SMS marketing can be a valuable tool for businesses to use if they want to engage with new or existing customers, generate sales and take the next step towards sustainable growth.

It is also an area which many organisations overlook, leading to missed opportunities. This is unfortunate, because using SMS marketing in tandem with other approaches, such as email lists, can result in the biggest benefits.

So what are the advantages afforded by SMS marketing that might make a business consider embracing it, and is there hard evidence that it can actually make a difference?

Facts and Figures

Analysts at Experian conducted a study into the use of SMS marketing by a pair of brands in order to better assess the extent to which it can be used in tandem with or as a replacement for email marketing.

For firms with both email and SMS subscribers, those customers signed up to both services were almost four times as likely to commit to carrying out a transaction than those who were solely signed up to a mailing list.

This suggests that taking a dual-pronged approach to engagement is a good way to stimulate sales and build a loyal user base, especially since modern mobile devices support the receipt of both SMS and email messages.

Passive and Active Approaches

The Experian report goes on to point out that there is a difference in the ways that SMS marketing can be used to encourage customers to carry out a transaction or at the very least to engage with a brand.

It was discovered that while the majority of messages sent to users were explicitly designed to market products and services, such as time-limited sales and offers, a higher conversion rate can be achieved by taking a more passive approach.

Rather than marketing directly via SMS, the idea is that businesses can encourage customers to send them texts by incentivising this process through the promise of a special offer being unlocked by their engagement. Plenty of brands get people to text in and receive a voucher code in return, and it is easy to see why playing a more receptive role in this process leads to higher returns.

Testing the Waters

It is important not to draw general conclusions from an anonymised study of brands using SMS and email marketing in conjunction with one another, and individual businesses will need to run their own tests in order to uncover which approach works best for them.

Uncovering an overlap between members of email and SMS lists can be a good place to start, as can the advertising of your SMS service to your email subscribers and vice versa. Boosting conversions and increasing brand engagement should follow, but only if you lay the groundwork by seeing how customers respond.

It is important to be willing to experiment with the various marketing tools and platforms that are available to you rather than sticking with established methods. And with SMS marketing insights such as this, you can see why so many businesses have expanded their horizons as a result of adoption.