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Is SMS the new email?

Email has been a staple of most business interactions for the past 20 years. The question is, will SMS dominate the next 20?

Let’s start by taking a look at the facts. SMS engagement rates are an incredible 94%. If you compare this to email marketing, an average open rate is 18%. That’s a huge difference.

Your email inbox probably has at least 10, if not hundreds, or thousands, of unread emails. How many unread messages are there in your SMS inbox? I'd hazard a guess that there's none. Not one. Zip. Nada.

Now think about this, how long, on average, do you think it takes you to get to most emails in your inbox? An hour? A couple of hours? For some people, the answer is days, or never.

Not with SMS. They are typically read within 90 seconds.

These are startling facts to take into consideration. But in order to use SMS successfully, you need to pull your mind away from sales and consider how you can add value for your customer base. Think about how fast, short, convenient comms can help your clients. Not you. How can it be used to help your clients?

Here are two ways to engage in SMS marketing:

1. Consider your real estate business. A last-minute house has been listed on the market with an Open House taking place the next day. This is a great piece of information to share with your clients. It’s something they will want to know about and will appreciate hearing from you. You need to focus on what makes SMS unique, and utilise those benefits. Use SMS to make life more convenient for your customers.

2. You can build a simple webform that clients can use when they are enquiring about houses on the market. You can send it to the in an SMS, so they can click through and find the properties most suited to their needs. As long as you make it mobile friendly, it will work like a charm.

A word of warning though. If you abuse SMS, abuse the trust of your customers or prospects by spamming them with information that is irrelevant to them, not only will they block you, but you'll likely lose them as a customer. For now, SMS is still sacred. It is the way friends communicate. If your customers are allowing you to send them an SMS, at least do them the courtesy of treating them like a friend, not a number.

SMS is not the new email, although the next few years will see it expand exponentially as a business comms tool. There will also be an inevitable backlash as tone-deaf companies pepper people with poorly considered messages.

Don't be tone-deaf. Be a friend.


Ben Fuller

Co-founder at Motii

Serial successful start-up Founder, and former C-level executive, Ben understands that data and systems are what makes everything tick.

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