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If you run an ecommerce site, you probably use email to announce sales, engage customers and drive repeat purchases.
But now that the vast majority of your customers use smartphones, you can follow the lead of most large ecommerce sites which are using SMS just like email to drive repeat visits and purchases.
If you collect mobile phone numbers and have permission to text them, include links in your SMS back to your site (also known as Smart SMS) and grow sales through one of the most direct and engaging marketing channels available.
This blog post isn't to convince you of the value of SMS for driving ecommerce sales, most smart businesses are doing it already. Our goal is to answer a key question: how do you measure the effectiveness of SMS and track the sales from each campaign?
There are two things you need to do, both of which will be covered in this tutorial. The first is to set up Google Analytics so that it can recognize the links you’ll be creating. The second step will be to use Google Link Builder to actually create the links you’ll put inside the SMS messages.
Let’s jump right in.
Setting up Google Analytics
The first thing you need to do in order to be able to track your SMS ecommerce links is to make sure your website is set up with Google Analytics.
This analytics service is free to use, easy to use, and easy to install. If you don’t have it ready to go, or need a refresher to make sure you’ve got it right, you can view this tutorial here.
You need to have Google Analytics installed on your website in order to track your ecommerce sales. This means going through the entire process at the tutorial above, including installing the tracking code on all the pages of your site.
If you’re using software like Shopify or WordPress, this can be done easily.
Building the links with Google Link Builder
Once you have Google Analytics set up, you need to set up link tracking for your SMS. This is done by adding some code to the end of the URLs you share via SMS. For example, normal URLs will look like this:
When you build your trackable link it will look like this:
It used to be that you’d have to create a custom campaign directly inside Google Analytics in order for this to work, but now all you have to do is create the link with the variables you desire using the Google Analytics Link Builder tool.
Here’s how to do it. First click this link to get to the Link Builder. It looks like this:
In this form, there are four things you have to fill out in order for the URL to work correctly. First is the website URL. This is the URL you are going to be sharing via SMS. So for example: http://yourwebsite.com/therealfriggendeal.
The second part you need to fill out is the campaign source. The best bet for this is to name it SMS, since that is the source of the links you are creating. It could also be a particular list name, so if you have a list called SMScustomer1, that could be the source as well.
This will tell Google Analytics to create that source the first time it sees an incoming visitor from a link with that source attached to it.
Third, you need to fill in the campaign medium. This will probably also be SMS, since that is the medium you’re using.
Next, is the Campaign Name. You should create something unique that will tell you when this link was created, and what product it relates to. So for example: juneshoes.
Chances are over time you’ll want to create more than one campaign on this URL/product, so creating a campaign that is unique to the time, is the best way for you to keep track of which campaigns are the most successful.
If you were to stop there and click Submit, you’d be done, and that is really all you need. However, let’s talk a bit about the other options you have here:
- Campaign term. This is more suited towards keyword marketing, which more pertains to advertisements than it does with SMS marketing.
- Campaign Content. This is a handy little tag that will allow you to distinguish between two or more links. So if you have two links that are exactly the same except for their location in the text message, but need to differentiate between them, add a descriptor here and you’ll know which link was clicked on. This can be as simple as toplink and bottomlink.
Once you have the required fields filled out, hit the submit button.
When you hit that button your URL will appear underneath it:
Simply copy and paste that into your SMS message and hit send.
Note: It should be noted that all the fields are case sensitive, so there is a difference between a source of 'sms' versus one of 'SMS'.
Drive more sales from SMS
This is a great way to find out who is clicking on your links, where they are clicking from, and when. So for example, say you have two different ideas for a Smart SMS newsletter - a "Happy Thanksgiving" and a "Cyber Monday" theme.
Using the campaign method above, you can create two different URLs that will be tracked when someone from one of those SMS campaigns clicks on one of your links. This will help you determine which of your marketing campaigns are bringing in more sales, which bring window shoppers and which get ignored.