Is Your Company Making Effective Use of SMS as a Mobile Engagement Tool?

In 2015 and beyond, businesses will live and die by their customer engagement strategies. And, while mobile apps get much of the attention, there’s another tool at your disposal. Unfortunately, however, many businesses miss out on connecting with their customers by ignoring this tool’s potential. We’re talking about text messaging – or SMS – and you should continue reading if you want to make your customer engagement strategy as effective as possible.

Using Mobile in Your Customer Engagement Strategy
Pointing to Phone

Using mobile in your customer engagement strategy is important for a number of reasons. However, the primary benefit is that you’re able to reach customers, where they are, with as little resistance as possible. It makes your communication with them easy and convenient, as opposed to obtrusive and frustrating.

While most progressive companies understand the value of using mobile in the communication strategies, not every business understands how to develop an approach that works. We’ll discuss some specific strategies later on in this article, but first, let’s start by exploring how you can get started.

Block out everything else, and hone in on your customer. Do you know exactly who your typical customer is, what they do, how they interact with people, what motivates them to buy, etc.? The only way for a mobile engagement strategy to be successful is for you to identify your target customers. How you do this is up to you, but most companies develop anywhere from one to five personas, and work from there.

If you’re like the majority of companies, you’ll find a common denominator in most (if not all) of your profiles. That trait in common is that the majority of consumers respond well to SMS messaging. Don’t overlook this seemingly small piece of information. This is your secret weapon to an effective mobile engagement strategy.

Why Customers Respond Well to SMS

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As Tim Fujita-Yuhas, our Director of Product Management and New Product Strategy, recently wrote on our blog, “SMS is a faster, easier communications solution to develop and deploy by a business for their mobile customers than a mobile application, and frankly, it is more accessible to a larger percentage of mobile phone customers than a mobile app is.” He was referencing the fact that, of the six billion mobile phones in use around the world, only 1.1 billion are equipped for mobile apps.

If your primary strategy is to target customers via mobile apps, you may find success. However, you’re overlooking roughly 83 percent of the population. On the other hand, by making SMS a priority, you have the potential to reach nearly all mobile phone users.

That’s not to say that you should forget about mobile apps. Thousands of companies reap benefits from a mobile app strategy, but it’s almost always better to start with an SMS-first mindset, depending on your business goals.

As Fujita-Yuhas explains, even if a customer can download your app, it doesn’t mean they will. And, if they download your app, who’s to say they’ll actually use it? The moral of the story is that SMS messaging is better at grabbing – and keeping – the attention of your customers. This is especially true in a marketplace dominated by millennials.

According to a Harris Poll survey that we frequently cite, 64 percent of consumers say that they’d prefer to use texting as a customer service channel (as opposed to voice). More importantly, 77 percent of millennial consumers say that they’re more likely to have a positive perception of a company that offers texting capabilities. As the survey mentions, perception is king. If you want your mobile engagement efforts to work, make sure that you’re going after the things that really matter to customers.

How to Develop a Mobile Engagement Strategy

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So now, the question is, “How you develop a mobile engagement strategy that makes SMS a priority?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as you may hope. It’s industry and brand-specific and requires careful attention to detail. While we can’t possibly cover everything, here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Have a lead capture strategy. Before SMS can become an integral part of your mobile engagement strategy, you need some phone numbers in your database. How you get these numbers may range from simple to extremely challenging (depending on your business structure). For example, a mobile phone service provider has easy access to phone numbers. On the other hand, a convenience store may find it difficult to ask a customer for his or her phone number. If you find it challenging to capture leads, don’t be afraid to get creative.
  • Aim for omni-channel consistency. A successful mobile engagement strategy features multiple channels of communication – each presenting a consistent customer experience. If you’re going to use SMS effectively, it needs to fit seamlessly with your other communication channels.
  • Make content memorable. One of the few drawbacks to SMS engagement is that users frequently consume messages while they’re multi-tasking. This makes it easy for a message to go unnoticed or forgotten. In order to make your efforts worthwhile, ensure that your communications are personal and actionable.
  • Utilize location-based features. Whenever possible, utilize location-based features that are built into smartphones. This’ll allow you to deliver relevant offers and deals, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting a positive return.
  • Actively seek out feedback. Committing to your mobile engagement strategy means that you need to be proactive in seeking out feedback to improve your processes, and find a system that works. It’s virtually impossible to fine-tune a mobile engagement strategy without first speaking with the customers who come into regular contact with it.

Contact OpenMarket Today

At OpenMarket, we’re committed to helping our clients deliver superior customer service through our mobile engagement services. That’s why four of the top ten global brands use our platform to engage with their employees and customers. Whether it’s for customer support, marketing promotions, shipping notifications, user authentication, emergency alerts, or anything in between, our mobile messaging solutions can help you to deliver more meaningful mobile interactions and a better experience.

For additional information regarding our mobile engagement services –feel free to reach out, and contact us today.