Texting at scale – but avoiding the spam trap

OpenMarket – July 3, 2017

How to use SMS to connect at exactly the right time

Way back when email was still brand new, it seemed like a customer communications dream. Lightning fast, incredibly cheap, and with all sorts of possibilities for doing exciting digital things a letter couldn’t match.

All those things are still true of email. And yet, for businesses, it’s nothing like the force it was.

Open rates are sluggish, barely rising above 20% for most industries, and click-through rates are even lower. Which means you’re producing brilliant emails, with sparkling copy and beautiful design, that most of your customers won’t even see, let alone act on.

Not cool.

What went wrong?

Well, it’s our fault. Collectively, businesses have ruined business emails. We’ve sent too many. Your customers aren’t excited to get your latest marketing missive. They might even have set it to go straight to their spam folder.

And the world has changed too – emails aren’t a desktop thing anymore. People are checking their emails on mobile devices, so you’re competing for attention with short form, punchy messaging via SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and so on.

Opening an email app and reading a long form communication is too much hassle. We’ve all seen an email notification pop up and thought, ‘I’ll read that later’ – and then forgotten all about it.  

That’s where SMS can help…

It may be ‘old’ tech (the first text was sent in 1992), but smart enterprises are waking up to the fact that SMS messaging can do a lot of the things email does – but a whole lot better.

Why? Because people read texts. 98% of SMS messages get read, 90% within three minutes. No need to open an extra app, no need to put it on the ‘I’ll read it later’ pile. A buzz in your pocket or your bag, a click of a button, and the information is read, digested and – if it’s urgent – acted on. It’s simple.

For businesses, the advantages are awesome. If you want to connect with thousands of customers at just the right moment, with messages that are relevant and reactive to their individual needs, nothing beats texting at scale.

So, let’s not mess it up this time.

Let’s not get to the point where SMS spam becomes as prevalent as email spam. Let’s not bombard our customers with texts every time we have something to say – let’s only use our power for cutting through the noise when it really matters to them.

Texting at scale – responsibly

We love SMS – and we’re really excited by the way it can help brands have genuinely meaningful interactions with their customers and vice versa. That’s why we’re eager to help people do it right.

Because there will be a natural tendency among certain non­-smart marketers to see the SMS open rate and go hell for leather, sending message after message of promotional, un-personalized pocket-garbage, hoping some of it sticks. That approach won’t work. Those marketers will fail – and they’ll deserve to.

Give your customers Empathetic Moments

It’s imperative we use SMS to give our customers really great experiences – so that when they get a text from us, they know it’s going to be something they need to hear.

We defined seven different kinds of moment where enterprises can show real empathy for individual customers with SMS.

We call them Empathetic Moments. And while not all of them will be relevant to every business, we think it’s a fair bet that several of them will be challenges your business faces:

Delivery and arrival moments – where you want your customer to know something

Trigger moments – when you want your customer to do something

Behavior moments – when you get to show your customer you’re thinking of them

Purchase moments – when you want to cut through the noise and make a sale

Payment moments – when you want to get the details right

Request for info moment – when your customer needs to know something right away

Authentication moments – when security matters

Each of these moments lends itself to text perfectly: short, time-sensitive, in-the-moment messages that feel super-personal, but can be orchestrated at massive scale.

If these are challenges you have, and you’re looking for a better method than email to meet them, download the Empathetic Moments workbook and learn more about how texting at scale can make all the difference

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