SMS as a CRM and Marketing Channel

SMS as a CRM and Marketing Channel

Like email marketing, SMS marketing has seen significant growth over the past 15 years. As of 2017, approximately 9 out of every 10 Australians owned a mobile phone. 94% carry their mobile phones when they leave the house. Additionally, 48% of Australians say they check their phones once every 30 minutes (Deloitte, 2019)This shows the great impact mobile and more specifically, smartphones have had on our daily lives. People are becoming increasingly dependent on their phones for various sources of information and connectivity. Where email access on a smartphone require WIFI or Data connectivity which may or may not be available at all times, SMS is reliant on mobile service, which has a greater reach. This essentially makes SMS a reliable channel of communication for Clubs. 

A Study by Barwise and Strong (Barwise & Strong, 2002) found that there were various applications for SMS in a B2C context, including: 

  1. Brand Building for adding a Brand to one’s evoked set (of recognized brands)
  2. Communicating Special Offers and Promotions
  3. Communicating Product, Service or Information Requests via automatically triggered messages based on various events (time, customer interactions/purchases, bookings)
  4. Communicating about Contests and Raffles
  5. Polling/Voting 

With statistics in Australia, 2018 indicating a 94% SMS open rate (compared to email, which has a 32.4% open rate), of which 78% engage with every message they receive; and 16% of Australians reading messages from only the senders that they recognize (Esendex, 2018) – it is clear that SMS has secured its place as a relevant communication channel. SMSes can be personalised to include various customer text fields, which can help improve engagement as opposed to generic messages.  

With that said, it is important to keep in mind the following: 

  1. Permission (explicit) – of recipients is important and opt-outs need to be provided
  2. Frequency of messages should be well balanced, to avoid recipients forming a poor perception of the brand
  3. Concise and engaging content is key to fostering a follow-through action by the recipient
  4. Personalise SMSes to increase engagement further (ensuring that content is relevant and well-timed also) 

SMS and MMS as a communication channel has not changed significantly since its inception. The channel comes with character and formatting constraints. A recent move by Google and others to deliver a new experience that harnesses the power and capabilities of data connectivity, network connectivity and smartphones is being rolled out across various markets (The Verge, 2019). RCS or Rich Communication Service, an extension of current SMS technology aims to bring graphically engaging content and new levels of interactivity, all with the reliability of regular SMS (as a fallback incase data connectivity is not available). 

This new iteration of messaging can help with: 

  1. Branding SMSes with logos, company colors 
  2. Images and Media 
  3. QR codes for booking and promo redemption 
  4. In-message buttons for Call to Actions 
  5. Better metrics to evaluate RCS performance and ROI 

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