New digital platforms and technologies provide new options to sales and marketing strategists. Social media networks, email marketing and online video give marketers additional opportunities to initiate conversations with new customers and strengthen relationships with their existing customers. This article takes a more detailed look at SMS marketing and outlines some of the benefits of SMS marketing in comparison with other communication channels.
SMS marketing and cost benefits
Telephone sales and mailshots are very established direct marketing channels. These channels have their strengths but they both require significant resources. In telephone sales, the hire of a sales team will be a considerable and unavoidable overhead. Mailshots also involve significant project cost per campaign. For example, sales material may require input from a design professional, and there will be a printing costs attached to mailshot production. Postal distribution is also an expensive part of the direct mail process. In comparison with these approaches, SMS marketing can offer cost advantages. An SMS campaign does not require a sales representative to contact prospective leads (as in telemarketing) and does not require outlay on physical materials (as in direct mail). SMS marketing campaigns can be priced at a few pence per message, which makes SMS a relatively cost-effective channel.
SMS marketing and personalisation
A television advert will send the same the message to all viewers. This is a ‘one-to-many’ model of communication and it is an effective way to distribute a highly consistent message across a wide audience. However some contemporary marketers often aspire to engage with their customers on a more individual basis. Instead of sending the same message to an entire audience, they are more interested in sending different messages to different customer segments. This is a ‘one-to-one’ model of communication and SMS is a technology that genuinely facilitates this more bespoke and individual style of customer engagement. SMS campaigns enable a degree of message customisation while still retaining the cost benefits of using a high-volume medium.
SMS marketing and customer response rates
A direct marketing mailshot or a TV advert can be a great way to get in touch with customers, but these channels do not necessarily help a customer get back in touch with the advertiser. These traditional forms of advertising rely on a â€˜call to action'. This is an action point or trigger that persuades the customer to do something as a consequence of seeing the advert. The â€˜call to action' may prompt the customer to buy a product or make a phone call to a service provider. However consumers can be prone to inertia and persuading them to take action is not easy. SMS makes responding infinitely easier for the customer. With simple cues such as "text â€˜YES' to 22222" customers can use SMS in an interactive fashion in order to signal their interest easily and quickly.
Sales and marketing teams may need to exploit several different technologies and channels in order to deliver their communications strategy. SMS marketing provides a very valuable resource within the marketer's toolkit, offering an option that is cost-effective, personalised and interactive.