June 25, 2020 Jaclyn Bickerton
In November of 2019, Twilio released a global research report on Consumer Engagement Best Practices for 2020. The report focuses on best practices that all businesses should incorporate into their communications strategy. In the current marketplace:
Nowadays, the number of communication channels seems to always be rising. With the addition of new channels comes new challenges for businesses, specifically to learn how to interact with their customers and prospects on these new mediums.
The report tells us that 94% of consumers are annoyed by the communications they receive from companies. Some of the top annoyances are as follows:
However, it’s important to note that consumers will also reward a business that actually listens to their preferences and rewards the consumer in the right way. Personalization is more important now than ever before, get it right and reap the rewards; get it wrong and you risk losing a customer.
75% of consumers say that they have rewarded businesses that communicate in the way they prefer, (by visiting the website, making a purchase, having a positive impression).
7 in 10 consumers penalized a business when the communication experience wasn’t what they wanted (by unsubscribing to communications or stopped doing business with them entirely).
34% of people said they have made a purchase from a business that communicated with them in their preferred way.
Email and SMS are the TOP 2 preferred forms of communications:
Email – 83%
Text/SMS – 39%
Phone – 31%
Messaging App – 23%
While email is still the preferred form of communication by a large margin, SMS came in second place at 39%. When consumer preferences are met, SMS communications have an astronomical 98% open rate. It’s clear that consumers are open to SMS as a communication channel, so why are marketers still hesitant to adopt it?
The problem is that many marketers and businesses just don’t know how to use SMS without it feeling too invasive, they don’t believe their customers want to hear from them via SMS, or they don’t understand how their current workflows and strategies will fit into SMS communications.
Email and SMS marketing share the same “pillars”:
Building an Audience:
Compliance & Deliverability:
Planning & workflows
Reporting – With SMS, there are new metrics & terminology that you’ll need to learn to arrive at the insights you need. Some of the differences are outlined in the chart below:
Engagement – Email & SMS excel in driving different types of recipient activity. While email is the preferred channel among consumers, SMS is twice as popular when it comes to receiving urgent communications from a business. Unlike email, SMS messages are viewed immediately after delivery, however, they are forgotten soon after delivery as well.
SMS messages also have a 160-character limit, which means that these communications should include short, precise copy that grabs attention. SMS communications should focus on immediate calls to action, such as:
Cost – The cost of SMS is higher than the cost of email. Nonetheless, when used effectively, the immediacy and engagement rates of SMS help it deliver a strong ROI. Pricing factors in 3 things:
A local, national or toll free number or short code may be used, depending on regulations. In the US, there are designated numbers for SMS communications. Local numbers allow you to send one message per second ($1/month). Toll-Free numbers allow 3 messages per second ($2/month). High-volume short codes allow you to send messages at 100 per second at a premium rate. The cost is $1000 per short code per month. You can also create your own vanity short code, at even more of a premium.
Another thing that’s important to note is that carriers will flag a standard URL shortener, such as bit.ly, which may result in your message being filtered. To get around this, use a custom branded link shortener to ensure your message doesn’t end up flagged and filtered.
Consumers have their reasons for using different channels, and businesses need to continuously adapt to changing consumer preferences. Implementing an omnichannel approach and letting your customers dictate what communications they want and when they want them will allow you to build a lasting relationship with them. Give the people what they want!
Jaclyn Bickerton, Oakville, Ontario, June 2020