Short Message Service (SMS) has been around since the early 90s. With a technology this old, it begs the question as to whether text messaging is still relevant and useful for businesses today. The short answer is: yes, absolutely!

Read on to discover the future of SMS, how the technology is improving with age, and the potential it offers for increasing customer engagement and sales.

SMS marketing today

Text messaging boomed in its first two decades of existence. In 2010, the technology witnessed a bit of a decline as consumers began switching to rich messaging channels.

However, regular text messaging saw an uptick again during the pandemic. According to data from Juniper Research, SMS business messaging alone was set to reach 3.5 trillion messages in 2020.

Today, SMS is still incredibly popular, with around 18.7 billion text messages sent worldwide every day. More and more companies are now leveraging SMS as a powerful mobile marketing tool to reach customers where they like to hang out – with their phones.

Just a few benefits of SMS marketing for businesses:

  • No download required – SMS is a native text messaging application built into every mobile phone, even basic cell phones.

  • Familiar type of communication – virtually everyone in the world with a mobile phone knows what a text is; how to open it, read it and respond. People use it in day-to-day life to chat with friends and family. No training needed!

  • High open and response rates – 98% of texts are opened within three minutes of receipt, making text ideal for communicating urgent or time-sensitive information.

  • Good value – SMS is cost-effective when you consider that it's a very direct, highly targeted marketing channel. Typically, you'll be charged based on SMS volume and destination.

SMS messages are ideal for sending out:

  • Targeted campaigns – including flash sale notifications, special offers and digital coupons (instead of paper coupons), and loyalty campaigns.

  • Mobile PIN codes/One-Time Passwords (OTPs) – to help administer customer registration processes, to add an extra layer to account security or to authenticate a financial transaction.

  • Transactional communications – such as order confirmations, delivery notifications, refund confirmations and appointment reminders.

  • Customer service messages – to answer enquiries and solve problems through text conversations.

    Asian man using a smartphone

The future of SMS marketing

SMS marketing was once about getting a powerful message across in 160 characters. Not any more. The landscape is already changing with the development of Verified SMS, RCS and omnichannel messaging.

Verified SMS

Verified SMS presents businesses with the option to add branding to text communications, helping to increase brand awareness and convey trust.

So, for example, you can add your business logo, company description and include a website preview link so customers can easily understand what you've sent them.  When it comes to your logo, you can use professional logo creator platforms to generate one appropriate for your brand.

When you sign up for Verified SMS, every text you send includes a verification badge to show that your texts are trustworthy – really important when sending out account verification requests, for instance.

Rich Communication Services (RCS)

RCS gives Android users the enhanced chat experience that you'll find with Messenger and WhatsApp, where it's easy to chat in real-time.

There are no restrictions on character limit, you can share files, see real-time typing indicators and even make voice or video calls directly from the text messaging app.

RCS has been designed to rival Apple's iMessage as the default messaging app – and Android users with modern handsets will probably have it already built-in.

The rise of omnichannel messaging

Many people now switch between devices and use multiple communication channels (SMS, social media, messaging apps, email and voice calls). Customers engaging with a business do the same thing – they often use multiple touchpoints to make a purchase or ask a question.

They have high expectations nowadays, expecting businesses to know the details of their enquiry/online visit even if it starts out as a text and transitions to email or voice call later on.

Hence the rise of omnichannel messaging, which is all about creating a seamless customer experience – giving customers the option to communicate via their preferred channel, while making sure that all engagement is managed uniformly behind the scenes.

SMS is an important marketing channel to include in your omnichannel messaging strategy, particularly for e-commerce companies, where SMS is often used for abandoned cart reminders to recover lost revenue. A common strategy is to send one abandoned cart reminder by email and then a follow up by text.

A future SMS prediction from one marketing expert is around SMS becoming a distribution channel where customers can complete their entire purchase journey through SMS with their stored credit card details.

Omnichannel messaging from Messente

Here at Messente, we've responded to the rising omnichannel messaging trend by developing our Omnichannel API. It allows you to send messages via SMS, WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram, depending on your customers' communication habits and preferences.

When you set up omnichannel messaging with Messente, you can choose a fallback channel, so your messages are delivered to another channel should your subscribers not be available on the first.

For example, if you send out a transactional communication via WhatsApp, but the subscriber isn't available to receive it because there’s no internet signal, it could then be sent by SMS.

The future is still bright for text messages

Text messaging has been around for three decades – and it's likely to be around a good while longer yet, as mobile usage continues to remain popular.

With the advancements currently being made to transform simple text messaging into an enhanced, real-time chat experience, there's plenty of scope for businesses and brands to connect with and engage their audience through SMS marketing. And, in turn, build better customer relationships and increase sales.

Consider omnichannel messaging as part of your overall communication strategy to meet your customers via the channels they know and love to use.

Ready to start texting for your business? With Messente, you can get started with a free account – register here.