A winning marketing solution is one that delivers your messages reliably, at an affordable price and with as little hassle as possible. Here, we’ll take a look at three of the most popular ways to do this: email, Instant Messaging (IM) services and SMS marketing. Each of these has its pros and cons, and understanding them will help you decide which to use to meet your marketing goals.
Email can be stored for long periods of time and is easily searchable. Before sending a marketing email, ask yourself whether the customer will need the information in the future. If the answer is yes, choose email.
The downside to email is that it isn’t always opened immediately. For example, if you send an email late in the afternoon, it may only be read hours later – or even the next morning. Moreover, you’re often competing with high priority work-related or personal mails.
Email should therefore be used for messages or information that isn’t time sensitive – things like booking confirmations, special offers and invoice information. It obviously wouldn’t be the first choice for messages that need urgent attention – for example, to let someone know that a food delivery or taxi has arrived.
Another disadvantage of email is that it can be filtered into a junk or spam folder, or marked as spam by recipients.
There’s no denying this is one of the fastest forms of communication – the word “instant” is in the name. It can be an extremely effective tool for internal communication but it may not be appropriate for customer engagement if these accounts aren’t constantly monitored.
The major advantage of IM is that it’s delivered immediately if the recipient is online. A back-and-forth conversation can commence right away, allowing for immediate resolution.
The drawback to IM is it requires both the sender and recipient to have an app installed before conversations can take place. It can also be intrusive. Messages pop up on a screen, sometimes accompanied by audible alert tones. This can be disruptive or annoying for customers, particularly if they’re at work.
SMS may have recently turned 21, but there’s a reason marketers love it. It’s affordable and easy to use, but there’s more to it than that. The majority of people have their phones with them most of the time, so SMS offers the greatest likelihood of your message being read.
Research has shown 90% of people open SMS messages within three minutes of receiving them. In addition, SMS has an open rate of 98%, far higher than any other form of marketing communication.
If you feel restricted by the 160 character limit, you can always use concatenation, which splits messages into smaller parts to ensure the entire SMS is received in a single text.
So which option should you choose? If you’re looking for a solution that offers high open rates, reliable delivery of time-sensitive messages, and is easy to implement, SMS is your best bet.