The popularity of the SMS application has made text messaging one of the more effective forms of marketing. Businesses are turning to the method to reach specific demographics and send out effective messages with a high potential for readership. However, some believe that text message marketing has its pitfalls, and these will need to be overcome to fulfill a truly successful text messaging campaign.
The online publication Adotas lists two cons associated with SMS text marketing. Kristi Carter, the author of the article, lists caution and shortened messages as two factors that may limit the success of text marketing.
Caution is a factor in every marketing campaign. Users tend to be skeptical of unknown sources. Spam and viruses are major concerns and, as a result, recipients may stray away from these messages, even if it means that they are missing out on valuable information.
"Although 99 percent of text messages are opened, people are leery of receiving them from unknown sources," Carter writes. "This is because hackers often send viruses through SMS messages."
All outbound marketing professionals encounter this hurdle. Part of every marketing strategy involves getting around the roadblock of unfamiliarity while still engaging new prospects and selling them on valuable ideas, products and services. Taking a personal approach with text messaging can increase a prospect's comfortability. A comfortable recipient should be more willing to open messages.
However, this must be done with messaging that is short and concise. Modern smartphone technology has eliminated the truncation of messages, but that doesn't mean that recipients want to read elongated paragraphs in one text message.
Carter lists this as another con of text message marketing, writing: "Although there aren't any real character limitations, it's still a good idea the create shorter text. This way, they'll be more likely to read and understand."
This can be a challenge with text message marketing. Typically, users won't want to receive a slew of consecutive messages, but they cannot be too long or recipients could be turned off and ignore some or all of the content. But, incorporating all of the content into one concise message can also be difficult, as marketers may need to flesh out their message to ensure that users understand what they are reading.
Finding a solution to overcome both of these challenges requires a tremendous amount of skill. Marketers need to develop simple and effective messages that come off as personal while displaying the advantages of a product or service containing a strong call to action.
The best way to incorporate all of these needs into one message is by sending special promotional text messages or incorporating SMS couponing into the messaging strategy. For example, a business with the phone number of a regular customer can send a coupon to let the recipient know that their business is valued. This is a nice personal touch that can entice recipients to open subsequent messages from the same company. It has a positive effect on businesses because that recipient will more than likely respond to new messages and may buy new products and services. They may also share such messages with their friends, which can help a company acquire new customers.
Additionally, the value of promotional texts can be expressed in a limited number of characters so recipients will receive important information without having to sift through excessive content. Users may also be more apt to read longer messages in the future if initial messaging offers a positive experience.
In marketing, it is crucial for businesses to understand the various nuances of their current and potential customers, and adapt accordingly. Behaviors, preferences and trends all must be considered. A number of fashion retailers catered towards teenage girls and young women understand this, and are now marketing to their customers by sending promotional text messages.
According to the Wall Street Journal, businesses including Charlotte Russe, Claire's Boutique and Vans have started sending SMS messages to customers. These include information about in-store sales, promotional codes and coupons. Recently, Charlotte Russe sent out a coupon for $1 sunglasses per every $30 purchase, and the promotion was met with tremendous success.
Most of the retailers indulging in this practice say that they have turned from running such promotions via email marketing to SMS messaging. Studies have shown that the average recipient is five times more likely to open a text message than an email. The discrepancy is even greater when considering these particular companies' target demographic.
According to the website Ask the Judge, texting amongst teens rose from 50 texts per day in 2009 to 60 texts per day in 2012. Meanwhile, only 6 percent of teenage girls admitted to checking email every day. Paul Hollowell, the director of marketing at Charlotte Russe, explained to the news source that the texting campaign has been much more successful with teenage girls than previous email campaigns.
Moreover, the sentiment shared among teen girls barely changes as they transition into adulthood. Grace Abruzzo, a 22-year-old student in Arizona and recipient of Charlotte Russe's promotional texts, told the news source that she prefers receiving texts over emails.
"I get a lot of junk email," she said. "With text messages, I can be selective."
Swift SMS Gateway offers the tools that businesses need to successfully run SMS messaging campaigns.
The evolution of technology has changed the way people communicate. As such, traditional communication policies associated with various practices have adjusted to comply with modern standards. One such effect has taken place in the NCAA, where collegiate recruiting regulations have changed to accept modern communication methods such as SMS messaging.
In the past, regulations existed to prevent coaches from reaching out to recruits via text message. In fact, engaging in such recruiting methods carried major consequences, and NCAA athletic programs suffered severe penalties for doing so. However, officials with the NCAA have since laxed their position, stating that it is time for coaches to take advantage of modern technological resources.
In June, the NCAA officially deregulated text messaging as a recruitment tool in some sports including basketball, and now coaches and assistants can send unlimited texts to high schoolers after their sophomore year.
Tyus Jones, a star basketball prospect at Apple Valley High School in Minnesota, spoke with ESPN about the rule changes and agreed that it's a smart step towards the future of recruiting.
"I think a text message is probably easier just because kids, we're always on our phones and always texting," Jones said. "If they just text us real quick, it takes two seconds to text back. I know me personally, if you send out a lot of letters, it takes some time to open all those up. Sometimes talking on the phone takes a long time."
Despite a plethora of ever-increasing features on modern smartphones, SMS remains the most popular app on all mobile phones. That is why communicating important bits of information is so impactful when it is sent via text messaging. Businesses must consider this as they plan communication strategies with employees, business partners, customers and prospects. Swift SMS Gateway provides the tools needed to execute a successful SMS campaign.