Marketing Automation
Ben Fuller

Is SMS the new email?

Email has been a staple of most business interactions for the past 20 years. Will SMS dominate the next 20 years?

SMS engagement rates are over 94 percent

Consider this: 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.

Think about that for a moment. Take you mind away from sales and think of value adding (because this is how SMS should be used - not as a sales tool). Think about how fast, short, convenient comms can help your clients. Not you. How can it be used to help your clients?

You need to focus in on what makes SMS unique, and untilise those benefits.

Use SMS to make life more convenient for your customers. Another example of building a simple webform that acts as a order taker. Something you can send in an SMS via (shortened) URL. It means your customer does not have to pick up the phone or send an email to order. Make the form as simple as possible. And make it mobile friendly.

Let's say you have a delivery going out to an area where an important client is based. Using SMS to solicit an answer within minutes. "Hey David, we're sending a truck out your way in the next 20 minutes, do you want us to throw your usual order on there? We'll waive the delivery fees." This is how SMS should be used.

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. because 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.

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Mark Murphy
Shout Your Local!
Auckland, New Zealand

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