When it comes to finding the right digital communication tool for your business needs, there are a few factors you must consider:
Cost: How does the value do I get for what I have to spend?
Connection: Who am I able to reach and how am I doing it?
Comparison: How does this tool stand up to competition/alternative solutions?
Compatibility: How can this communication tool work alongside to enhance what we’re already doing?
The 7 Unique Features of SMS Marketing
Today, consumers are inundated with marketing material at almost every turn: on social media, in their email inboxes, banner ads and push notifications, on radio/TV, even when they’re streaming music! So, what makes SMS marketing different? What gives it the edge needed to reach oversaturated consumers and, most importantly, how does it measure up to the 4 C’s above?
1. SMS Is Permission-Based
Fundamentally, SMS marketing requires active user consent. That is, the people must opt in before you send them the first message. Implicitly, this means that the recipients of your marketing messages are people who are genuinely interested in hearing from you.
While consent is more of a legal safeguard, this added benefit generally means higher engagement rates, more clickthrough, and better open rates.
The opt-in model is also how trust is established between the business and the consumer. Because consumers agree to join and stay on the list, you can be sure that your customers see value in your messages.
2. Instant Delivery
Text messages are delivered to customers almost immediately, even in cellular coverage areas without internet connectivity.
Further, once a message is delivered, its recipients are far more likely to view the message. According to a survey by Frost & Sullivan, over 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes, compared to 22% for email, 29% for tweets, and 12% for Facebook posts. This discrepancy is likely because the text inbox is much less saturated with marketing messages.
3. Universal Inbox Access
Once you have someone’s cellphone number, you have virtually unfettered communication access with them. Your phone’s SMS inbox doesn’t have any spam filters to navigate through as there are on email programs and social networks. This feature lets you be sure that your message will reach its intended recipient on the first go around.
Furthermore, SMS is native to each and every mobile device (smartphone or not). This means no sign-ups or registrations are required for your customer to communicate with you. As long as they have some kind of mobile device, they can send and receive texts to/from your business.
4. High Open Rates
According to the same Frost & Sullivan study, 98% of text messages are ultimately opened. In this category, text messages trump emails, which have open rates ranging from 60% at best to 1% at worst. Simply put, your messages will be seen by everyone who knows how to use text messaging on their mobile device.
5. No Learning Curve
Because texting was originally built for mobile usage, users intuitively understand its benefits and limitations. In other words, there’s no learning curve or user interface problems with SMS marketing. In addition, the 160-character limit for all text messages ensures brevity that’s designed for users on the go. Because the messages are short, the user will be more likely to read it. (It is possible to send longer messages. More on that later.)
6. High Adoption Rates
According to the most recent Pew Research Center data available, over 90% of adults in the United States have cellphones, while only 64% of adults have smartphones. Virtually all cellphones have texting capability, so almost all adults can be reached by text. Many places in the United States still don’t have reliable or fast 3G service, but virtually everywhere has basic cell service. These factors combined mean that texts reach more adults than any other mobile or digital platform.
7. Trackable Outcomes
Unlike older, more traditional forms of marketing, SMS gives businesses a clearer view into the performance of their campaigns. Using coupon codes and link clicks, customer actions can be tracked during nearly every stage of a text campaign. With this data, businesses can track measures like response rate and return on investment.
For more on what makes text marketing successful, read our article on the Benefits of Texting.
How Text Marketing Measures Up To The Competition
It’s time to circle back to those 4 factors we opened with. These 4 elements are the most frequently asked about topics by businesses looking to get started with SMS marketing. Here’s the inside scoop that we share with curious parties who might be on the fence.
CostUnlike some marketing tools, texting is relatively inexpensive. For most text marketing providers, including us here at SimpleTexting, your pricing is based on volume. This means you pay for what you need on a sliding scale. This conservative, needs-based structure makes it a flexible tool accessible to all kind of businesses—from local nonprofits to Fortune 500s. With the cost of each text message amounting to mere cents, the potential ROI (depending on your industry) can be pretty remarkable.
ConnectionAs we’ve mentioned pretty frequently in this chapter, texting provides near-universal access to billions of people. Additionally, it’s gradually becoming many people’s preferred medium of communication. 78% of US consumers say receiving a text message is the fastest way to reach them for important service updates and purchases. And for the businesses who have already adopted SMS as part of their comms strategy, 91% of users who opted in to receive texts from a brand see those messages as “somewhat” or “very useful”.
ComparisonWithout rehashing too much of what we’ve already shared above, SMS outperforms email, cold calling, and in-app messaging by leaps and bounds. Specifically as it relates to open, response, and engagement rates.
CompatibilityTexting can be used alone, or together with your other channels such as email. At SimpleTexting, we’ve worked closely with the email marketing industry experts at Campaign Monitor to illuminate the benefits of the two practices used together. We also feature thousands of integrations made possible through Zapier that can actually automate your marketing efforts through multiple platforms.
So now you’re generally familiar with the fundamental characteristics that set text marketing apart. In the next section, we’ll take your education a step further and hammer out all the “need-to-know” industry terms, basic features of texting, and types of text marketing campaigns.
Up Next: Text Marketing Basics