In a welcome flow, SMS messages offer you a way to make a more immediate impact on new subscribers. On average, most text messages (~98%) are looked at within 90 seconds. In comparison, only 20% of emails are viewed, and it typically takes between 90 minutes to 3 hours for customers to view said emails. The shorter time frame means you can reach SMS subscribers when their interest in your business is at its peak. It is a great chance to encourage them to move further down the funnel — driving them from being a subscriber to a customer.
This doesn’t mean your welcome flow should only include SMS messages. While SMS marketing is on the rise, email remains the more popular channel for receiving marketing correspondence. Therefore, including both SMS messages and emails in your welcome flow is an effective way to reach most your customer base.
In this article, we go over collecting SMS consent and creating a welcome flow that includes SMS messages. If you're just getting started with SMS, check out our Getting Started with SMS Handbook.
Gathering SMS Subscribers
There are several different ways contacts can subscribe to receive SMS messages from your business. In each of these instances, you'll want to introduce them to your products and brand philosophy. The three key scenarios are as follows:
- A contact signs up to your SMS list via a click-to-text form
- A contact signs up via a desktop form that collects both email and phone number
- An existing email subscriber signs up for SMS
Regardless of which method you use to collect SMS subscribers, it’s important to make sure contacts are fully aware that they are consenting to receive SMS messages from your business. Note that language that only says someone is opting into general marketing (and doesn’t mention SMS) is usually not seen as sufficient, per TCPA guidelines. Check with your legal counsel regarding your SMS marketing opt-in messaging.
Configuring Your SMS Messages
When setting up your welcome series, an important step is configuring the content for your SMS message. Unlike emails, it's important to conserve space and be direct. For example, if you're offering a discount in the first message of your SMS welcome series, this is something you'll want to lead with. Check out this guide to learn how to use unique coupons for SMS.
You'll also want to ensure that your call to action (CTA) link directs recipients to a relevant page on your website. In a welcome series, this could be the product page for a particular collection or simply a page of your "best sellers." Direct recipients to the page where you think they're most likely to make a purchase.
As with all SMS messages, make sure that recipients know who the message is coming from. The image below shows an example that uses the Organization Prefix, located on the left-hand side of the SMS Preview window.
You can also add an image or GIF to create an MMS message. For more information, read MMS Image and GIF Best Practices.
Creating Your SMS Welcome Flow
Below, we’ll show you how to create a welcome series for your SMS subscribers.
First, head to your Flows tab and click Create Flow in the upper right. Next, click Create from Scratch. You will then be brought to the visual canvas where you can begin building out the details of your flow as follows:
- Flow Trigger
Create a metric-triggered flow based on the Consented to receive SMS event
- Flow Filters
Add a flow filter to ensure that the flow does not go to anyone who has been in the flow at any time
The filter is particularly important here, as it ensures that subscribers only enter the flow once. Without the filter, if someone consents to SMS multiple times (via different forms or by subscribing, unsubscribing, then resubscribing), they will go through the flow each time. While profiles cannot enter list-triggered flows more than once, they can enter metric-triggered flows as many times as they perform the triggering action.
Next, drag in an SMS message action from the left-hand panel. In this case, there is no need for a time delay since it's better if your SMS message goes out immediately after someone subscribes.
Please note that if your list is set to be double opt-in, which all Klaviyo lists are by default, someone will have to first confirm their subscription by texting "YES" before receiving your welcome flow.
Align Your SMS Flow with an Email Welcome Series
If you’re collecting both email and SMS subscribers or already have an email welcome series, consider when someone gets the first message in both your SMS and email welcome series. It’s a best practice to have the SMS go out earlier than the email, as the recipient is almost guaranteed to open the text right away, and you don’t want your messages to directly compete with each other. Since SMS subscribers will get a text right away, you can often wait 2–5 hours before sending the email, but at the very least, you should wait 5–10 minutes.
In your email welcome series, add a conditional split after the trigger. Set it to be: If someone is or is not consented to receive SMS > is not. Then, on the No path, add in a time delay for around two to five hours. The time delay will make it so that those who have opted into SMS marketing will get the first message from your SMS-only welcome series, then get the email from this flow a few hours later. Adding a conditional split also means that if you already have your email flow built out, you don’t need to move the content to a different path, as existing flow actions will always fall under the Yes path after a split.
Sending the Same Unique Coupon in Both Flows
This only applies if you’re using unique (also called “dynamic”) coupons, available with Shopify, Magento 1, and Magento 2 stores. If you’re using uploaded (also called “static”) coupons, you can go ahead and skip this section.
If you use the same dynamic code in both your email and SMS welcome flows, it will send the same code in both series for the same profile.
Since dynamic coupons are one-time use only, your customers won’t be able reuse the coupon. Thus, you might want to tailor your email message based on whether they already got the coupon code via text, such as by saying “Check your texts for the discount code.” To do this, take a look at the example below. Here, we cloned the first message in the series, changed the text slightly in the cloned message, and then moved the messages to be on the appropriate path.
SMS Welcome Flow Testing and Best Practices
After your first message in the series, drag in a time delay before adding any followup messages. This ensures that any subsequent messages are sent after someone receives the first.
Because SMS messages actively ping the recipient's phone, it's important to be cognizant of the time of day you're sending. You can make sure that you're not sending at an inconvenient time of day by setting the time delay to a specific time of day in the recipient's local timezone. You can also delay until a specific day of the week.
Make sure not to overload SMS subscribers. A good rule of thumb is to send a maximum of two to six SMS messages per month for each recipient.
We recommend using two to four SMS messages to your SMS welcome series. Since some of the contacts receiving this welcome series will be existing email subscribers, you can leverage information that you already know about them from their email and purchase history to send more relevant texts. You can do this using conditional splits.
Split Based on Repeat vs. First-Time Buyers
If you know someone has been on your email list for a certain amount of time but has never made a purchase, you may want to offer them a discount (or greater discount) in the second or third message of your SMS welcome series.
Keep in mind that you will want to create a new static coupon code to include in the message with the higher discount.
Split Based on Purchase History
Splitting your flow based on purchase history is a great way to offer more targeted calls to action in your text messages and, since each text should only have one CTA, make the most of your valuable space. For example, if you know that someone has already bought from a certain collection, you can show them a different CTA.
Split Based on Profile and Custom Properties
You can leverage any information you learned about a subscriber when they initially signed up or through any subsequent emails they may have received.
For example, let's say that in the first email of your email welcome series, you ask customers to select which category of products they're most interested in. You can then use this information to inform the CTA in your SMS welcome series.
In this case, it's important to have a default branch in case a subscriber has never indicated an interest in any of the options. In the example above, we're showing our best sellers to those who have never explicitly told us the types of items they're interested in.