SMS marketing – reaching the people you never knew you were missing
It may be hard to believe but in the UK, 34% of adults don’t own a smartphone – meaning they don’t have instant access to email, social media or other digital marketing (Ofcom, 2015). The truth is we’re still not as advanced as we think when it comes to digital. Even if we own a smartphone, sometimes we’re still desperately searching for signal, relying on patchy connections or hunting around for WiFi codes to get anything other than SMS messages.
SMS Marketing provides a quick, easy and universally accessible form of contact, regardless of your age, location or the type of phone you own. And when 91% of people have a mobile within arms reach of them 24 hours a day (Forbes, 2013), it’s the very reason why SMS should never be considered a second rate form of marketing.
Expanding your reach
Even in Western Europe and North America, 35% of people still rely on mobiles without an internet connection (Cisco, 2016). And it’s not just geography that limits the reach of digital – only 50% of people over the age of 55 own a smartphone and this reduces to a mere 18% when it comes to the over 65s (Ofcom, 2015). So if you’re solely relying on digital then consider whether all of your audience is actually within your reach.
Cutting through the competition
We still receive far fewer SMS messages than emails so when you hear a SMS alert on your mobile, you’re far more likely to pick it up. 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes of receiving them (Forbes, 2013) so you can be sure people have read what you’ve said within minutes of pressing the send button. As SMS is more infrequent it also means that you’re not competing for the recipient’s attention as you are in the inbox.
Opening up a dialogue
SMS shortcodes used within SMS allows your audience to reply to you. SMS marketing is still the most effective method to gather any feedback from your recipients (Smartinsights, 2014), allowing them to vote, donate, cancel appointments and give answers on the go. It’s not just a marketing tool but a great operational device for reaching customers quickly, confirming actions and improving customer service.
Just because you’re sending an SMS doesn’t mean you can’t see the results. SMS guarantees the delivery of your message, you won’t be blocked by providers or filtered off into a spam folder. It offers a delivery receipt so you can see when your message has been received. The shortcodes used within SMS means you can also track how many people have responded. Modern SMS marketing portals provide you with reporting to see how successful your campaigns have been and even gives you ideas of how they could be improved.
The perfect partner
Like all marketing methods, SMS Marketing shouldn’t be used in isolation but alongside other digital tactics to reinforce your message. By adding SMS Marketing to the mix you not only improve your reach but also the success rates of your existing marketing channels. For example, sending an SMS to alert a recipient of an important email you’ve sent will increase your email open rates by 20% (Smartinsights, 2014). Including links within SMS means you encourage people to complete actions online, driving visits and engagement on your website.
It’s not just reach that makes SMS Marketing so appealing – it’s the relationship we have with SMS. SMS messaging is seen as more personal than email (Woopra, 2016). We don’t tend to give people our mobile numbers unless we want to hear from them, so if your customer has offered their mobile number then they’re prepared to hear from you. If you have mobile numbers on your database then now is the time to look at how you can use them.
Here are a few examples of how SMS Marketing is used in a variety of sectors:
Retail – improving your home delivery service
Customers have high expectations when it comes to the speed and flexibility of your delivery service. SMS Marketing allows you to instantly update the customer with dispatch and delivery updates, which allows them to control when and where their goods are sent.
Finance – providing instant security
The speed of SMS means you are constantly kept in the loop. Password reminders, security codes and verification requests can all be sent by SMS meaning your customer won’t need to wait around to access their accounts or set up new payees.
Travel and Leisure – quick and easy access to information on the go
Sometimes it’s far easier to find and access information through SMS than it is by email. Ticket confirmations, parking receipts and taxi alerts all allow you to quickly access your travel arrangements.
The uses of SMS don’t stop there – we’ve got plenty of example of how SMS marketing can help clients.