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SMS: The Missing Link in Customer Engagement?

If you’re only using push messaging to get your customers’ attention, you’re missing a trick. According to a recent article on Multichannel Merchant, you might get better results with personalized text messages, or SMS.

Push vs. SMS: The Stats

Almost every mobile app these days includes the ability to send push messages. While text messages are transmitted via your mobile carrier network to your phone number, push messages are sent from apps to your mobile device via the phone’s operating system.

The trouble is, many users get so tired of the onslaught of push notifications that they dismiss them without even reading them. Research from Accengage shows that more than half of all iOS users completely opt out of receiving push notifications, and only 6 percent of push notifications lead to engagement with the app or the brand.

But mobile users’ response to text messaging is completely different. Research from SAP Global shows that across the globe, 64 percent of people think companies should use SMS more often to interact with customers, and 70 percent of people consider SMS a great way to get their attention.

SMS and Your Customers

There are many reasons why customers may prefer text messages over push messages. People don’t find them as intrusive, and unlike apps, SMS doesn’t require mobile data—there’s no need for an Internet connection for it to work. As long as someone has a mobile number, you can reach them.

But the strongest argument for integrating text messaging into your customer engagement strategy is this: 90 percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes of delivery. No other customer communication method matches this incredibly high and fast read rate. For brands, using SMS almost guarantees that customers will read your message immediately, which means you can send more targeted messages and include time-sensitive offers.

You also can’t beat text messaging for actual interaction. According to Digital Marketing Magazine, people read 98 percent of text messages and usually respond to them within 90 seconds. That means you can get conversational with your customers rather than simply sending one-off and one-way offers.

So what does this mean for your relationship with your customers?

SMS marketing can help you reach more customers with messages they will actually read, which improves your chances of engaging with them (by asking for a response) and getting them to take action on those messages.

In turn, SMS marketing is an excellent way to drive continued engagement with your brand, through apps, your website, or other channels. As the Multichannel Marketing article points out, the use of SMS in an omnichannel approach can help drive engagement on other channels. Once a customer agrees to receive text messages from your company, you can collect additional data from them (an email address, for example) and use it to create a comprehensive user profile. With information on their messaging preferences, app usage, and website behavior, you can cater your campaigns to each individual’s needs and improve your likelihood of success.

SMS Marketing Case Studies

Text messaging worked particularly well when consumer benefits organization Union Plus wanted to get the word out about a new mobile app for their members. Over 4,600 of their SMS subscribers owned smartphones, so Union Plus wanted to send a targeted message to those users and encourage them to download the app.

Union Plus used Upland Mobile Messaging to highlight its smartphone user segment and sent a topical text message about the upcoming 4th of July holiday urging users to download the new app. The campaign was a success: more than 25 percent of those who received the text message downloaded the app within two days! Since people were used to receiving texts from Union Plus, they opened the message promptly. And since they were already on their phones, they simply had to click on the link in the message to download the app, eliminating the need to find the app in the app store.

Here are a few more examples of successful SMS marketing campaigns:

The bottom line is, unlike mobile apps, text messaging has ease-of-use, high acceptance, and prompt readability. Text messages are also more personal, which customers like, appreciate and are ready to act on. All in all, SMS is a great tool for building a relationship with your customers and engaging them across different channels. To learn more about how to launch your own text messaging campaign, contact us.

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