SMS Services : Myths and Misconceptions
What is stopping YOU from using SMS technology in your organisation?
There are lingering myths and misconceptions about using business SMS systems for marketing, or stakeholder engagement, that may be holding you back from benefiting from one of the most effective group communication tools available.
One of the main reasons people don’t use SMS services is they aren’t aware how controllable, precise and measurable today’s online SMS platforms are. They mistakenly believe that mass messaging via mobile phones is some form of “guerrilla” communication.
There are plentiful case studies and anecdotal evidence that SMS services can be tangibly effective. Yet this is sometimes ignored by decision makers on the basis of “it’s not for us because we…” …Need something more precise? Value our reputation? Want a more personal approach to communication? Like to keep a tight control on messages in and out of our company?
Yet all of those reasons for not using this form of communication to reach target audiences, are rooted in a lack of understanding of just how sophisticated, flexible and personal modern SMS technology and systems are. The reality of what’s on offer could be very different from your perception.
So, let’s look at some of the things that may be holding you back from using online SMS as a valuable and highly responsive communications tool.
Welcome or unwelcome communication?
Probably at the top of many lists of reasons not to use SMS business text messaging is the enduring myth that it is intrusive and annoys people.
Far from it, we live in an age when people want information quickly, simply, while they are “on the go”. SMS provides that.
As it is an opt-in method of marketing, the people who receive your messages have chosen to be kept informed, and in all likelihood value this form of communication.
Ask your staff, client base, fans or other stakeholders if they would like information and offers delivered straight to their phone and you may be pleasantly surprised how many would happily opt-in.
"Just" used for advertising?
SMS is not just about advertising either – trying to put your selling messages in front of people in a bold and “in your face” fashion.
This overlooks all the ways this system of messaging can be used to inform, inspire and include recipients. It can be used to schedule meetings, coordinate projects and generally include all stakeholders in developments simply and effectively.
If it is sales messages it transmits, then these can ensure customers and potential customers never miss a special offer, discount or event and are kept informed of the latest news and trends. Many will value the chance to be “in the loop” with regards to new information or products you have if they have already chosen to engage with your organisation and provide you with their mobile number.
SMS costs VS benefits
One of the myths that hold some businesses back is that SMS messaging is too expensive for smaller companies and is only accessible by large companies with sizeable marketing budgets.
The latest SMS platforms are – in fact – highly cost-effective, particularly as SMS business text conversion rates are so high.
SMS is a bit like "black magic"
Some people see this whole subject as rather confusing and alien. Keep in mind that SMS messaging is not a standalone, independent process, or in any way a random system of communication.
Your SMS platform would be integrated within your organisation’s other automated systems, such as appointment and ecommerce software.
Texts will be part of clearly planned, strategic communications campaigns, using carefully worded messages. Responses could be measurable and quantifiably effective.
Systems to enable stakeholders to “opt-out” are also embedded and responsive, leaving you (again) with that army of recipients who choose to get information this way.
Another enduring myth which may be holding you back from exploring this valuable communications tool is that SMS marketing can only work on young audiences.
Texting is the new talking, far outweighing the volume of actual calls between mobiles for all ages.
Are you ready for some amazing statistics? 90% of people worldwide send at least one text per day. In the UK, 86% of adults use text messaging. And the average UK resident sends 170 text messages every month.
Plus, there are over 350 billion text messages flying around the world in any one month. And these figures are from before 2016, when the love of smartphones really took off.
Still think texting is only reaching a younger demographic?
SMS messaging; bolt-on or basic sense?
In 2016, 68% of website traffic came from mobile phones. How many of those people “clicked through” from timely, well written and properly executed SMS campaigns?
And therein lies a very crucial point. One of the barriers some people use for avoiding integrating SMS into their marketing and stakeholder engagement is a mistaken belief that it is a fleeting and flimsy “bolt on”.
Yes, indeed you do have a set number of characters, and a limited window of attention to reach into the consciousness of your recipients.
But SMS texts have near to 100% rates for being opened. And they are taking important, concise messages straight into the hands (and minds) of your target audiences. People who send and receive texts every day, all day, are pre-disposed to pay attention to what you write.
And that is where the effectiveness of SMS services pass directly to the user. It all hinges on making sure that the wording is right. There may not be as much room as an email, but used carefully, that SMS message can contain a direct and more effective call to action, as well as pertinent information that can bring an immediate response. Click on the website, ring, text back – an instant response to your message is within fingertip control of recipients.
Can you afford to be left behind?
One set of research found that 58% of companies surveyed had marketing teams or personnel who only focus on mobile marketing campaigns.
That surely provides a very vivid illustration of why it is vital to market and engage via mobile phones.
In this era of fast-moving technology – and highly fluid and ever more sophisticated consumers – you snooze, you lose.
SMS was once considered to be a dead technology, but the humble text message has proved it’s around for the long haul. And what with Nokia reintroducing the iconic 3310 with its never-ending battery life and non-smart interface, straightforward texting fits right into our busy lifestyles.
So what was the first ever smartphone available? Here we discuss whether it was the Simon from IBM back in 1992 or maybe the Ericsson GS88, or the Nokia 9000 communicator a year earlier. Whichever it's hard to imagine a world without smartphones yet almost as difficult to accept they've been around for 20 - 25 years.
Ever wondered why SMS text messages are limited to 160 characters? You might think it was an arbitrary choice but that wasn't the case. 160 characters was chosen based on scientific research (sort of). Read the history behind it and learn how you can send texts of up to 456 characters now.
A recent eMarketer article on the effectiveness of mobile banner advertising reports the main reason people don't click is because they aren't interested in the offer. In fact, only 24% of those surveyed say they clicked on a mobile banner on a website in the last three months.
Just in the last 60-70 years, communications have gone from requiring a person to route the calls to not needing anyone other than the two people at either end. It all got me wondering about the history of communications and how much different it is from even just a 100 years ago, or a thousand. The result of my wondering is this infographic that covers most of recorded history (at some level of detail anyway).
A text message is a very small and condensed piece of communication in contrast to voice messaging or video broadcast. Consequently text messages can get through when network capability is degraded to an extent that makes other options unviable.