What’s black and white and read all over? That would be texts. And yet SMS marketing has been relegated to fax-tier status despite the fact that there’s a 98% open rate and that 95% of texts are opened within three minutes. Texting has become one of the most fundamental forms of communication today. More than 80% of Americans choose to communicate through text and they check their phones an average of 85 times a day
Left to Our Own Devices
Consumers prefer texts as a form of communication with businesses; many marketers just haven’t understood their full potential. Instead, they’ve invested in other channels, including email, that lack the immediacy and positive impact as SMS branding.
That said, over 61% of businesses seem to have made the conscious decision not to use mobile marketing to connect with their audience for such time sensitive matters as e-commerce deals and new product lines. Although local businesses have the most to gain from taking advantage of this relatively inexpensive and simple communications tool, only 12% include SMS in their larger marketing strategy. SMS is an ideal way to offer coupons and discounts, incentives, launch loyalty programs, and promote the overall business.
Many consumers want to help local businesses as opposed to, say, Amazon. For example, they’re 21% more likely to opt in to SMS promotions from local businesses. Additionally, consumers redeem SMS-delivered coupons 10 times more than other types of coupons.
Start Me Up
Today’s consumers expect real-time one-on-one interactions with businesses as well as (wait for it) personalized experiences. In fact, an estimated 74% of consumers say they’re more likely to engage with a text if they know a real person will receive and respond to messages. And texting can achieve this more so than any other social mechanism by employing conversational marketing.
To start incorporating SMS marketing into your strategy, use a designated keyword and short code in your initial text for people to opt in (or not). This way you can ensure compliance. For example: “Text ‘Subscribe’ to 1234 to receive tasty offers and treats from Daily Bread.”
Next, follow these basic steps:
- Keep it short. Enough said.
- Keep it casual. Send no more than one to two messages per week during normal business hours.
- Keep it fun. Offer exclusive coupons/promotions/special offers.
- Keep it active. Include a CTA with vanity (not generic) link back to website.
If you’re still text-hesitant, consider these stats from a 2021 study conducted by software company Podium:
- Text messaging has a 200% higher response rate than either phone, email or Facebook.
- Consumers are twice as likely to prefer texting to any other communication.
- 40.5% of consumers are likely to switch to a different business that offers SMS.
- 75% of consumers are OK with receiving texts from brands.
There are a number of reasons why businesses have been historically slow to act, such as familiarity with older communications tools, like the tried-and-true biweekly or monthly email newsletter.
We Can’t Quit Email
Yes, email still matters, but as far as direct communication to consumers, it’s become increasingly eclipsed by SMS. Despite this trend, 81% of SMBs continue to use email marketing. That said, a marketing/advertising email newsletter shows an average open rate of 17.38% and a 2.6% click-through rate. These aren’t bad numbers until you compare the email click-through rate to text messages, which is 18%—almost 7x higher than email.
Again, there are advantages to email marketing. According to a study from Litmus, emails bring in an ROI of $36 for every dollar spent. But the fact remains that in terms of immediacy and interaction, SMS is more effective in reaching your consumers on a personal level.
From email to smart devices to SMS to social media, direct communication with your audience has never been easier—or more overwhelming. Should you try to cultivate a younger consumer base with TikTok or Instagram? Should you stick with your older audience through newsletters or LinkedIn? How do you successfully grow your audience without alienating your existing one?
These are all good questions, and considerations, depending on your business. SMS marketing, however, is immediate, interactive, and personalized, as well as a perfect tool to offer coupons, special deals and new products. It’s also inexpensive when compared to other media.
Consumers check their phone an average of 80+ times per day. It’s important to make sure your text is worth opening.