Messenger apps are increasingly popular with both companies and individuals today, with a great number of businesses joining Whatsapp, as well as competing messengers such as Groupme, WeChat, and Snapchat – but what about the old standby, SMS messaging? Though it may sometimes seem like traditional texts are going the way of the dinosaur, a closer look at how businesses are using texts to communicate with customers demonstrates just how useful they remain.
What makes texting so effective for businesses? Overall, SMS has something no app has: a real lock on the market, but that’s not all. Here are four key reasons why brands are sticking by SMS in the era of messaging apps.
Although some people may not send many text messages, the reality today is that the percentage of mobile users who don’t have SMS access is negligible. A recent study from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum indicated that 76 percent of people have received SMS messages from a business, while only 65 percent have received messages through a chat app.
When you break down that 65 percent across the many apps on the market, it becomes clear that businesses can’t know where to begin. There are too many apps, forcing them to spread themselves thin and diluting their marketing efforts. The numbers alone explain why companies should drop app communication for SMS.
The Upsell Advantage
Another reason that SMS messaging is more effective for businesses than many other messenger apps is that texts offer the perfect opportunity to upsell. Some brands text links encouraging users to download their company’s app or offer a discount code on subsequent orders via SMS message. If these enhancements and offers incite even a small percentage of recipients to make another purchase, companies win big.
Many Messengers, Not Enough Messages
Our marketplace is currently dealing with a glut of messenger apps, and in many ways the situation mirrors what we’ve seen with social networking sites. Occasionally a new site will launch in conjunction with buzz that it’s about to become the next big thing – think Google+.
Then what? A few months pass, and it becomes clear that the site isn’t popular and it’s a waste of time for your marketing department. This is happening with messenger apps, as well, and yet again, Google provides the exemplar. A few months ago, the web giant released two messenger apps, Allo and Duo in hopes of displacing some other popular apps, particularly Skype and iMessage. The apps are out there, but no one is using them.
Where Tools Meet
There are a few messenger apps on the market that are broadly used, but it’s worth noting that the best of these, such as Facebook Messenger, are looking to come closer to SMS, rather than distancing their apps from the old system. This summer, Facebook began letting Android users send SMS and MMS messages through the Messenger app.
This is a handy tool and lets the minority of users, without texting on their phones, skirt the limitation, but it also gives businesses one less reason to focus on Facebook Messenger. For a brand as big as Facebook, that’s fine, but you can be sure that smaller apps won’t take this road.
At the end of the day, there’s a reason that SMS has only grown as a means of communication since the very first message was sent in 1992, and that many young people are more comfortable with texts than phone calls or emails – they’re personal, quick, and simple to use.
If nothing else, those three reasons should be enough to justify making SMS a core part of your business’s marketing plan.