5 Marketing Trends That Matter for SMS in 2018
The world of marketing is something that is continually adapting, developing and changing and it is essential that organisations large and small keep up to date and embrace new techniques, channels and strategies to keep their existing customers satisfied and to attract new customers. SMS Marketing remains a hugely powerful channel within the marketing mix and used effectively, can play a big role in your 2018 campaigns. So what is changing in the marketing landscape for 2018 and how can you adapt your SMS Marketing strategy to fit? Here are 5 tips.
1. More content types
Whilst many companies have, for the last few years, tended to find a content format that suits them and focus all their efforts on producing consistent, quality content for their chosen approach on a regular basis, this is changing. Customers now expect to see organisations using every channel available and developing tailored content for each. This means specific graphic content for visual channels such as Instagram and Pinterest, quality articles for blogs, mixed media and video content for Facebook, compelling videos for YouTube and more. Whilst a lot of organisations are doing this, the Content Marketing Institute reports that less than 50% of companies surveyed had invested in mobile marketing in 2017 – despite huge interest from customers. With this in mind, there are two key roles that SMS Marketing can play in 2018. Firstly, it can be developed as a direct channel for marketing and secondly, it can be used to support marketing efforts elsewhere online, allowing customers to link directly from an SMS to a website or app.
2. Customers want ‘off-screen’ experiences
Customers are beginning to demand more experience that takes place off the computer screen, rather than having to use an app or website to control their entire relationship with a brand. One example is the increased use of the Internet of Things (IoT), in which enabled devices can connect and share information – the increased integration of Alexa and physical objects being perhaps the most notable illustration.
However, providing an alternative experience for the customer does not necessarily have to be expensive and technically challenging – SMS Marketing is a great example of another approach that, despite taking place within their mobile device, is perceived by customers as being a completely different experience to online sites or apps. Still regarded as a unique and highly personal communications channel, SMS is often seen as an almost ring-fenced element of mobile communication – and as such can take advantage of the demand for alternative channels.
To make the most of SMS Marketing in 2018, make sure that you develop creative campaigns that are designed exclusively for SMS Marketing to allow them to have a truly native feel.
3. Trust and transparency
According to recent statistics published by Nielsen, there is a general lack of trust in the claims that companies make in their marketing, be it in relation to how environmentally or ecologically focused they are to how much support they offer charitable causes. One of the most significant findings from the report was that the single highest trust factor for brands and organisations – over 80% – was from direct recommendations by people that potential customers know.
With this in mind, there is a significant need for companies to invest in encouraging direct recommendation – and SMS Marketing is a great channel for this. If, like many organisations, you have developed a reward scheme to incentivise recommendations, then link it up with your SMS Marketing and send regular communications by SMS. Remember, it is easy for your customer to share an SMS directly to one or all of their contacts in just a couple of steps, or to reply with details of a contact without having to leave the SMS application. With most people carrying their phone on them almost all of the time, SMS also means that customers are much more likely to offer a direct word of mouth recommendation to those around them.
4. The customer journey
The customer journey has always been an important basis for managing the relationship, however there now needs to be more focus than ever on nurturing the customer and establishing a two-way relationship at every stage of that journey. It is not enough to simply put all of your efforts into the conversion then abandon the customer, nor do customers expect to be apprehended with a sales message at their first encounter with your brand. The modern customer relationship follows a process that is typically divided into the stages of awareness, consideration and decision. It is only at this relatively late stage that a customer will typically convert and only here that they are ready to commit to investing in your product or service.
The awareness stage relies on the customer building a familiarity and understanding of who your brand is and what it represents, whilst the second stage is more about familiarisation with your product or service. Only in stage three will a customer typically start to give serious thought to pricing.
Provided it is used appropriately, SMS Marketing is a great way to nurture and guide the customer through these stages and nudge them towards completing the transaction. Think about how to communicate in the right way at each stage, rather than simply trying to go for the sell in every SMS.
5. Strategy matters
Despite content marketing playing such an important role in the modern organisation, research by the CMI indicates that there remains a lack of coherent, consistent strategy within companies and this is something that really ought to be addressed in 2018 – including SMS Marketing. It is only with a clearly defined and documented strategy that you can achieve the desired outcome – and replicate it. A well-documented strategy also means that your SMS Marketing becomes transferrable – whether you are expanding your team or replacing members. Without having an established and documented strategy, you expose your brand to risk and also reduce your likelihood of achieving the desired result.
S.M.A.R.T objectives – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely – lend themselves well to SMS Marketing and can be a useful starting point for those who are less familiar with strategy development. Also, ensure that all of the departments within your business are able to contribute to your strategy at an early stage, to ensure that there is coherency across all the activities that contribute to your success.
Here at Fastsms, our award-winning team of experts are always on hand to get you on the right track with business bulk SMS messaging, whatever your niche. To talk to an expert now and learn more about what SMS Marketing has to offer, call us on 0800 954 5305.
Just for fun, I asked people in a marketing focused Facebook group to share the worst SMS marketing messages they’ve ever received. I was expecting a deluge of responses, but actually only a few trickled in. But those horrible SMS marketing messages are out there…the comments on my post proved it even if no one wanted to share (I guess they’re all shy).
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