With consumers shopping on their phones now more than ever, companies are transitioning from a focus on traditional email to diversifying with SMS marketing communication and seeing staggering results. During the COVID-19 pandemic, smartphone and texting usage skyrocketed. In response, many consumers completely shifted their shopping habits, turning to online platforms or their mobile phones for purchases. In the past few years, consumers have begun making substantially more mobile purchases, with shopping apps reaching 14.4 million downloads in the U.S. between March and April 2020.
Businesses can send text messages to prospects and customers to increase brand awareness, boost engagement, and generate sales. In addition to being one of the fastest, most direct channels to reach consumers, SMS marketing communication comes as the easiest and most natural way for people to communicate today. When considering whether to incorporate SMS into a brand strategy, Marketing leaders should be aware of the benefits of SMS and how it informs their consumer path to purchase.
Below are four ways text message communication is transforming communication strategy for consumer product brands and why your business should get ahead of this leading-edge marketing channel trend.
The Transformative Factors of SMS Marketing Communication
Higher Likelihood of Engagement
SMS engagement rates are much higher than email, as it takes 90 seconds to respond to an email on average. SMS marketing communication has a striking edge over email marketing in terms of open rate. Marketing-related text messages have an incredibly high open rate of about 99%, compared to the average email open rate, which is closer to 30%.
Not only do SMS marketing messages get opened by users more frequently, but they also have better response rates, too. Text messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook, presenting an opportunity for brands to better engage with their consumers through an effective SMS marketing strategy.
Additionally, the deliverability of text messages makes them the most effective way to instantly reach consumers. Email is a highly oversaturated marketing channel – and with roughly 50% of emails ending up in spam folders. With text messages, users receive notifications right away on their phones and are more likely to actually see the message. Although most text communications require opt-in, it is just as easy for consumers to opt-out. With that in mind, companies should consider the explicit purpose for leveraging SMS and how it fits in to their broader marketing communication strategy
Conversion rates for SMS marketing campaigns outperform all other digital marketing channels substantially and typically rank higher in performance metrics than email marketing campaigns. Consumers who receive SMS marketing messages are 40% more likely to convert than those who do not.
Text messaging is the easiest and quickest way for customers to respond and provide feedback to campaigns. Nearly 30% of customers will respond to SMS messages, and nearly 50% of respondents will make a purchase as a result. Text messaging subscribers are often among a brand’s most loyal consumers and are enthusiastic about using text messaging to receive valuable updates from their favorite brands.
Greater 1:1 – Personalization
Personalized text messaging has emerged as a way for consumers to connect 1-on-1 with brands. Consumers enjoy having offers and rewards sent directly to them via text message, saving time while also making them feel valued by the brands they love. What’s more is that around 75% of people said they prefer to receive promotions via text. Consumers readily opt in to receive personalized and exclusive text promotions based on their preferences, purchase history and other factors – deepening consumer loyalty over time.
SMS Marketing: Diversification of Touchpoints
SMS marketing is a highly effective tactic to incorporate into your marketing strategy to establish deeper connections with consumers. It’s important to keep messages short and creative, as well as recognize that text messages work best for time-based offers, special promotions, alerts, and reminders. The content in text communications should have clear CTAs that motivate consumers to take the next step in their journey.
The key to success with SMS is striking a balance in how frequently messages are shared. To win customers over, companies need to avoid over-communication. Similar to how an email gets crammed with spam mail, consumers will easily opt out if messages are too frequent or impersonal. Brands have been criticized for overwhelming consumers with too many messages or sending messages at inconvenient times. This makes it critical to establish a cadence that supplements your overall marketing strategy without overdoing it.
Where this Trend is Heading
SMS isn’t just limited to marketing campaigns – the potential for real-time support and personalized customer service is on the horizon. The instantaneous nature of text messaging is also appealing to consumers, and they’re excited about the possibility of handling all aspects of their order seamlessly on their mobile device.
Consumers seek the convenience of being able to communicate on their own time, rather than being put on hold over the phone or waiting for an email response. We may even see SMS become its own distribution channel, where users can ‘Reply-to-Buy’ when purchasing, similar to one-click orders.
As businesses, brands, and consumers transition toward a mobile-first world, there is a growing preference among consumers to connect with businesses in the same way they do with their social contacts, including family and friends. Text messaging is growing both more powerful and more relevant for brands, creating a convenient and seamless consumer experience.
Marketing leaders should consider how an investment in SMS can transform their marketing strategy, see higher consumer engagement and conversion rates, and maintain a competitive edge.
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Contributions by Julia Hoffman