Texting is rapidly becoming the preferred way of communication in the modern world, with 8.6 trillion (SMS) Short Messaging Services messages currently being received per year.
Text messaging isn’t anything new. In fact, the first Short Message Service Centre (SMS) was sent in 1992 by Neil Papworth in UK when he sent the message “happy birthday”. What has change though over the past decade is the worldwide adoption. In 2016 smartphone penetration in Australia reached 89% while in the US it reached 79%.
While messaging applications such as WhatsApp have gained traction, penetration rates are low with only 22% of Australian’s and use it and 11% of users in the USA. Compare this with text messaging which has 97% penetration and it’s clear why this remains the best reach tool markets have in what has become a fragmented advertising marketplace.
How to utilise text messaging in your marketing mix
So now that it’s clear text messaging is a winner, how should businesses use it? Below is the ‘top 5’ ways use to utilise this channel.
1. SMS Gateway To Existing Customers
Retention is always a more effective approach than acquisition and this is just as true for text message marketing. An SMS Gateway allows companies CRM and e-mail databases to integrate and send text messages for key periods of the consumer life journey.
2. Text Message Marketing
Similar to using a gateway, SMS marketing allows companies to send to individuals on the database offers, exclusive deals and even competitions. This can help drive foot traffic to retailers or revenue to online businesses.
3. Status Updates
SMS can be integrated to day-to-day operations to keep customers better informed. For example, it can keep customers updated on support tickets raised or when a product will be delivered. This is a cost effective way to keep individuals informed.
4. Appointment Reminders
This is a favourite for service based industries which have historically paid a high price from customer who don’t show for appointments. This service can be in-built to mainstream CRM and ensure rules are made to remind customers of upcoming appointments to reduce ‘no-shows’. Two-way messaging can also allow customers to reply to confirm their attendance.
5. Two-Factor Authorisation
Security is critical for any organisation and SMS is regularly used by companies like banks to maximise this. Creating one-time passcodes through text messages means further identification on-demand to minimise fraud.
How to choose the right SMS service provider
So, if your company is sold on integrating text messaging to your business, what elements should you compare? Alain Grossbard, co-owner of SMS Comparison suggested that you need to match the provider to your business requirements. For example, for companies that send through critical, time-sensitive text messages they should judge providers based on uptime and latency. As he highlighted, “the cost for these businesses of a delayed message or non-delivery make the actual cost of an SMS insignificant so reliability is a must”.
Mr. Grossbard said “on the other-hand, smaller businesses who send lower priority text messages should really shop around for price”. Such businesses should look at the cost per SMS sent, up-front costs and costs for additional features such as dedicated numbers. Additionally, support and features of the provider should also be considered as these can vary a lot by provider.
Overall, the most important factor when considering an SMS provider is to ensure they are setup for your country with local support. Many providers that offer cheap prices claim they are local but use third-party networks which are unreliable.
All businesses should consider integrating text messaging into their businesses. By planning ahead and choosing the right provider this channel could be the key to help grow your business.