What the future holds for SMS
We have come so far in such a short space of time! SMS marketing has, from its uncertain beginnings, become the most effective and popular way of communicating information to customers. It is more likely to be read than email plus its simplicity has enabled business to be conducted with one press of a button. As mobile phone technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, so the content we can send to customers becomes more advanced, exciting and integral to an overall marketing strategy. What does the future hold and how can you prepare for the changes which lie ahead?
The invention of the smart phone
It is estimated that 43m people in the UK will own a smart phone by 2017 and so will play an important part in the future of SMS marketing.
If you read articles from the period around 2009-2011 they predict an impending doom for SMS marketing because of the invention of the smart phone. They predicted that the explosion of these new mobiles would mean that people would use texting apps or messenger services instead in order to communicate. By 2020, the humble SMS would be used only by old people and children. The key thing though is that text messaging is built into every mobile device that is made, from the latest Android phone to the old handset your Gran uses. Therefore this medium is accessible and usable to all, regardless of what model, operating system or phone network they use. This universal appeal and flexibility has ensured that SMS technology is here to stay long into the future.
Apps are great, but only serve to fragment the audience, making it more difficult to communicate with people who you do not know personally or simply have not downloaded the same service as you. The huge problem with individual apps are getting all your contacts on board as well, especially those who you do not know personally. The beauty of a mobile phone number is that they rarely change, and if they do, you will be the first to know- because they will text their contacts to let them know. Many people choose to stay with the same number when changing their phone, especially if they run a business or for personal reasons. Therefore it is far easier and user friendly if you need to communicate quickly with someone to do it through their phone number rather than messing around waiting for them come online or wondering if they use the same text app or mobile as you.
Message variety and quality
The advances in smart phone technology have set the SMS marketers free. Rather than sending a boring, standard black and white, plain dot matrix messages they can now make them more colourful, interactive, inviting and innovative. MMS technology on smart phones has increased the options of marketers rather than inhibit them, plus the consumer is more likely to be engaged, entertained and potentially more likely to respond as a result. It is far easier now to appeal to customers by using pictures, video and audio content to display products, demonstrate how they work and increase their profile. Customers can now see the products in action, share with their friends and ultimately respond to your call to action in increasingly fun ways.
Anyone can do it
SMS marketing is no longer the preserve of huge multi-national companies. The cost of sending multiple SMS messages has now become more affordable meaning that small businesses and sole traders can now embrace the power of SMS marketing and focus it directly to a local audience; or even a global one if they wish to. In the future more and more small businesses will be able to communicate simply with their customers, whatever their size and market.
Where will SMS marketing be in 2020?
While SMS messaging shows no sign of stopping as the universal way of communicating with customers, more and more apps and messenger services will continue to grow. Therefore marketers, including your business, can harness the increase in these sectors by offering things such as coupons and discount offers through these mediums along with an ongoing SMS campaign. The role of SMS in the future may also be used as an initial means to gain consent from customers, before leading them onto social media applications through a link or call to action once this is gained.
Below are some more marketing trends to look out for during the latter part of this decade:
Messages can be sent in accordance to the receiver’s location if they are in the vicinity of a store. This has been used only by a few companies, but will become more commonplace by the end of the decade.
More advanced ways of tracking a customer’s behaviour after receiving the text. Do they go immediately to your website and if so what are they looking at? Analysing what the customer does next will concentrate on their offline activity, such as if they visited the store or business in person and what they purchased.
One click purchases
Customers may be able to buy products immediately with one click.