Text marketing and SMS campaigns are powerful. Over 2 trillion SMS text messages are sent and received yearly in the United States. That activity has held steady for the past few reported years, from 2018 to 2021, with a temporary 10% increase in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Statista reports that this 2 trillion figure is up from 1.5 trillion in 2017 and 1 trillion in 2007. The number of text messages has doubled over the past 15 years. The annual volume is now more than 25 times the amount in 2005 (81 billion).
The megatrends that influence increased SMS text messaging are:
- The dominance of mobile-first connections.
- SMS messages provide superior customer service.
- SMS messages play a vital role in omnichannel messaging, according to Mitto.
- SMS is useful for more than just marketing efforts.
- SMS messaging is low-cost, highly efficient, and generates a positive return on investment.
- Influencers embrace SMS.
SMS automation is now commonplace. One strong trend is the increased implementation of 10-digit long codes (10DLC). These numbers are assigned and recognized by mobile carriers for business-to-consumer communication. These 10DLCs appear like regular phone numbers on the consumer’s phone. A text message from a local number is more effective when compared to a 1-800 number.
Even though automation is extensive, messages need a personal, humanlike feel. The most effective SMS messages benefit from advanced personalization. Permission-based SMS marketing is customer-oriented and helpful. Mitto makes a strong case for integrating SMS with marketing channels. Conversational messaging is a part of omnichannel marketing.
Another major trend is the new FCC anti-spam rules targeting unlawful spam text messages. Reducing illegal spam text messages benefits all who properly use these systems for SMS campaigns by first seeking consumer permission.
The Enduring Relevance of Text Marketing in the Digital Age
Text messaging is enormously appealing because consumers give it more attention than emails. Text messages are more immediate and concise, with the core message conveyed in the message’s title. Text messaging remains relevant when considered a functional, integrated part of omnichannel marketing.
Email campaigns work together with SMS messaging campaigns. Neither is a replacement for the other. For example, an SMS message may inform customers about a time-dependent discount on a product they requested to receive SMS updates. An email campaign could simultaneously give more specific details about the product. When appropriate, the two campaigns may cross-reference the other by saying in an email, “See your text message for the discount code,” and simultaneously in an SMS text message, “See your email for more information.”
The Importance of Personalized Messaging for Customer Engagement
Personalization is critical for the effective use of SMS messages. Most consumers want to feel that a company values them and that their opinions matter. Using a customer’s first name, sending a birthday congratulation, and offering discounts on previously ordered products are all great ways to engage. Conversational marketing efforts that build on the data-driven knowledge found in a customer profile are effective. Personalized SMS messages build brand awareness and increase customer loyalty through more substantial engagement.
A word to the wise: Not using personalization is a mistake. A text message that’s too “salesy” may be considered rude, such as pushing the purchase of a product on sale. A better message might be a thank-you note using the customer’s first name and mentioning a past purchase along with the current discount. This approach has a style of conversational messaging that feels like each message is made exclusively for them.
The Evolving Role of Text Marketing in the Broader Digital Landscape
Consumers, especially younger ones like millennials and Generation Z, prefer text messages to phone conversations. Besides marketing efforts to build brand awareness, improve customer retention, and increase sales, SMS text messages provide superb customer service functions, which may include:
- Answering customer questions
- Appointment, event, and time-to-reorder reminders
- Shipping information
- Delivery status updates
- Network system status
- Scheduled maintenance
- Holiday closures
- Severe weather warnings and emergency alerts
- Any short message with useful information that the customer requests
The major trends are omnichannel messaging, increased automation, and improved personalization.