Sending an SMS is not something new. Since the development of mobile phones, people were able to communicate easily, by making phone calls. But they could also contact each other by exchanging SMS, which made communication even easier.
If many think that SMS is an obsolete thing and only Boomers use it, they are wrong. The SMS channel is gaining momentum again, especially in the field of marketing. We all live in a highly technological world. We have smart homes and appliances, we can turn off the light just by a click on our phone, we have electrical cars, Artificial Intelligence is a field that is developing tremendously, and so does machine learning. The world, society, and lifestyle of people are constantly changing and evolving, and so do people’s expectations from brands and businesses.
Marketing professionals may be among the most challenged professionals by these constant cultural shifts and changes in the view of the world. The thing is, all these changes and shifts are fostered by the youngest generations that enter adulthood. Millennials are already changing the world, and next up in line is Generation Z.
Depending on the context and the environment, people have different expectations from brands, governments, businesses, local administration, and so on. They want you, as a brand, to show that you care about them as individuals, not as a general mass of people. Customers do not want to be spammed but kept updated with the most important information and changes. Consumer behavior and expectations are in a permanent change process and marketers need to adapt to it.
To increase the revenue of your business, develop and improve it, even more, you need customers. But they have the power of choice: they can choose any brand over another, and here is the part where you can make a difference.
Marketers have the job of increasing brand awareness, getting new clients, and making the existing ones loyal. The way you choose to communicate with your customers is essential. Meeting their needs is also important.
Given the fact that now smartphones kind of are replacements for laptops or computers, using this means of communication to reach your customers could be the solution. But you need to go beyond the traditional posts on social media or newsletters. Social media is full of ads and tons of newsletters are piling up on most people’s inboxes. So, what else could you do?
Following the SMS marketing trend. Even though they are not new to the market, they begin to gain momentum in the marketing industry. An SMS marketing strategy comes with more benefits than you would imagine. You can personalize them and reach more customers easily and directly, in a mobile-friendly way. It is a fast way to reach your customers and also increase the open-rate of the message or customer engagement.
So, which are the trends that will gain more momentum this year? Is SMS marketing going to last this year too? What are the subtitles you need to always consider when you follow the SMS marketing trend? You will be going to find out more about all these from the following paragraphs.
1. SMS as Transactional Messages
Many marketers and people alike think about SMS marketing as lots of messages sent to customers on their phones. Many consumers think about spammy messages, something everyone wants to avoid. Sending your customers messages with promotions is one of the SMS marketing trends that will rule this year. But here we talk about SMS as transactional messages.
We already know that there is a character limit when sending an SMS, of about 160 characters. Sending longer messages decreases the chances of being read, so it’s better to keep it short and simple. No one wants their inbox to be filled up with tons of messages. But transactional messages are exactly those messages everyone wants to receive.
If you are a business that sells products, you surely know that the client wants to get updates on the order confirmation, shipment, delivery date, and so on. Even though most businesses and brands choose to send this information via email, doing it through SMS can help reach the customers easier. These are among the most appreciated updates customers could get.
Of course, this can be easily applied to many other fields as well. For example, a recruitment company could send updates to candidates regarding the recruitment process and next steps. In any field where you have a customer that has ordered something from you or just collaborated, sending transactional messages is the new marketing trend developing more in 2021.
2. Coupons, Discount/QR Codes to Increase Sales
One of the main goals of any business and brand is to drive more sales. This is one of the goals the marketing team of professionals needs to accomplish. In a world where you have so many options to choose from, making a choice can be difficult. The products and prices are similar, so customers look further to reviews, available discounts, free shipping options, and so on.
Sending coupons, discounts, and QR codes through SMS is one action that could help brands and businesses increase sales. Professional essay writers say that many people choose to make a direct purchase after they receive an SMS with a coupon.
The thing is, many marketers think that sending SMS with discounts to your customers is obsolete and something that should be avoided at any cost. Sending SMS to your clients does not mean that you did not evolve or that you are not keeping up the pace with the technological advancements. In fact, you are keeping up the pace with the marketing trends that will be during this year. Even though newsletters can work wonders if you build and send them correctly, their open rate is slowly decreasing.
SMS is more personal than emails and also 50% more effective. Even though this may not seem much, it is. If 50% of the customers that receive an SMS with a coupon or discount at your shop make a direct purchase, then you have increased your sales. There is no other marketing tactic, technique, or communication channel that has this high conversion rate.
3. SMS Personalization
When people sign up for an account on your platform to buy or use your services, you ask them to fill in some fields with their personal information. Filling in your contact number is something natural, as you would want to be contacted when your order is delivered. If customers give their consent to send them SMS, then you should take advantage of this as much as you can.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that you should spam them with coupons and discounts. They will surely unsubscribe from this service and, maybe, choose another brand. You do not want to lose your customers, so you need to pay great attention to how you handle and put to practice the SMS marketing trend.
Living in a world with so many similar brands and businesses to choose from comes with pressure and challenge. But it also comes with high expectations from brands. Consumers expect brands to look at them as individuals, not as a target group. Each of your consumers is different from the others and they want to be appreciated for this.
Thus, SMS personalization will be a marketing trend that you should follow in 2021. This is an efficient way to show your customers that you care about them and also thank them for choosing you. It is therefore important to pay great attention to how you craft the text of the message. Keep in mind the buyer persona the customer resembles the most so that you know what they expect from you.
It would be inefficient to send discounts or coupons to consumers that are not even interested in buying those products. It would be better to see their purchase history and send personalized SMS and offers. It is a nice way to increase the loyalty of the customer and also strengthen the bond you may already have with them. Keeping your customers close to you is essential, as in the marketing world there is a constant fight over consumers.
4. AI-Driven Chatbots
When you have a large pool of customers, you surely have noticed that you can group them into categories. These categories will likely resemble the buyer personas you have already built. Some people are similar to each other in terms of needs, expectations, and purchases.
Sending personalized SMS manually to your customers can turn out to be tiring and boring. But thanks to all these technological advancements, you can now use Artificial Intelligence to build a chatbot. And you can use this chatbot in two ways.
The first way is to add a chatbot on your website to answer quickly the questions of the customers. They want to reach customer service to get information on a specific topic. It has been proved that chatbots can answer most of these inquiries, allowing customer support representatives to focus on more complex and demanding tasks. These chatbots are AI-driven, meaning that they have access to all the data and are able to select the right information to answer the customer.
The second way is to use this chatbot to help you send personalized SMS to your customers. They can even converse with customers through SMS and meet their informational needs as quickly as possible. This allows any brand and business to get closer to its customers.
5. The Timing of SMS Marketing
As long as customers have given their consent to send them messages, you can send them anytime. Or this is what many marketers wrongly assume. When being a marketer, it is important to be empathic and understanding of your clients’ lifestyles. Put yourself in their shoes and acknowledge it if you would love to receive a message while you are driving. Or when you are just falling asleep.
It is true that smartphones also have a silent mode, but you should not go to the extent when you don’t care at what hour you send the messages.
It is all about timing. Of course, it would be difficult to know the individual schedule of every customer and some messages will likely come at the wrong time.
How can you decide about the best timing to start your SMS campaign? This is difficult to decide upon. As stated in the reports of Assignment Geek, one of the solutions is to analyze the customer behavior on your website and identify the busiest times. Maybe customers that are looking for the best sun protection cream, for example, may get a discount exactly for this category of products.
Another way would be to avoid making wild guesses and ask your customers when they would like to get an SMS from you. For sure they would want to be updated at any time about the status of the order, but they would like to get SMS with coupons only once per week, at a specific interval. Whenever someone signs up for a customer account on your website, ask for their consent and preferred contact time.
6. Short, Simple, and Funny SMS
As we have highlighted above, you have a character limit per SMS. And during a time when the attention span of people is decreasing, you need to take care of how you convey the message. You would want to send a specific message or idea to the customers, but the way you bring it to the table can make the difference.
Avoid sending long text messages. They will be read by fewer people than you imagine. Moreover, customers might start avoiding opening them or interacting with your brand. Instead, choose to send short and simple messages. Keep in mind that the character limit is 160, so you need to build a powerful, clear, concise, and compelling message.
What can help you get closer to your customers and strengthen the bond between you, is adding a little touch of humor. People do not want to see rigid brands that only care about money. They want and expect genuine interaction on a more personal level. And humor can make the message funnier. If customers laugh or at least smile when they read it, you have contributed to their mood.
A funny message from your favorite brand can make your day better. People see a brand through the lens of their past experience but also emotions associated with it. So, if you manage to make customers associate your business with positive emotions, you are one step closer to make them loyal.
7. Birthday Wishes
We already know that quite a few brands are sending birthday wishes via emails to their customers. But we all know that emails pile up in the inboxes of customers, and your email might be missed. A marketing trend that will likely evolve a lot during 2021 is sending birthday wishes through text messages. Receiving an SMS with a cute message on your birthday from your favorite brand can make your day better.
It would be nice and a smart marketing move to offer your clients consistent discounts on their birthday. You lose nothing but earn their loyalty and appreciation. The most important thing to take into consideration is that not all offered discounts or coupons will be redeemed. However, the statistics for coupon redeem sent through SMS show that the redeem rate is consistently higher than those sent via emails.
So, make sure the discount, coupon, or personalized offers lasts some days around the birthday date of all customers. On your birthday, you want to celebrate, relax, and spend time with your dear ones, not order products online. Give your customers time to redeem the offer. Send your birthday wishes through an SMS that will surely reach its target and will be opened.
Society is constantly changing, and so does technology, marketing, and communication. Marketing professionals face new challenges every year, as the expectations of customers are constantly changing and shifting. They want genuine interaction with a brand that cares about them.
Even though some marketing trends seem obsolete, they indeed have a much greater power to reach the target audience. SMS marketing is a trend that will gain more momentum in 2021 and will open new doors for businesses and brands.
One of the rules of marketing is to not send too many messages because they will be considered spam and thus avoided. Make sure you identify the best timing to send messages to your customers and make use of Artificial Intelligence chatbots. Do not forget about transactional SMS, those messages every customer wants to receive.
Send personalized offers, coupons, and discounts through short, simple, and funny messages. And do not forget about the birthday of your customers: it is a nice way to increase brand awareness and the loyalty of the customers. Tightening the bond with your customers is something all marketers are after, as this helps them secure the growth of the business.