SMS for business

SMS or short message service is the service component of text messages. It is the dominant form of personal communication and is seeing an increase in business usage. Even without looking at numbers, anyone can see SMS becoming more important for businesses. When you walk into restaurants it’s more common than ever to be able to subscribe to daily or weekly deals via text. Through freelance I’ve gotten more requests for SMS than anything else. SMS benefits from the growth of mobile and increases connection between apps & consumers.

The technology that has primed consumers to allow business into texts has been Two Factor Authentication (2FA). 2FA is a security measure that adds another form of identification to ensure that you are who you say you are. It is a better security practice than password login; and provides identity protection for consumers. 2FA is that annoying number you get texted when you login to a service from a new device. It has opened the floodgates for SMS because it has broken down the intimacy of texts and introduced it as a tool. This is part of a meta-trend of integrating mobile phones. Roughly 50% of all browsing comes from mobile devices, an increase from around 30% in 2015. On this site I see roughly 80% of my traffic coming from mobile devices (which makes sense since most of my clicks come from social media). The move to mobile stems from increased connectivity & improved processing power. Mobile first interactions are becoming the status quo. Through applications & messaging they create new points of contact between business & customers.

The growth of mobile browsing make phones the most important medium to connect with customers, more so than anywhere else. That means using SMS as well as having good mobile browsing experiences (website doesn’t look bad on a phone). Text Messages are an incredible tool to improve customer interactions. SMS has an estimated 98% opening rate. That means that 98% of the time your message will read by your end customer. Email marketing, the current category leader, sits at an estimated 20% opening rate. Since it is still Day One of text messaging marketers are still learning how to take advantage of the potential ROI. End users love it because it gives them control. They can opt out by replying STOP and can be selective of who makes it into their inbox. This creates a curated experience where only the best succeed.

The most important part of sending SMS is to understand how to frame your message. No one wants their last form of unadulterated communication to bombarded by businesses. In the past SMS messages came from friends and family, which made texting comfortable & universally adopted. If a customer allows you into their SMS inbox, they want whatever you’re selling. This is a massive opportunity to create a moat around your brand, because it customers only hear from a small number of businesses. Sellers can shorten their sales pitch and focus on offering great value. By tweaking messaging to be friendly you create a deeper connection with the brand. Social media and email can get a wide range of customers, and text can focus on specific groups. Because most people are near their phones, and SMS is actionable. You can get customers to take certain actions based on the messages you send them. One awesome example of this is WineText, which is a service that offers premium wines at excellent prices via text message. They send customers a picture & description, and the customer only has to respond with the number of bottles they want. Simple, short and effective. I see this as the future of selling, the product is selected for the customer and all they have to do is confirm. The possibilities are endless, particularly when this gets tied in with Machine Learning & recommendation systems.

Text message marketing will be the next major communication and marketing platform for business. One of the leaders in the space Twilio ($TWLO) has shot up in stock price from $70 in March 2020 per share to $272 in August 2020. In less than six months a communications company value has skyrocketed because it built the best platform for sending SMS messages. The messages are unbelievably cheap to send, starting at less than a PENNY to send. You can directly contact your best customers who are most likely to buy for less than a cent. The value is remarkable. In my freelance work I’ve had the opportunity to work with Twilio’s web service and it is so simple. You can send messages within 30 minutes and rudimentary programming knowledge. From pricing to ease of development Twilio is the category leader right now, and it’s not even close.

I see SMS as the next step in business communications. It’s one of the most common forms of connecting among people, and will continue to grow over the next five to ten years. SMS is absurdly efficient based on ROI, because of its price and the trust required to get into customers text inbox. This is the next step in connecting and it’s the medium to understand at this moment in time. I’d love to challenge you to see if you see more companies in your that are expanding their SMS efforts. Send me an email if you want to learn more or disagree. I’d love to hear your thoughts! If you enjoyed this post get all my articles and learn about more things that interest me in one email per week.

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