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Why SMS Technology Still Dominates in The Digital Age

why does sms still dominate mobile

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. Better yet, you don’t need a smartphone to send and receive a test message, just the kind of very cheap pay as you go mobile that everyone carries as a backup.

Perhaps it’s the very simplicity and familiarity of text messaging that makes it one of the most successful marketing tools of the digital age, with 16 million texts being sent every minute. Even smartphone users seem to prefer the old technology, with only 43% using their phone to make calls while 70% of smartphone users send texts. And where it might take us 90 minutes to respond to an email, it takes just 90 seconds to respond to a text.

Extending your reach with SMS

While there are currently 7 billion SMS users and rising, only 2.5 billion people continue to regularly use email. When you need immediacy, whether you want to promote a product or an offer, then an SMS gets that product or offer to your potential customers in nanoseconds, and 90% of them will then read your text within 3 minutes. SMS is the single easiest way to reach an intergenerational audience within minutes, through a simple technology everyone understands.

Generate higher response rates

Do you know the click-through rate from email? Just 3%. And while an inventive and cross-platform campaign using direct mail, promotional products and social media can generate some buzz, some of those individual elements are floundering. Your potential customers are at least 10 times more likely to redeem a digital coupon sent by SMS than a traditional paper coupon, according to Marketer research.

Generate repeat sales

When the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 20% of the peapods in his garden held 80% of the peas, he didn’t know he’d lend his name to the ‘Pareto Principle’ that says that 80% of your profits will be generated by just 20% of your customers. In practice, it means that you need to engage with a dedicated core group of consumers and transform them into super fans of your brand. Leveraging this loyalty into reliable repeat custom is something that SMS can help you achieve through direct engagement. You already have the opt in.


SMS takes seconds and can be fully automated. If you take the time to do your research and then put together a killer SMS marketing strategy, you can continue to focus on running your business and providing an excellent service and/or product for potential new clients. Meanwhile, your campaign will engage customers by using short codes and automated replies for speed and engagement.


If an automated campaign saves you time, then using SMS saves you money. For around 3p a message, you’ll access the power of an SMS campaign that it more effective than email, generating up to 4 times the open rate of an email marketing campaign. Factor in a response rate for SMS that is 10 times higher than that for traditional inbound marketing and you have long-term savings coupled with a huge RoI.

Track and target

Not only is SMS fast and cost-effective, it can be highly targeted too. In fact, SMS gives you unparalleled access to customer insights allowing you to accurately target a particular demographic or customer behaviours. By targeting and sending personalised SMS to particular audiences you can then track back offers and measure their effectiveness. Analytics will measure smartphone click-through rates allowing you to gauge the success of every message you send, and to track the customer journey and gauge appropriate moments to engage and offer support.

Create a sense of urgency

Let’s assume you’ve created your campaign and scheduled your texts to arrive while your audience are out and about. Not only does this observe the rule that you never send SMS when you wouldn’t be happy to receive them, it also means your customers are in the position to make a sale. Issue a time-specific call to action and you’ll generate a huge amount of interest. And the rapid response rate means that your customers will be more liable to act as it’s more difficult to exclude a good SMS offer from your mind when you’re in a position to act on it.

Integrate with cross-platform marketing

43% of customers say they’re more likely to make a purchase when a mobile offer is presented as part of a cross-platform campaign. This type of marketing makes common sense – by advertising across social media, your website and print you’ll optimise reach and create a wider sense of brand loyalty that can generate a greater number of sales opportunities than are available to one platform alone.

Engage your audience

Here’s an interesting statistic: in the US, 70% of consumers say they’d be happy to receive SMS messages from a brand they believe in, yet some organisations still have concerns that customers will view their SMS campaigns as spam and opt out. In fact, if you keep your messages timely, at a frequency of no more than 2-4 messages a month, and with content that adds value for the customer, targeted to clients who have opted in, then you’ll increase sales.

Increase brand loyalty

Research shows that a massive 90% of customers who have opted into an SMS campaign say that they’ve gained real value from it. If your customers already feel special as a result of opting into your campaign, then treat them to exclusive SMS-only deals and make them feel like VIPs.

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what SMS is capable of, and you’ll find some excellent resources like our SMS guides on the website. Or contact us and we’ll be happy to talk you through the best way you can use SMS for your business.

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