Social media marketing was a major topic of discussion among marketing experts in 2016, particularly in relation to how it was leveraged by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as they sought to succeed U.S. President Barack Obama; however, the discussion also touched on a marketing channel that has been around for many years and is still going strong these days.
The short message service protocol, better known as SMS, has been around since the mid-1990s; in recent years, it has only been slightly overshadowed by means of communication such as WhatsApp and other mobile apps that rely on wireless data networks. Despite the cross-platform features of modern instant messaging applications, SMS continues as a true standard that can be found and readily utilized in all mobile devices.
A 2014 survey by tech business giant SAP revealed that up to 70 percent of people who use smartphones believe that text messaging is a feature that they feel compelled to use by virtue of its simplicity and reliability. In the same year, a wireless communications research group conducted a study on SMS marketing and reached a conclusion that should be of great interest to all brand managers and business owners: smartphone users tend to open nearly 100 percent of all text messages they receive.
The Persuasive Advantage
Although SMS marketing is often compared to email marketing campaigns, text messaging has a superior edge in the sense that it is a more persuasive channel. Unlike email, text messages do not carry the stigma of mostly being spam; in fact, they are trusted enough to be often used by emergency officials to alert residents of a certain region about natural disasters.
SMS mobile marketing works because text messages are irresistible. Smartphone users are conditioned to hearing the sound alerts that notify them of incoming messages, and text messages are often reviewed one by one. With email notifications, smartphone users open their applications to scan the senders and subject lines so that they can check the messages they wish to delete without even opening them; this is before taking into account the spam filtering that is now standard in just about all email apps.
Text Messaging Engagement
Research shows that audiences tend to be more receptive to marketing via text messages than marketing on other platforms. This behavior can be explained by the intimacy of this communications channel. It is interesting to note that text messaging is most effective when it is used to bring prospective and existing customers to visit local brick-and-mortar businesses to take advantage of a promotion.
Targeting the Right Customers
With SMS marketing, business owners and brand managers have access to the same intelligence used for other marketing efforts. This means that content can be crafted and targeted with greater accuracy. Another advantage is that smartphone users tend to be more sensitive to text messaging campaigns with relation to opt-in and opt-out programs. This is important to remember in terms of branding; customers who willingly subscribe to text messaging campaigns should be offered enticing promotions to foster brand affinity and loyalty.