OpenMarket – April 14, 2016
If you haven’t heard much about SMS lately in your industry, it’s because your competitors are keeping quiet for a reason. SMS is rapidly becoming one of the most cost-effective, efficient tools for communicating with customers, and businesses want to leverage these benefits for as long as possible before the industry totally explodes.
6 Secrets and Best Practices of SMS
SMS is something we’re all familiar with on a personal level. The large majority of adults own cell phones and send multiple messages per day. With that being said, SMS is a much better kept secret in the business world. Here are some things you need to know:
- Incredibly High Open Rates
Email marketing still works. However, the efficacy of email pales in comparison to that of SMS. Currently, there are more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide – or right around 95.5 percent of the global population. On the other hand, there are only 2.5 billion email users around the world.
“The popularity of email marketing meant that it very quickly became over populated with spam, thus reducing the chance that your email will be interpreted as a legitimate one and actually opened and read,” writes industry expert Aine Doherty. “SMS Marketing alternatively is 99 percent legitimate, with only 1 percent spam text messaging (and) this communication tool is still highly regarding by mobile phone users.”
But that’s not all. SMS offers an absolutely incredibly open rate of 98 percent. When contrasted with email’s average open rate (22 percent), the ROI is exponentially higher.
Nobody is telling you stop using email marketing, but your competition is quite content letting you continue focusing 100 percent of your efforts on this medium. That should tell you something right there.
- SMS is Personal
You have to be cautious with how you use SMS. Text messaging is much more personal than email or direct mail. Failing to understand this can hurt your brand image.
A mobile device is the gateway to an individual’s personal life. It contains photos, conversations, scheduling details, internet browsing history, and more. When you engage in SMS, it’s critically important that you respect this. While you may not realize it, sending an irrelevant message can feel like a threat to that individual’s personal space.
If you’re going to invest in SMS, then you must make an effort to understand exactly who your target market is and what they expect from your messages. Sending out messages just for the sake of saying something is an irresponsible strategy that won’t yield any positive results.
- Best Time of the Day to Send Messages
There are many different ingredients to SMS success, but one of the most important is timing. If you want to experience successful results, you need to send messages at the right time.
Since mobile is a channel that allows you to reach users at virtually any hour of the day, you have to be careful that you’re strategically timing your messaging. Research shows the following to be true:
- SMS is most effective during business hours (10am – 8pm), whereas lifestyle-oriented activities like internet browsing and mobile app use dominate the early morning and late evening hours.
- Mondays traditionally have the lowest response rates, likely due to the fact that people are busy catching up on other stuff after the weekend.
- The worst times of day to send messages is during common rush hour times, when people can’t read or engage with SMS. This is generally between 6:30am-8:30am and 4pm-7pm local time.
Ultimately, the best time of day to send messages will depend on your specific audience and time zone. Start by eliminating the bad times and then hone in on the remaining time windows to send messages.
- Best Industries for SMS
While all industries can benefit from an investment in SMS, some stand out more than others. In particular, companies operating in communications, financial services, healthcare, technology, retail, transportation, and hospitality can see direct benefits. If your business falls into one of these categories, and you aren’t currently using SMS, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to enhance useful customer engagement.
- Short and to the Point
SMS stands for “Short Messaging Service.” The key word here is “short.” If you’re sending long messages, you’re not doing it right. Always look for a way to tighten your messaging copy and never add in superfluous swords for the sake of using additional characters. Take a look at the following two examples:
- Dear valued customer, we hope this message finds you well. Please visit our website to find out more about the sale occurring this weekend. It’s our biggest sale of the year!
- Visit one of our stores this weekend and get 50% to 75% off your total purchase.
These two messages essentially say the same thing. While the first one may seem more detailed, it’s way too long. SMS is designed for brief messages and you’ll end up overwhelming recipients if you don’t aim for brevity.
- Don’t Overwhelm Users
One of the biggest issues companies have with SMS when first starting out is that they confuse mobile messaging with email marketing. Whereas you can get away with sending out four or five emails per week to a customer on your email list, you cannot send nearly as many text messages. In fact, four or five messages per month is considered excessive.
When users opt in to your SMS list, let them know the frequency of messages they can expect (such as two or three per month), and then follow through on this commitment. Surprising or overwhelming users is a sure-fire way to kill your engagement rates.
Contact OpenMarket Today
At OpenMarket, we are one of the industry’s leading providers of mobile messaging solutions. If you’re looking for an effective way to reach customers and engage them, SMS is your answer. It’s fast, convenient, and highly effective.
We are work with some of the largest enterprises in the world to create innovative SMS solutions that enhance customer service, improve data security, and modernize marketing. If you want to be a part of what we’re doing at OpenMarket, then please don’t hesitate to contact us today. We would love to discuss what our mobile messaging solutions – and SMS in particular – can do for your organization.