There’s some SMS in your future…
Jul 22, 2015
Our smart phones are almost always with us. We have them within reach at work, commuting, shopping, even going to the gym. So what better way to communicate a message then through mobile?
According to Jodi Wearn of Silverpop, SMS (short message service) can reach over 80% of the world’s population, and 95% of texts are opened within three minutes of receipt. This is more than 30,000 times faster than email. Plus you have 90% open rates versus 35% for email. The response rates for texts are 25-45% versus 5-10% for email. These are pretty high percentages and marketers should take note.
It’s more and more common for shoppers to sign up for text alerts from their favorite stores or dining establishments. Smart businesses offer an incentive for their customers to sign up for these text alerts, such as giving 30 percent off their immediate purchase or a bounce back coupon. This way, they can open up a line of communication where they can deliver personalized offers directly to a customer and drive deeper consumer loyalty. They can also text offers down the road if the customer hasn’t shopped there in a while. It’s also used as a way to communicate with a patron that their table is ready at more high-tech restaurants.
I recently received a special deal from a business via text message that was targeted to my preferences. I had initially given them my cell number and my authorization to use it in order to receive a discount on my purchase at the time. The offer they sent me later through SMS marketing was so good, I called using the code sent directly to my phone and made an appointment I otherwise would not have made without that communication. They made a sale as a direct result of texting me with a customized, personal offer. And it was immediate.
In addition to discounts and special offers, businesses are using SMS communication as a service as well. I signed up for alerts from a major airline and now get a convenient text if my flight is delayed or the departure gate changes. No longer do I have to figure out which gate I need from staring at the screen in the airport while wondering why my flight isn’t on there and then realize I’m looking at arrivals instead. (There’s no app or SMS feature to fix that kind of human error).
I also have paperless billing from my phone service provider and they now send me a text when my bill is almost due and allow me to just reply with the #1 to automatically pay for my bill with the credit card they have on file. This is extremely easy and provides a tremendous consumer value that saves me the trouble of mailing a check or even going to their website to pay. Imagine what other ways down the road that businesses could use SMS communication to further their goals and achieve better consumer experiences.
Giving up a little of your privacy, or just your personal cell number, is worth it if the offer received is the right one. More and more consumers are realizing this and are growing more comfortable accepting text messages from their favorite merchants. If the message offers them a ten-dollar savings on something they were considering purchasing anyway, all the better and now you’re gaining a customer for life.
In short, if you want to make it in marketing, make it on mobile. Think about what you can offer that’s so enticing to your audience, they’d be willing to give up their digits. Find that hook that will draw customers to grant you texting permission and you’re on your way to the ultimate customer connection.
I’ve always loved to write. When I was in elementary school I would write plays for the neighborhood kids to perform. Later, I got hold of a video camera so I could create funny videos. As an English major at the University of North Carolina, I discovered that I could write fun scripts that told stories for a career. Boom! Advertising/Journalism immediately became my second major. I moved to Chicago to work at some amazing ad agencies like FCB and DDB where I sharpened my skills and helped market national brands. I also spent two years studying improv at The Second City, which has certainly helped out in many a presentation. I moved back down south so I could play tennis all year long and was lucky enough to find a workplace like Centerline with other creatives who share ideas and inspire me every day.