Right message, right time – but what is the right channel?

Everyone is familiar with the old marketing adage of sending the right message at the right time, using the right channel, but what is the right channel in this modern-day mobile phone society?

With consumers spending so much time on their phone these days (over 5 hours every day), the effectiveness of SMS marketing or more simply, text messaging your customers has never been greater.

No surprise therefore, that more and more businesses are looking to utilise SMS marketing as a key element of their communications mix to increase market reach, enhance sales, and ultimately improve customer engagement.

Right Message

SMS marketing is increasingly popular since SMS is pre-installed on every mobile phone and the open rates for text messages are truly outstanding, with up to 98% of all SMS messages being read and over 90% of text messages being opened within the first three minutes of delivery.

Despite the evolution of the smartphone, the top two uses for a mobile phone remain communication-based, namely phone calls and sending and receiving texts.

Recent research has highlighted SMS as the most popular messaging channel with over 92% of mobile users preferring this mode of communication.

This research also demonstrated that 47% of mobile phone users are already receiving text messages from business, 42% of people receiving business SMS responded when requested and 37% made a direct purchase as a result of a text message from a business.

Text messaging can also support other channels within the marketing mix by enabling the customer to directly link with adverts, websites or Apps.

This clearly demonstrates that consumers are open to receiving ‘the right message’ i.e. brand-based communications via SMS.

Right Time

The importance of SMS as a channel for business cannot be underestimated. The key to the success of text messaging is that consumers can engage in real-time with the content.

The average consumer is bombarded by marketing messages, to the extent that traditional methods such as mailings and in these days of overloaded mailboxes even e-mail marketing proving more ineffectual due to a lack of reach and the time lag involved in reaching customers.

Text messages can be sent immediately in response to a competitor promotion or scheduled for specific dates to synchronize with other marketing activity. Messages can be personalized to each customer’s first name or sent on specific dates such as a birthday. There are lots of options with bulk text applications and broad applicability across all industry sectors.

Right Channel

The SMS channel has high conversion rates, low cost and high ROI.

In the UK mobile phone users spent £433.41 on their device in 2017 with an overall conversion rate for bulk text across all industries of 12%. However, many industries have reported higher returns, such as 50% in the FMCG sector.

Compared to other marketing costs such as TV and print, SMS marketing is highly cost effective, with messages typically costing pence per text depending on the number of texts sent.

This means that even with a small budget a business can still reach thousands of potential customers quickly, cost effectively and with a much higher ROI than other marketing channels.

SMS marketing can also enhance other channels such as social media and email. It’s interesting to note that by sending a follow-up SMS after an email you can increase email open rates by up to 20-30%.

As such, it’s not surprising that the SMS market is forecasted to grow from $55 billion this year to over $78 billion in 2022, as more and more industries utilise SMS as a key channel in their communications.

SMS marketing also enables you to reach customers who would normally be quite difficult to contact. Currently, 29% of people in the UK don’t own a smartphone so they can’t be contacted via social media and email but can receive texts. SMS marketing therefore offers a means to reach substantial, untapped segments of the population.

One way of assessing the value of SMS marketing is to compare it with other channels in terms of a Reach and Speed Matrix:

In summary, with consumers now inundated with emails, increasingly resistant to direct voice calls and traditional mailings, SMS marketing is cost effective with instant delivery, highly effective reach and a great ROI meaning its very much the right channel in the modern-day communications mix.

(Sources: Google searches for SMS marketing, Ofcom, Search Engine Journal)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *