Short message service (SMS) – the once effective and conventional tool for audience communication, today faces the heat from data-driven messaging services. Why? For every SMS you send to any of your contacts you are being charged by your network operator. Compare this to mobile-application delivered messages which are almost free.

So why is a conventional SMS still the weapon of choice for marketers and businesses? Firstly, let’s understand how an SMS message is delivered to you. Mobile phones are always sending and receiving information through signals (towers) even when your phone isn’t in use. When a message is sent, it first must go through the nearest tower and then the SMS centre or SMSC. The SMSC receives the message and sends it to the appropriate tower closest to the location of the mobile phone and then to the phone itself. SMS formats the message in a way that it is able to travel to and from the town, and still be received by the mobile phone. An SMS also contains metadata about the message, such as message length, destination, format, and time stamp.

So the SMS is delivered to your mobile phone irrespective of a weak network signal and absence of internet. This makes SMS one of the most preferred forms of mobile messaging communication. Application-to-person (A2P) messaging — where a computer sends messages to a person — is a continuously growing segment in the mobile messaging market. Its ubiquity and reach, evidently encourages businesses to resort to SMS campaigns for promotional and transactional usages.

Apart from the above, here are a few reasons that make SMS a powerful mobile messaging tool.

  • Simple and immediate: Allows you to reach varied demographics simultaneously. It is easy to put in a text format and send the communication almost instantly.
  • Is cost effective: SMS marketing is an inexpensive method of communication as it keeps your budget in check, compared to traditional marketing where managing expenses is usually a challenge.
  • High response rate: The high response and open rate makes the SMS service an ideal marketing tool. This feature leverages your message to go across to a larger audience with ease. Some studies have reported that SMS has eight times the response rate of an email. With a read rate of 97% within 15 minutes of delivery, one can be assured of the message being read instantly.
  • Personalisation: Every customer has a unique journey and preferences. Rich format SMS’s helps deliver personalised experiences suiting your consumer’s interests.
  • Integration with other channels: You can integrate social and traditional media with SMS to ensure your communication reaches your target audience.
  • Opt-ins and Opt-out: Offers your customers an option to subscribe and unsubscribe promotional communications.
  • Data service redundancy: You don’t need the internet for sending across SMS to your customer base. This adds to the advantage of creating a seamless connect with your customers.
  • High penetration in remote locations: Text messages can even reach customers in remote locations where there is no internet and smartphones.
  • Support two-way interactions: Two-way SMS services use keywords and short codes while sending out messages to customers. In a two-way texting, customers send a keyword to a predetermined short code in order to receive an automated response. Customers prefer genuine communication and this is where two-way SMS helps to strike a meaningful conversation. This has given businesses a novel way to engage with their customers.
  • Analytics: You can track, monitor, and analyse the performance of SMS campaigns. Different reports help you understand customer behaviour, ROI achieved from a particular campaign, and open rates.