Friday, January 18, 2019

The Evolution of Text Campaigns

My favorite feature on Amazon delivery is the ability to opt-in for text message updates on my package and I will continue to happily hand over my phone number to receive minute-by-minute updates as my package travels to me. The reality of today’s consumer is that we actually enjoy getting text messages with company info sent straight to our phones, as compared to the hundreds of junk emails that clog my inbox that I will never read. Text messaging campaigns sees a 94 percent average open rate that skyrockets over mobile push notification open rates at a measly 3 percent . Recently, text-based campaigns have added a few new elements that brands are excited about. RCS (Rich Communication Services), MMS (Multimedia Messaging Services), and the introduction of Apple’s Business Chat has taken simple text campaigns to a whole new world. Taking a step back to the beginning of text messaging campaigns, you can decide which messaging might be the best fit for your brand.

SMS
SMS, or Short Message Service, is the grandfather of messaging campaigns. SMS messages have to be at or under 160 characters and the consumer had to have opted-in to receive messages. SMS is great for confirmations, coupon codes, discounts, and short reminder-stye messages that can catch your consumers’ attention. The simple format is great for low-cost and low-energy messaging campaigns that still regularly increase engagements–90 percent of SMS messages are opened in 3 seconds.

MMS
Multimedia Messaging Service, or MMS, is like SMS but taken up a few notches. MMS means that you can embed photos, videos, gifs or other graphics to enhance the message. It’s your chance to provide engaging content that can draw your consumers to click-through to your site or download a piece of content, plus you can be highly personalized with thank-you messages. Makeup brand, Julep, used a subscription-based MMS campaign promoting a new nail polish line that saw over 5,000 subscribers in the first day of the campaign. Their MMS text offer created an immediate “want” for the new polish and marked down the price, targeted directly at consumers that had given their telephone numbers previously.

RCS & Business Chat
Rich Communication Services, or RCS, is the newest evolution in the text messaging timeline. RCS allows brands to connect with their audience on a more direct level. RCS allows for high-quality pictures up to 10 MB, video calls, geolocation and more in a easy-to-use format. For RCS to work, the consumer must be using a compatible messaging system like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Android Messenger (I’ll note that recent rumors indicate that Apple will likely jump on board with RCS support in iMessage soon). Sprint just added Apple Business Chat to their customer service repertoire, where Sprint customers can chat easily with service reps right on their iMessage system, all without having to make an app store download or call a 1-800 number. It’s a great way to get connected with your customers by meeting them on the messaging service that they already interact with everyday.

Text campaigns can sometimes get the backseat to more exciting marketing channels like digital ads or social media, but the stats show that SMS, MMS, and RCS can be some of the most accessible touchpoints between you and your consumer. In a Facebook survey, 71 percent of respondents stated that they were open to messaging a business online, rather than visit in person or place a phone call to answer a question or accomplish a task. The convenience of rollout and simplicity for text messaging services beg the question—why not try it?