14 Proven Benefits of SMS Marketing
22nd September 2017
There’s no doubt that mobile marketing is becoming more important than ever. I can prove it to you without even using statistics or numbers, just with a simple question:
Do you remember the last time you didn’t check your phone all day? Because I don’t.
In fact, you probably use your phone way more than you think. Research discovered that the average person checks their phone around 85 times a day. And we’re talking here about 64% of the world’s population as that’s how many people own a mobile device.
The truth is that we’re increasingly connected to the world of digital information while “on the go” via our mobile devices. And this trend is only bound to grow.
So, to keep up with consumers’ needs we need to adapt our marketing game and include mobile in our digital strategy. Mobile marketing covers SMS & Rich SMS, push notifications, mobile apps, emails and websites.
All these methods are equally important, however, SMS marketing is often left out by many companies. This means they are missing out on huge opportunities.
For this reason, I’ve compiled the ultimate list of all the benefits of SMS marketing. Let’s have a look:
1) SMS marketing has a sensational open rate
SMS marketing is way ahead of the competition when it comes to open rate.
The average open rate for text messages is 98%, compared to only 24.79% for emails.
The statistics for social media look completely hopeless since you can expect your message to reach only about 2-3% of your audience.
I bet you’re not surprised by the statistics.
We receive so many emails and are swamped by so many social media notifications on a daily basis that we’ve developed a form of ad blindness. We simply ignore them.
However, we’re used to mainly receive text messages from our close friends and family. This makes SMS a more personal platform. Let’s be honest, it bothers us when we have even a single unread text message notification on our phones.
Besides, even if someone hasn’t opened your SMS, that doesn’t mean they haven’t read it. Normally, all phones provide a preview in form of a snippet. This means that your messages can still reach your audience even if they don’t open them.
In contrast, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone. So, if your subject line is not enticing enough, chances are your email is not going to be read.
2) SMS marketing still has little competition
Did you know that in an entire day the average consumer is exposed to around 3500 marketing messages?
Marketing clutter is becoming a major problem for marketers and advertisers.
Consumers are overwhelmed with marketing content, making it difficult for brands to get noticed.
So, what’s one of the best ways to break through the clutter and reach your target audience?
Quite simply to find an underutilised channel or platform. Don’t forget to make sure that your target audience is also there and likes to consume information that way.
SMS marketing, despite its effectiveness, remains largely underused. Research showed that only 21% of brands leverage SMS to communicate with customers.
Therefore, this platform is not saturated yet and presents a huge opportunity you should take advantage of.
If you’re unsure about whether receiving SMS promotions is something your customers would be interested in, the best thing to do is simply ask the question. You might be surprised by the results.
3) SMS helps increase customer engagement levels
There’s a misconception that SMS messages can only be used for reminders or to send vouchers and discount codes when you can do so much more.
A timely SMS message can do a great job in engaging customers in ways which email or social can’t achieve. Here’s a great example from the NHS:
Here’s a great example from the NHS SMS
What makes these text messages so great is that they are very timely, personal and relevant. They also make you feel more secure as you’d know what to expect and you feel in control of the situation.
At the end of the day, who wouldn’t want to receive SMS to support such an important event in their life?
You can even take engagement rates to the next level using Rich SMS.
Providing customers with rich media content such as games, scratch cards and personalised selections will naturally make an impact. Rich SMS can help you increase not only engagement levels but also brand awareness and word of mouth referrals.
No wonder Rich SMS has a pretty impressive click-through rate (CTR) of 36%. That’s pretty amazing, especially compared to email marketing, which has an average CTR of 4.19%.
4) SMS is more reliable
Don’t you just hate it when you’ve spent hours crafting the perfect email and then it goes straight to spam?
Even if you’ve followed all the best practices to dodge the spam folder you can never ensure 100% deliverability.
It’s even harder when it comes to B2B communication. Bigger companies and enterprises usually have granular email gateways with extended security.
Recent research reported that spam messages account for 57% of all email traffic worldwide. You can imagine that spam filters are working even harder to ensure that email users receive safe, solicited content.
While mobile providers also process text messages for spam, if your text doesn’t look spammy it is much more likely to make it to the inbox. This makes SMS a more reliable channel to communicate with customers.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your SMS will reach the intended destination:
- Don’t use alphanumeric sender IDs as many mobile network operators around the world filter them out.
- Many operators scan the traffic coming in and search for keywords which might indicate spam so it’s best to avoid sensitive words
- Don’t overuse capital letters and exclamation marks
- Operators also attempt to block repeated messages so try to randomise your content
5) SMS provides greater reach
On a global scale, more people own a mobile device than they are connected to the Internet.
Of course, this information is not location-specific and numbers tend to fluctuate in different parts of the world.
Regardless, SMS can help you reach customers who don’t have an Internet connection and with whom you wouldn’t be able to interact otherwise.
And I don’t only refer to the poorly connected parts of the world but also to the most connected areas such as the USA. It all depends on your target market.
For example, if your target audience is seniors, you have better chances of reaching them via mobile phones. Research among US seniors shows that people aged 65+ are more likely to have a mobile device than an Internet connection.
However, many of them also use the Internet so you shouldn’t exclude other digital channels. Most importantly, you need to do your own research whether it’d be best to only focus on one channel or on multiple channels.
6) SMS provides a more personalised experience
Why go to such lengths as to personalise your campaigns?
Well quite simply, because it works, it provides a better user experience and customers expect it from you. Bulk messages just don’t cut it anymore for a number of reasons.
To begin with, every customer is on their own unique journey. Every individual has different motivations to try, buy or stay loyal. So they expect you to meet them where they’re at on their journey.
Secondly, nobody likes to feel like just another number on your marketing list.
Statistics and case studies show the same findings – customers want to feel important and seek personalised experiences.
It’s safe to say that personalisation is becoming increasingly important and it’s the future of marketing. So as marketers we need to better leverage the customer data available and find new ways to deliver more personalised experiences.
Rich SMS helps deliver personalised experiences based on your users’ interests and preferences. It enables you to segment your audiences based on past behaviour and send them tailored offers. Or even better, you can engage them in the selection process and, based on their choice, deliver a personalised content. Here’s an example:
As you can see, you can swipe left or right to indicate what products you are looking to buy. After you’ve liked or disliked certain product categories you are offered a personal selection based on your choice.
7) SMS offers immediacy
SMS is one of the most immediate channels out there.
With a whopping open rate of 98% and with 90% of messages being read within 3 minutes, brands can be sure that their most critical messages will be read right away.
This enables brands to send time-sensitive messages such as last-minute deals, flash sales, event-related promotions, holiday greetings and so on.
For example, retail and other consumer goods brands can leverage SMS to increase sales on short or single day promotions such as Cyber Monday.
Additionally, restaurants can send deals out in the late afternoon or early evening when people are still deciding where to go out to eat. This gives you the possibility to provide ample time for users to take action, while still creating a certain amount of urgency.
The potential of SMS is limitless. Few other marketing mediums can boast such immediacy, making SMS an extremely valuable tool when it comes to instant communication.
8) SMS integrates with other channels
It’s important that your campaigns are integrated and that the different promotions methods are well coordinated and reinforce each other.
One of the best things about SMS marketing is that it is great as a standalone channel but also plays well with other channels.
Social and traditional media are not always the most effective channels to reach customers on time. You can integrate these channels with SMS to ensure that your message will reach customers who haven’t read your email and let them know about your offers.
Reportedly, a follow-up SMS message encouraging customers to check the latest email offer you sent can help increase email open rates by 20%–30%.
9) SMS marketing is easy to track and analyse
If you don’t know what’s working and what’s not, how can you adjust campaigns accordingly, let alone improve them?
You can’t. That’s why it’s essential to track and analyse how your marketing efforts are performing.
This also goes for SMS Marketing. Thankfully, SMS Marketing makes it easy to track and analyse your campaigns. It allows you to track deliverability rates, open rates, CTRs, among others.
Here are the most important metrics to measure to determine effectiveness:
- Redemption and click-through rates – it allows you to measure how many customers took advantage of your offer
- Opt-out/churn rate – there will always be people leaving your list. However, carefully tracking your opt-out rate can help you see if there’s an increase and determine the reason
- Response rates – if the message requires a response, you can measure its effectiveness by looking at how many people took the time to respond
- ROI – it’s always important to measure the return on investment on any marketing initiative. This will give you insights into which channels bring you the best results and you should invest more in
10) SMS has a great return on investment
As I’ve just mentioned, return on investment is one of the most important metrics to measure to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the bottom line.
When done right, SMS marketing has a generous ROI.
For example, the British motor racing circuit Silverstone sent a text message to 45,000 people in their database, inviting them to buy tickets for an upcoming Formula 1 race. Just this single message resulted in 680% ROI.
This success is due to two very important factors. Firstly, that the message was very timely and also that the offer inside the message was highly relevant to Silverstone’s audience.
As you can see, SMS marketing has a very strong potential when executed with careful planning and strategy in place. So to make the most of SMS marketing, it’s essential to ensure that your SMS marketing efforts are aligned with your overall marketing strategy and initiatives.
11) SMS messages are easy to share
We trust the people we know. It’s only natural. That’s why 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than they believe advertising.
Trust is what makes word of mouth marketing (WOMM) so effective and important to every marketing activity. If used well, WOMM is a great vehicle for exposure and distribution.
Having said that, the easiest way to earn someone’s trust is if a person close to them recommends the particular product or service.
As opposed to other channels such as radio, TV and at times even social media, SMS makes it easy for people to share your messages with friends and family. All they need to do is forward it to the desired person.
SMS also has another advantage when it comes to sharing – privacy. SMS is a more private way to exchange messages as opposed to social media where everybody can see what you shared with your friends.
12) Rich SMS allows you to send any type of content
While in the past many marketers were put off by the fact that SMS was quite restrictive as it was only text-based and very character limited, that’s not the case anymore. Rich SMS allows you to send virtually any type of content.
Rich SMS even enables you to send more types of content than most channels including email and social.
You name it: traditional SMS messages, games, scratch cards, surveys, newsletters, personalised offers and promotions, event-related messages, reminders, among others.
It allows you to add visual content to the SMS message and we all know that visuals are vital to online success. This is due to the fact the human brain understands visual information better: it processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it does text.
13) SMS can help you learn more about your users
One of the best ways to learn more about your users is through customer surveys. SMS-based surveys enjoy a high conversion, with 31 percent of consumers responding to such invitations, on average within five minutes.
This means that people are more likely to respond to your SMS than open your email. The high engagement and conversion rates of SMS make it the perfect medium to run short surveys and gain more customer insights.
Also, if you run your promotions on multiple channels, you can track which customers engage more on email or SMS. You can leverage this information later and communicate with them on their preferred channel.
14) SMS helps you improve user experience (UX)
As we conduct most of our daily tasks and interactions online, it has become critical to provide a seamless experience to users.
And users expect you to provide them with such experience. For example, 46% of people said that they wouldn’t purchase from a brand again if they had an interruptive mobile experience.
In contrast, nearly 9 in 10 smartphone owners who had a helpful and relevant mobile experience would purchase from that brand again. I believe this makes the case for UX.
As SMS provides an interactive and personalised experience, it also inevitably improves the user experience. In fact, the ultimate user experience starts with personalisation. Having said that, the more you know about your customers, the more likely you are to provide them with a better experience. So, SMS can help you improve user experience which will also have a positive impact on your bottom line.
The digital marketing landscape has changed more in the last decade than ever. The time we spend on mobile devices has led to one of the most important changes – a mobile-first world.
To keep up with consumers’ needs, we need to embrace it and make our strategies more mobile-focused.
One of the most effective ways of mobile communication is SMS marketing. The benefits SMS marketing can bring to businesses are substantial and include instant communication, better engagement and improved user experience, personalisation, greater reliability and generous ROI.
That’s why marketers shouldn’t overlook it and try to incorporate it into their existing marketing strategies.
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We hope this article has given you insight into 14 proven benefits of SMS marketing. If you are interested in working with a digital marketing agency to help you put in place a great SMS marketing strategy, contact us here.
To find out more about what rich SMS is, click here.