To SMS or not to SMS? That is the question.

# DigitalMarketing


I want to kick off this post with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: 
“It is better to be truthful and good than to not.”
— Freddy Benson
All kidding aside, this quote may not seem to make sense in the context of the subject matter covered in this post. But, give me a few minutes and allow me to demonstrate how it will.
I believe business owners continue to have had some hesitancy as to whether to adopt an extensively used — and what may be perceived as — a highly abused marketing channel, Short Message Service (SMS), aka Text Messaging. The objective of this post is to help put those fears to rest.
At the advent of the Email Age of Communication in the early 2000s, many businesses shied away from employing email as a viable means of a marketing communication channel. There were misguided — and probably unfounded feelings —that sending emails to customers was a violation of trust and considered too intrusive. These feelings led to fears that customers would end up shunning businesses that employ this communication channel. 
Fast track to twenty-something years later, these critics and naysayers have been proven soundly wrong. Email — especially personalized emails — used as an integral digital mode of communication is still alive and kicking and considered a highly valued means of communicating with prospects and customers alike. 
Like the hesitancy in the adoption of email in the early 2000s, many small businesses are still not utilizing SMS as a digital channel for fear of alienating customers with intrusive text messages. However, here are some stats that you may find interesting:

  • Because of its immediacy, SMS open rates can be as high as 98%. That’s nearly 400% to 500% greater than email open rates.
  • There is an opportunity to gain an advantage over your competition — about 61% of small businesses still don’t use SMS.
  • Out of all the consumer behaviors that mobile is changing, 46% of North American marketers have stated that using SMS as a marketing channel has the most impact on mobile commerce.
  • Most people use smartphones nowadays — 57% of mobile users own a smartphone. By 2025, over 5.5 billion people are expected to own a smartphone.

Effectively using SMS as a Communication Channel
The enormity of these statistics leads me back to the tie-in behind Freddy Benson’s quote. 
Like any digital communication channel, abusing the platform by bombarding customers with irrelevant, false promising, or perceived-to-be useless information can lead to a recipient blocking your SMS texts and spoiling any opportunities for future engagements. The same can be said for email marketing communications as well.
However, when used effectively, efficiently, and with integrity, an SMS digital channel can be perceived to be a highly valued tool in your marketing arsenal. 
Whether it’s utilized to keep an open line of communication with your clients or provide them with up-to-the-minute news of the latest product or service offering, SMS communications can help build and enhance your company’s brand equity and establish an ongoing rapport with clients. It also offers a means to continually remind your clients why they came to you in the first place, to provide them with a product or service to help them fulfil a need.
The idea of not using SMS should be seriously reconsidered if you still have doubts or concerns about adopting this communications channel. In addition to all the benefits previously noted, this highly engageable marketing tool can provide a way to increase your value proposition and maintain more long-lasting relationships with your clients. 
Addressing the Question of this Post
So, answering the original question posed in this post — To SMS, or not to SMS? I hope you can now realize that the answer to this question is a resounding “Yes, to SMS!”
If you have any comments or would like to respond to this post, please feel free to do so. I would love to receive your thoughts and feedback.