I don’t know anything about, because like, I just, this is exciting to me. Yeah. Um, before we go, can you just give us, like, or give our audience, um, sort of like, do you have like a benchmark of what people are in terms of revenue they’re missing from say, like not having SMS, because I can tell you right now that like our client is using it.
Like I told you. They’re out of stock right now, but when they were in stock, they were killing it with SMS and they would bundle that with Facebook and, you know, um, so do you have, like, I know it’s different for different brands and, you know, you know, but would you say that there’s, there’s a percentage of sales people are missing out on without, by not using SMS? Sure.
Alex: Uh, that I was going to say different for different brand, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. Um, on average today, Postscript is driving roughly like 15% of merchant GMV of like merchant revenue. However, the brands that have like fully adopted and like leaned into the channel that’s on average, right? A lot of people are still turn on a couple automations, send a campaign once a month.
Don’t focus on growing their list. The people who are all in are seeing 40 to 50% of their revenue come from SMS. They’re like crushing it on the channel. Like you mentioned, it’s passing their email revenue. Hmm. It’s certainly like double digit percentage of revenue is like sitting there in this channel for brands, depending on what they sell and how much they want to lean in.
Jason: So then how does Kevin and I get a free unlimited email
Kevin: and SMS services are expensive though. Yeah,
Alex: man. I wish they weren’t. It’s because for every text that gets sent, we have to go pay Verizon and T-Mobile, they’re kind of unlike email, there’s a real hard cost for every message.
Kevin: That sounds like a fun thing to manage.
Alex: Oh yeah. Those relationships are great.
Jason: Yeah, it was right. But I’ll tell you what though, man, like I’m really, you know, Kevin, I’m really thinking about where this fits in for the golf business, because it’s going to be mainly like instructional videos. And I think Alex, what you said with the, the, the drip, you know, where like you’re being a little bit more, uh, you’re giving a little bit more value.
Um, per se, like, I think that there’s like for, for this golf business that we’re about to create, I feel like there’s definitely some opportunity there. And I think as soon as we get off this call, the first thing I’m gonna do is just like add a phone number field to my box or my
Alex: pop-up. Yeah. Get the right opt-in language on there too.
So you can use them, but absolutely do it. And I’m a golfer. So count me in as a car. You oh, cool. Oh yeah. Oh, right. Are you good?
Alex: No, no, no. I’m mediocre. I’m a golfer.
Kevin: It’s so funny. As much fun playing with Jason because he shoots really well and he takes it really seriously. It doesn’t drink any beer.
Alex: Oh yeah, no, no, no. I’m, uh, I am middling am middling.
Jason: Well, so I, uh, yeah, like before, before we got, I used to be a golf professional. Right. And I moved to Florida and like everybody tells me, told me I was an idiot to moving to Florida, yada, yada, yada. So I went down there to practice and. I was getting worse. Like I was playing like five, six times a week and I was getting worse.
I’m like, what the fuck is going on? I thought I’m supposed to practice a lot to get better. It turns out that you don’t actually, and I, I discovered this, like this, this formula that allows you to like, it’s dude, I’m telling you, this is not a joke. It allows you to practice less and get better. Like, I’m going to send you out, dude. I’m going to send you the link, man, because like I play once a week and I shoot Paul. You know, often. So once a once a week, and you know, Kevin’s a much,
Kevin: it’s a few bad shots and I make sure he gets a couple of beers on him. He’s ready after that.
Jason: Well, Kevin, because Kevin, you know, Kevin’s a thick guy and he’s like six foot, you know, I’m like five, eight, and like three quarters, like on a good day.
And like he’ll blast went out. They like catch that one. Oh yeah. And then like, I’ll hit it.
He’ll be so, so aggravated come a little guy. I’m a little fat guy, you know, so, but anyway, Alex, I will send you the link once it’s all done, I’m working on it as we speak. Um, actually, um, I have it all over my white boards in here that you guys can not see, but, uh, I will promise you, you take my course, I’ll have your break at 80.
Alex: I’d be happy to break. Whereas test case, that’d be having to break 90.
Jason: Yeah, that’s no problem. That’s easy, man. I haven’t written down on my board seven. Think about this, Alex. Okay. This is like, this is real shit. 17 bogeys in around the golf gives you 89.
Jason: 17 bogeys that’s bogey and every single fucking hole except
Alex: one it’s brutal.
Golf’s a brutal game. I like, like, I take a bogey as a wind, like shooting boats for me is like, is like good golf, but then shooting bogey, golf and ending up over 90. And you’re like, this
Kevin: five is five is my baseline. That’s how I calculate my score. How many upper, upper under five. I am
Jason: Kevin Kevin issue 79.
It’s just like in the first 12, 13 holes. I mean, as if he leaves at that point, he’ll break the 80 every single time,
Kevin: but we’ve got to go to Colorado and play with you, dude,
Jason: Colorado, man.
Alex: heard some there’s some great courses out there. In fall,
Jason: it’s cold right now, right? Like I’m looking outside. It’s a 55 degrees.
Alex: No, there’s some snow on the courses right now. They’re they’re not happening, but three, four months from now. And Alex,
Jason: thank you so much, man. We really appreciate it. And we’re sorry, we’re cutting this a little short. Kevin has to take his kids to basketball. Um, we definitely would love to have you back, man, and maybe go over a little bit more of the nuts and bolts, you know?
This is the first time having you on, I don’t know anything about SMS. So I had questions for my own personal interest. So, uh, next time I think, uh, we can get a little bit more than nuts and bolts and I’m sure the platform itself will have evolved by then as well.
Alex: Yeah, we’re doing lots of stuff. Any emergency need help with SMS?
We’re happy to, but thanks for having me guys come back anytime.
Kevin: Thanks. Appreciate it. Yeah, like you said, Jason, we could’ve gone on for much longer with Alex. I’m really good in conference conversation. Um, could ask them a bunch of more questions. I actually have a list of questions that I didn’t even get to ask them that, uh, maybe next time we have Mon we’ll get more information.
Jason: If you didn’t have to leave prioritized our podcast, we wouldn’t have,
Kevin: you know, and every Tuesday I tell you that I have a rough Tuesday’s a rough day and I don’t know, maybe not think of it when Jen scheduled it for four o’clock. So it’s kind of a bad time. My daughter to field hockey. Three 30. I didn’t do that.
Now. My kid’s got a basketball game now, so I got to go anyway. Hope you guys enjoyed that as always, you can check us out at e-commerce uncensored.com and we’ll talk to you guys real soon.
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