It seems like every time you blink, there’s a new platform or tech trend. So, you might be wondering, “Is SMS marketing still relevant?” The short answer is yes. In fact, it’s more relevant than ever. SMS provides marketers an opportunity to communicate with customers where they are spending the most time — on mobile devices.
The pandemic has only increased the amount of time people spend on their mobile phones and devices. Since 2019, smart device use by adults in the U.S. grew by a whopping 38 minutes a day. The average American is now spending 4 hours and 23 minutes daily on mobile. That trend is expected to continue in 2022 and beyond.
Consumers Engage With SMS More Often and Faster Than Any Other Marketing Channel
Not only are people spending more time with their mobile phones, but they are also engaging with SMS messages at higher and faster rates than with any other form of marketing.
SMS vs Email Response Rate
When you send a marketing email, it may not be seen for hours. Even if your email gets through someone’s spam filter, only one in five emails are ever opened and the response rate is around 6%. On average, an email response takes 90 minutes.
SMS are seen almost instantly with a significantly higher open rate, response rate, and response time. Gartner reports that the average open rate for SMS messages runs as high as 98% and response rates of 45%.
That means SMS messages get opened nearly four times more often, and response rates are 6.5 times higher. People typically respond to SMS messages 60 times faster.
Consumers Prefer Texting to Calling
Consumers prefer to text with businesses. About 85% of smartphone owners say they choose texts vs. calls or emails. More than half of those surveyed say they ignore marketing emails because they get so many of them. More than 80% of people say they don’t generally answer their cellphone if it’s from an unknown number, but they do look at text messages.
SMS messaging is simply a more efficient way to connect with customers and continues to be the favored communication channel for marketers. Most SMS messages are seen within three minutes of being sent.
SMS Is an Ideal Channel for B2C Companies
Text messaging is an ideal channel for B2C companies. Not only do your messages get seen more often and faster, but you can also personalize messages more easily because it’s truly a 1:1 medium. With an opt-in phone number, you know who you’re connecting with.
With the right tech platform, you can personalize SMS messages directly to the phone’s recipient. Using an AI conversation agent, for example, you can also guide human-like conversations that react dynamically based on how customers respond. This also allows you to personalize at scale by handling thousands of conversations simultaneously.
This provides greater speed-to-lead than any other marketing channel. When customers demonstrate buying intent, your AI agent can guide them through the process or alert a sales team member for more complex transactions.
B2C companies can use SMS for sales in various ways, including generating leads for B2C and sales prospecting. They’re also using SMS for:
- Follow-ups and reminders
- Sales touchpoints
- Mobile couponing
- Flash sales
- Scheduling appointments
Because you can automate the process, you can eliminate cold phone calls and time-consuming follow-ups.
SMS Marketing Trends
As we look towards the SMS marketing future, here are some of the key SMS marketing trends we’re already seeing.
10DLC Is More Reliable, Secure, and Less Expensive
Wireless carriers have moved away from shortcodes to 10-digit long codes (10DLCs). 10DLCs provide greater reliability and security. Because there are more of these longer numbers, they’re less expensive. They also featured improved spam filtering and opt-out compliance.
Early indications are the recipients are more likely to respond to these numbers especially when they can see texts originated within their local area code.
Customers Want SMS Messages
More Referral-based Website Traffic
More than half of all website visits are now via mobile devices. SMS message delivers more referral-based website traffic. Because you can target users and send them offers with a click, you can drive them directly to the right page on your site so they don’t have to search.
Positive Brand Interactions
Combining SMS messages with conversational AI and virtual agents can create positive brand interactions in new and exciting ways. Conversational AI uses natural language processing, intent recognition, and contextual awareness to drive conversations and scale conversions.
Machine learning lets AI bots get smarter the more data they consume so that you can optimize conversations for the best outcomes. All of this drives more personalized and positive brand engagement.
SMS Breaks Through the Clutter
It’s estimated that in 2022, nearly 85% of all emails sent will be spam. Even legitimate marketing messages sent by email often wind up in spam filters. At the same time, nearly four out of ten consumers in the U.S. are now using adblockers. It’s tougher than ever for marketers to connect with customers using traditional marketing channels.
SMS continues to break through the clutter and get seen.
Enhanced Relationship Building
Customer loyalty and retention are more important than ever. In an era where consumers are ditching established brands at an unprecedented rate, companies need to double down on building solid relationships. SMS marketing can do exactly that. Using the immediacy of SMS with high open rates, you can make sure your messages are seen to keep your brand front and center.
The right lead generation partner can help you build a long-term relationship that fosters loyalty.
Incorporating SMS Into Your Marketing Strategy
Here are some of the best practices for incorporating SMS into your market strategy.
SMS marketing has the same opt-in rules as email. Make sure you gain explicit consent from customers or subscribers before sending marketing communications. You also need to watch what you’re sending and how often you’re sending messages to avoid consumers replying with STOP.
If you’re not providing value to the recipient, your SMS marketing quickly becomes just another form of spam and can hurt your brand. Use consumer data to craft messaging to deliver value. Always ask how will this message add value to your customer?
Have a Consistent Brand Voice
Your brand voice is the tone and phrasing you use that reflects how your brand sounds, feels, and looks to your customers. Make sure it’s authentic and consistent. Texting is personal, so the more conversational you can make your brand voice, the better results you’ll see.
Embrace Conversational AI and Automation
When you deliver SMS messages, people respond quickly. What happens when hundreds or thousands of people reply within a relatively short period? You’d need hundreds or thousands of live agents to communicate fast. Conversational AI virtual agents can handle all of these conversions 24×7 and ensure everyone gets a personalized and fast response for a bright SMS marketing future.
Work With the Best Conversational AI Agent
Aktify powers conversation AI agents that can handle thousands of SMS conversations with prospects and customers at the same time. AI agents interact with customers to take care of routine tasks, such as following up with leads, so you can free up sales agents to focus on closing deals.
Contact Aktify today to book a demo and see how implementing conversation AIL into your sales process can transform your sales efforts.