Entry By Jason Brick
As we move through 2012, even more evidence comes to light that says you should be using SMS in your marketing. Consider these figures from a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) study of 1,000 consumers in four different countries.
In the U.S., 33 percent of mobile users prefer SMS marketing to mobile web, apps and voice mail. In Germany, that number is 58 percent. In France, 60 percent of those surveyed prefer SMS.
Understanding that this is true is one step in mastering mobile marketing. The next step is understanding why. Here are some of the most common replies from respondents to the DMA study and other marketing surveys.
SMS is short and sweet, limited to just 160 characters and readable in an instant. As compared to voice mail, apps and traditional media, this means your advertising takes less of your customers' time while still delivering your message.
Unlike radio advertising and similar modes, the recipient gets to choose when and how he interacts with your SMS message. Compared to voice mail - which is often hard to distinguish from a regular phone call - this is more considerate of your customers' schedules.
Not everybody has an Internet-enabled phone. SMS will reach the customers who have standard cell phones. Although increasingly ignored in the marketing literature, they still outnumber the app phone users.
Mobile websites take a lot of data that mobile users pay for. Though some plans will charge a few cents for incoming text messages, the cost for some users is insignificant compared to the costs for accessing a website or downloading an app.
Mobile web is still fraught with problems. Different screen sizes, programming and browsers mean a site optimized for iPhones might be wonky on an Android - and both are usually designed on a full-size monitor, which causes its own problems. SMS is simple and universally compatible.
More than 100,000 apps were released last month, and the average user has 15 to 48 apps on his mobile device. An offer adding even more saturation to a user's app situation often feels like more trouble than its worth.
The bad news is that 50 percent of respondents to the same study reported they would rather not be contacted by phone at all. However, research on other forms of advertising suggests that consumers dislike bad advertising - the same people who complain about television commercials still show the funniest Super Bowl ads with their friends.
The takeaway: make your SMS marketing excellent. The better you make it, the less your opt-in list will mind - and the more they'll prefer it to other mobile options. Not sure where to get started? Check out our free SMS Marketing Resources Center.