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Despite most people in the world being practically attached to their smartphones, SMS marketing continues to prove to be an underutilized resource. As email inboxes become more flooded, and open rates decline, SMS is standing out as the consumer’s chosen form of communication.
A few statistics:
- 98%: the open rate of SMS
- 65%: the amount of purchases made as a result of a relevant SMS message
- 65%: the amount of consumers that think more businesses should use SMS
- There are 6.8 billion people on the planet and 5.1 of them own a cell phone
- 68% of smartphone users check their phones once an hour
One common misconception about SMS marketing is that it’s only useful for small business. In fact, many large businesses are realizing the power of the text message to engage their customers. Here are some of the ways they’re doing this:
- remind customers to make payments or attend appointments
- offer unique loyalty opportunities
- alert customers when a product they are interested in becomes available
- communicate fraud alerts
- reminding customers to use coupons or rewards
Here are the 8 most common misconceptions about SMS marketing:
- It’s not trackable
- It’s not engaging
- It’s Too time consuming
- It’s invasive
- It lacks the ability to segment and personalize
- It’s difficult to integrate with other channels
- It’s just for retail
- It’s only for small businesses
It’s not trackable
In the era of payback, ROI and measurability, trackability is everything, but too many marketers continue to believe that SMS marketing offers no metrics on which to base success or failure. This may have been true in the past but it’s not today. Most SMS marketing service providers have the ability to intelligently track the success of your campaigns and should, at the very least, be able to gauge campaigns based on five key metrics:
- Response rates – how many texts elicited a response of a text or code
- Offers used – when a customer takes advantage of an offer or coupon
- Call tracking – the number of customers who called a number for more information
- Click tracking – clicks through to a website from a URL-shortening link such as bit.ly
- Text marketing short-codes and keywords, which can be used as a call-to-action and a tracking method for all forms of campaign activity
It’s not engaging
Another common fallacy. Of course SMS is engaging, it’s engaging because consumers have opted-in to receive the messages. They have made a conscious decision to give brands their personal mobile details which offers the opportunity to market directly to a captive, and loyal, target audience that is already ‘warmed-up’.
What’s more, advancements in SMS functionality means it’s even easier for your customers to engage in two-way mobile communications that include branded pictures, videos, and audio with HTML 5 pages embedded via a URL within the body of the SMS message. And how does this fit into the customer life cycle? Well, however best suits you. It is easy to add mobile tickets, alerts and coupons to transnational messages, or even follow up with surveys to glean valuable customer intelligence.
It’s too time consuming
Now, we really do need to spear this one. In today’s busy lives people want short, sharp and to-the-point messages. Nobody has the time, patience or attention span to read long novels of communication. However, a short text message comes in the perfectly compact format that customers are familiar with and prefer. Modern SMS campaigns, particularly those using a cloud-based platform, can be set-up quickly. SMS marketing can be integrated into nearly all software platforms, including marketing automation, CRM and EPoS, which means that getting an SMS campaign up and running is extra quick and easy.
In terms of designing the campaign, marketers just need to switch on their laptops. It is easy to design, edit, schedule and create optimized landing pages in minutes. Mobile forms can also be easily created which collect information and build the database. With only 160 characters to work with (although it is possible to increase this number using multi-part, concatenated messages) it almost always takes longer to decide the message than it does to set up the software.
SMS marketing is not invasive, at least not if it’s used responsibly. It’s important that you partner with a supplier that lives and breathers best practice, avoiding any violation of your customers’ right to privacy.
Most importantly it is vital that you gain permission from the people you plan to engage by employing a clear, unambiguous opt-in procedure, because gaining permission saves time and money. It is a method of qualifying your leads or customers. Each message costs money so this method of qualifying leads ensures that the consumer wants to receive messages, and avoids any wast of budget.
What’s more, sending unsolicited messages creates a negative impression of your business prompting subscribers to avoid the service and file complaints on more public channels, such as social media and forms, which will negatively impact brand reputation.
It lacks the ability to segment and personalize
SMS marketing is often unfairly labelled as mass marketing. This label is entirely false. With the right platform, marketers have the opportunity to highly segment their messages to a handful of customers, or send thousands of SMS messages to an entire list.
Without segmentation you risk intrusion, but it is only available when the CRM database is tightly integrated into the SMS platform. Once this has been achieved, it is possible to extract predictive, behavioral and factual information on each number, which can then be used to profile, predict, and analyze consumer behaviors, in order to deliver targeted and personal messaging campaigns to your customers – ultimately driving them to mobile sites via trackable in-message URLs.
At the very least, we would recommend segmentation by product-lines purchased, demographics, sales history and VIP clients, who can be targeted with an exclusive loyalty program. But, the potential for segmentation is enormous, with everything from geography through psych0graphics, in other words, activities and interests.
Target marketing… recognizes the diversity of customers and does not try to please all of them with the same offering. The first step in target marketing is to identify different market segments and their needs.
It’s difficult to integrate with other channels
A misconception that is fundamentally wrong.
Application Program Interfaces (APIs) have the ability to seamlessly connect SMS with other channels and databases, allowing marketers to deliver multi-channel campaigns. The ability to deliver mobile messages, mobile vouchers and tickets, and combine online landing pages and mobile payments, all opens up a world of on-the-go opportunities for creative marketers to sell their products.
With the massive uptake of PayPal and the rising trend towards mobile payments, M-Commerce and mobile tickets, mobile messaging gives you the unique ability to target your customers in a highly effective, responsive and cost effective method to encourage impulse purchases, cross-sell purchases, and drive loyalty incentive take-up.
Mobile surveys are easy to build and have much higher response rates than other mediums. Send them by text and you get the opportunity to thank your customers for their feedback whilst gaining repeat bookings by replying with exclusive offers. Integrated into your existing systems, collecting customer satisfaction feedback has never been easier.
It’s just for retail
Well it’s certainly true that retail has been at the forefront of SMS marketing, but that does not mean it is solely a retail channel.
If you’re a doctor, dentist, lawyer, consultant, or anyone who makes appointments (and relies upon people showing up to those appointments) text message reminders are an excellent way to increase your appointment conversion rates
Recent research suggests that the financial, utilities, logistics, and food and drink sectors, are all embracing SMS marketing as a way of acquiring, engaging and converting customers.
In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say that the financial sector is almost prolific in it’s use of SMS, with three quarters of customers having received some sort of SMS contact, in regards to service reminders, ID and order confirmation. What’s more, consumers appear to understand that there are no data security implications, with 78% declaring that their financial institution cares about the security of their information of confirming PIN numbers and passwords, according to research.
With online retail going from strength to strength, the logistics sector has also been quick to utilize SMS. Customers, unwilling to wait around the house all day for deliveries, can receive text messages giving them a precise time. In fact, according to Loudhouse SAP research, 83% of logistics customers say that the use of SMS makes them feel as if “they care about my delivery.”
Similarly, in the transport sector, be it train, plane or bus, SMS has the ability to get a customer’s attention and relay vital information, from a change in flight times to delays for a bus, which can keep customers informed and, more importantly, happy.
Surveys are another way for companies to interact with their customers. Using intelligent interactive SMS software, customers can be surveyed around their intentions, attitudes, and overall satisfaction at key times during the year.
It’s only for small business
SMS marketing is for all business not just small business. Certainly, small business has been quick on the uptake, but bigger businesses and organizations have followed suit and are leveraging the power of SMS marketing.
Our own experience is that, over the past year, some of the world’s largest companies have been won over by the potential for SMS in their own sectors for reliable, secure and interactive two-way global messaging.
Why is that? Because businesses want to leverage SMS to optimize business operations and enhance relationships with customers and employees worldwide.
Purchase tracking, alerts and notifications, as well as monetary transactions via SMS, are all high value and important aspects of a service or overall brand.
The key lies in SMS’s ability to add value to the customer engagement process ushering them towards a new transaction.
All the evidence suggests that even the simplest of messages which remind, protect and advise customers, can have enormous benefits.
Are you ready to find out how SMS can benefit your business? Contact us for a free consultation!