It seems that reports of the death of SMS messaging have been greatly exaggerated. When once the text message seemed dead in the water thanks to the rise of the app, the SMS business is set to grow to $71.60 billion by 2021 whilst smartphone users are downloading fewer and fewer apps, and the life expectancy of an app on the average smartphone is now around 72 minutes.
So what gives SMS the edge? It’s the one feature that exists on every mobile, smart or not. It doesn’t depend on WiFi or an internet connection and SMS messages are incredibly reliable, with the kind of delivery rate email – with its spam filters and bad addresses – can only dream of. SMS messages are instant, creating a real sense of urgency and prompting your customers to act in the moment. And SMS has unparalleled reach, with 7 billion active mobile users across the globe compared to just 2.5 billion email users.
The Rise of Messaging, the Death of the App
Gartner have already predicted that, by 2019, 20% of big brands will abandon their mobile apps altogether, and look for more personalised and effective means of communicating with their customers. Step forward SMS, a technology that is both deeply familiar and incredibly user-friendly, so much so that 85% of users prefer to communicate through SMS messaging than any other medium.
Messaging apps are already eclipsing other social media, thanks to their immediacy and low barriers to entry. SMS offers and delivers a 2-way engagement that users are happy to participate in once they’ve given their consent through opt-in. Texting enables users to accomplish a multitude of tasks from one place and, unlike an app, offers infinite possibilities for interaction.
SMS 2-Layer Authentication
SMS offers so much more than the opportunity to promote sales and send vouchers and coupons. In fact, there’s a growing trend for companies to use SMS messaging as a security layer, using it to share login confirmations, password resets, and updates and notifications. And it won’t just be companies that use SMS for alerts and information – it is becoming the preferred communication channel for the Internet of Things.
With Google’s click-to-message ads now out of beta, 2017 looks like the year when Millennials’ contact option of choice will offer everyone the option to message a company to make an enquiry or booking without having to make a call and face being put on hold or have to navigate endless voice menus. Click to text allows users to send a pre-populated message to make a reservation or enquire about a service. The key for businesses will be getting that pre-populated message right, saving potential customers time and effort and upping engagement levels. Putting an ad in your customer’s pocket is one thing, converting interest to a sale is another, and click to text can help you do that.
SMS will Continue to Innovate
A Siri-style assistant that works faster, is more efficient and more intelligent than an app? A bank account you can control through SMS? An operating system for SMS that allows you to seamlessly integrate other functions without leaving the text message? These are the kinds of innovative uses for SMS messaging that will see the platform continue to grow and to represent the future of interface design through 2017 and beyond. Ubiquitous and easy to use, there’s no steep learning curve even when you’re performing sophisticated operations.
Increase Your Productivity
While buzzwords like ‘personalisation’ will continue to inform customer relationships and mobile marketing, savvy businesses will also appreciate the use of SMS as a communication tool within the company. If you have a global team or employ Millennials or mobile workers, bulk SMS communications can be an extremely effective way to update across borders in a relevant, timely and efficient fashion that is also cost-effective and increases productivity. SMS messages are also tailor made for logistics, and in 2017, SMS will increasingly be used for status updates regarding shipments and deliveries.
Mobile First and the 'Mobile Moment'
In our always connected world, where 51% of online time is spent on mobile devices, we’ve reached the tipping point. We’re now a mobile-first society, where twice as much time is spent on our phones as watching TV, and 20% of Millennials don’t use a desktop at all. So how can you capture potential customers in the ‘mobile moment’ and leverage the immediacy of SMS communication?
It’s about the right information at the right time, and understanding just what your customers want from their mobile experience. Imagine offering a great voucher deal when your customer is within walking distance of your store, driving sales for you and satisfaction for your customer. Being ‘mobile moment’ savvy with your SMS communication should be at the heart of your mobile-first SMS strategy.
Making SMS Work for You
Things are about to get chatty. 2017 will be the year of the conversation that continues throughout the customer journey. Digital marketing will be all about using technology to create digital marketing for human beings, and there is no better way to reach out than with a simple and instant SMS message. Pre, mid and post purchase/order SMS updates will provide timely and relevant information that is responsive to your customers’ needs and nurtures your relationship at all stages of your interaction. Key benefits of using SMS in this way include:
• Customer retention and repeat sales – 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers • Increased brand loyalty – over 90% of customers involved in SMS campaigns say they gain value from them • Greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness – with ten times the response rate of email, SMS offers outstanding ROI • Increased sales to an already interested audience – integrate SMS into a multi-platform, mobile-first campaign for extra leverage
SMS messaging works, whether your business is big or small, and at FastSMS, we’re the UK’s number one business SMS platform. Contact us today to discuss what the power of SMS communication can do for your business.