New Study: 57% of individuals are willing to receive promotional text messages from a business if they receive a discount

Published on January 4, 2016

Marketing through television and radio broadcast messages is declining. Now, companies and organizations are developing strategies to reach individuals on their digital devices. It’s nothing new, but there is a marketing channel that many companies haven’t tried that effectively reaches individuals on their digital devices. This marketing channel is SMS.

90% of text messages are opened within 3 minutes of being received. Additionally, the number of adults in the US that have smartphones is increasing. As many as 64% of adults in the United States own a smartphone.

"By actively using text message marketing campaigns you can help grow your business or organization, though it seems most businesses have not adopted this opportunity."

With this in mind, we wanted to find out how people use their smartphones to communicate and their willingness to receive text messages from businesses.   We polled 1,000 individuals about their phone usage and discovered:

  • Texting is the preferred method of communicating with friends and family.
  • Texting usage is consistent each year.
  • Many individuals are willing to receive text messages from doctor’s offices, sports leagues, and churches.
  • Some individuals are willing to share their phone number with a business to receive promotional text messages.
  • Individuals are willing to share their phone number with businesses and receive promotional text messages if they receive a discount on their purchase.

How Do People Use Their Smartphones To Communicate With Friends & Family?

People are most likely to communicate with friends and family members via text messages. 55% of people said they are most likely to send a text message to reach their friends and family members, almost 20% more than those that are likely to call. Only 6.9% of respondents said they were most likely to send a message to friends and family via social media apps.

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Quote: I’d say I send hundreds of texts a day between talking to friends, family and coworkers.”– Cristina Trecata, Account Coordinator, 5W Public Relations

Takeaway: People are more likely to communicate with friends and family by sending a text despite the billions of users that have social media apps on their phones.

Text Usage Is Consistent Year to Year

With more options for communicating, we wanted to better understand if smartphone users were texting as often as they did a year ago.

We discovered that most individuals send and receive text messages at about the same rate that they did a year ago. Only 22% of individuals said they send fewer text messages than they did a year ago. A greater percentage of people—24.2%—said they text more often than they did a year ago. Overall, texting is marginally up.

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Quote: [Texting] is the main way to keep in touch with two important
coworkers about our schedules and emergencies.” – Chris Grant, Analytics Director, Enlighten Agency

Takeaway: Though there are increasingly more options for communicating, the majority of people send and receive about same amount of text messages as they did a year ago.

Individuals Are Happy To Receive Text Messages From Doctor’s, Sports Leagues, and Churches.

Our research also identified a person’s willingness to receive text messages from doctor’s offices, sports leagues, and churches. When asked if they were likely to share their phone number to receive text messages with these organizations, 45.3% of respondents stated that they were likely to share their phone number. 15.2% of respondents were very likely to do so.

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Quote: My Doctor confirms all of my appointments via text, and I can cancel via text”– Michael Bremmer, Telecomquotes

Women More Likely To Share Than Men

When segmenting respondents by gender, we identified that women are more likely to share their phone numbers to receive text messages with these organizations than men. 54.2% of women polled said they were likely to share their number to receive text message notifications. Of these, 18% were very likely to do so.

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Men, on the other hand, are not as likely to share their number to receive text messages. Only 40% of male respondents said they were likely to share their phone number to receive text messages. 12.4% were very likely to do so.

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Quote: If I’m attending an event that offers notifications, I subscribe.”– Stephanie Heacox, Founder and CEO, Shareagenarians

Takeaway: Both men and women are likely to share their phone number with businesses such as doctor’s offices, sports leagues and churches, but women tend to be more willing to share their numbers. More than half of women are likely to share their phone number to receive text messages from doctor’s offices, sports leagues, or churches.

Individuals Are Willing To Share Their Phone Number For A Discount

We also wanted to understand how likely individuals are to share their phone numbers with businesses to receive text messages about sales, coupons, or upcoming events. 13.8% of respondents said that they were likely to share their number to receive text messages from a business.

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While only a portion of individuals were willing to receive text messages from businesses, our research identified the impact a discount would have on their willingness to receive promotional text messages. We asked respondents to identify how large a discount on a $100 purchase would need to be to make them willing to share their phone number with a business.

57.2% of respondents were willing to share their phone number with a business if they receive a discount of 40% or less. 23.3% of respondents were willing to share their number to receive promotional text messages for a discount of less than 20%.

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18 – 24 year Olds Are More Willing To Share For A Discount

When reviewing different segments of respondents, we found that 18 – 24 year olds were significantly more likely to share their phone numbers than the average consumer. 72% of 18 – 24 year olds were willing to share their phone number with a business to receive promotional text messages for a discount of 40% or less. Of those, 25.5% were willing to share their number to receive promotional text messages for a discount of less than 20%.

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Quote: “text message notifications are useful from businesses as long as they’re substantial…”– Leeyen Rogers, VP of Marketing, JotForm.com

Takeaway: While consumers are less willing to receive promotional text messages from businesses, providing a discount to customers will increase their willingness to share their phone number in order to receive promotional text messages in the future.

Individuals Are Willing To Receive Text Messages

The results of the study show that text message usage remains high among smartphone owners despite additional communication options. Additionally, individuals are especially open to receiving notifications via text message from organizational and provider subsets such as doctor’s offices, sports leagues and churches. While they are less comfortable with the idea of receiving promotional text messages, many individuals are willing to do so for a discount between 0 and 40% off a $100 purchase.

In addition, women and individuals between the ages of 18 – 24 are most comfortable receiving text messages from organizations and businesses.

text messaging surveyHow a Business Can Build A Text Message Marketing List

The continued popularity of texting and the measurable group of individuals willing to receive text messages from businesses and organizations suggests that there is an opportunity for businesses to build their relationship with customers and potential customers through text message marketing.

Building a text marketing strategy and list can help businesses and organizations in many ways. For a much smaller budget than tradition mailers require, and a higher open rate than email, businesses and organizations can stay connected to their customers more frequently with the knowledge that their message is being seen. Text messaging provides a safe “arms length distance” interaction with customers that keeps them engaged with your organization and if done correctly can strengthen brand loyalty. Here are some tips on when and how to communicate with your opt in customers:

  • Inform customers of upcoming events, confirmations or appointments
  • Inform your clientele of upcoming schedule changes or urgent announcements
  • Engage in customer support if appropriate
  • Offer discounts to incentivize customers to return to retail stores and make purchases
  • Send regular reminders to customers
  • Engage with customers through text-to-win and text-to-vote contests
  • Ask your customers for permission to send promotional texts. A meaningful amount of people will share with no incentive.

By actively using text message marketing campaigns you can help grow your business or organization, though it seems most businesses have not adopted this opportunity. If you are on the fence, or have come up with excuses as to why SMS is not a viable marketing option for you, just think of these types of companies that utilize the platform every day. Uber uses SMS to communicate with customers on each driver’s arrival time, banks send account updates and balances via SMS, airlines text passengers regarding alerts, flight delays and gate changes, and large retailers send customers deep discount updates in real time.

As we see in this study, individuals are comfortable with receiving texts from businesses and organizations with the right messaging and incentives. Based on your strategy, text message marketing should enhance any overall marketing plan as an additional, engaging and more personal piece of the overall brand strategy. Like every good relationship, in marketing you give to get.