Back in 1992, the first commercial SMS message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the UK from Neil Papworth. Fast forward 25 years, and it’s believed that over 23 billion texts are sent worldwide every day. So, why is text messaging still so popular? And why should businesses take note?
Ever since Neil Papworth sent a simple text on his Orbitel 901 mobile phone, saying “Merry Christmas”, the world has continued to evolve. Since 1992, we’ve seen the beginning of the World Wide Web, the UK voting to leave the EU, the coming and going of Kappa popper joggers and the Gallagher brothers enjoy more scraps than Mike Tyson.
Yet, the fact remains; popular culture and fads come and go, but text messaging is still here to fight another day.
According to Portio Research, 8.6 trillion text messages are sent every year. And when you pair that with the 79.14 million active mobile devices in the UK, there’s no doubt that there’s a unique opportunity for businesses to explore.
In our white paper, Mobile marketing for small and medium size businesses, it was revealed that by 2020, the number of people in the UK that will have opted in to receive business text messages will reach 48.65 million. That’s 75% of the UK population! This kind of development also makes business SMS the fastest growing marketing channel. What a difference 25 years can make!
But despite these impressive stats, a hefty 64% of SMEs aren’t currently using branded or business SMS. If you’re one of them, here are a few reasons why you should reconsider…
Problems we no longer suffer, thanks to SMS
Love it or hate it, text messaging is 25 years old and it’s here to stay. (Heck, if it isn’t, you’ll find me down the Jobcentre lickety-split!)
Image courtesy of: BGR
Who remembers Saved by the Bell? (If you don’t, bear with me.) When Zack Morris was using his brick phone to scheme, he almost always got caught by Mr. Belding. Just imagine if he had sent a quick text message instead of calling people all the time.
In fact, text messaging is so quick, it usually only takes four seconds to deliver a message. For businesses, this presents an instant solution to reach potential customers. Bulk text messages even allow businesses to send thousands of SMS in the same amount of time. Goodness knows what Zack would get up to with a modern-day smartphone!
Image courtesy of: Express
Angry customers are a business’ nightmare. Only last year, Tom Cruise’s film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, inspired one angry customer to attack a staff member at the DMV (America’s version of the DVLA).
The customer queued for hours for an appointment, and when he arrived at the front, the staff member put up a “Closed” sign. As a result, he took matters into his own hands (just like Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher), and attacked him through the hole in the glass screen.
This is an extreme example of course! But the truth is, queues and a lack of communication from businesses can cause hostile and sticky situations like the man at the DMV.
The solution? Simple delivery notifications via a text message offers customers real-time updates. While appointment reminders and a simple text notifying visitors of closing times can drastically improve satisfaction levels. Plus, with an average of nine out of 10 people reading a business SMS in the first three minutes, there’s no quicker solution to get an important message across.
Have you forgotten what you’ve just read? Well, according to The Telegraph, it wouldn’t be a surprise. Research back in 2009 suggested that adults forget three things a day.
How many times have you turned up for an event and forgot your ticket? Or if you haven’t forgot, are you ‘that guy’ who holds up the queue whilst frantically searching every pocket for your paper ticket? (Sigh.)
These issues could be erased by sending a personalised SMS ticket with a QR code. A majority of us will keep our smartphones with us for more than 16 hours a day, thus vastly diminishing the likelihood of customers forgetting their tickets. The mobile platform also allows your business to send SMS receipts, which can have a positive effect on the customer experience.
Both SMS features are also highly beneficial for the environment too, with a staggering amount of oil, water and trees wasted in the formation of paper tickets and receipts.
Are you a marketing Madonna or Chesney Hawkes?
Text messaging is kind of like Madonna. Whether you like her or not, she’s adapted through the decades to keep her music relevant and marketable. Sure, she’s endured a few setbacks (don’t mention the red cape), but her albums keep on selling.
Poor Chesney on the other hand didn’t really share the same continued success as Madonna. This could be down to his failure to adapt his musical style and go with the current trends. As a business owner, entrepreneur, or marketer, I’m sure you want to enjoy many more successful years.
So, don’t get ‘Hung Up’ on the misconceptions about text messaging. Be like Madonna, and tap into a channel that has stood the test of time and continues to deliver year in, year out. Here’s to another 25 years!