12 Clear Benefits of SMS for Businesses

12 Clear Benefits of SMS for Businesses - Banner

With the advancement of technology in the Philippines and around the world, it’s no surprise to see brands shifting their marketing strategies towards newer, emerging channels. 

According to HubSpot, 58% of marketers have found experiential marketing – that is, augmented reality marketing – to be effective. Moreover, social media marketing continues to be among the strongest channels that marketers use. But with consumers being 35x more likely to open mobile messages than email, there’s one channel that remains timeless: SMS.

SMS is a communications channel that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s one of the most effective marketing channels your business could take advantage of.

Almost everyone in the Philippines has a working mobile phone with SMS capabilities, meaning that your potential audience reach through SMS is vast. But that isn’t all. 

The infographic below will highlight 12 business SMS benefits and why you should consider including them in your next marketing strategies. 

 

12 Clear Benefits of SMS for Businesses - Infographic

Understanding the Benefits of SMS for Businesses 

 

  • Your message has a high chance of being read 

It doesn’t take much research to understand that people are constantly on their phones. It’s been found that Filipinos between the ages of 16 and 64 spend an average of five hours and forty-seven minutes on their phones daily. That means that if someone started using their phone after waking up at 7 AM, the only time they would put it down would be after lunch.

With the amount of time the average Filipino spends on their phone, it’s no surprise to see that SMS receives a 97% read rate. Moreover, it’s forecasted that, out of a population of over 112 million, almost  Filipinos will have smartphones in 2022, giving you the chance to reach a wide audience through your SMS marketing campaigns. 

 

  • SMS campaigns are budget-friendly

Effectively promoting your business on social media or getting the first search ranking on Google’s search engine results page tends to be an expensive and tedious process. 

Companies typically dedicate $500 – $50,000 per month to their digital marketing efforts. It can be challenging to break through the noise if you don’t have to budget for it. But SMS won’t cost you nearly as much.

With Semaphore, for instance, a 160-byte SMS costs one credit, or P0.50 (exclusive of VAT). So, if you wanted to send an SMS to 1000 people, it would cost only P500 or less than $10 (USD). 

 

  • SMS is a more personal channel than others

With the greater use of digital services, the personalization of messages is becoming non-negotiable. According to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect companies to provide them with personalized experiences – and 76% negatively react when it doesn’t occur. 

Since SMS is one of the few types of marketing where you can reach your customers directly, you’re better able to personalize your messages much easier. With the help of services such as Semaphore, you can customize your SMS even further by easily including each sender’s name instead of a general greeting. 

 

  • There are few barriers to delivery

One of the challenges you’ll need to overcome with email marketing is avoiding automatic filters. Gmail, for instance, notoriously has a Promotions tab where 93% of email campaigns are filtered to. This was a feature to help declutter the user’s inbox. 

Since most promotional emails are filtered to a hidden tab, only 19.2% are eventually read. 

On the other hand, SMS marketing allows you to reach a typically unfiltered space: the user’s SMS inbox. This is why your messages are more likely to get opened than if they were emails. 

 

  • SMS campaigns are flexible

There are two types of messages you can send out in your SMS campaign: promotional and transactional.

Promotional messages are mainly about promoting products with a specific call-to-action, whether using a coupon or offering discounts. Messages with offers have been found to have over a 9% higher click-through rate than other channels. 

On the other hand, transactional messages are geared more towards sending announcements and additional important information to your customer. This includes any policy changes your business has, tracking information on a package your customer ordered, or a one-time pin (OTP) they need to use to log in to their account. 

 

  • SMS campaigns are relatively simple to set up

For instance, SMS campaigns aren’t as complicated as social media or email marketing campaigns. You won’t have to worry about designing visual collateral to go along with your marketing copy. 

Instead, all it will take is for you to compose a 160-character message. Additionally, it can be made much easier with services such as Semaphore, which allows you to send SMS messages in bulk using templates, which prevents rewriting each message repeatedly. 

 

  • You have access to valuable metrics

When sending messages in bulk through software such as Semaphore, you can easily track your SMS campaigns with metrics such as if the text was received or opened. 

Since you can interact with customers directly, you also have access to a message history to further help you gather valuable insights and track responses to know how to improve your business and products.

 

  • Allows customers to opt-in or out simply

Signing up for an SMS campaign is a straightforward process for your customers. All they would need to do is text a specific number with a text code to opt-in automatically. This simplicity allows you to grow your contact database much faster as well as increase customer satisfaction.

 

  • Customers have a higher chance of replying

When compared to emails, SMS recipients are 134% more likely to respond. This is encouraging for you as a business, especially because 60% of consumers want to respond to the messages they receive. 

Responding directly to your customers also helps you build longer-term relationships with them, nurturing them to make a purchase and helping them become advocates for your business. 

 

  • You face limited competition

An effective way to beat the competition is to avoid it. 61% of marketers aren’t taking advantage of SMS marketing, which bodes well for you if you are. 

Instead of devising ways to differentiate yourself in a sea of emails or shell out thousands to compete against other social media posts, you can reach customers directly through their SMS inbox. With little competition, you can easily stand out to your customers. 

 

  • You can expect a high ROI

With how cost-effective SMS campaigns are, it’s no surprise that you can expect a high return on investment when you use them. It’s been found that CTAs of SMS are acted on by 33% of recipients, with 47% of them going on to make a purchase. 

Moreover, marketers can expect an up to 500% return on their investments using a text marketing campaign. 

With the amount saved using SMS marketing, you can funnel it towards other initiatives such as growing your business or improving products. 

 

  • SMS is ideal for time-sensitive information

SMS is an ideal channel for limited-time offers, and time-sensitive information since deploying campaigns happens almost instantly. An example of time-sensitive promotional messages you could send could be about a flash sale you have that ends within the day.

Additionally, a transactional SMS you could send is a message allowing customers to track their order on their way to them. 

These are short, simple, and important messages you can easily send to your customers at any time, regardless of whether or not they’re connected to the internet. 

 

Take Your Marketing Further with SMS

SMS is far from extinct. Businesses not incorporating SMS into their marketing campaigns are missing out on favorable upsides that would be difficult to achieve via other channels. 

The high chance of your messages being read paired with the low-cost yields a high return on investment for your business. Additionally, it’s simple to set up and a convenient channel to start conversations with your customers and gain insights. 

 

It’s about time to seriously consider incorporating SMS into your marketing campaign. If you’re looking to power your business with SMS, contact Semaphore for best-in-class business SMS solutions!

Business SMS FAQ (We Answer Your Most Asked Questions)

Business-SMS-FAQ

Short message service (SMS) – commonly known as text messaging – has established itself as among the most effective marketing channels. That is despite the prevalence of the latest tools and technologies that marketers can use to create killer marketing campaigns. 

This compilation of statistics can attest to the vast popularity of SMS as a marketing platform:

  • In 2020, nearly 49 million people opted in to receive branded messages.
  • Between SMS and email marketing, mobile texting has a higher rate at 98% compared with email’s 20%.
  • About three-fourths of consumers aged 44 and below prefer to communicate with businesses via text.
  • Among SMS recipients, 45% are likely to take action after receiving business texts on their phones.

With such impressive numbers, SMS marketing can be a force to reckon with. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Companies are either not maximizing mobile messaging – with only 13% of businesses allowing customers to respond via text  –  or making the mistake of overlooking SMS as a marketing channel altogether. 

But SMS for businesses can be an excellent tool as long as it’s properly used. On that note, this post will discuss how to implement SMS marketing to help you reach your business goals. In particular, this FAQ will tackle your concerns regarding the various aspects of business SMS from types to strategies and tips.

Frequently Asked Questions About SMS for Businesses

How is SMS marketing done?

SMS or text message marketing involves using an application, software, or platform to deliver bulk texts to phone numbers saved in your business contacts database.

This type of marketing solution relies on customer data such as age, location, SMS engagement, and shopping history in segmenting audiences and sending them targeted content directly on their mobile devices.

Who should I send SMS messages to?

SMS marketing is permission-based. This means a customer must first agree to receive text messages from your company. Once they’ve given their consent, you can then add them to your company’s contact list and start sending them messages related to your business.
You can ask customers’ permission to be registered in your organization’s SMS marketing activities in several ways—via your brick-and-mortar store, your business app, email, social media, or website.

Alternatively, you can request potential or existing customers to subscribe to your SMS alerts by texting a keyword to your assigned code or address from where you send and receive text messages.

What types of campaigns work with SMS?

You can be as versatile as you want with SMS marketing, with its most popular uses including sales promotions, such as rewards and coupons.

Fun fact: As of 2021, 67 million Americans have redeemed mobile shopping coupons. That figure could even reach 289 million in 2022, according to forecasts.

Besides promotional content, you can also tap SMS for transactional messages like confirming payments, reservations, or appointments, as well as sending reminders (read: 83% of consumers welcome this) and sharing delivery status—the list goes on. 

You could also use business text messaging to provide customer support. Remember, not everyone may want to communicate via email, messaging apps, or phone calls.

Last but not least, SMS lets you highlight new products and recent announcements from your company, such as your updated business address or office hours.

Regardless of how you incorporate SMS into your marketing campaigns, subscribers are four times more likely to respond to a text than to an email.

What is the maximum number of characters per SMS?

Business SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, typically consisting of an opening greeting, a short explainer, and a call-to-action (CTA). Depending on your provider, messages longer than the character limit may be broken into segments but will still be viewed as a single message on the recipient’s mobile phone.

What are keywords used for in text message marketing?

Keywords are short phrases that you set up in your SMS platform to trigger a specific response or action whenever a mobile user texts that keyword.

For instance, you may use the keyword “SALE” to entice your customers to place an order for a discounted sale price. A customer texting that word then sends an alert to your SMS platform to include that customer’s name in the list of shoppers to get discounts upon checkout.

Similarly, you could set up keywords like “NO” or “STOP” to allow your subscribers to opt out of your marketing message.

How often should I be messaging customers?

Globally, individuals and companies exchange billions of text messages every day. While it is common for 43% of consumers to proactively text a business, you need to manage the frequency of sending marketing messages to people in your SMS list so you don’t cause them to feel overwhelmed.

Most consumers don’t mind receiving up to two text messages in a week, although it’s in your best interest to conduct surveys or tests to determine if that frequency works with your customers, as well.

Pro tip: During the opt-in or sign-up process, tell your subscribers how often they’ll receive text messages from your company to set the expectations straight.

How long does a message take to be delivered?

Almost instantly. In general, it only takes a few seconds to send a text message to SMS subscribers and for your message to appear on their phones. In fact, 62% of businesses use SMS because of its ability to immediately reach their target audience.

However, in less-than-ideal situations such as during heavy network traffic or when the recipient is out of the coverage area, there might be delays in sending or receiving text messages.

Why do I need an SMS marketing provider?

SMS marketing providers employ a specialized platform, which enables you to create your marketing copy, import phone numbers, segment the mailing lists, and push out your messages at designated periods. These functionalities are necessary for launching organized, timely, and effective SMS campaigns for your business.

What are the key factors in choosing a business SMS provider?

Your business SMS platform or software of choice must have the right capabilities, including bulk messaging capacity, on-time message delivery, and customer engagement features.

And although SMS is generally supported across devices and mobile networks, you want your SMS marketing’s API (application programming interface) to be scalable and compatible with other messaging channels to give users a seamless customer experience. In turn, this approach will enable you to expand your audience reach and grow your business faster.

How can I receive replies?

SMS marketing is primarily concerned with engaging customers, building brand loyalty, and, ultimately, increasing sales or conversion. As such, it’s crucial to set up your SMS platform to allow customers to be heard and reply to your text message. This way, you can have an opportunity to receive feedback, resolve queries, and make sales (or do upsells).

Decide on the type of response you want to receive from your customers. Do you want to limit their responses by asking them to choose from a given set of keywords? Or would you prefer to accept regular text messages to facilitate a two-way conversation with SMS users?

How can I track the results from SMS marketing?

An efficient SMS marketing platform lets you track and analyze your text messaging campaigns’ KPIs. These may include the number of text messages you’ve sent, open and response rates, and specific promotions that led to successful results. From there, you can have an idea of how to maintain the momentum or do better in your future campaigns.

What are text messaging regulations I should note?

Besides giving customers a way to opt in and opt out of text broadcast messages, you must be diligent in following guidelines relating to the protection of consumers’ privacy.

For example, you should only communicate marketing and other non-essential messages with your subscribers during business hours. You are also not to spam them with irrelevant offers or offensive content at any given time.

In the Philippines, the National Telecommunications Commission says you must display your company name in business SMS to properly identify who’s sending the text message.  

How much does SMS marketing cost?

This depends on several factors. For one, business text messaging services may charge per text or a fixed monthly fee—or both. Another consideration here is whether you’re availing of global messaging services, which will most likely cost you more since you’re sending texts to international numbers.

The number of subscribers you have and the frequency of your text messaging campaigns will also play a role in business SMS pricing.

The bottom line is that SMS marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to help your business operate more effectively.

How can SMS help in improving my conversion rates?

Employing the best practices in SMS marketing can make for more achievable goals. Here are some recommendations:

  • Use images and videos to capture your customers’ attention.
    Multimedia messages convert four times more than regular SMS.
  • Include links to your website or social media page in your SMS.
    Text can be an excellent jumping-off point to direct your audience to your ads, articles, and other content offers.
  • Leverage SMS drip campaigns.
    Each time a subscriber performs a specific action, an automated message is sent to follow through with that behavior trigger.

For example, once a user opts in, a welcome message with a discount offer is generated by the platform to entice the customer to make a purchase. SMS drip campaigns also work well with customers who have abandoned their carts or who have not visited your site recently.

How much time does it require to set up a text message marketing campaign?

Typically, text marketing platforms can readily launch an SMS marketing campaign in a matter of weeks. It’s also common for business SMS providers to offer a free trial that may last up to a month to enable you to test and explore the tools and features available on the platform. 

Do More for Less with SMS for Business

SMS ticks all the boxes for your business. It allows you to communicate with potential and current customers on their go-to device: their phones. That direct access to consumers can lead to a host of possibilities—from increased brand awareness to improved customer relations and a much-needed sales boost. Not to mention, you don’t have to spend a fortune before you start seeing ROI.

If you have any more questions about business SMS, simply contact the experts at Semaphore to learn about our best-in-class business SMS solutions.

Email vs SMS Marketing (Pros and Cons)

Email vs SMS Marketing Pros and Cons - Banner

Effectively reaching your target market has always been a struggle for business owners and marketers alike. While the task has become easier to achieve with the dawn of new technologies and trends, there are two classic digital marketing strategies that plenty of companies still implement today.

SMS and email marketing can be considered antique marketing tactics when you consider the many options we have today. However, the fact that these two are still part of the conversation is a testament to how effective they are in reaching and engaging the target market. Their longevity is also part of the reason why you see plenty of email vs SMS arguments among digital marketers nowadays.

The staying power of email marketing is understandable since many still use their emails for work and school. In fact, the first email blast was sent out in 1978. Meanwhile, the first instance of SMS being used as a marketing tool didn’t happen until 2000.

Learning everything you can about these two digital marketing approaches can help expand your marketing efforts. The two have their unique perks and characteristics that can make them the tool you need to meet the numbers you set at the start of the year. Continue reading “Email vs SMS Marketing (Pros and Cons)”