We’ve taken snapshots of SMS today, and then walked you through the 10 key features of this digital marketing channel. It’s about clarifying your potential once and for all.

In the buzz of mobile marketing, instant messaging and proximity technologies, SMS continues to be in the spotlight. You just have to use search engines to realize it: Gartner, for example, predicts that by 2019, 20% of the most important international brands will have abandoned their Apps in favor of a simpler and more direct communication system; Google , for its part, wants to promote SMS again through a protocol called RCS ( Rich Communications Services ) that would allow classic text messages to also send images, video, create groups and much more.

Rumors about SMS are continuous, and are an indication of constant attention to this channel. For this reason, in this entry we wanted to offer you a snapshot, a photograph of the present of text messages , without taking a position in the dispute between those who declare its decline and those who advocate its rebirth, limiting ourselves to synthesizing the characteristics that make it an essential marketing tool.

SMS today

In the world, almost half of the people who own a mobile phone ( 47% ) use it only to make calls and send SMS. The study , conducted by Gsma in 56 countries representing 80% of the world’s population, indicates that SMS are highly appreciated even where the use of smartphones and Internet connections is widespread. Messages are used more than applications like WhatsApp in France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Despite having already completed 25 years and the fact that its golden age ended in the 1990s, SMS retains some peculiarities that distinguish it from other channels: among them, its one- to-one communication potential stands out . In fact, an email can end up in the trash without even being opened, just like a Facebook entry can be ignored by simply swiping down the page. SMS, on the other hand, has direct communication characteristics that make it open in 98% of cases (Dynmark).

Perhaps one of the secrets of SMS is precisely its textuality : 160 characters , like a tweet (or almost), but silent, direct, without the feeling of saturation that bulletin boards, inboxes, walls, etc. transmit. Many will object: “ SMS Marketing for business is effective now because the channel is not saturated. What will happen when sending volumes increase and the SMS inbox is as crowded as the email inbox? ”. That will mean that the channel will have reached its full maturity and consciousness. And if we consider that experimentation is born from awareness , SMS Marketing will continue to evolve, refining more and more the resources at its disposal.

We are going to stop at these SMS resources now, to illustrate the main peculiarities of this channel.[

The 10 characteristics of SMS

1. Immediacy in real time

Once delivered, the opening of the SMS takes place in a practically systematic way . This is what the numbers tell us: the SMS channel guarantees opening rates that exceed the 98% threshold . And of that 98%, 90% take place within three minutes of delivery (Dynmark). These figures can allow us to speak of SMS as a real-time marketing channel.

It’s no coincidence that one of the customers ‘ preferred customer service modalities is SMS support – to ask for feedback and feedback, to receive support, to send reminders and more.

2. Ubiquity

It may sound exaggerated, but it is a very apt term. What makes SMS ubiquitous is the support: the smartphone (or the old generation mobile), the everyday accessory that many define as “true proximity technology”, always by the owner’s side like a wallet and keys From home.

SMS is ubiquitous because it reaches the recipient everywhere , at any time of the day, because it doesn’t even require an internet connection. Let us think about the importance of all the transactional mailings of companies, to communicate on time, but also to improve the customer experience: the study The SMS Advantage (“The advantage of SMS”) by SAP & Loadhouse shows that 64% of consumers find SMS useful to improve their own user experience. You can explore the topic of one-to-one transactional SMS in the following dedicated post , which includes three strategic tips.

3. Versatility

The customer experience is made up of moments, points of contact; put more prosaically, different degrees in the commercial relationship with the client.

If we see the scheme, we realize how the SMS allows to cultivate all the points of contact with a specific communication . A very complete feature that the text message shares with the e-mail.

The hot spots of the customer experience are the central points, which go from the understanding phase to the maintenance phase, and that is where the incisiveness of the SMS is concentrated, to accompany the purchase and build loyalty . However, when setting up an SMS Marketing plan, we realize that text messages can cover the entire customer life cycle.

4. Personalization

It is a feature with two faces: one aimed at brands, which can personalize messages and make them recognizable, thanks to a textual alias that acts as a substitute for the phone number; the other is addressed to the recipients, thanks to the segmentation functions and the dynamic fields , which allow the SMS to be personalized based on the activities, interests and registration data of each contact. Without forgetting the possibility of chaining up to three text messages, to give the communication an even greater breadth.

5. Integrability

Thanks to APIs (SOAP and REST), web services and batch FTP, there is the possibility of connecting the SMS channel with any CRM, e-commerce, ERP or content management system. It is a fundamental resource for the data and information about the client to dialogue with each other, putting the different technologies in contact and creating a digital ecosystem .

Within a digital strategy, the best partner for SMS campaigns is always  e-mail , which is complementary to the text message. The “difficulty” is in coordinating the two channels in a single flow, and we will talk about it in the next point.

6. Automation

It is a label that everyone already knows: Marketing Automation . And yet, the brands that put it into practice or that know it well enough are few. This is a technology that makes it possible to automate a flow ( workflow is the technical term) of e-mail, SMS and more: it is not only a way of saving time and making the flow of communications work autonomously, but also a way of create relevant and well-focused campaigns, automatically targeting content and messages (welcome, order confirmation, promotion, etc.) based on the recipient , their registration data, interests and behavior in relation to the previous communications.

7. Traceability

Whoever sends SMS can know in detail the percentages of delivery and those of failed deliveries , the openings and the clicks made on the link included in the message, not only at the campaign level but also at the recipient level.

The traceability of the link in the SMS, in particular, is revealed as a fundamental tool to know who has clicked on the link and how many times the action has been repeated. In addition, the reports at the recipient level provide you with information and statistical data that you can take advantage of to prepare a filter, create a new group of recipients and even define a condition (as specific as possible) for the start-up of a workflow.

8. Expansion

In addition to the possibility of chaining the messages to which we have already alluded, SMS find a fundamental resource in the landing page , the landing or destination pages where the products, news, services and anticipated communications are detailed in the 160 characters of the SMS. A drag and drop editor is enough to create a professionally designed, mobile-optimized page.

Once the landing page is created, it is only necessary to shorten the URL with a URL shortener program (often integrated into the delivery platform) to be able to insert a link in the SMS that supports detailed tracking.

9. Flexibility

During the sending phase , the SMS is an instrument that offers a high level of flexibility. Indeed, it allows:

  • Schedule the shipment , to choose the day and time to reach your recipients, automatically.
  • Define do not disturb slots , to avoid deliveries at night or on certain days of the week.
  • Pause and resume sending , to freeze the campaign, modify its content and resume sending at any time.

10. Advantages

The ROI of SMS Marketing is one of the highest in the field of digital marketing. Leaving aside the figures and percentages that we find on the web, often unreliable and almost always outdated, we want to present our latest case study , in which we have analyzed the Loytrend SMS Marketing strategy , delving into the objectives, the strategy adopted and the results obtained, with data and percentages in hand.

From the theory to the practice

To explore the SMS Marketing resources and study the channel from different perspectives, you can see the dedicated section on our blog , constantly updated with vertical and horizontal content.