American Marketer


Resurgence of SMS marketing

February 2, 2016

Kalin Kassabov is cofounder/CEO of ProTexting Kalin Kassabov is cofounder/CEO of ProTexting


By Kalin Kassabov

For almost as long as mobile phones and text messaging have been around, people have been predicting the death of SMS marketing. There are, in fact, reasons to suppose that the future of SMS is more secure than many other types of marketing. This is due to several key factors, including the incredible explosion of smart phone use and the speed, convenience and high engagement level of text messaging compared to other forms of communication.

Utility of SMS is appreciated once more
As smartphones became connected to email and social media sites, some marketers thought that SMS would soon become obsolete. Many marketers began to focus their efforts on reaching their mobile customers via Facebook, Twitter and email. There are, however, built-in limitations and not so obvious flaws with these platforms.

Facebook and Twitter posts can easily become lost in users' feeds. The average open rate for emails is usually between 20 percent and 25 percent. By contrast, 98 percent of text messages are read within minutes of receipt. SMS is simply the most reliable way to engage with audiences. People are far more responsive to text messages than to any other type of platform.

What our team has started to notice is the undeniable resurgence of SMS marketing. While there are undeniable benefits to social media marketing, businesses are starting to realize that simply accumulating likes and followers is no guarantee of success. These metrics can easily be manipulated. For example, Facebook and YouTube likes, Twitter followers and retweets can all be purchased. Even authentic engagement on social media is often fleeting, with people liking a page and then forgetting about it.

SMS, on the other hand, provides businesses with a more reliable way to engage with customers who have opted-in to receiving messages. Text messages are direct and do not get lost on users' social media feeds or overflowing inboxes. Once more, businesses are turning to SMS for direct engagement and interactive campaigns supporting other marketing initiatives.

New and interactive SMS
Both large and small businesses are starting to discover the many ways that SMS marketing can be leveraged. These are just some of the ways that the unparalleled interactivity of SMS is being used by many companies today in conjunction to larger marketing campaigns:

• Supporting email and social media campaigns: While it is easy to see the advantages of SMS over other types of marketing, even greater benefits can be enjoyed by combining different types of marketing. SMS can be used to support social media and email campaigns.

• Contests and sweepstakes: People love to win prizes and SMS provides the easiest way to enter contests. The simplest way for people to enter a contest or sweepstakes is by entering a short code keyword.

• Smart drip campaigns: These are comparable to email autoresponder series, giving marketers the ability to send out a series of timed text messages. Customers can sign up for these campaigns by texting a keyword to the merchant.

• App promotions and downloads: A company that wants customers to download their app can send out a link to a mobile landing page via text. Because of the high engagement of SMS, this is often the most efficient way to promote an app.

• Live events: SMS marketing can be incorporated into live events using interactive displays on a Jumbotron or other screen. Audience members can participate in live chats, polling and other actions that encourage engagement.

Why SMS is poised for growth
The number of mobile phone users has been increasing exponentially over the last few years.

There are currently an estimated 4 billion mobile phones in the world, which covers the majority of the world's population. More than three-fourths of these phones are SMS-enabled.

Even people who do not yet own smartphones can send and receive texts on their phones. This makes SMS the most straightforward and ubiquitous form of communication that is now possible. Even more importantly, commerce conducted via smartphone is also quickly growing.

SMS IS A type of marketing that can be employed by both local and Web-based businesses. SMS provides the most efficient way for people to access coupons, enter contests, respond to polls and otherwise engage with stores and other businesses.

Far from being on the verge of extinction, the age of SMS is just getting started.

Kalin Kassabov is cofounder/CEO of ProTexting, New York. Reach him at