It used to be that text messages were a secondary form of communication and were only used when making a call was not an option. But now you can often see individuals standing outside one another’s residences and instead of ringing a bell or calling, they simply leave a text.
This is due to several reasons but mostly because as time has passed, we have become more sensitive to each other’s conditions. We worry whether or not calling someone would disturb them or perhaps interrupt an important task they were in the middle of. And because that is often the case, text messaging has caught on and will stay relevant for a long time.
Which is why most businesses have come to realize the importance of text messaging and have begun to capitalize on the idea. There are massive databases that are divided according to each individual’s likes and dislikes, their political affiliations, medical history, etc And with them, businesses are able to target a specific niche without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars as they used to in the past.
What Is SMS Messaging?
Before we go any further, it would be best if we first understand exactly what we are talking about.
SMS stands for ‘Short Message Service’ which means that any text message that is shorter than 160 characters and longer than 70 can be classified as an SMS message. The limit of 160 characters might differ depending on the type of character used, but that is the accepted limit for most carriers.
For more information about text messages and how they affect us as individuals and businesses, head on over to this blog.
Why Do Businesses Use Text Messages?
Previously, the most popular and efficient communication tool at any company’s disposal was email marketing. But a recent study has shown that where only 22% of the emails were opened by users, texts have increased that rate by an average of 345% with an open rate of 98%.
That is an unprecedented amount of open rates that almost guarantees to be read by your target audience.
Globally, about 33% more individuals have access to cell phones than toilets. From teenagers to the elderly, it is exceptionally rare to find someone without a mobile phone as even the poorest and the most deprived populace would have one, albeit a low-end one.
Because of the ease of sending and receiving SMS messages and the ability to reach even the most remote and rural areas, SMS has become the primary marketing tool for numerous SMB’s (Small to Medium Sized Businesses).
Let’s see how.
Text messaging is as simple as it gets.
Most people above the age of 40 that don’t work in a tech-related field won’t be able to use the majority of newer communication methods. But being able to read and respond to a simple SMS message is not a challenge to anyone since it doesn’t require installation of any third party software, any complicated authentication processes and the like.
Regardless of an individual’s age, experience or education, SMS messaging has the widest reach and the broadest and most varied audience of any communication platform.
Sending and receiving SMS messages doesn’t really cost the carriers anything.
Factors like the distance between the sender and the recipient or their actual physical location have absolutely no significance these days. Which is why SMS marketing is so popular especially among those businesses that are just starting out and do not have massive budgets to undertake extensive marketing campaigns.
SMS marketing gives such businesses an opportunity to reach out to a wide demographic at an affordable rate with such services like Mass text messages like the ones offered by Express Text, a leader in the industry.
Mass or Bulk messaging has helped numerous restaurants that are just starting out by advertising any new dishes, limited-time special events and deals or even announcing important news.
Because of the remarkably low prices, SMS marketing often helps new businesses take off and broaden their horizons by connecting them with customers that would normally be completely out of reach.
Unlike most other marketing strategies where once the contents of the campaign have been decided there is no going back without incurring significant loss, SMS marketing allows you to change the contents of the text message at a moment’s notice and add, remove or even entirely change the subject matter and its accompanying theme as the client sees fit.
This flexibility is a rare sight when it comes to marketing and one that is often overlooked. You don’t have to commit to a plan if it seems like the intended result is not being produced and just having the option at hand even if it’s not being utilized at every turn is what often gives businesses peace of mind.
What most people overlook is that text-based marketing is a two-way street.
Just as easily as a business can reach out to a potential customer, the customer can do the same with the push of a single button. This opens up a whole new avenue for businesses because most of the other marketing methods are one way.
There is usually no easy way to contact the intended recipient and ask how effective or ineffective their marketing efforts have been so far, but SMS marketing can directly connect the businesses and its customer and allow them to gather precious user feedback or even go as far as taking orders, all through text messages.
It is this versatility of this platform that is one of the main selling points.
High Retention Rate
For any business that is looking to make a name for itself in the long run, having return business is key whereas having high traffic of one time customers is not an achievement in any sense of the word. People come and go and if your business is forgotten within a few minutes, then it’s all but doomed to fail.
SMS marketing is one of the rare few platforms that are able to boost a retention rate of 99%. No other marketing platform can ever hope to match this high of a retention rate as it is shown by the example of Julep, an online beauty retailer that launched their mobile marketing campaign and gained 5000 new subscribers in the first 24 hours alone. This means that out every 100 people contacted, 99 of them chose to stay in contact after the initial offer was over.
ROI is probably the most important factor when considering any new strategy. So when you see a case study which boasts an incredible ROI of 680 percent, you can be certain that there is something they did right.
Silverstone is a British motor Racing circuit in the UK. They sent a single text message to around 45,000 people that were already in a database of car enthusiasts and in return received a return on investment of 680%.
That is an unbelievable number and one for the history books.
Quick Turn Around Times
Often times what businesses require is the ability to swiftly reach their customers at a moment’s notice. Whether it is a flash sale or something that’s been in the works for a while, the fact remains that SMS marketing cuts down on most of the red tape that is usually associated with such endeavors.
This takes a lot of pressure off the business and instead lets them focus on other, more important matters like what the content of the message should be.
High Conversion Rates
Probably the best way to measure the success of any marketing campaign is to take into account its conversion rates.
Here, conversion refers to any action that a business wants its customers to take. For example, in an SMS marketing campaign if you send out 200 messages and in return receive 50 responses to those messages, then you have achieved a conversion rate of 25%, given that getting a response back was your desired goal.
For most normal businesses a conversion rate of between 2.35% and 5.31% is considered successful. But a study was conducted some time ago which came to the conclusion that on average SMS marketing has a conversion rate of almost 14 percent!
That means that around 29 percent of all SMS recipients click on any links the message might contain and 47 percent of those will proceed to make an actual purchase. Such high conversion rates are usually only seen in the top 10% of an industry and are still a rare sight.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the benefits and statistics of text-based marketing, let’s take a look at what features the industry leaders offer.
SMS autoresponders or auto-replies are one of the most sought after features by many companies. It includes the ability to automatically respond to customers that send keywords or shortcodes. It is entirely up to each business how it chooses to respond, which can be through a simple emoji, an image or even more questions.
But it is all completely automated and requires no effort from the businesses side.
Make it so a text is sent to all related customers upon the completion of a certain task or when a milestone is reached. This can be done so to each individual contact on the list.
Receive all relevant data concerning your marketing efforts as well as all analytics including but not limited to graphs, geographical stats of all data. This allows you to better understand what your customers want and how they respond to each message individually.
As your businesses grow so does the number of contacts. So having the ability to save as many contacts as you could possible need is extremely important and cannot be glossed over just because you don’t think it’s possible in the near future.
The flexibility SMS marketing offers isn’t just in name. There are no contracts to tie you down to any specific plan and you should have complete freedom to adjust your marketing plan according to your business needs at the time.
It is of utmost importance that you do not partner with someone that makes light of compliance standards. Industry leaders like Express Text make sure to always stay 100 percent compliant with all cellular carriers and CTIA with in-house audit teams.
It is always nice to know how many people went through the trouble of clicking on any links that were included in the text message. This allows businesses to better focus their efforts on these individuals as they have more potential to become returning clients and in turn, increase brand loyalty.
Because of today’s strict laws that make it so some type of content not be made available to anyone below a certain age group, it is imperative that businesses take all necessary precautions possible to distance themselves from any lawsuits.
This also works out if you want to market to a specific age group.
This feature automatically saves a subscribers email address once they have joined the list. It’s a good way to grow email subscriber lists as well.
Marketing is what helps you connect your brand to the customer. To create brand loyalty, to create long-lasting relationships, to sell your products to the exact people that need them and more importantly, want them, marketing is the most important tool at any business entity’s disposal and one that should be used appropriately.
SMS marketing creates a personal channel between the business and its customers which makes it easier to retain clients for the long term and return business. And it does all that at an extremely affordable rate while almost guaranteeing a good return on what little initial investment that is required.
This along with the sky-high conversion rates and the flexibility to change the marketing plan whenever needed, there really is no way any business could go wrong with it.