Why SMS Marketing Still Matters in the Age of the Smartphone

Where mobile smartphones have solved a bunch of problems, from last-minute Google Maps navigation to emergency mobile banking balance top-ups, there’s a mobile feature that’s always been there for us. SMS. In 2017 we’re used to high-end UX that ‘sparks joy’ and really ‘gets us’.

But if we take a step back and consider what our customers really want – it’s simple really. Messaging.

Remember the days of the indestructible Nokia brick? So does SMS.

How Much Are We Texting?

Over 98% of all text messages in the Asia-Pacific region are read within 10 minutes. When you compare that to the illustrious push notification we’ve become so familiar with, only 54% of those get read, and only 27% of marketing-related emails (according to research from L’Atelier).

SMS has been around since 1992 and SMS marketing cropped up not long thereafter. The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 didn’t slow down SMS, with all modern smartphones still capable of SMS despite having numerous messaging and chat apps available to users. The New Zealand Commerce Commission’s Annual Telecommunications Monitoring Report shows that over 11.3 billion SMS messages were sent by Kiwis alone in 2015/16.

Why We Still Need SMS As Marketers

Simply – mobile phones can SMS. No matter how old, no matter how new. And they don’t need the internet to do it. Here are six reasons SMS marketing works:

  • Personalisation – Customers respond better to materials addressed directly to them. With SMS you can easily customise your comms to include your subscribers’ names and target your customer with more relevant texts based on their preferences.
  • Instant – You can be in the pocket and in front of your customer’s eyeballs within seconds. SMS is lightning fast, literally putting your message into your subscribers’ pockets seconds after you send.
  • Cost-effective – Bulk messaging services can dramatically reduce the cost per campaign by allowing you to automate the messaging.
  • Reliability – Unlike email, SMS doesn’t have to battle against spam or other email filters. If anything, SMS is more of a direct connection to your customer base than any other marketing strategy, and there aren’t any barriers.
  • No internet connection needed – Even if the 4G drops out and you’re on one bar of reception SMS will do its job sending and receiving. You don’t need the internet!
  • Flexibility – Either send a handful of messages to a targeted group or send thousands of SMS messages to your entire list. A great SMS marketing service makes it easy to customise your text message campaigns to the needs of your SMS subscribers.
How’s SMS Being Used By Marketers?

Two factor authentication (2FA), one time passwords (OTPs) and transactional alerts are standard fare for text messaging marketing. But many organisations are using SMS in new ways to help their customers, and ultimately to grow their business.

Banking And Financial Services Using SMS Customer Support

New Zealand’s KiwiBank are using Modica’s Enterprise SMS Gateway to support their customers travelling abroad. Kiwibank’s Loaded for Travel prepaid Visa card is used by Kiwis to shop online and overseas. Customers can request account information by texting a keyword for their balance or choose to receive text alerts about top ups. Modica allows Kiwibank to receive and send texts around the world, anytime, any country. For Kiwibank, it’s about giving globetrotters the choice to interact where and how they choose.

How Effective Is SMS Marketing?

SMS is built for mobile, which is why 98% of all texts are read by mobile users, versus 29% of tweets. SMS is in the now – people are carrying their phones with them everywhere, and checking them an average of 80 times per day.

When there’s a sense of urgency or time-sensitivity SMS marketing is the perfect solution. If a product is centered around something that customers need to know about right away, then SMS will work. A sale, a doctor’s appointment, commuter traffic information – SMS is what will cut through.