Recent statistics from Ofcom reveal that voice calling is slowly declining and text messaging is now the communication method of choice amongst British mobile users. But how can marketers leverage the enormous opportunity presented by SMS?
Aside from voice, SMS has the greatest reach of all connectivity channels and is one of the most trusted mediums of communication. It can enable enterprises to reach out and engage with customers, knowing that they will almost certainly be delivered but also read once received.
It may be an obvious statement, but the more engaged a customer is with the message (whether this is the content itself, the channel through which it is delivered or the access it provides to another service or offering), the more likely it is to generate a positive reaction.
The advantages of SMS marketing
Consider how quick and simple it is to read a text message, compared to logging on to and reading an email or a Facebook app; an SMS is instant and targeted. Perhaps more importantly, it is actually quite easy for enterprises to implement as part of their overall mobile strategy as it can rely on existing infrastructure, with no significant upfront investment or costly development required. Furthermore, in addition to its ubiquity, other benefits of SMS are coming to the foreground, such as transactional capabilities, transparency and new measurement tools. This is perhaps why enterprises are increasingly adopting this medium.
For consumers, the ability to control whether they receive messages through opt-in processes makes the experience feel much more personal. Operators demand that users both opt-in and out of SMS marketing, meaning that people only receive the messages that they wish to receive.
There are several points enterprises need to consider when embarking on an SMS engagement route:
SMS is an integral part of all mobile customer engagement
SMS needs to work in tandem with mobile web and app content, and not be treated like an afterthought.
Think creatively about how to use SMS
Enterprises can harness SMS for commerce, promotions, appointment reminders, transaction updates and other value-added services. There are endless possibilities if you know your audience.
Measurement is more important than ever
Marketers and CRM specialists are asked every day to demonstrate the value of their campaigns and in this unstable economic climate more emphasis is being put on ROI. Enterprises now have the capability to see whether the message is read, redeemed or deleted.
The advent of tablets and smartphones means that we have come to expect information to be literally in-hand at all times. Ofcom’s findings and the results of our own messaging research demonstrate the importance of SMS for the majority of consumers. The humble text message is one of the only customer engagement channels left unexhausted, and approached intelligently could be the biggest winner of them all.
Steven van Zanen is senior vice president marketing & strategy at mobile messaging company, Acision.