Back in the day, SMS was one of the precursors of digital marketing, and maintained its stronghold over many years. Today, it has entered a new stage of development, opening up exciting new possibilities for brands when combined with other communication channels.
In a world of endless information flows, multichannel marketing offers marketers the best opportunities to engage with their audience and increase brand awareness. As the pandemic has shown, if a brand wants to adapt to a new reality, it must use its digital communication channels to the fullest.
As the modern consumer switches between different devices and platforms swiftly and seamlessly, he is twice as likely to use his mobile phone to interact with brands. A handset is the first thing that we pick up to turn off the morning alarm. We glance at our screen at an average of 150 times throughout the day, and two out of three phone owners always keep them at hand when going to bed, reports Psychology Today. Needless to say, mobile has long taken the position of the best brand marketing tool. And when developing a marketing strategy, special attention should be paid to SMS – a channel that grants access to the largest number of mobile subscribers.
SMS is a mobile communication classic. The first SMS marketing campaigns were launched back in 2003 by Nike and Pontiac. Nowadays, the channel is going through a renaissance and is rightly considered one of the fastest-growing tools in a marketer’s arsenal. According to Juniper Research, mobile B2C messaging traffic reached 2.7 trillion in 2020, up 10% from 2019. In June 2020, 56% of retailers in a CommerceNext survey said they plan to increase their SMS marketing investments.
SMS has the broadest audience possible. According to forecasts, the number of mobile phone users worldwide will reach 4.88 million in 2021, yet not all of them own smartphones – especially in developing countries. For example, up to 40% of India’s huge population use simple feature phones. At the same time, for the residents of those countries where the Internet connection is not widely available, mobile is the main window to the world. SMS messages are available on all types of mobile devices and do not require an Internet connection.
How do you complement your marketing strategy with SMS?
Given the high level of engagement and open rates, messages serve as a useful addition to multichannel marketing and work well to attract customers’ attention to other communication channels.
- Supplement email marketing. Emails can contain lots of useful information, but their open rates are only 20%. In contrast, SMS achieves an open rate of 98%. Marketers can remind users to check their inbox using text. eMarketer cites the example of Farm Foods, Inc., which last year sent SMS reminders to a list of customers that ignored emails. The result was $ 4,000 in profit in 24 hours at the cost of only $ 60.
22% of users check their emails on smartphones, and in 2020 about 60% of all online retail purchases were made using smartphones, so mobile site adaptation should be a priority for brands.
- For delivering transactional messages. During the pandemic, the number of transactional traffic sent by brands exceeded the number of promotional messages, and this was not just limited to e-commerce. SMS was also broadly adopted by delivery services and other enterprises willing to support their customers. Supplementing a transactional message with a useful link is an effective solution since customers open such messages much more willingly than promos.
- To lead guide shoppers to conversion. According to the statistics, 69.8% of shoppers do not complete their online orders. At the same time, about 10% of abandoned carts can be restored by reminding them – and the sooner, the better. A reminder to complete the transaction delivered via SMS has proven to be a very effective strategy, as 90% of short messages are opened within the first three minutes after receipt.
- For urgent notifications. Promotions, discounts, hot offers – if you want the client to learn about them quickly and react immediately, use SMS and be sure to include the deep links leading customers to your site or app.
- As a mechanism for placing orders. While still a rare occurrence, it is worth paying attention to. The brand can receive the order via SMS and redirect the user to the site to enter all the necessary details. If the data is saved, the client can skip the latter part in subsequent cases.
Remember: to make a multichannel strategy truly effective and provide the client with a holistic and positive experience, the quality of interaction trumps the number of channels involved.
How to make communication via SMS more effective
- Use a short code. It helps your brand be more recognisable and simplifies communication with the client. Besides, short codes increase the rate of SMS per second compared to standard “long” numbers. GMS offers a user-friendly method for running and managing effective short code-based campaigns. Enterprises can choose between shared short codes – where services are defined by keywords – and exclusive codes used by a single brand.
- Be useful. When providing the phone number, your customer hopes to benefit from it. Do not skimp on personalised coupons and discounts. And let the recipient understand that he has been offered a unique opportunity that is only available via SMS. Think service, not sales. Say “yes!” to reminders, announcements, useful information about products, and special offers, but avoid blatant advertising.
SMS reminders, stock availability notifications, coupons, and promo codes are great for customer retention. And keeping an existing client is 6-7 times cheaper than attracting a new one.
- Pick the right time and place. SMS should be sent at the time and place when it is most beneficial for the subscriber. Experts predict that geo-targeted mobile ad spending will reach $ 32.4 billion in 2021. After all, geofencing is relevant both during a pandemic, when information about goods and services is vital for people, and once their mobility is restored. It is also crucial to time your SMS for when it is both convenient for the client and will most likely lead to a sale.
In 2014, marketers at Silverstone, which owns one of the UK’s most famous racetracks, sent out 45,000 SMS shortly after the end of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco, urging clients to buy tickets for the British Grand Prix. As a result, they received 680% ROI and sold tickets in record time.
SMS messaging has many benefits and can take your marketing strategy to the next level when combined with other channels. We at GMS are always ready to offer the latest multichannel solutions and help you implement them efficiently. Now, when the world, society and business are undergoing big changes, it is high time to look for new approaches and use all the opportunities available for high-quality interaction with clients.