When was the last time you received a marketing email but didn’t open it? Probably very recently because the average email open rate is 25%. In contrast, when was the last time you received a marketing text message (SMS) but didn’t open it? Chances are you can’t remember as text message marketing boasts a 98% open rate.

In addition, 90% of text messages received are read within three minutes of being delivered, and 95% of adults globally own a mobile phone (smartphone and traditional handsets). Put all these statistics together and they reveal that text messaging has the greatest reach of all communication channels.

Multiple arrows

There’s something about receiving a text message that creates a sense of urgency that drives people to read it straight away. This sense of urgency is not mirrored in any other inbound marketing channel, and certainly not in email, which is  arguably the closest relative to text messaging.

Text messages are short and sweet; the 160-character limitation means that marketing messages have to get straight to the point so consumers can quickly and easily consume the content.

There are a wide number of calls to action that can be used in text messaging, many of which can’t be used in email marketing as they rely on the consumers reading their email on a smartphone, not a desktop or tablet device. For example: click to call; text back (can be used to gather information instead of using an online form); click to find your local store; click to sign up and pay via PayPal (negating the need for the user to get their card out).

Out with the old in with the new

When it comes to lead generation and lead nurturing, text messaging plus email marketing is a perfect example of “the sum is greater than its parts”.  Integrated text message and email campaigns result in high email open rates, response rates, and action rates when used in a way that fulfills users’ expectations.

A simple “have you read our email” text message prompts consumers to check their inbox and allows brands to take advantage of the benefits of email marketing that are not possible with text messages, such as visual content or multiple options to click through to various web pages depending on what the consumer is most interested in.

Modern text message marketing software platforms can be integrated with existing systems, such as marketing automation tools and customer relationships management (CRM) platforms. This enables marketers to boost performance across all digital channels through customer-centric personalisation of content and adverts.

In the short term, a fully integrated, technology-driven strategy to text message marketing drives better open rates, engagement rates, brand awareness, and conversion rates. Long-term benefits include increased customer lifetime value and customer retention.

The biggest lost opportunity

Although text message marketing is widely used, there’s one strategy that’s commonly ignored.

Data providers know if a consumer has completed a form fill on a smartphone, tablet or desktop device, and can pass that data back to the client. The audience can then be segmented and different text messages sent to the consumers that are known smartphone users, such as “click to sign up to a free trial” or “click to find your local store”.

Consumers that provide a mobile number but have completed the data capture on a desktop or tablet device  – therefore are not known smartphone users – can then be sent a text message with more traditional calls to action, such as “reply to receive a call back” or “have you seen our email”.

If, further down the user journey, a user from that segment completes a trackable action on a mobile phone they can be moved into the smartphone audience segment.

Successful text messaging

Successful text message lead generation can mark the difference between a business that excels, and a business that struggles as consumers shift to mobile. Using text message  marketing, brands can reach wider audiences with easy to digest, easy to action content that cuts through noisy inboxes and instills a greater sense of conversation with consumers. Integration with existing marketing automation technology facilitates an integrated communications strategy, which today’s consumers want and expect.