3 Habits of Successful SMS Users

Written by: David McCoy on

Author: David McCoy, Account Manager at MessageMedia

David - Blog ImageOn the 3rd December in 1992 the first SMS was sent, it was wonderful and the world turned its head. (1)

By 2010 it became the most widely used data application.

Then, came the rise of a dreaded supervillain, the smartphone. What on earth did we do without them. I don’t know what I would do without mine today.

In this blog I want to address this very concept – head on. Why do I work for a business SMS specialist during arguably the most explosive and exciting time in the mobile and social technology era? What better way to do this than through the eyes of one of my favourite people – an SMS messaging super user.

Over the last eight months, since joining MessageMedia I have been fortunate enough to meet many SMS messaging super users. In this blog I have listed the 3 habits that are synonymous with those clients driving the greatest impact, in terms of increased service level or productivity gain.

1.       They use SMS sparingly

superman

As uncle Ben said to our favourite spandex wearing spider “remember, with great power, comes great responsibility”. SMS messages are extremely powerful; in the wrong hands they can reap havoc. Okay that may be a little dramatic, but there is some truth to this. Let me explain. Text messages have a 98% open rate (2), in fact, 90% of SMS messages are opened within 3 minutes (3) – no other direct marketing or communication channel can offer this level of impact.

With this in mind, you must ensure that your messaging strategy is built around transparency and trust. SMS messages sent frequently can lead to a disgruntled recipient, you don’t want to drive Opt Outs that might reduce the size of your hard earned database or prospect list.

SMS messages used at the right place at the right time can transform the way that you engage with your recipient and improve the standard of your interactions, so it is important that you monitor them through dashboards and reports.

It is important to work out the optimal time to send an SMS. My esteemed colleague Audrey Dowd, talks about the complimentary role of SMS messaging (4). In short, it’s not the answer to all of your communications problems, but it sure is one of the vital solutions.

2.       They see SMS as a form of engagement

Sorry I didn’t text you back, but my phone recognized your number. We’ve all been there, communication is hard man. With the rise of mobile and social technologies I think it’s fair to say that we have to rethink how we communicate, engage and connect with our customers. Messaging super users see SMS as a great opportunity to promote relevant and consistent content; an opportunity to engage with their audiences like never before.

Brands need to connect the dots between context, intent, and immediacy to not only be there for their consumers, but to be useful too. Through an immediate and individualised SMS message, you can progress a customer journey through a call to action. An SMS super user delivers relevance based on content and intent in the moment that it is needed most. I’ll say it again, the right message to the right person at the right time can be extremely powerful.

Now to re-address the elephant in the room. There is no doubt that new apps are coming to market changing how we communicate and engage with our customers. Many people over the years have cried “the end of SMS is neigh”. So why is that not the case? Why is global application to peer SMS messaging volumes still on the rise? (5) Why is SMS able to weather so many storms?

For me it is because apps are not here to replace text messaging with a rich media experience. Instead they are well positioned to catalyse conversations in the cloud whilst relying on SMS to weave immediate context into the situation (think critical alerts, coupons, calendar invites and passwords). Revenue streams will remain intact for SMS super users that can work with organisations to find that compelling and immediate message to help surprise the customer.

3.       They choose their SMS partner carefully

Sending an SMS is easy for the consumer, but it is a different ball game for a business to do the same. Enterprise organisations need to contend with a fragmented technology landscape, there is a myriad of global aggregators, connectors and telecom providers that handle SMS messages. Couple that with local laws and regulations around SPAM and you have quite a complex environment.

SMS messaging super users pay special attention to consumer and business mobile messaging trends. They know that service quality lies in how well your SMS partner executes and how well your SMS solution maps to the needs of your business.

Does your SMS partner support global text, 2-Way SMS, alpha tags, dedicated numbers, delivery receipts, text to voice, long code and short codes? How good is their API documentation if you wish to integrate SMS with an existing application? How quickly can they have you up and running in your language of choice?

Predictions for the future of SMS?

fish

I’ve heard some people argue that the human attention span is less than that of a goldfish! (6) Though it is certainly true in my case, that’s a pretty outlandish claim. I’m not sure if it’s backed with neural evidence or stacks of empirical research, but I’m going to run with it here.

Think of how we digest news on Twitter and Facebook. The meteoric rise of Vines, GIFs and videos on YouTube and Instagram. Digital lifestyles are changing the way that we process information, decreasing the ability for prolonged focus, and increasing our appetite for short and snappy stimuli. With a 98% open rate and a 160-character limit, that is why I feel SMS is here to stay – no let me reword that – it is here to flourish.

SMS has the highest delivery and read rate across all major communication channels (email, OTT or phone). It is available as long as you have a mobile phone and a service plan. It doesn’t come with any baggage or prerequisites – you don’t need to follow SMS, you don’t need to like SMS, you don’t need to download SMS in the app store. It’s a one-size-fits-all, no-strings-attached kind of guy (or girl), making it perfect for quick, time sensitive content.

For today’s customers, communication across multiple channels is no longer a preference – it’s an expectation. With the explosive reliance on mobile technology, customers want real problems solved, in real time, real fast. When it comes to a larger audience reach that is reliant on speed and immediacy, SMS provides the urgency and flexibility to give customers the most valuable content at the most precise time. Speed and simplicity.

About the Author: David McCoy is an Account Manager at MessageMedia. Before joining MessageMedia David discovered his passion for technology working in a Business Development role for an industry leading talent software provider. Armed with a master’s in business management he is now focused on helping enterprise clients connect with their key stakeholders through business SMS messaging. When not at MessageMedia you will find David playing soccer for Sandringham SC or on one of the many beaches here in Australia!

References:

1.               http://gizmodo.com/5965121/the-first-text-message-was-sent-20-years-ago-today

2.               http://mobilemarketingwatch.com/sms-marketing-wallops-email-with-98-open-rate-and-only-1-spam-43866/

3.               http://connectmogul.com/2013/03/texting-statistics/

4.               http://www.bandt.com.au/media/sms-marketing-is-neglected-heres-why-it-shouldnt-be

5.               A2P SMS Market, Services (Transactional [CRM, Interactive], Promotional [Marketing, Inquiry, Pushed content]), Verticals (BFSI, Retail, Telecom, Transport, Entertainment, Utilities), Regions – Global Market Drivers, Opportunities, Trends, and Forecasts, 2016-2022

6.               http://www.statisticbrain.com/attention-span-statistics/