Show Me the Money: Finding the Value in Mobile Messaging
Michael Ahearn, VP Customer Development & Strategy, Sinch for Marketing
If you own a business, the bottom line is you sell a product or service and are looking to drive revenue. When marketing that product/service, you are looking for ROI on your marketing or customer experience dollars spent. You also offer customer service and likely do some operational messaging. Of course, there are many precise and detailed metrics associated with your business and marketing objectives, but visibility into the above is where the rubber meets the road.
The reality is most businesses are trying to sell more, prove more ROI from their marketing initiatives, and improve their customers’ experience because it impacts brand loyalty, customer churn and improves product/service awareness.
While this is universal, you’ve likely asked the questions: I’m not using mobile messaging for my business, but should I really make it a priority? Do I need to do something RIGHT NOW? And if you are doing some mobile-based customer messaging, you’ve probably asked yourself “how should I evolve my mobile messaging strategy to better serve my customers and increase marketing performance?”
Mobile messaging is a powerful channel that drives these objectives and simultaneously nurtures your customer relationships. And because most own a mobile device, it also gives you the opportunity to increase loyalty through personalized, engaging conversations and frictionless experiences.
Marketers are aware that mobile messaging is a critical means for reaching customers, and that it is an established, key channel in a brand/enterprise’s marketing mix. However, many have been reluctant to deploy it or enhance their strategy to ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck. Why? In most cases it is an internal lack of knowledge of how to launch or evolve a messaging program, internal resources, or access to industry intel/metrics to support new or next steps into mobile messaging.
If you’re not doing SMS, why should you?
You are leaving money on the table if you aren’t using SMS for your business. While you may have always thought of SMS as a nice-to-have, it’s imperative from a revenue perspective that your business integrates mature mobile messaging. Brands and enterprises have determined mobile messaging to be a mission critical operational and marketing channel, with many perceiving mobile messaging to be a lead channel in their success.
SMS and mobile messaging in general is one the most effective channels that exists. It can significantly cut costs in comparison to other customer interaction channels and has exponentially higher open rates and shorter response times. According to TechJury, SMS messages have a 98% open rate, and 90% of them are read within three minutes—unmatched by other channels.
SMS can improve your customer response rate and conversion, which is more important to your bottom line than basic cost-per-message calculations. It’s important to know that SMS messaging initiatives can easily be incorporated into existing customer operations, often serving as an alternative to those that are underperforming, so implementation is rather seamless. When compared to other communication tools, especially in customer service or logistics activities, SMS can provide the same functions at a much lower cost and at higher response speeds.
After building your mobile messaging capabilities and launching your first SMS campaigns, you’ll start experiencing its benefits. But, SMS is only one step toward a more robust mobile strategy when building long-term relationships with customers.
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Emerson Welch, Vice President of Marketing at Quark Software Inc
Text SMS is just one tool—MMS should be deployed with your SMS capabilities
For a more integrated approach to your marketing campaigns, I suggest using MMS. While SMS is an excellent utilitarian messaging format, it lacks the visual content critical to success in marketing to today’s consumer. We live in the age of images, audio and video. It is the common—and most compelling—language in which to communicate with humans today. With MMS, you are not limited to only text but are enabled to deliver video, audio, and images. Most importantly, MMS delivers these rich media experiences in exactly the same channel as they receive plain text messages, and has virtually 100% user penetration in the US market.
If you truly want to stand out and showcase your brand, product or services, choose MMS over standard SMS. Using images, audio, or short videos increases brand awareness, ROI and customer engagement. If comprehension of complex information or ideas is a challenge for your brand, the use of images or video can help. If communicating a value proposition for a product or service is a challenge, again MMS is the superior format to get your message across.
On average, an MMS campaign has 15–20% more engagement than an SMS campaign. Not to mention, MMS messages are 10 times as likely to be shared on social media channels than SMS messages. Today, many brands are utilizing MMS to drive quicker bill payments, enable subscription activation or renewal and even receive real-time images for product returns and insurance claims. But there’s more: personalized images and video in MMS.
Once you have deployed standard MMS, you can evolve your messages to where the images and video themselves are personalized for each individual recipient. This means within the image or the video itself that is delivered in the message, the visual and audio content can be different for each individual recipient. This can be based on purchases, history, profile, preferences, status or any CRM/CDP data set. Messages of this kind can double attributed revenue over all other message types, decrease customer churn and many other performance increases.
If you’re doing SMS/MMS, now what?
Once you have SMS and MMS enabled for your customer interactions, you may be wondering what comes next? How about getting conversational with your customers and enabling two-way interactions in whatever channel your customer wishes to engage in a dialog? What about integrating images and video, presented in carousels they can swipe and peruse, as a “here, let me show you” experience in that natural, two-way conversation? What if this interaction could be intelligently driven with—or without—a human driving the conversation?
Conversational marketing allows you to communicate with new and existing customers in a more personalized, conversational manner. Customers can actually explore a product or offer, ask questions and engage with your brand in a more fulfilling way. Consumers want more from their in-message interactions with brands: 90% of consumers said better support or the ability to ask follow-up questions.
AI-powered tools, like chatbots and APIs, can connect your brand to the most popular messaging channels, such as SMS/MMS, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, or any other messaging channel. This presents a best-of-both-worlds scenario: initial or basic interactions can be managed by AI faster and at reduced cost, with human handover in the messaging stream done intelligently at the touchpoint it is required.
Regardless of where you are in your digital roadmap, mobile messaging has the power to grow your business – and help you significantly impact your bottom line and improve key business and marketing objectives. If you haven’t already deployed a mobile messaging strategy, start with fundamental SMS/MMS programs and then gradually work your way up to seamless two-way interactions with your customers.
Marketing Technology News: How Have Apple’s Changes to Privacy Impacted Your Advertising on Facebook and Instagram?