No one can overlook how much 2020 reshaped our society, the way we do our business, and how we communicate. The world has changed evermore from the rise in digital marketing and digitization to prolonged economic stagnancy and disruption. SMS marketing has emerged as an effective and popular digital marketing trend, 9 out of 10 consumers prefer to SMS with business, and SMS messages are 35 times more likely to be read than emails.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home orders had a significant impact on digital marketing. Studies show that 56% of people have increased their mobile phone usage since COVID-19 began. As more companies adopt SMS marketing in 2021, you'll need to keep your strategy fresh by capitalizing on the latest SMS marketing trends. To improve the effectiveness of SMS in your digital marketing strategy, consider these top eight SMS marketing trends for 2021.
#1. Upgrade Customer Service Channel
Customer service provides a supporting role in marketing departments by delivering on your brand promise. Customers expect fast and accurate responses to their inquiries, and they are not afraid of sharing their low experiences on social media platforms. Studies show that over 50% of customers prefer SMS customer support over mobile phone calls, a practice that is becoming more mainstream.
SMS can facilitate numerous customer service functions such as provisioning delivery tracking information, confirming and rescheduling appointments, sending order confirmations, asking for product and service feedback, and sending order confirmations. Customer support SMS allows anyone with a mobile phone to solve issues quickly, without enduring long hold transfers and times. Short resolution times with SMS can also motivate consumer trust and help to boost the bottom line.
#2. Adoption Of B2B SMS
B2B marketers have been stagnant in adopting SMS trends in their marketing campaigns compared to B2C companies. But the popularity of SMS also applies to people working in the B2B sector. B2B companies rely largely on targeted marketing companies and relationship-building to attract and convert the right customers. Mass emails feel impersonal and rarely seem like something that is cut out for the B2B space. Winning with B2B texting starts by providing value and communication.
B2B markets have found creative ways using SMS, including:
- Sending product and service updates
Letting customers know about the product upgrades and better service offerings keep customers in a loop
- Gathering client feedback
Getting timely feedback about your products and services helps to enhance your offerings
- Generating business leads
Nurturing a relationship with clients via personal SMS communications keeps potential clients engaged
- Communicating order updates and logistics
Sending personalized SMS keeps customers informed of their order status and expected delivery times.
Marketers of B2B also leverage SMS as a business productivity tool.
#3. Use Two Way SMS For Customer Support
Two-way SMS has cleared the doors for many businesses in the US and other countries to offer services and customer support in new ways. The issue with customer support via live chat, cell phone, or in-person is the pressure to act there and then. With SMS, customers can effortlessly reply at their own pace without feeling like they had to lose their support agent should they become distracted.
It also increases the pressure of customer support to move customers along the queue as they need to meet support quotas for the day. Usually, the younger generations want the ability to do things at their own pace and as early as possible. Adding SMS to their communication will allow you to cut customer queue timing by over 50%. Thus, two-way SMS for customer support is a win-win for everyone.
#4. Make Your SMS Personalized
Customized and personalized SMS is something customers expect throughout their entire journey with a brand. However, only a few individuals were satisfied with the level of personalization in SMS in 2020. Last year marketers laid down the groundwork for the transition to highly personalized experiences, but 2021 will for sure give much more opportunities to exceed the level of engagement and closeness with customers online, contrary to the experience they receive at an actual store.
Personalization is shifting towards keeping an ongoing conversation with your customers and putting more effort into understanding what they actually are. Conversational messages already enable brands to put up relevant questions and, based on that, to send the correct product recommendations or tailored offers. Brands can then take up customer data to build more effective and direct relationships and maximize every customer interaction at all points of their journey.
Being one of the most direct and intimate communication channels, SMS is going to lead the market creating these hyper-personalized journeys, helping brands to build more connections with their clients and giving them what they are after - smooth experience and relevant offerings. In 2021, SMS marketing will be aiming for a one-on-one feel in every conversation with customers, resulting in increased rates of loyalty, engagement, and conversion for your brand.
#5. Make SMS Fully Automated
In 2021 all the brands should continue to set up the entire customer journey via SMS, automating them from beginning to end. Try ensuring that customers are going through a more relevant path for them by providing tailored SMS based on factual data such as demographics, personal interest or other traits, and more.
By automating your SMS, you can assume numerous different roles and connect with customers on multiple occasions, from acting as support agents, guiding them through your store site all the way to advise them, and being their personal shop assistant. Automated SMS will empower brands to maximize customer engagement across the customer journey, and in turn, maximize the sales effectiveness of SMS.
#6. Make SMS Integrated
Today’s customers are not single-channel users, which is why brands this year will largely focus on fusing the shopping experience across channels. Focus on maximizing the value of every customer in 2021, aim to connect all of your marketing channels with consistent SMS across the board. This won't just give customers a better experience but will help with brand awareness and increase sales for the business.
Omnichannel customers traditionally have a bigger shopping basket, so much so that with every new channel, they increase their spending threshold. In today's world, where customers have the liberty to jump back and forth between email, messages, and social media, it is up to your brand to be where they want to stand out.
Pairing your SMS marketing program with the rest of your marketing channels will help you to stay connected with clients at multiple touchpoints. Create meaningful triggers, so even if a client doesn't see your Google ads or social media posts, they will have you on the top of their mind due to the SMS that got through to them.
#7. Develop Toll-Free Number
People are enthusiastic about these toll-free SMS or 10-digit numbers because of the two factors, which are categorized as push and pull. Push - one of the main reasons companies are shifting aways from shortcodes is that their future is uncertain. Many have announced that they are going to discontinue sharing shortcodes. Dedicated shortcodes are still an option, but not in every price range of the business. And the second is called Pull - Businesses plan to expand their use of SMS.
Toll-free numbers are ideal for this as you can message 1-on-1 with clients and send huge campaigns. There are numerous other reasons why more businesses want to text from a toll-free number. Like they can use the same number for both SMS and voice calling. Plus, clients often feel more comfortable when communicating with you through a 10-digit mobile number. Carriers are in the process of launching 10DLC (10 digits long code) numbers soon.
#8. Built Trust With SMS Sender ID
With an increasing number of brands coming to market every year, there has been a high need to build trust and loyalty among clients who are more likely to interact and buy from you if you are familiar. One is the best way to do this through the psychological reinforcement of repeated encounters, such as sharing the same storefront every day.
With SMS, you can easily do this by utilizing a sender id or naming identifier, i.e., the name that is saved by a client to their phone when you SMS them, or they send you an SMS. These dedicated numbers allow clients to save one consistent number to their phone and allows for additional client engagement features such as two-way SMS.
As we move ahead in 2021, reopenings and the subsequent increase in competition will make the landscape appear crowded. SMS marketing can be your lucky charm in standing out as it allows you to reach your target audience without any mediation. The trends discussed here clearly define the ability of SMS to serve multiple purposes and provide a non-intimidating channel with a high success rate. But it is crucial that you choose the best SMS marketing service provider.
When it comes to eCommerce store owners, specifically Shopify store owners, Winback is the absolute best. You have four cost-effective plans to choose from, which you can select as per your requirements. Winback’s plans begin at a mere $59 per month. Thus, signing up for Winback’s SMS marketing services won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Also, with Winback, you can recover up to 34% of abandoned carts. Isn’t that amazing? As for ROI, Winback’s users have seen up to 35X ROI whatever they spent on Winback’s plans. So, go ahead and reach out to the Winback team today. We hope this mini-guide on the top eight SMS marketing trends helps you make the most out of 2021’s opportunities.