Best practices and use cases: Two-Way Journeys™

Many brands employ conversational texting when they want to create an interactive experience that also allows them to collect valuable data about each subscriber. If you want to incorporate two-way messaging into your overall SMS strategy, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel – conversational tactics can easily be added to existing, automated workflows!

The most common way to optimize SMS for conversational messaging is to build a series of automated responses based on keywords or numbers. Your conversational text is more likely to get an answer if you’re speaking directly to them on topics they care about,, which is slightly different than a traditional marketing message.

Heads up: this article assumes that you’re already familiar with multiple types of journeys, as well as the basics of how Two-Way Journeys work. Before you proceed, you may want to check out the following:

Here are some best practices to follow to make each interaction feel more natural and keep your subscribers interested in the conversation.

Tips to make your two-way texts engaging

  • Keep each message short and simple. Interactions in conversational text messaging usually take place in a limited space, on a small screen. Try to keep each message under 250 characters.
  • Ask straightforward questions. Any prompts you give to subscribers should be quick and easy to respond to. Clients should be clear on what you’re asking and how to respond properly.
  • Use an active voice. Avoid a passive voice to make your replies more straight-to-the-point and use light, casual language.
  • Personalize each message. To make each message feel like a real conversation, use personalization macros when possible.
  • Don’t ask too many questions. Your goal is to improve the customer experience. So, the more natural your interaction is, the easier it'll be for the customer to engage. Keep your conversational workflow between 2 and 3 messages.
  • End with a strong CTA. Conclude each conversation with a clear call to action. Numbered responses tend to perform best but keywords with no spaces also do well (just remember to avoid words that are easily misspelled). You’ll get the best results if you pair conversational messages with links or coupons to help drive conversions.
  • Use single characters for prompts. You’ll have a significantly higher response rate if it’s very easy for subscribers to engage with you. When setting up response prompts, use characters like 1, 2, 3, or A, B, C instead of words.

As you continue to improve your conversational strategy, it’s important to keep in mind that there’s no single recipe to creating texts your customers love. The more you learn from customers, the stronger your content will be. Looking for inspiration? Check out conversational messages in Texts we Love.

Now that we’ve gone through some best practices, let’s review a few key use cases that anyone can get started with!

Try a two-way journey

Before we dive into use cases though, how about you check out Two-Way Journeys for yourself: 

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Two-way welcome series use cases

You want to make sure you’re creating engaging experiences with your subscribers from the very beginning, so we recommend adding two-way messages to your welcome journeys. The following use case allows you to delight subscribers while collecting valuable insights and priming them for future conversational text messages.

Step 1: Come up with a solid conversation starter

Example: Let’s get to know you better! Text back one collection you’re most interested in shopping for:

1 for Tops
2 for Bottoms
3 for Outerwear
4 for Accessories

Step 2: Add the conversational message step

This is a great follow up message for subscribers that haven’t purchased after receiving your initial sign up offer

Step 3: Add the custom attribute step

Use your subscriber replies to create custom segments for future targeting

Step 4: Include a unique automated reply for every subscriber prompt

Example: Our super soft [product] sold out the same day it hit the racks! Click here to shop: [product url].

Browse and cart abandoned two-way use cases

Customers abandon websites and carts for a variety of reasons, so wouldn’t it be great if we could figure out why? Rather than leave these customers to fend for themselves, you can use this touchpoint as an opportunity to find out what went wrong. Automate answers to simple questions about a product or shipping information or escalate to a live support agent.

Step 1: Create a message to quickly identify the customer’s needs

Example: Hey {{subscriber.firstName}}, I saw you were checking out {{}}. Is there anything I can help you with?

1 for shipping details
2 for return policy
3 for a special offer
4 for something else

Step 2: Include a 10 to 15 minute delay

Before you send a message to the subscriber, use this delay to ensure they have in fact abandoned your site.

Step 3: Creating artificial urgency to increase conversion rates

Example: Awesome! Here's your code for 15% off - use it quick! It expires in 5 days. {{offer.code}}

Post-purchase two-way use cases

Retaining customers is the best way to maximize revenue and increase ROI so we suggest adding automated replies to your post-purchase experience. This is a great way to elevate the customer experience and collect user feedback or suggest complementary products relevant to a recent purchase.

Step 1: Include at least a 7 day delay
Give your subscribers enough time to receive and try your product

Step 2: Add a branch step
Branch your journey based on product data to tailor your customer feedback survey based on unique product variants

Step 3: Add the conversational step to collect feedback
Example: Let us know what you think about your {{}}!

1 for LOVED IT!
2 for It was okay
3 for I didn't enjoy it
4 for It was a gift

Step 4: Conclude the journey with a thankful message
No matter the customer’s feedback, you should conclude each path of the journey with a thoughtful message to your subscriber to promote loyalty.

No matter what your level of SMS expertise is, we encourage you to give a conversational strategy a try. It’s a great way to engage new subscribers while retaining old customers through meaningful interactions.

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