SMS Continues to be the Best Mobile Marketing Channel
With 102.4 per cent wireless penetration in the United States, More companies and organizations use SMS as a medium to reach out to existing and potential customers. Specifically, SMS is the most effective channel for marketers because of its simplicity, adoption (or) familiarity, and unbiased reach. Virtually all phones are SMS capable, which means the channel can reach 5 billion subscribers worldwide. The International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry (CTIA) reported U.S. annualized yearly text messaging at 2.12 trillion as long ago as June 2011, indicating a huge opportunity for marketers. And, according to Nielsen Mobile, the average consumer sends 600 messages per month compared to using less than 200 voice minutes.
What is astounding is that 31.6 per cent of U.S. households are wireless-only, suggesting that they rely solely on their mobile phones as opposed to the traditional landline. Ninety-five per cent of existing mobile contracts have SMS built into the agreement and more than 90 per cent of text messages are opened and read compared to less than 40 per cent of all email solicitations. Single Point found that 90 per cent of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery and that the recipient eventually reads more than 99 per cent of all text messages. The universal accessibility and usage of SMS, combined with the ability to provide information in real-time, creates opportunities. Brands and advertisers can use SMS to
• Reach customers who do not have a smartphone
• Reach consumers they have not engaged with recently (customer retention)
• Acquire customers who did not even know you existed
• Monetize interactions through incentivized offer paths
• Add another channel to the communication preferences list as more people prefer SMS as a contact mode
• Drive sales through coupons and deals
SMS can be used to complement other mobile channels such as Apps. Not only can it assist a consumer in locating an application, it can remind the user to use the app and inform the consumer of updates. When appropriately implemented, SMS reminds customers about what is most important to them – no matter where they are or what they are doing. Companies need to integrate SMS into every aspect of their mobile efforts. For example, SMS can be integrated into applications and mobile Web sites to maintain consumer-brand engagement, help drive them towards richer media experiences, or provide alternative methods to communicate. Text messaging can be used as push mechanism; therefore it can stimulate action and interaction instead of always leaving it up to the consumer to initiate communication. In addition, SMS provides valuable insight on customers, prospects, and the effectiveness of traditional advertising spends – all while generating a mobile database for future remarketing. Adding SMS to the mix solves that problem. Additionally, adding an SMS component to existing marketing and advertising extends the reach exponentially to subscribers with device limitations – such as the capability to download an App. Furthermore, applications use data that can get expensive without a data plan. The universal accessibility and usage of SMS, combined with the ability to provide information in real-time, creates opportunities. Mobile transaction network consumer research revealed almost 90 per cent of consumers prefer multichannel options for interacting with businesses, with SMS topping the list. Additionally, SMS is a highly effective way to complement and enhance a tri-messaging approach.
Companies, especially in the retail space, can use SMS initiatives for list growth. SMS is also a great way to get people in the door in a nonthreatening manner with voting or a sweepstakes. Loyalty campaigns, SMS alerts for new products on sale and sneak-peak offers make customers feel engaged and want to come back to retail outlets or continue buying products from the same brand. In-store or out-of-home signage with an SMS keyword and short code is an ideal approach to have consumers opt-in to receive messaging. Using a unique keyword for each call-to-action can help with tracking so that retailers can look at the best markets and judge results based on region or location relative to the call-to-action. Mobile in general and SMS in particular are on brands’ radar, and use of the channel will only increase in the coming year.