SMS marketing is more effective than ever. Although marketers have utilized text messages since the 90s, the medium has exploded in popularity recently. SMS marketing grew nearly 200% between 2015 and 2017 and shows no signs of slowing down.
Similarly to Facebook retargeting, SMS messaging leverages real-time personalization to enhance the customer experience. It allows companies to reach a broad pool of customers with real-time messaging and alerts.
But if SMS has been around for decades, what’s behind this sudden spike in popularity?
There are a number of factors at play, such as advancements in use of technology and shifts in the ways consumers interact with advertisements.
In this article, we’ll look at 4 reasons why SMS has become such a valuable marketing tool to drive sales.
1. SMS Use is Increasing Exponentially
If you were born in the 90s or before, you probably remember “old school” SMS. Typing a message was a painstaking process that could take several minutes. “R U 4 Real?”
Thanks to smartphones with digital QWERTY keyboards, today’s SMS is simple, quick, and extremely popular. In June 2005, Americans sent approximately 7.25 billion text messages. In July of 2017, that number had increased to a whopping 781 billion messages.
As texting has become a more centralized means of communication, it naturally follows that marketers want to join in. By combining the versatility of SMS with highly personalized messaging, marketers can speak to the needs of their audience wherever they go.
2. SMS Has High Open Rates
One of the most common challenges among ecommerce marketers is ensuring that their content is seen. Compared to other forms of media, SMS offers almost unbelievably high open rates. While rates vary by campaigns, many SMS campaigns achieve open rates above 90% – with some reaching 98%.
Why is this the case for SMS and not email? Much of this phenomenon stems from the nature of the platform. Generally, a user receives a notification anytime they’re texted. This is rarely true for emails.
In addition, U.S. consumers receive an average of 88 emails per day – and only about 32 texts. This helps SMS marketing messages stand out in a crowded digital landscape.
3. SMS Creates Urgency
In addition to high open rates, SMS messages have another major advantage – they’re opened quickly. Text messages are often used for brief conversations about short-term matters. As a result, consumers typically open SMS marketing messages within seconds.
This immediacy creates a huge opportunity for marketers. Since they’re opened quickly, SMS marketing can communicate offers that need to be acted on quickly. Notifications about flash sales, limited time offers, and back-in-stock alerts are all excellent candidates. The expedited open times for SMS help ensure customers can see the offer in time to act.
4. SMS Complements Email Remarketing Strategies
Some marketers see SMS as a replacement for email remarketing. After all, with such great open rates and mobile optimization, some may wonder: why bother with email?
While this question seems to make sense, it’s fundamentally flawed. As powerful as SMS marketing can be, it has downsides.
The strict character limits of SMS marketing messages make them great for quick communication – but bad for detailed messages. Furthermore, the high open rates associated with SMS can become a double-edged sword. Since customers are automatically alerted anytime you contact them, it’s easy for them to “burn out” if you send too frequently.
Conversely, emails have no character limit, and allow you to communicate in much greater detail. While they may not be ideal for a 2-hour flash sale, they’re extremely useful for remarketing drips and further continuing the conversation with customers.
Treating SMS and email marketing as “either/or” choices undermines the potential of your campaigns. Both are important in your marketing mix – but choosing one or the other is a losing bet.