Should your business use SMS marketing in 2022?

With 2022 well underway, digital marketers across the world search for innovative outreach methods. Customers continue to become more tech-savvy, warier of marketing copy, and less lenient with their time. In no small part because of the pandemic, customer behaviors have changed, and so has the customer journey. Our New York digital marketing agency has noted this challenge and has observed the trends that follow it. One among them that warrants exploration actually leverages an old, oft-maligned method – SMS marketing. In this article, we explore the appeal of SMS marketing in 2022 and whether or not your business can benefit from it.

Why should one even consider SMS marketing in 2022?

Indeed, SMS marketing doesn’t enjoy a stellar reputation. Its traditional form resides very close to outbound marketing, which itself many marketers shy away from. Recipients don’t much like SMS either… or so say anecdotes we’ve all heard.

In truth, however, SMS marketing is extremely viable. For one, as a channel, it offers such perks as:

  • Low cost. SMS campaigns are very affordable to put together. At a typical $.01 to $.05 per text message, it won’t strain one’s budget.
  • Mobile-friendliness. SMS specifically targets mobile devices by design. With over 5 billion mobile users in the world, that’s a healthy, viable marketing direction.
  • Interactivity by default. unlike some other channels, SMS offers built-in interactivity via links or real-world use.

Still, such perks might seem theoretical. How actionable are they? Statistics say, very much so.

SMS marketing in 2022: statistics

Most marketers today will attest to the efficiency of email marketing. Open rates, measurability, appeal, and other key metrics support their view – email seems to be the king of marketing.

And yet, SMS marketing statistics paint a very promising picture, even next to the juggernaut that’s email.

#1 Open rates and CTR

Depending on the industry, email open rates might vary – but typically average around 25%.

SMS, on the other hand, offers a staggering 94%:

A pie chart on how many SMS messages recipients open.

Still, some might consider this a vanity metric. Indeed, open rates by themselves don’t mean much without subsequent desirable actions.

CTR too is massively higher, however, as SMS boasts an excellent CTR of 18%. That’s almost 7 times higher than email – and is more consistent across industries.

#2 Response rates and use

Similarly, response rates support this too; where email gets a 3% response rate, SMS gets an outstanding 45%. There will be negative responses among them, by all means, but as a pure metric, this too holds immense value.

Moreover, SMS sees considerable everyday life use that other channels don’t. For example, of the 134 million US coupon users, half use SMS coupons specifically.

#3 Response times and appeal

Finally, recipients themselves strongly prefer this channel as well. This may go against anecdotal evidence marketers have heard before, but consumers very clearly show this and act on it:

An infographic on SMS marketing and recipient appeal.

While Average Response Time (ART) may also not amount to much on its own, it carries meaning within this context. That is, almost half of consumers prefer this communication channel, whereas only 20% prefer email.

Finally, recipients will only mark 1 in 10 SMS as spam, as opposed to almost half of all emails. Understandably, this too can save marketers ample trouble and carrier penalties.

Effectively leveraging SMS marketing in 2022

All that said, its reputation is not entirely unfounded; it can severely underperform if executed poorly. In cases of critical mistakes, it may even damage a business’s reputation – not unlike other channels. Thus, SMS marketing requires a careful approach to succeed. In no particular order, you may consider the following practices to help you do so.

#1 Mind consent and regulations

As a starting point, as with similar channels, you must ensure consent and abide by regulations. As regards the former, you may simply adopt an opt-in-only philosophy and avoid purchasing lists. In the same way as with email marketing, both are crucial toward both succeeding and avoiding penalties and even legal ramifications.

For that matter, you should also make sure to keep your practices lawful. The FCC regulates SMS marketing in the US, while GDPR laws do so in the EU. We strongly suggest reviewing whichever applies to you, as well as minding the differences between the two.

#2 Personalize

Delving into your SMS campaigns themselves, then, a crucial element lies in personalization. As a PPC agency New York trusts, we cannot support this simple truism enough.

In simple terms, impersonal messages of any kind do not inspire trust, nor do they satisfy the customer. As with all such outreach, SMS will typically fail if it doesn’t address the recipient’s pain points.

You may consider such forms of personalization as:

  • Using customer data to personalize copy, from names to birthdays and anniversaries
  • Consulting behavioral analytics to fine-tune the timing
  • Diversifying campaign goals to enrich the customer experience

For an excellent example of personal SMS marketing in 2022, we may cite the following promotional/discount offer text:

A promotional SMS sent on the recipient's birthday.

#3 Perfect your copy

On the subject of the text, SMS copy needs to abide by likely familiar standards. To consolidate them into a digestible list, we may note the following:

  • Use your name. As with email, recipients need to know the sender.
  • Avoid all errors. Grammatical and syntax errors will hurt your chances – and image.
  • Mind the character limit. Brevity works best; make your 160-character limit count.
  • Use your keyword. As with SEO, remember to use and highlight your keyword.
  • Clearly state your offer. Specify exactly what you offer and word it as specifically as possible.

#4 Integrate it into omnichannel marketing strategies

No matter how perfect your copy, SMS marketing still offers but one outreach method. As fragmented customer journeys become the norm, SMS campaigns might best reside within omnichannel strategies. Thankfully, they lend themselves to established tools to facilitate this.

For instance, you may initially use your CRM software to acquire customer data to use for your campaigns. Then, you may use the same tools you track email campaigns with to track SMS campaigns. Finally, you may offer customers the option to receive such notifications as shipment updates via SMS over email. This way you’d offer them a channel they evidently prefer, ensuring their satisfaction and expanding your own marketing possibilities.

#5 Offer signups across the customer journey

Lastly, as a New York SEO company we strongly advise for well-crafted customer journeys. In this regard, you may combine UX enhancements with the need for consent – to mutual benefit. That is, you may offer the option of SMS signups across the customer journey wherever it adds value.

How you do so will of course depend on your analytics and creativity. Still, typically, the exact incentive for the signup form should best fit the medium and context. To illustrate, examples of this practice include signup forms across:

  • Landing pages, where you may offer signups for informational purposes
  • Product pages, where you may incentivize signups with order status updates
  • Email copy, where you may offer additional promotional material

Should your business use SMS marketing in 2022?

In summary, SMS marketing may very well warrant your consideration this year. As a marketing method, it offers notable benefits and enjoys demonstrable customer appeal. On your end, it may easily fit into your existing marketing tools and even amplify your omnichannel marketing’s effectiveness. Still, consent aside, it requires careful consideration and planning; it needs personalization, impeccable copy, and proper integration. Should you tick those boxes, SMS marketing may be an asset for your business.

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