At Acquia, our mission is to help companies create their best customer experience. And even though we have incredibly capable tools such as our Acquia Campaign Studio automation platform and Lift personalization engine to understand what people are looking for, it’s still up to humans (for now) to decide which elements will be part of their marketing strategy. We try to assist with these decisions as often as possible, and in our daily conversations with customers, we share best practices and offer recommendations on things they can do to improve their marketing performance.
One topic that comes up frequently in marketing automation is SMS. More precisely, text messaging. Companies are asking a lot of great questions about using texting as a part of their communication strategy. We love these conversations and questions. We urge all of our customers – and prospects, and, really, all marketers everywhere – to be curious about new or unfamiliar channels. Being the phone-addicted people we are, text messaging obviously isn’t unfamiliar to any of us – wait one sec, just gotta respond to this – but it’s funny how that perspective changes once we put on our corporate marketer hat. All of a sudden, texting becomes this very foreign – and even offensive – concept. We’ve heard some pretty strong reactions to the topic. Any of these sound familiar to you?
“We’ve never done that before, so why would we start now?”
“I personally don’t like to receive texts from companies, so our audience probably won’t either.”
“Even if we were interested in trying texting, how would we get started?”
While our team will confidently call ourselves experts when it comes to helping you build SMS communications into your Campaign Studio campaigns, we’re by no means experts on the SMS space at large. Luckily, we’ve got some great partners, and our friends at Slooce Technology are SMS subject matter experts. Behfar Razavi, CEO and Co-Founder of Slooce, stopped by to help address some of the big questions marketers have about this emerging channel.
Thanks, Dave. Not surprisingly, we hear those same questions that you mentioned above. I’ll use those to share some insights and data about SMS that may surprise folks.
“We’ve never done SMS/texting before, so why would we start now?”
For many companies and marketers, email serves as a primary – and often sole – communication channel. It’s proven and familiar. But a common misperception is that email is also the more effective way to reach folks on their phones. Research is actually showing that smartphone users are spending 22% of their phone time texting, compared to just 10% of their phone time checking email.¹ So, one reason to try testing SMS for your business would be to see if you could capitalize on that (nearly double) extra screen time and drive higher engagement.
“I personally don’t like to receive marketing texts, so our audience probably won’t either.”
This is without a doubt one of the most common objections to SMS marketing, and it’s not surprising. Human nature is to assume others will feel the same as you. But if we’re taught anything as marketers, it’s to remove bias and look to the data. When we do that, we learn that 58% of consumers say they would view a business more positively if that business offered SMS messaging options.
Here are 5 other advantages of SMS marketing that may help give you a fresh perspective:
- Increased End-User Confidence. The global average open rate of text messages reached 98% in 2018.³ According to email providers, the average email open rate for all industries is 20.81% (daily deal and e-coupon emails are the worst off with an average open rate of 14.92%).²
- More Versatility. SMS messages are powerful tools for creating immediate awareness and driving action – both online and offline. You can personalize SMS messages with users’ names and include hyperlinks to content, just like you would through direct marketing! And with Multimedia Messaging or MMS – the sister technology to SMS – users can play multi-media content you’ve sent them, like video and audio, directly within the message.
- SMS Campaigns Are Budget-Friendly and Allow for Scalability. Through Slooce, you can take advantage of flat monthly fee packages that go from 100,000 SMS messages per month to an unlimited plan. That means you can send millions of SMS messages per month for a low, flat monthly fee. With this convenience, there’s no need to worry about per-message costs or budget projections.
- Full Transparency to Explore End-User Engagement. Thorough metrics allow you to see user engagement, including open rates, responses, unsubscribes, timestamp details to identify patterns, and more!
- It’s Ubiquitous. SMS works across all phones so it’s easily delivered to all users regardless of their mobile device.
Bottom line: As marketers, our job requires that we adapt to changing user behaviors and preferences. For a long time, email has been necessary to conduct business and to keep in touch with users, but it is no longer sufficient by itself. SMS marketing is the ideal complement to email campaigns as it engages users essentially everywhere they are. This gives you the perfect scenario to drive instant engagement and capture the segment of your audience that is currently sending your emails straight to the cyber dustbin.