Why businesses are still using SMS?
In 2018, there’s no shortage of platforms for businesses to use to reach out to their customers. While one might expect the increasing prevalence of social media to cause a timely death to its earliest forerunner – text messaging, the fact is that businesses are still emphasizing on the importance of their SMS strategy. But why would this 25 year old service still hold value when newer services that offer greater flexibility exist? Is it merely a nostalgic preference for a simpler service or does it have some undeniable benefits that no social media giant can compete with?
More than just bulk messaging
Most people associate text messages from businesses with bulk messages from retailers to notify customers about sales and other promotions, but that’s merely one of the many uses of this service. SMS is used for a myriad of other applications such as online order confirmations, delivery updates, SMS surveys etc. It can also be used for a range of security purposes such as delivery of OTP, two factor authentication etc. In fact, governments have even requested several key institutions to use SMS to update their users on their transactions. As this service is associated with a wide variety uses, retailers are not the only ones using it, it is an essential part of the communication strategy of various businesses like banks, exchange houses, enterprises etc.
Two Dimensional Service
SMS is not a one dimensional service, it is predicted that the use of 2-way SMS‘s will increase as it’s an easier and more convenient means for customers to raise their queries, this can be further supplemented with automatic response systems.
Reaching out in the least intrusive way
A phone call is undoubtedly the quickest way to reach anyone. However if we were to ask what is the quickest yet least intrusive way to reach someone, the answer is trickier. While posts or messages on social media platforms are certainly the least intrusive, the likelihood of people reading posts or messages is low and the changes in Facebook’s algorithm makes it harder to discover posts unless they receive considerable traction. So it comes as no surprise that the open rate for Facebook stands at 12%, twitter at 29%. Even traditional emails stagger behind at rate of 22%. Meanwhile SMS stands at a whopping 98% . This is expected considering the fact that mobile phones of any kind can receive text messages without using the internet thereby enabling businesses to reach a larger demographic.
Higher conversion Rate
SMS’s like any other service can be associated with a variety of different goal actions that are of interest to businesses from drawing customers to the stores for promotions or completing surveys. The likelihood of customers heeding to these call-to-actions when prompted on SMS is higher than that compared to other alternatives. The conversion rate for SMS stands at 8%, 2% for email and 1% for other internet related means.
The 160 character limit
The 160 character limit on text messages might seem too limiting. On the contrary, this character limit is one of its greatest strengths. Receiving text messages that are to the point, is a direct consequence of the limit. Such SMS’s definitely act as more effective call-to-actions than more elaborate messages. However if required, up to 11 text messages can be sent simultaneously increasing the character limit to a 1000.
Aiding your other marketing avenues
Digital marketing campaigns across platforms can be integrated so that they generate more engagement. Sharing links to videos and other significant posts done on other platforms via SMS, can help drive traffic to those posts. Similarly posts on social media can be used to get customers to opt for SMS notifications from businesses.
SMS plays an integral role in communicating with your customers effectively. It cannot replace other forms of communication like emails or social media but it does have a lot to offer that cannot be substituted by existing means. The only disclaimer is that subjecting your customers to an onslaught of text messages would backfire and cause them to actively avoid communication from your business. However, if used properly, SMS can help you build a stronger relationship with your customers.