What Does the Future of SMS Marketing Hold for Businesses?
As marketers, we’re tasked with difficult challenges every day. Our job has one primary purpose — to drive new business for the companies that put their trust in our skills. SMS marketing is growing, and we can expect even more to happen over the next several years.
If you want to be an effective marketer, then you have to constantly stay on top of the latest developments and advancements. You need to know what’s happening across a wide variety of different marketing channels and technologies.
SMS marketing is well-known by many of the most successful companies for its astonishing reach, jaw-dropping engagement, and powerful conversion rates:
Marketing texts have amazing response rates around 45%. This is better than the 34.36% clickthrough rate of a first-place Google search result ranking.
SMS produces engagement rates six to eight times higher than retailers normally achieve via email marketing.
90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.
A well-planned SMS marketing campaign needs to be a part of your marketing plan if you want to stay ahead of your competitors.
SMS Marketing: What Does the Future Hold?
There is no marketing channel more primed for enhancements and future development than SMS marketing.
“Mobile first advertising” has been a buzzword for marketers and businesses for many years now. But the notion that marketing campaigns should be focused on mobile ads alone is behind the times.
Consumers are already spending more than five hours per day on their mobile phones. Their text messaging app is the most used app on their phones — with 97% of Americans using it at least once per day.
Leveraging SMS marketing will give your business new opportunities to reach out to your customers and motivate them to take action.
As text marketing grows, you can expect to see some changes.
1. SMS Marketing Will Get More Personalized
Since the first text message was sent more than 25 years ago, text messaging has remained one of the most used features on mobile phones. 92% of people own a mobile device that is capable of receiving a text message. In fact, more people own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush!
Text messages are an easy way to connect with customers in a personal way. You can broadcast out a message and have it directly in their hands and read within minutes.
Like most marketing channels, SMS works better when it’s personalized. We already have the ability to do easy personalizations, such as including their name in the message.
We also have the technology to trigger an SMS message based on events like:
Prompting them in-store to send a message and receive a coupon in return.
A customer completing a purchase online or in our stores.
A customer redeeming a coupon.
SMS technology can even trigger messages individually based on when the customers are most receptive.
As we move into the future, we’re going to see even more options for personalization.
AI will be better able to review a contact’s past interactions and build more personalized campaigns.
More integrations with other marketing channels will broaden the scope of the data that we have access to when building campaigns.
2. SMS as a Support Channel Will Get More Intuitive
Customers will always come first. They are the lifeblood of any successful business. Marketers can use the technology that businesses are already investing in for their marketing to help build their support channels.
Better customer support means:
Higher retention rates
Higher customer loyalty
Live chatbots are already being used across many more websites to help customers navigate the site, answer basic questions, and suggest products.
As we move into the future, we’re going to see SMS take on a similar role.
Imagine this scenario:
You’re in a shoe store and you find the perfect shoe, but you don’t see one in your size on the shelf. Normally, you’d track down an associate and ask them to look in the back and see if they have one. You would stand and wait patiently as they check.
Now look at what SMS messaging could bring to the table:
Instead of having to track down an associate, you see a sign on the shelf that says “Don’t see your size? Text “SIZE” to 858585 to see if we have it in the back.”
You pull out your phone, send the message over, and a messaging bot replies back.
As artificial intelligence gets smarter and more integrations are built between SMS and other business systems, we’re going to see this type of scenario become a reality.
In the future, SMS bots will be able to help customers with an increasing variety of tasks. From booking appointments to answering questions.
3. SMS Marketing Will Be Used By More Businesses
Digital advertising is more expensive than ever before. The industry is saturated and is no longer producing the powerful results that you expect.
Marketers are turning to SMS because it is generating powerful and repeatable results. We can expect more and more businesses to begin incorporating SMS strategies into their marketing plans in the future.
There is a wide array of uses for text message marketing:
Sales Promotions: Text messages are typically read within minutes of receipt. This makes SMS marketing the channel of choice for time-sensitive promotions. SMS coupons also have higher redemption rates than other channels.
Taking Orders: Companies like Domino’s are already using SMS texting to allow customers to place an order by simply sending a text message to the restaurant.
Providing Coupons to Customers: Having customers fill out a form to receive a coupon can be complicated if they are in-store and potentially have patchy internet service. Instead, they can shoot over a quick text message and receive a reply that includes the coupon code in minutes.
Virtual Gifts: KangoGift is a virtual gift card that is sent through text message and allows the recipient to collect a real gift in the store.
Product Launches: You can quickly let customers know when you launch a new product or service.
Product Verification / Password Confirmation: CheckMobi APIs can be used to integrate a mobile phone number verification using SMS, Voice Call, and Missed Call on iOS, Android, and Online. If you’ve used apps like WhatsApp or Tinder, you’ve already encountered this verification process.
Appointment Booking and Reminders: SMS messages can be used by consumers to book their appointments. It can also be used to send automated reminders via text message before their appointment.
Alerts: If your business relies on being able to quickly notify a group of people - like a school communicating with parents during an emergency - then SMS can be powerful.
Customer Support: SMS messaging can streamline customer support without requiring customers to install any special applications.
Surveys: Text messaging can be used to collect responses from customers via surveys. The software can ask questions conversationally and collect answers.
Recruitment: 90% of recruitment agencies using SMS have claimed that it has helped their business grow. They can collect applications and communicate with respondents easily via text message.
Goods Tracking: FedEx and UPS are already giving customers the option to receive notifications about package delivery status via SMS. They only know the status of the shipment after a packing label has been generated. Companies can integrate SMS into their business processes and software to let customers know what’s going on with their package before it ships.
Arrivals & Check-Ins: Instead of waiting in line to speak to a person and check-in, customers can simply send a text message to let you know that they’ve arrived.
These are just a few of the many use cases that businesses are already implementing via SMS messaging. As more companies realize the benefits for customer experience and time savings, we will definitely see more companies jumping on the texting bandwagon.
4. Businesses Will Find More Innovative Uses for SMS
Marketers and businesses are always looking for ways to stand apart from the crowd. They want to be the latest and greatest in their industry and be a champion for their customers.
When it comes to SMS marketing, we can expect to see them continue to find new and innovative ways to communicate with customers through texts.
We’ve already seen some pretty amazing things:
Sweden used SMS to thank blood donors for their donation. Plus, they sent them a message when the blood was used to save someone’s life. When donation numbers were at an all-time low, this strategy helped to drastically increase their donors.
UNICEF Australia was one of the charities to implement donations via SMS. They partnered with Telco Together Foundation to allow users to simply text “SAVE” to a short code to donate $5 to UNICEF.
High schools are using SMS to communicate with parents during emergency situations.
McDonald’s in Italy ran a Merry Xmas campaign where you could text Santa to get gifts. They printed unique codes on cups for consumers to send in with one text message while they were in the restaurant. Prizes varied widely and included things like personal phone calls from Santa, sending postcards to friends, and even prepaid cards with 20,000 euros. Within 5 weeks, they had 1.5 million participants!
It will be interesting to see what other innovative SMS campaigns will be launched as more and more businesses start realizing the benefits of text message marketing.
5. SMS Software Platforms & Marketers Will Adapt
When an industry shifts, we can expect to see the people attached to it shift as well.
As SMS marketing grows and businesses are demanding better integrations with their existing business software and processes, software vendors that enable SMS marketing will continue to expand their offerings.
Companies like ours will be striving to stay ahead of the game and provide those deep insights and integrations for our customers. We’ll be looking at what’s trending and listening to our customers to make sure that we’re offering the top technologies to meet their needs.
You can expect to see things like:
Deeper integrations with CMS and Marketing Automation platforms.
Greater ability to personalize campaigns based on the additional data that comes from these platforms.
Smarter response bots that can help automate interactions with your customers through texting.
It’s also likely that you’ll see marketing managers and marketing agencies building more strategies that incorporate SMS marketing into their mix.
They will be looking to leverage this powerful and effective marketing channel to drive bigger results for their clients. Marketers will also be working on ways to more effectively integrate text marketing into a cohesive strategy alongside other channels like social media and email.
Why Businesses Need to Use SMS Marketing Right Now
You already know how important it is to stay ahead of your competitors. It’s critical that you constantly be looking at new ways to attract and engage your target audience, increase customer retention, and seek out referrals from past customers.
If you start incorporating SMS marketing into your strategy mix now, you’ll be ahead of the curve when more businesses are jumping on board. Other businesses will be busy learning the basic fundamentals of text message marketing and your business will be primed to take on the all-new advancements that we talked about in this article.
At EZ Texting, we have helped over 210,000 businesses send over four billion messages. We know what it takes to build a successful campaign using SMS marketing.
It’s time to take your first step towards the future.
Download our free guide — the 9-Step Roadmap to Mastering Text Message Marketing. You will learn how to use one of the fastest-growing ways to connect with your customers. We’ll show you how to begin implementing big strategies for your brand.
Deep audience insights like preferences and purchase history will give SMS marketers even more options for sending hyper-targeted messaging.
Photo: Getty Images/Chainarong Prasertthai