Sometimes marketing strategies step back into old technology to great success. Well, that’s exactly the case with SMS marketing. It’s hard to believe, but text messaging is more than 25 years old.
Compared to modern digital tools like social media or augmented reality, that feels ancient.
Still, it’s only more recently that marketers have turned to the text message to distribute their brand message. The results are impressive. As you plan your next campaign or technology purchase, you can’t ignore SMS marketing. Here’s why.
The Conversion Rates are Incredible
The easiest way to see the effectiveness of a text message is to compare it to an email. Most marketers are familiar with email open rates and click-thru-rate benchmarks. Emails typically have a 20% open rate, depending on the industry, and a 2-3% click-thru-rate.
On the other hand, texts have about a 98% open rate. That’s incredible, though it makes sense. We all know someone (or maybe it’s us) who has 1000 unread emails in their inbox. That’s not the case with text messages. Most of us read or open every text message we receive.
The click-thru-rate is equally impressive. Research shows that SMS has an average click-through rate of 19%, and text messages are read on average within 5 seconds.
Best of all, mass text messaging services provide detailed analytics for your text messaging campaigns. This enables you to test, optimize, an d improve your conversions much like you would an email campaign.
More Companies are Using SMS Marketing… But Not Too Many
If you could go back to the late 2000s and be one of the first brands on Instagram or Facebook, would you? What about on Yelp? Or Trip Advisor? Of course you would. Fortune favors the early. Those who jump on new (or in this old) technology can build a following and work out the nuances of each platform before it’s flooded with competitors.
SMS marketing is right in the sweet spot. Enough brands are using it so that regulation and proof of concept are figured out. Additionally, Salesforce’s State of Marketing report estimates that 20% of brands intend to use SMS marketing in the next year.
Yet at the same time, you probably don’t receive too much text message marketing on your phone. The space is empty enough that you’ll be able to stand out and capture an audience.
Texts Reach the Entire Customer Spectrum
In addition to an uncrowded marketing space and great conversion rates, SMS marketing has another benefit. Practically everyone has a cell phone that can receive texts. This separates it from every other marketing channel.
Instagram and Snapchat attract a young audience. Facebook may have a broader audience, but even then, not everyone uses it and many regard social media ads an intrusive. Even email is only available on smartphones. Text messages work on every device and allow you to reach a wider customer group.
The Pew Research Center has some interesting stats about cell phone ownership and usage that can help you plan your campaigns. 95% of Americans own a cell phone and 77% of them are smartphones. This is good to know as you decide whether to include links.
Pew also collected data on cell phone ownership and usage by age, gender, and income. For example, did you know that 95% of people with an income of over $75,000 own a smartphone as opposed to 75% for those with an income under $30,000. Only 40% of seniors own a smartphone.
Texts Tighten Up and Expand Your Brand Message
Texts are one of the shortest forms of messaging. Especially with the absence of a photo, you have to get your message across in just a few short words, sort of like a Google Ad. At first, this can be difficult, but it’s an exercise worth pursuing. If you learn to be persuasive in just a few words, then you’re on to something.
At the same time, SMS marketing can also expand the way you talk about your brand. Texts are naturally a lighthearted medium. Emojis, slang, acronyms – it’s all par for the course. What’s more, because the contacts on your SMS list have likely opted-in to receiving your messages, this gives you a little more flexibility to try new things.
Some successful text messaging campaigns do things like:
- Offer coupons and announce deals
- Nurture contacts with product announcements
- Run contests and polls
- Generate new reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
As you become more familiar with SMS marketing, you’ll find new creative ways to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more.
Text messages aren’t a thing of the past. They are the next big marketing channel. Texts reach a large number of people instantly without feeling obtrusive. As such, the opportunity is great, and your business can’t ignore SMS marketing.
If you adopt early and take advantage of powerful software solutions, you can develop a strong strategy that delights your customers and establishes a new way of communicating your brand message.