Old but trusted! SMS marketing has come a long way yet remains one of the most reliable channels for delivering brand messages. But what does the future hold for the industry? And what are the trends shaping the adoption and applicability of SMS marketing?
No doubt SMS marketing has suffered slow adoption, especially before COVID; however, recent observations have indicated a surging endorsement and application of text messaging by brands.
So going forward, what do brands and CMOs need to know while considering SMS marketing? Let’s find out.
SMS marketing is still undervalued, but there is a growing adoption(don’t sleep on this!)
Although SMS marketing still has a low acceptability rate in the business world. Its comparative efficiency and satisfactory outcomes give room for massive adoption in the near future.
According to recent statistics, there has been a recent surge in the adoption of SMS marketing; however, it still puts the usability numbers comparatively lower than other channels like email marketing. Although some experts argue that only 10% of global businesses have adopted SMS, MarketerHire indicates that the adoption rate is currently at 38%
Notwithstanding, this is still lower than email marketing, with an adoption rate of over 80%.
Admittedly, in measuring marketing outcomes and possibilities for better results, SMS marketing tends to tower above email marketing by a wide margin. From open rates to read rates and even response rates, SMS have significantly higher numbers.
- SMS has an open rate of 98% (the best among all channels)
- 90% of texts are read in the first three minutes
- SMS campaigns have conversion rates of 20%-30%. Compared to email marketing, with a conversion rate of about 1.5%, the future is definitely SMS.
Interestingly, the Covid pandemic stirred an awakening for SMS and A2P campaigns. According to reports, there were 378% more SMS marketing messages sent in 2020 than in 2019.
One thing has been established, SMS marketing is becoming more prominent amongst brands; if and when it will become the toast of marketers, the future will tell.
But it is important that SMS marketing solution providers need to be aware of this growing adoption and be well-positioned to benefit from it.
A more responsive way to reach customers
The marketing sector has long been inundated with the sentiment for long-form copies hence the preference for other marketing channels like emails, landing pages, social media, etc. SMS was often overlooked because it promotes short and concise copies.
The belief was that consumers needed long messages to make positive decisions- whoever came up with such theory.
Recent research and surveys have shown that consumers are more interested in personalized and conversational copies. Not necessarily the length of the copy. And compared to most other channels, texting offers a better opportunity to drive personalized and conversational marketing.There is a shift in brand engagement preferences; customers now appreciate the promptness, personalization, and engagement SMS offer. According to a study, over 55% of the respondents indicated that text messaging was the most effective way for a brand to reach them quickly.
Unfortunately, many brands have yet to acknowledge and adapt their marketing to fit this growing preference.
SMS marketing is evolving and embracing futuristic technology and IoT
Thanks to technology, the world is becoming smaller (figuratively), more accessible, and interconnected through the integration of concepts like IoT. More and more devices and social appurtenance are becoming internet enabled and interconnected. According to reports, the number of IoT devices will increase by over 300% by 2030, and at that time, over 70%of all existing devices will be IoT.
And while a lot of people do not recognize the opportunity this presents, proactive industry players are already carving a niche and brainstorming on innovative offerings that are IoT-friendly.
But you may ask, what is the relationship between IoT and SMS;
Well, IoT is all about connectivity, and connectivity feeds on large amounts of data, so SMS can be a source of relevant data and also a source to disseminate critical information to users.
There are two ways SMS is deployed to communicate within an IoT platform;
- Moving data from sensors to the platforms
- Sending messages out as a notification.
Finally, omnichannel SMS offerings are becoming rife, but we tend to forget that omnichannel is an offshoot of IoT. In essence, if you’re thinking of omnichannel offerings, you should contemplate IoT messaging solutions.
This brings us to the next important trend;
Omnichannel messaging solutions.
The SMS business industry has evolved a lot over the years, from simple bulk texting to sophisticated and interconnected messaging solutions that support non-traditional messaging channels. Currently, 2-way marketing SMS that seemed out of reach a few years ago is now a big deal.
Brands seek to integrate various preferred communication channels to enable inclusivity and enhance delivery efficiency. Especially big brands with a wide user base that cuts across various jurisdictions, cultures, and demography.
For instance, the younger generation has a preference for other instant messaging platforms like Whatsapp, Telegram, Viber, etc.. At the same time, there is also a regional preference like the adoption of Line in southeast Asia or the popularity of Whatsapp and Telegram in India, etc.
Enterprises and CMOs have recognized these different tastes and are seeking solutions that consolidate various messaging channels for more effective delivery.
In the end, both stakeholders and brands must understand that messaging is evolving, and to capture the interest of your target audience; you must be ready to go beyond traditional texting.
For the messaging providers, they must offer solutions that include other channels, and brands must adopt delivering messages on complementary messaging channels.
Rising Preference for Personalized SMS Marketing
People have become more sensitive to cliché marketing messages, and most would rather patronize a brand that understands their unique demand. SmarterHQ reports that 72% of customers will only interact with targeted marketing messages relevant to their interests.
In this era, marketing has been streamlined from the general to specific. You must be able to identify customer profiles, create segments according to interests and demands and address their pain points.
While platform providers are urged to offer tools and features that will enable personalized SMS campaigns, they must also be ready to provide enterprise-grade services. This is important to enhance the credibility of the platform.
RCS will not unseat SMS marketing
Rich communication services messaging is quite similar to SMS but with added capabilities that promote engagement. RCS supports various high-quality media formats but is limited to some internet-enabled devices.
At inception, RCS was touted to be the SMS messaging killer by some. Still, a decade and more later, it is evident that rich communication, at best, is just another marketing channel.
RCS lacks the general applicability and versatility of SMS. As of today, RCS isn’t compatible with ios devices and can only be delivered via the internet.
No doubt RCS has its advantages, but it is not a replacement for SMS messaging.
Over 605% of the world’s population sends and receives SMS, while just about 50% of people use email. SMS still offers better reach and improved outcomes. However, SMS marketing is still in its early stages; there is a lot to be done and endless possibilities.