SMS marketing has been popular for the past few years, but like all tech-driven marketing strategies, it’s undergoing an evolution. If you want to upgrade your existing campaign, or if you’re interested in adopting an SMS-based strategy, you’ll need to learn about the latest trends and capitalize them.
How Mass Texting (SMS Marketing) Works
In case you aren’t familiar, SMS marketing is the process of using text messages (usually mass texts, or automated texts in response to various prompts) to inform, entertain, reward, or engage with an audience. For example, you could use it to let a group of employees or students know about an emergency, or use it to raise awareness of a new product or service.
There are several advantages to this medium:
- Direct engagement. Text messages allow you to communicate with a consumer directly; you’re no longer relying on ads that could be seen by any number of people. Phones are personal, individual communication channels, so they feel more direct to users.
- SMS texts also influence faster response times; it takes the average user 90 minutes to respond to an email, but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message. This is ideal if you’re using the text for something that warrants fast acknowledgment.
- Response support. Text messages also open the door to responses, which make them more engaging than a passive ad. Those responses can also be tied to other functions, such as making a donation or purchase or influencing some external action.
- Many modern apps can be tied to a text message platform. For example, you might have a central communication system that can notify employees automatically when there’s an important update for them to read.
- Data analysis. Texting your customers also gives you a wealth of data-based insights, including receipt times, open rates, and response rates. The more data you can collect, the better you can improve your approach.
The Biggest Trends For 2018
So how is the medium changing for 2018?
These are some of the most important trends to watch.
- Transparency. Increasingly, consumers prefer brands that offer complete transparency, with 73 percent of consumers willing to pay more if it means working with a company that offers more transparency. Companies that don’t disclose their true intentions, or how they use personal information, lose consumer trust (and therefore, patronage). Accordingly, more companies are working to help consumers understand how their SMS programs work—and offering more custom options for how they can be contacted.
- New types of content. Smartphones are capable of limitless functions, so companies are starting to think outside the box with how they can convey content to consumers. The old days of a simple promotional text message are over; new campaigns are introducing more images, links to in-app content, and interactive experiences.
- Integration with offscreen experiences. Along similar lines, more companies are pushing for their SMS efforts to integrate or coincide with offscreen experiences, such as live events, or even interactions with smart speakers. Making users more engaged with their environments and giving them more channels for engagement is always a good thing.
- Support. Because more than 80 percent of businesses believe that customers prefer SMS or text support over phone calls, companies are gravitating toward the use of SMS for customer service. Texting a number for technical support, or help with a question, is more convenient, and therefore is becoming a higher priority for consumers and businesses alike.
- Smarter analysis. Of course, as with all marketing strategies, SMS marketing is enjoying increased sophistication in data analysis and visualization. More user engagement data is available than ever before, and new platforms are emerging to give marketers more insights into those data—and what they say about their target demographics.
Competition in the SMS field is fierce, and it’s only going to get more powerful as more entrepreneurs and marketers realize the untapped potential here. It’s a good time to get involved, so long as you make the right investments, so work to stay up-to-date on the latest approaches, and as always, prioritize the relevance to your audience.
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