This post is a response to Here’s Why SMS Marketing is Literally the Worst Idea Ever.
*Ding ding* One new text. Maybe it’s that cute boy you’ve been talking to in chem class. Maybe it’s your boss wanting to congratulate you on your performance. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s an irresistible text offer from your favorite retail chain. What’s the first thing you do? Open it, duh. If you swipe left and delete the message before even reading it — well kudos to you, you’re a borderline extraterrestrial. Personally, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t open a text message, and I’m sure you can agree.
Here’s a little bit more about SMS marketing and proof to back up my bold claim.
It’s not spam.
SMS messaging follows the rules of permission based marketing. It’s 100 percent opt-in based. Simply put, customers have to give their expressed consent before receiving SMS messages. This can be done in one of three ways. New subscribers can double opt-in¹ via web widget, add their cell number to a compliant sign-up form or text to join. The latter is the most common. After opting in, the new subscriber will receive an auto reply confirming their subscription. If the opt-in was accidental, they can simply reply STOP, and all messaging will cease.
Everyone reads texts.
Ok, well almost everyone — 90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of being received. This isn’t just a fluffy statistic. Recent research gathered by Dynmark.com also suggests that “almost one third of of those targeted with SMS advertising campaigns respond to the correspondence; with almost half of this group going on to make a purchase.” This research totally speaks for itself. And yes, U.S. citizens can register with the do not call registry, but this has nothing to do with the sending and receiving of SMS.
In the article cited at the beginning of this post, the author boldly claims that “a major chunk of the population is already registered with the DND.” First, there is no clear statistical research backing up this assumption. Second, in the U.S., the Do Not Call registry protects consumers from just that — unwanted calls. It’s designed to prevent telemarketers from harassing consumers. This has absolutely nothing to do with text messaging. Now, if for some reason you do find yourself receiving unwanted text messages, you can file a complaint. But, knowing the permission-based nature of this marketing method, you may never confront this issue.
Character limitation forces marketers to get right to the point.
There is a 160 character limit on text messages. With SMS, it’s simply about providing an irresistible offer. There’s no point in droning on and on with a 300-word marketing message. Subscribers are opting in to receive an exclusive offer, not to hear about how your day is going. Our current digital age rewards simple marketing messages with easy to understand calls to action. The 160 character limit on SMS messages is actually ideal.
Now, just like with any other marketing method, can SMS sometimes come off as obnoxious? Absolutely. But so can Facebook, direct mail, pay-per-click ads, and so on. It’s not necessarily the channel, but instead the quality of the message and offer.
¹Double opt in after web sign-up prevents spammers from inputting random numbers into an online widget. If you want to join an SMS list via web form, you first put in your phone number and hit submit. You will then receive a confirmation text, verifying that you did in fact mean to join this list. You can then reply with Y, and become an official subscriber.