SMS vs. Instant Message App Marketing
It seems there’s a new messaging app popping up every month. Maybe even more frequently than that. It’s hard to keep track of them all, but it’s also hard to ignore them if you’re looking to use mobile marketing. When you’ve got limited marketing resources, should you spend them advertising on the latest instant message (IM) app, or go with SMS marketing?
It’s a good question to ask, so lets look at them both first before making a decision.
In the UK in 2013, Whatsapp, closely followed by Facebook messaging, dominated the mobile IM market according to Statista (Facebook bought Whatsapp earlier this year). The next closest are Twitter and Apple’s iMessage. Statista also reports that 33% of Brits are interested in free or low cost instant messaging, but 37% were not interested at all (the rest didn’t even know there were options!).
Clearly people like their IM apps (even if they aren’t free). International Business Times (IBT) reported in January of this year that more IMs were sent in 2013 than SMS messages. They predict the trend will continue through 2014 and beyond. So does it make sense to jump right into IM marketing before the SMS boat sinks?
Not so fast.
The IBT article also said that SMS will continue to generate more revenue than IM apps. And the ultimate objective of all marketing is to bring in revenue by generating more web site traffic, in store sales, or other activity.
There are lots of reasons SMS will continue to do this better than IM apps, but here are the main ones:
- SMS is the only universal solution. Anyone with a mobile phone can receive a SMS message. If you market using an IM app, you’ll have to repeat or recreate the campaign for each app you target. If there ever is an app that everyone uses, then this may change. But for now it looks like SMS is the only way to reach anyone and everyone on their mobile phone.
- Open and read rates for SMS are very high and fast. It’s hard to find any solid data on how often and fast messages sent via IM are read, but for marketers you may not be using the message feature of an IM app anyway. For some apps the only option may be to use mobile banner or video ads. Others are more like social networks where you can collect followers and share your brand or products via messages. In either case, you’re not going to see the immediate response you may get with SMS.
- No hoops to jump through. SMS marketing has a legally defined opt-in process. But when you start looking at using mobile IM apps, the way to reach your customers (or potential customers) can be totally different. You may have to go through the process of getting people to “like”, “follow”, or connect with you before you can message them directly the way you can with SMS. There are undoubtedly as many methods as there are IM apps out there. In comparison, running an opt-in campaign for SMS is simple.
- SMS provides a pre-qualified list. When you think about it, people that opt in to receive SMS messages really want to hear from you. SMS is, or can be, a very intrusive and personal form of communication. You’re contacting them on their private mobile number after all. There’s much more trust and expectation involved in a SMS opt in than just having someone follow you or see your ad while using their IM app. These people will be much easier to sell to than a casual connection in an app.
It’s no wonder why IBT predicts SMS will continue to generate more revenue than IM apps – about 50 times the revenue generated by all the IM apps combined. So if you can only pick one channel – SMS or IM app – my bet would be on SMS. Do you agree?
With the rise of the app, some marketers have been quick to sound the death knell for the SMS. But reports of the SMS's death have been greatly exaggerated. With over 76% of the UK population now dependent on their smartphones for everything from news to personal communication, the SMS remains a great tool to directly engage with your customers.
Using SMS marketing is one highly effective way to maintain relationships with mobile users, but there's an incredibly fine line between engaging with someone and annoying them to such an extent that they swiftly delete your marketing messages and never want to hear from you again. Here's 6 things to keep in mind to make sure you don't annoy your subscribers.
Social media platforms pop up so frequently it's hard to keep track. And if you're doing any mobile marketing, it can really create some confusion about what to do and which platform to do it on. This blog isn't about choosing a social platform, but it does address how focusing on social and SMS marketing together - but differently – can lead to greater success in your mobile marketing.
Is SMS marketing like social media? While there are similarities and both can be considered mobile marketing, the short answer is no. However when using a multi-channel marketing strategy it's important to know when to use a text message and when to use a social media channel.
In a world where your competition can be found in just a few seconds, instilling brand loyalty in customers is a greater challenge than ever. One way to proactively reach out to customers is via SMS. The personal nature of SMS messages, combined with high read rates, gives you the opportunity to develop relationships with each customer.
SMS marketing offers the ability to send time-sensitive offers to your best customers. But are you missing out on the potential of your own brand in your offers? Read this post to see an example of how a simple trick can potentially boost your results.
You worked hard to get those customers on your SMS marketing list. But now they are unsubscribing like crazy, or maybe just no longer responding to your messages. What happened? Maybe you’ve committed one of the following common, but easy to fix, errors that can completely drive your customers away.
Using people’s names in marketing is great. It does provide a certain level of personalisation that can get people more interested in what you’re sending them. Of course in text messaging, you don’t always have the room for a name, your message, and the required opt out information … usually there just isn’t enough room. So how can you make your marketing messages personal?