August 22, 2012
Is SMS really dying? Your friends, family, coworkers, and even you will most likely respond with a resounding “YES”, but, trust me, there are a number of people who will argue the contrary and be able to justify it. SMS is not only still alive but also breathing and kicking. Informa Telecoms & Media predicts 9.4 trillion texts messages will be sent in 2016 around the globe, representing an increase of 19% year-on-year since 2011.
With the rapid growth of mobile technology and the fast user adoption of smartphone devices around the globe (47.7% of US mobile phone users own a smartphone), companies look for advanced and tech-savvy solutions to engage their audience. Mobile banners and rich media ad units are on the rise with the industry projecting $11.6 billion in revenue for 2012 only. Instant messaging (IM) applications and services such as Apple’s iMessage enable the users to communicate with each other on the go. Push notifications deliver customized and localized messages directly to users’ mobile screens. Mobile web has grown so big that it reaches PC access levels on some occasions. And of course, there is an app for everything.
So why SMS when there are a breadth of sophisticated solutions and technologies available? It’s simple. Text messaging and SMS marketing are the easiest, most effective and direct ways to push your message to users. It has been reported that 75% of US smartphone users prefer to receive promotional offers and coupons via SMS over mobile web and applications. To top that, SMS readership reaches a whopping 98%, while only 10% of email messages get read and 84% of Facebook posts are ignored. And the majority of texts are read, on average, within 90 seconds of receipt. Such percentages are hard to ignore, making the case that an SMS based mobile strategy is vital to a successful mobile strategy.
Before going any further, I will outline the “Pros” & “Cons” of SMS text messaging and the impacts they have on the client communication process.
The Cons of SMS Marketing
- Intrusive – Text messages sit right in a user’s device and therefore messages from brands or marketers can be perceived from a number of users as intrusive to their personal space.
- Unattractive – Other than text, there is not much you can do within an SMS message, leaving opportunities to engage users with rich media and creative images out of the question.
- 160 characters – Text messages are short with a 160-character limit, therefore leaving limited space for you to get their message across.
The Pros of SMS Marketing
- 160 characters – As mentioned above, SMS messages, though short, encourage you to deliver more direct and concise messaging to your customers.
- Readership – Everyone checks their text messages and reads them no matter what the content is.
- Response – Text messages are the easiest, simplest and most seamless way of receiving direct feedback from your customers.
- Immediate results – Text messages can have immediate results on calls to action and/or redemption.
- Initiates dialogue – SMS enables advertisers to enter into a direct, personal, 2-way communication with their customer.
- Reachability – Reach your customers anytime, anywhere they are around the world. Sending location-based and time sensitive alerts increases your potential response rates.
- Personalization – Deliver messages that are tailor-made based on your client’s needs and wants, making the communication more personal.
Taking into consideration all of the above, it is rather clear that companies are provided with endless possibilities in creating and delivering an effective mobile SMS strategy. Consumers constantly demand quick, easy, and always-available ways to interact with the companies they choose to do business with so companies should always look to engage with their customers in the most efficient way.
SMS is one of the most, if not the most, direct ways to reach out to your customers. You can create an open dialogue that brings opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling your products, minimize cost from your busy and pricy customer call centers, reduce churn, and incentivize your overall sales. Effectively reach your audience and provide high quality service through SMS–after all, text messaging is the top activity users do with their mobile phones (right after checking the time).