By Rohit Srivastav, Published October 29, 2014
Just to give you a perspective, according to a UN report, people in India have access to a mobile phone more than they have access to toilets. Translate this to the global scenario and wonder in amazement. Mobile phones have given us the opportunity to communicate at the most personal level possible hence opening up a plethora of marketing opportunity for every brand possible.
I came across recent SAP study, it says that 20% people check their smart phones every 10 minutes and almost 70% check it every hour. The question to ask ourselves, being marketers is, are we utilizing this opportunity to the fullest? I do not intend to say that we are not serious about mobile marketing opportunities. In fact, we have kept up with the technology at every step. We optimised our websites according to mobile screens, we rebuilt the mobile sites, we developed web apps and now every prominent brand has a native app. But is that enough?
The Eye Opener
Mobile Apps are the websites of the 2000s. Everybody wants one, everybody has one because everybody can get one. I do not doubt the success of the web based strategies of apps and landing pages but what baffles me are the eye opening insights I got from the report mentioned earlier:
Yes, you read it right! In the ultra modern world of smart, smarter and smartest phones the archaic tool of SMS still finds value and ease in the minds of customers. People will argue and I agree that with the advent of messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and alike, the place of good old texting has seemingly ended. But is that the end of SMS marketing for us?
Small observations of the types of SMSs we receive throughout the day reveals that majority of them are informational ones from the Banks or our credit card companies and promotional ones from the brands we love. The informational or promotional aspect of the SMS, in a way coerces the user to at least open and glance at the SMS he receives. Isn’t it an excellent marketing opportunity?
How to market your App through SMS?
I vividly remember the use of SMS marketing by a famous India based messaging App called ‘Hike’. They were competing against the giant we love, WhatsApp. They used the SMS channel to growth hack themselves right into the likes of WhatsApp, Line and WeChat. They didn’t do anything very fancy, it was just whenever you join Hike, you would have the option to authenticate Hike to send your contacts a link to install Hike and every person that installs Hike through that link will earn you free SMS bonus. Simple and effective.
We, the people by default are social beings. If someone we know has got the hottest gadget, phone or app, we want to know, appreciate, criticise or feel jealous about it. Marketers can use this very innate quality to spread the apps they want. One person installs the app, take his permission and send SMS to all he knows, that he has your App now.
People like to share things they cite value in. If you have an amazing app, they will surely like it and would want to share it with their peers. Give them the opportunity to do so, make the text they send free, by sending it through your channel.
Parting Points to Ponder
Now that we have zeroed on the importance of SMS as a tool, I would like to take your attention towards the ways to harness this tool. Few tips that should always be kept in mind while using SMS as a tool:
- Keep It Simple Silly! : Never forget the Golden Rule. You have only 160 characters and very few seconds to communicate your message. Start with the value you have to provide through that text followed by a clear CTA for the user to avail that value.
- Always give value: The customer has given us a privilege by giving his contact number to us and even more by opening our message. Never forget this. So, if he has done such favour to you, shouldn’t you return the favour by giving him value for it? It may be a discount coupon or an early bird prize or just a free resource, but it should always have some value for him.
- Optimize your landing page: With the ubiquity of smart phones, the CTA you provide which is most likely today will be a link. It would always be opened on the phone itself. Keep this in mind and optimize that landing page according to the mobile screen.
- Do not intrude: SMSs more often than not reach people who have either not opted for the alerts or have most likely forgotten about it. Hence, time you texts well and do not be repetitive. There is a very thin line between informative and irritating. Do not cross that line.
SMS marketing has been around for almost a decade and hence doesn’t leave many things new to say but the moot point to consider is that SMS have remained the same, but the devices haven’t. The communication channel is the same but the messages transmitted have changed. It is now on our disposal to use this highly underrated and extremely underutilized channel in present times to turn the tables around.