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6 Reasons Media Companies Should Use SMS for Multichannel Engagement

With each passing year, smartphones grow more technologically advanced. And yet, the most enduring aspect of the mobile device experience is still text messaging. While text hasn’t changed too much over the years, it remains an effective way to engage mobile audiences in any vertical. That’s why, for publishers pursuing multichannel engagement, text messaging is worth a closer look.

Here are a few reasons why adding SMS to your multichannel mix can help you further engage your media and publishing audience.

1) SMS gives you a direct line of communication to your audience.

To build a relationship with your audience, you need a way to communicate with them. More specifically, you need a direct way to communicate. Social media and search give you an indirect audience: while you may have built a large social following, whether your audience actually sees your content is at the mercy of the social algorithm.

Audiences built on platforms are built on borrowed land, which is why direct audiences from channels like email and text messaging are so valuable. Rather than wait and hope audiences encounter you in their Twitter or Facebook feeds, you can message them directly through channels like SMS. This allows you to deliver relevant content precisely when it matters, driving deeper engagement with your audience.

2)Text messaging gives you another way to communicate with audiences on the channel they prefer.

More than 7 out of 10 users prefer that brands use email to communicate with them over other channels. But what about the other users? What about those users who prefer different channels for receiving different types of brand communication? Perhaps some users like reading newsletters but prefer to get discounts via text. In the case of digital publishing or media brands, it’s possible you have readers who like reading yesterday’s top stories via email but prefer to get breaking news alerts via text.

A robust multichannel engagement mix gives you the ability to cater to your audience’s individual consumption habits and improve their user experience.

3) SMS enables two-way communication with your audience.

While some media & publishing companies receive occasional replies to their newsletters, audiences don’t typically think of a packaged, polished newsletter as a vehicle for replying to the sender.

Meanwhile, SMS is a channel where users expect to communicate both ways. Text messages sent from a publisher look very similar to those from a friend, which encourages users to engage in two-way conversation. This makes it a particularly potent channel for gathering user insights and feedback through polls or surveys. Not only will this engage your audience, but it also gives you a way to collect actionable feedback to incorporate into future campaigns.

4) Nearly every text message is (quickly) opened.

Average publishing & media email newsletter open rates hover around 20%. However, nearly every text message gets opened, making it a particularly effective channel when you have a message that needs to be seen.

Another strength of SMS is its immediacy. Whereas readers may turn off email notifications and let emails pile up in their inbox, nearly all text messages are read within minutes of receipt, meaning your text audience is likely to see your message right away. When it comes to delivering news alerts or other timely content, the quick delivery of SMS can make all the difference.

5) Text messaging enables multimedia experiences without the development hassle.

To send a well-designed email requires significant email development knowledge. Between building the template, populating the content, and testing it across email clients, a simple visual email can turn into a heavy undertaking without the right expertise.

With Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) capabilities, you can deliver rich images and videos with having to worry about what they look like in the email inbox. Even better, as interactive Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging gains wider adoption, you’ll be able to create app-like experiences for your mobile list, no app needed.

6) Mobile messaging is a channel brimming with new opportunities for experimentation and monetization.

In a changing digital landscape, media & publishing companies are still searching for the most effective business models and audience engagement strategies. And since no two audiences are alike, digital publishers increasingly realize that landing on the answer will require a bit of experimentation.

For some media & publishing brands, this experimentation is happening via SMS. Media companies like iHeartMedia and Univision have used Upland Mobile Messaging for effectively driving brand awareness, but other publishers are going one step further and using their SMS program for direct audience monetization. Local news publishers have used exclusive SMS news alerts to add value to their paid subscription products, while Cleveland.com even sell standalone subscriptions to their text messages.

Like email, SMS is a seemingly quaint channel delivering significant engagement opportunities for media brands, no matter the business model.

Multichannel engagement matters.

There’s no one-size-fits-all channel to connect you with your audience. Different individuals prefer different channels for different types of communication. Different campaign goals will require multichannel engagement to most effectively connect with your audience.

The important thing is to have a strategy for each channel that makes sense for you, ensuring you can connect with your whole audience on the channel of their choosing. SMS can play a role in that.

To learn more, take a look at Upland Mobile Messaging’s solutions for media brands.

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