The US, collectively, will send approximately 72 billion text messages this year. Billions and billions of those will be business-customer interactions. Text message marketing is popular and it’s still growing and it’s here to stay. There’s a good reason why virtually every major brand and many smaller businesses as well are using it. Text message marketing has an engagement rate over 90%. That means that for every ten recipients of a text message sent by a business, nine will engage with that text in some way by reading/responding/clicking/redeeming a coupon. Here are three big predictions for text message marketing in 2017.
#1 It will keep getting more popular
Okay so this one isn’t exactly a big prediction, it’s a very safe one. Text message marketing has been growing in popularity every year since it started and 2017 will be no different. Texting is increasingly becoming the preferred method of communication for virtually everyone. Even older generations are starting to embrace text messaging as they realize it’s the most likely to get a quick response. Businesses are finding out the exact same thing so expect text message marketing to keep growing this year.
#2 SMS engagement rates will fall
What’s a negative prediction like this doing in an article singing the praises of text message marketing? It’s worth remembering that email marketing used to have engagement rates that were as high as text message marketing’s is right now. But then as so many businesses started doing it and consumers were overwhelmed with emails from various businesses, they started ignoring them and email providers started using junk folders to automatically filter promotional emails and many were deleted unread and even unnoticed in some cases.
The good news is, the SMS marketing engagement rate isn’t going to drop from 90+ down to 20% where email’s engagement rate currently sits. SMS is different from email in that consumers have to opt in first so engagement rates will remain high, they’ll just drop a little due to the saturation of the SMS marketing channel. The other good news about lower engagement rates is that…
#3 SMS marketing will get more creative
A positive side effect of a saturated marketing channel and lower engagement rates is that brands will have to start thinking outside of the box to be noticed. Mobile coupons, appointment reminders, order and shipping notifications, and loyalty programs are all relatively common uses for the SMS marketing channel but in 2017 and coming years as engagement rates dip, brands are going to start experimenting with new ways to use the channel. We might see multi-part short fiction pieces sent via text or mini content marketing pieces. Some will be flops but some might take hold as well and we’ll look back on 2017 as the year there was a shift in SMS marketing strategy in order to stay relevant.
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