When you consider how central smartphones are to modern life, it shouldn’t really come as any surprise that SMS marketing is one of the most powerful advertising tools available right now. Statistics show that for 91% of Americans, smartphones are never out of arms reach – even when they’re sleeping.
The performance of SMS marketing speaks for itself. Up to 98% percent of text messages from brands are opened by recipients and response rates are higher than any other marketing medium. Reports indicate that 43% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when SMS is part of the shopping experience.
Mobile marketing is driving the growth of ad spending. The forecast for this year is expected to see in excess of $107bn spent on mobile marketing revenues. This switch in digital marketing is predominantly due to consumer behaviour in respect of mobile phones.
Essentially, we’re addicted to our smartphones and all the goodie bag of highs it offers. The online world has become an essential part of every day life. Social media apps are addictive, instant information is instant gratification and being able to contact friends from anywhere is convenience we can’t live without.
Despite the myriad of chatroom apps such a Messenger, Snapchat and Whatsapp, the number of texts sent on a daily basis in the US still tops 6.3bn! SMS remains a popular means of communication. And with so many people spending more time on their smartphones, together with the technological advancements of mobile devices, SMS marketing is more effective than ever before.
Texting is so popular because people need some form of gratification to help us survive on an emotional level. When we are starved of emotional rewards from work, relationships or past times, we need to find a fix from somewhere else. So we turn to the digital realm.
The culprit behind this unrelenting need for satisfaction is naturally occurring neurotransmitters secreted by the brain, namely dopamine and opioid. Neuroscientists used to think dopamine was the brain’s way of making us feel enjoyment and pleasure, but that is not the case. We now know there is more to this neurochemical than originally discovered.
Dopamine determines behaviour and actively makes us seek gratification. Essentially, dopamine is the driver of addictive behaviour. The neurotransmitter that rewards us with satisfaction is opioid which works alongside dopamine. Once the gratification is satisfied, we stop looking for gratification.
Furthermore, dopamine makes us curious. Because text messages are typically associated with rewards we just can’t resist opening an SMS. This is why SMS marketing is so effective. Marketers that are successful in raising curiosity or pulling the emotional strings of desire can therefore find significant advantages in mobile marketing platforms.
The irony of marketing is that people rely on their gut feeling more than their head. Yet it is thoughts that generate emotions because emotions are attached to thoughts and give them meaning. Emotions may originate from the abdominal region – hence the expression ‘gut feeling – but information has to be received by the brain before emotions emerge.
Therefore, when we talk about connecting with consumers, we do not mean getting in touch with them by whatever means available – such as sending an SMS for example. Every marketer knows the connection has to be made on an emotional level. But how do you do that in 160 characters or less?
In SMS marketing, the message is not the most important aspect. There is not enough space to provide sufficient information. The goal is to trigger an emotional response which prompts recipients to take action. In short, use SMS to prompt the dopamine effect.
Because curiosity triggers dopamine, teasing consumers with tidbits of information they want to know more about is recognised as one of the most powerful triggers in marketing. This is why using SMS as a stepping stone to drive customers to landing pages is so effective.
Furthermore, SMS is immediate. Around 90% of text messages are opened within the first three minutes. And it is this need for instant gratification that makes SMS a popular and acceptable marketing channel.
Sassy marketers recognise that SMS is a powerful weapon to have in their marketing arsenal and text messaging can be used in a variety of ways to provide customers with emotional value. Mobile marketing is not about trying to sell, but providing information and coaxing customers along the purchasing path.
Modern consumers don’t want to receive ads. They want information. And because mobile marketing is an opt-in process, sending offer after offer is not the smart way to utilise smartphones as an advertising platform.
Brands are beginning to recognise the value of using text messaging services to conduct customer service and gather consumer feedback. Consumers prefer to communicate with brands through digital means rather than on the phone and more likely to reply to a text than an email.
Sending customers reminders about appointments, upcoming events and brand news is appreciated more by customers than being bombarded by sales ads. Create high-value messages and you improve emotional bonds with customers which ultimately builds loyalty.
It’s also fascinating to note that people are more willing to speak their mind in a text message. Utilising text messaging services to send surveys is therefore a good opportunity to get honest customer feedback.
Convenience is also a key factor in consumer thinking. With so many things to do in a day, if something can be performed quickly and easily, that is the option most people will take. Enter mobile coupons and mobile wallets.
Paying for goods with mobile phones will be the next stage in the evolution of offline shopping. Even in the real world, it will be digital tools that provide the convenience. Mobile coupons are already an acceptable means of purchasing and act as in incentive to buy.
To get the most from your SMS marketing campaigns, it is important to understand the beliefs and emotional values of your customers. Texting can be used effectively in numerous ways so be flexible with your strategy and take advantage of the versatility SMS offers.