Businesses need a mobile strategy. But which tools will be most effective for your business; SMS messaging, push notifications or email. It;s a dilemma marketers are wrangling with so this article discusses the pros and cons of each to help you make up your mind.
SMS messaging services
Text message marketing is not exactly the new kid on the block, but it is the mobile strategy that has enjoyed the most progressive development in recent years. Suffice to say, SMS marketing tools is where technology giants have been investing their money.
And for good reason. The market for SMS messaging and A2P messaging is forecast to generate over $58bn in revenue by 2020. SMS already has an open rate of around 98% and customers are open to receiving SMS over any other channel.
SMS marketing is also versatile. You don’t have to send out discount offers every time you launch a campaign. One of the strengths of integrating SMS into a marketing campaign is the ability to drive traffic to your website and social media networks.
You can also use SMS for business critical communication, raising brand awareness, customer service, and enhancing customer loyalty programs. Anything customers need to know is best served with a text message.
Furthermore, SMS has a global reach and resolves issues posed by poor internet connectivity and reaching your audience in a busy space such as social media and an email inbox.
However, for SMS marketing campaigns to be effective, you need to build a customer list. This requires additional advertising prompting mobile users to opt-in to your mobile services.
SMS platforms also only have space for 160 characters thus messages have to be kept short. Although this issue should not pose a problem for most marketers, it is something you should keep in mind when creating an SMS campaign.
Push notifications have similar strengths to SMS in that they are instantaneous. However, push notifications can only be sent through apps so require readers to be connected to wi-fi.
The other obstacle for push notification is convincing customers to download an app. Unless you build a branded app that provides value and delivers a function mobile owners will use regularly, there is no platform to send push notifications to.
Furthermore, 50% of mobile users find push notifications annoying. However, this depends on how effectively you construct your marketing messages. If the notifications are relevant to end-users, you will have more success. The problem is you can’t segregate an audience to receive specific messages like you can with SMS and email.
If you can convince end-users to download an app, or connect with you on a mobile app service such as Messenger or WhatsApp, you increase your chances of reaching a wider audience, providing they have a smartphone.
The real benefits of push notifications are they are easy to use, cost-effective, increase engagement, drive traffic to your app and give you insights into customer behavior. However, apps are expensive to build so require a substantial upfront investment before you see any ROI.
Email marketing still offers businesses a good chance of increasing customer engagement and conversions. And with tools like MailChimp that have a better equipment to navigate spam filters, more emails are reaching inboxes.
Generally speaking, you should ask for customer consent before sending emails. Although it is still common to send spam emails, you run the risk of being blacklisted so is not a sensible tactic.
But once you get customers to opt-in to your email campaigns you can use this channel effectively to deliver special offers, newsletters, welcome messages, thank you and confirmation mails or follow up leads and past customers.
Furthermore, email has the edge over SMS and push notifications for delivering more information. Although emails should be kept brief, it is an easier platform to explain more about your offer or service.
Email may be slow in reaching customers, so is best for messages that are not time-sensitive. And because most people read emails whilst they are at work, they don’t always provoke a prompt reaction so are forgotten about.
Furthermore, success rates are pretty low. On average, between 20 and 30% of email campaigns are opened but click-through rates can be as little as 5%. On average, email campaigns only have a 1-2% conversion rate.
You therefore need a sizeable list of contacts before an email marketing campaign will be effective. Of course there is no harm incorporating all three methods into your marketing efforts, but you should consider which strategy will be most cost-effective and deliver the best ROI.