The evolution of SMS marketing and extensive use of technology in it is the primary reason for its notable and sustained growth. Over the past few years, this strategy followed by several businesses and agencies have helped them to market their products and services in a better way and at the same time has enabled them to provide a better and higher customer experience.
Historically, the first text message saying “Merry Christmas” was sent out in 1992 and since then it has really proved to be a Christmas gift for all, especially the business owners. Over the years, SMS text messaging and mobile marketing has exponentially and continually grown and today it has rightfully become the ever integral part of business marketing plans and an effective platform to increase sales and business revenue.
As per the market experts, the two primary reasons behind this sustained growth of SMS marketing that has reached to a staggering height and why more than 97% of businesses said it is useful and functional are:
- Its simplicity as there is nothing easier to do than sending a text message to a customer and
- Its evolution over the years to fit in the needs of the consumers.
Ideally, SMS marketing takes only a few minutes and reaches to thousands of consumers instantly. The useful features if this channel will enable you to do several different things such as:
- Track the ROI of your SMS campaign
- Who are the consumes that clicked on the URL link
- How many clicked the URL link and a host of other functions.
It is so easy to use and at the same time provides the users with a mobile experience that is far better than what it did twenty years back.
The evolution chart
Evolution of SMS marketing can be best compared with that of a car. The first car had an engine to power it, wheels to run and a steering to guide it to the desired direction. These were the basics of the car then. The modern car still has the same rudimentary features and functions in the same way as before but there have been a lot of other features developed and included to provide the drivers a better experience with air conditioning, heated seats, infotainment and better navigation systems.
SMS marketing is much similar to a car. When it first started in 1992, you could only send a text message. That you can still do today but there are added features that enhance the experience of the users.
In the early mobile marketing years it was very basic where you could only send a simple 160 character text message to your customers. With the passage of time, you needed messages even longer than that and the developers provided you with features with which you can do exactly that: you can now send multiple part messages.
The technology boom
At the beginning of this millennium technology boomed and you saw thousands of new ideas and better inventions. Over the past decade and a half, there are also a few good and a few not so good developments in the SMS marketing segment. A few of these features that resulted in a huge jump are:
- Email and SMS: Few businesses took on the idea of sending text messages to their customers but many were still apprehensive and did not want to log into another account. The Email to SMS feature allowed them to message customers from their email accounts.
- Keywords and Short Codes: This is another technological advancement that SMS marketing is making the best use of. It is now no more a channel for one way communication. With the use of relevant keywords and short codes businesses can now offer easy solutions to their consumers to get in touch with them, obtain more numbers, and run a text to win competition.
- Virtual Mobile Number: This followed the keywords and short codes and businesses can now establish a two way conversation with the customers as mobile phones became an integral part in people’s lives.
- Automated SMS: This feature has saved the businesses from having to send a text message to their customers manually. Everything now is automated due to the SMS API. Businesses can send automated text messages for appointment reminders, alerts, purchase and delivery notifications, and much more.
- SMS Surveys: Another technological feature that helps the businesses to keep their customers happy and deliver exceptional customer service both of which are essential for the growth of business. Surveys allow the businesses to ask their customer how happy they are and sending SMS through mobile to survey the customers is the most efficient and cost effective way to collect customer feedback.
All these features and technological advancement now allows the businesses to act according to the needs, make change necessary and move forward to achieve their business goals.
The present and future
As of now, technology continues to grow. This means SMS and mobile marketing will also keep on evolving and continue to deliver better user experience. New features and functions will be developed and implemented to make a simple SMS something that will give more value a better experience.
- SMS Web Pages seems to be the first step towards the bright and highly potential future of SMS marketing. Using this feature you can now send images, additional text, and a Call To Action button to a dedicated mobile landing page. This will then display a preview image within the body of the text message. This will in turn increase engagement and clicks.
- Rich Communication Service or RCS is one step further to the future that allows richer communication. Users will not have to click on a link to view the landing page. RCS will deliver the desired content directly to the handset of the user allowing them to interact with the text message. Though this feature is yet to be rolled out for all mobiles, it has already proved to be very useful.
No doubt SMS marketing has grown to be a richer communication channel and in the next 20 years it will be an even better channel for both businesses and consumers.