On average, 8.6 trillion (yep, you read that right!) text messages are sent every year. That’s more than 12 times the number of Facebook messages that get sent daily and over 20 times the number of Tweets in the same time span. Since the first ever mobile ad was sent out via text back in 2000, SMS marketing has become hugely popular. What’s more, it’s a successful technique that an increasing number of marketeers are taking advantage of.
So why is it the future? Here are a few reasons…
We're Addicted to Our Handsets
Quite simply, we’re a population devoted to our mobiles. Since 2007, there has been a steady decline in desktop use and a rapid rise in mobile use. Midway through 2013/14, these crossed over and mobile use overtook in popularity. As Smart Insights has found, 80% of Internet users now own a smartphone. In addition to this, ExpressPigeon found that over 50% of smartphone users will grab their mobile immediately after they have woken up.
Meanwhile, emailmonday has projected that by 2018, 8 in every 10 email users will most likely access their email accounts exclusively from their mobile phones. What these statistics highlight is just how much we’re using our mobile phones. From sending text messages to receiving emails, contacting people via messaging apps such as WhatsApp to sharing about our lives on social media, we’re hooked.
Not only that, but we’re inundated with devices. It has been found that globally, 33% more people have access to mobile phones rather than to toilets. And in 2013, a total of 6 billion people globally had access to mobile phones – and by phones, that also means SMS messaging.
High Open Rates
With everyone so addicted to their handsets, it gives SMS marketing a chance to make a real difference. Not only are people holding onto their phones and using them at all times, but they’re also opening the content being sent to them. For example, email open rates are at about 20-30%. They’re rapidly becoming higher on mobile phones than on desktops. However, SMS messaging blows all that out of the water.
According to a report by Denmark, SMS messages gain a 98% open rate with 90% of text messages sent getting read within three seconds. That’s an astoundingly fast way of getting into the pockets, and mindsets, of the audience you want to communicate with.
High Conversion Rates
It’s one thing getting read, but it’s another thing seeing that conversion occur. That’s where the real sales happen, and in turn, where the profit can be achieved. A CMS report has found that the average smartphone conversion rate is up 64% in comparison with the average desktop conversion rates. In addition to this, a report by Pure360 found that 32% of recipients of SMS marketing responded to SMS offers. They also found that text coupons were redeemed 10 times more frequently than other traditional coupons.
When SMS marketing first began, it was a very new and novel idea to be contacting people via their mobile phone. For many, it was considered quite intrusive. It entered their personal space and used their contact information which they may not have given permission for. However, as time has gone on and people use their mobile devices more frequently, it has become increasingly common to engage with brands and businesses via mobile, while consumers and businesses have also become more aware of the need to opt-in to receive SMS marketing.
From SMS messaging to social media, in which adverts are seamlessly integrated amongst content, to the ability to tag people in sponsored content, we’re far more familiar with this type of engagement now. As such, it is a lot less daunting to receive an SMS message introducing a new offer, service or incentive. In fact, 54% of consumers will receive at least one SMS message daily – it has been normalised, and in doing so, has increased the positive reception it receives.
High Retention Rates and ROI
Adobe cites an impressive case study with Silverstone, who sent out a text message to 45,000 racing fans in their database. They invited them to buy tickets for an upcoming Formula One race. With just that one single SMS message, they managed to achieve a return on investment of 680%. In addition to this, online cosmetics company Julep reported a 99% retention rate for their SMS subscribers.
There are key tactics to ensure you do retain customers, though. These include not spamming your customers, especially those who haven’t opted in. This can be achieved by conducting an SMS campaign with a reasonable number of text messages and ensuring only those who have opted to give their details are contacted. Also, make sure that the messages sent are targeted and relevant. It’s also a great way to make customers feel valued and treated well, which in turn will help to retain them. Demonstrating great customer service through SMS marketing is crucial.
Mobile is the Way Forward
Given how popular it is, mobile is unquestionably where everyone is turning their attention. SMS marketing is part of this and, as smartphones develop, the opportunities for how SMS can be optimised will continue to grow. For example, with mobile apps, marketeers are getting hold of geo-location data which is providing crucial insights into customer movements. There’s a great deal of technological advancement on the horizon.
It began with picture messaging, which gave a visual insight into a corporate message. Then came smartphones, which brought about the ability for people to open links from their text messages that went directly to web pages. This enabled businesses to layer up their engagement and improve their conversion rates by taking the customer straight to the point of sale. There’s no telling where the future is headed, but mobile is certainly where technology is advancing.
Getting it Right
While SMS marketing is undoubtedly the future, there are still some key traditional techniques to keep in mind. For one, it remains important to ensure the messages sent are relevant to the audience. Therefore, segment your audience to ensure you are tailoring your communications to the right demographic, location, gender and age group.
Additionally, getting the timing right is crucial; keep in mind time zones and what people will be doing at certain points throughout the day. Additionally, giving customers a sense of urgency and a deadline will improve conversion rates.
Finally, keep it short and sweet. You have 160 characters (or 456 with fastsms) to do the talking; get to your point quickly and avoid waffle. People need to understand within a matter of seconds what you are trying to get them to do, otherwise, they’ll switch off.