Did you know that 70% of mobile searches trigger an action within the hour? At present, 50% of the world’s population owns a smartphone and there are 9 new mobile phone users added every single second. The facts really are astounding! They are perhaps the reason behind the growing popularity of SMS marketing. The millennial generation is addicted to their smartphones. So why not reach them where they are likely to see and respond immediately? Businesses who use SMS marketing have seen a good amount of increase in sales. There is a number of ways in which SMS can be used for promotion and communication of products, brands and services. Some SMS Marketing examples include:
Advanced channels of communication have bridged the gap between consumers and businesses. Information is now readily available to customers and they have become more involved as well as influential in the buying process. Before, marketing was only a one-way form of communication where marketers advertised their products to customers. However, platforms such as SMS allow customers to provide their feedback as well and interact with companies. New industries are being introduced rapidly to cater to unique consumer groups. There is a business for everything now! It is 2-way communication and the growing consumer demand that has led to this diversification in industries. Thus, the increasing popularity of SMS owes to the need for 2-way communication between consumers and businesses.
SMS Marketing proves to be of much greater benefit than just communication. Surveys and polling also fall under the category of text message marketing. They can be used to improve a marketing campaign by gaining feedback from customers. This channel of communication now takes into account the insight provided by customers. A company can send out a text message asking customers to fill a questionnaire with a hyperlink of the online form through which the company can collect responses. The form can ask questions such as ‘Are you satisfied with our services?’ and ‘Which products do you like/dislike?’ which can then be used to make changes to the company’s departments accordingly. However, one issue with this may be that consumers are not willing to take out the time to fill a whole form. In that case, a company can simply ask the customers via text e.g. ‘Are you satisfied with our services? Reply with Y for yes and N for no.’ A lot more consumers would be willing to text back a single letter as feedback, especially those who are regular customers or those who cannot take out the time to fill in an entire form. The company can then asses how many customers are dissatisfied with their services. If the number is too high, they can conduct deeper research into the problem by contacting each individual customer to find out why they are dissatisfied. Thus, by realising and working on the problem, it can easily be overcome.
The edge that SMS has over other means of marketing is that it is personal and intimate. Small businesses and entrepreneurs use such platforms to communicate with their customers directly. An example of this is online bakeries. Talented chefs usually start their businesses with the help of social media and communicate with their clients via text messaging apps such as SMS. Suppose a customer orders a customised birthday cake. A platform like SMS allows them to express and convey their preferences to the baker and order a product according to their taste and liking. If satisfied, they can send in feedback and boost the rating of the small business as well. SMS plays a major role in helping small businesses survive in today’s market. Companies and entrepreneurs can easily sign up with online SMS platforms such as ExpressText which offer affordable SMS marketing. It is budget friendly and a simple solution to marketing. ExpressText also allows companies to monitor their SMS campaigns and provides multiple features that enhance the value of the marketing campaign.
Ever got tired of trying to get a reservation at a busy restaurant? We’ve all been through it. The countless calls, hours of wasted time and yet a busy server till the end of the night. Luckily, SMS is a perfect solution to that. If customers could just text their preferred reservation time to the restaurant and have a representative get back to them, it would make everyone’s life much easier. It’s hassle free, cost effective and efficient for both parties. For restaurants that require pre-booking via payments, customers can simply use a link within the text message to make payments online or via apps such as PayPal, once their reservation is confirmed. Similarly, most clinics and Out Patient Departments at hospitals have an appointment only policy and many times, it becomes difficult for patients to book an appointment. With a number of channels that allow for appointment bookings, the whole process becomes smoother as phone lines are not tied up. Customers can use the hospital/clinic website to check available timings and book a free slot which suits them. It is best that they receive a confirmation via SMS, as the channel of communication is fast and it puts the customer at ease. Moreover, if the whole process is automated, it proves to be extremely beneficial for a business. Not only does it reduce the chances of error but it also saves the cost of hiring manual labour to do the job.
Consumers’ daily lives have become so busy that businesses need to put in the extra effort in order to retain them. Suppose, if a customer books an appointment with a business a week before the given time. He/she is likely to forget about it when the time comes. This not only leads to the loss of one client, but it also damages the business’s profit because it loses other clients that could potentially have booked an appointment at the same time slot. An effective way to minimise the occurrence of this possibility is to send out reminders either a day before or on the day of the appointment. Whether it is a law agency, a clinic or a designer brand – reminders can come in handy for any of these businesses. They also greatly help to improve customer loyalty and customer retention. Businesses showing effort in any way makes customers feel valued.
ATM theft is an international issue faced by individuals. Likewise, cash can easily be misplaced and unfortunately, it is untrackable. Perhaps these are the reasons why the world is moving towards mobile payments. They are easy, secure and fast. With one tap on your smartphone, money can be transferred from one place to another. Customers can use QR codes at restaurants, wallet apps to book movie tickets and make online payments through credit cards while online shopping. Verification of payment via SMS makes the process even more secure. Customers can subscribe to the feature of SMS updates through their bank. This way, whenever a payment goes through they receive a text message confirming the payment, usually listing the amount of payment made and the remaining balance in their account.
Promotional messages are the true essence of SMS marketing. The whole idea of SMS campaigns was introduced so that businesses could promote their brand and products to customers. At present, it is the most effective medium of marketing. One business owner reported an increase of 98% in sales! Pretty impressive, right? So basically it is the best medium to send out promotional offers – whether it is sales, product endorsement, new additions to the product portfolio or any other purpose. It can also be used for customer retention i.e. by sending out exclusive offers to loyal customers e.g. a free upgrade in WiFi speed for being a customer of the network for over 5 years. Special offers will also work only if sent at the right time. Timing can be crucial in determining whether an offer will be effective or not. An offer sent out too early or too late will either result in customers forgetting about it or not having enough time to avail the offer. The right timing depends upon the nature of a business, but due to the immediacy of text messages, they are usually sent out at the last minute. Another major factor that determines the effectiveness of SMS campaigns is the composition of a text. The language and words used within a text message can make all the difference. If you open your phone and see a text message saying, ‘Clearance sale. 20% off on selected items till next Tuesday’ vs. ‘20% off on all items! Grab your favourites before they run out!’, which are you likely to find more tempting? The latter, right? Such marketing tactics are what contribute to the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Another SMS Marketing example is urgent updates. This feature of SMS can be used within the marketing industry as well as outside it. Urgent updates via text message can be very useful. They can be used to communicate time-sensitive information within a company to employees, from business to customers(B2C), business to business (B2B marketing) and outside of the business industry. Suppose a company’s website crashes and it has heavy web traffic. It needs to inform its customers immediately or they will probably abandon the site and switch to another. If informed, customers are likely to understand the company better and revisit the website again later. Bridging the communication gap between a business and customers can greatly improve consumer loyalty. Moreover, suppose a service company is updating their software and their services are indisposed for the time being. Customers will most definitely appreciate being informed of the update instead of having to face the inconvenience of unresponsive servers. Communication via SMS is immediate so customers are likely to get the message within minutes. Companies can also use SMS to update their employees of unforeseen circumstances e.g. dangerously low inventory, a delay in the shipping of supplies etc. Similarly, a business can also communicate with its distributor or provider in case of any issue with an inventory.
Similar to updates, alerts can be used within and outside of the business industry. Government organisations use them to issue out warnings in cases of danger or caution. For example, they can be used to warn citizens of road blockages so that they may use alternate routes. Businesses, on the other hand, can use it to convey information within a moment’s notice. Suppose a high tech company faces a security breach. It can use SMS as a medium to immediately inform the concerned personnel quickly and privately. An efficient means of communication such as SMS can help significantly in getting the word out.
The above SMS marketing examples are an example of how the use of SMS goes beyond communicating. SMS takes on multiple roles which businesses can use to their advantage depending upon their requirement. As mentioned above, ExpressText and other platforms also allow for the use of various features such as hyperlinks, tracking responses, API, scheduled messages and many more that make marketing much easier. Thus, SMS marketing should be an essential part of every business’s marketing strategy.