Why SMS Marketing Will Dominate in 2023: 4 Benefits You Need to Know

woman looking at her mobile phone sms message from brand

2023 is the year SMS takes center stage in a marketer’s cross-channel marketing mix. Missed opportunities, lower engagement, and lost revenue are risks you take without SMS. With SMS, brands are only a text away from an immediate customer connection. 

Customers want trusted brands to text them. In 2022, 70% of consumers opted in to receive texts from businesses, and 61% of consumers say they want the ability to text a business back. This will only increase as mobile usage skyrockets with nearly 7.5 billion mobile users in the world by 2024. Now brands can engage customers where they are already spending the most time. 

SMS is the most powerful channel that marketers have at their fingertips in 2023. And when you pair it with a cross-channel approach, you have the key ingredients for success. Here are four reasons why SMS should be in your marketing mix in 2023.

 

INCREASE ENGAGEMENT

1. The Results Speak for Themselves

SMS marketing is highly effective and the statistics show this. Engagement rates for SMS are higher than any other channel – between six and eight times higher than email, in fact. Consumers also engage with SMS faster than any other marketing channel with 95% of text messages read within the first three minutes. And since SMS is permission-based, your customers have already entered the funnel when they opt-in. 

By using SMS with email, push, in-app marketing, and more, you can increase the impact of your marketing campaigns and your bottom line. Customers engage with brands across multiple channels, and they want cross-channel experiences that are personalized to their in-the-moment needs. Creating seamless, integrated journeys is key to delivering best-in-class customer-centric experiences. 

At Blueshift, many of our customers use SMS, email, paid media and other channels on a single platform for better orchestration. Using SMS has proven to boost engagement. In fact, in our December 2022 analysis of the 38 billion messages sent by Blueshift customers between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2022, we found that our customers using SMS as part of a cross-channel campaign had a 102% higher CTR.

PERSONALIZE WITH AI

2. You Can Open Up a Two-Way Conversation

Marketers can now have two-way conversations with customers using AI. You no longer have to have a one-sided conversation – you can respond and engage with your customers. And AI enables you to reach customers with hyper-personalized messaging.

Here’s how an AI-powered two-way conversational message on SMS takes marketing up a notch: Say, you’re a marketer with a retail brand and you want to let a customer know that the shoes that she favorited, but was out of stock at the time, is now back in stock. So you initiate a standard SMS message to let her know. This is a one-directional message. It’s still powerful but limited.

With AI, you can have a personalized, two-way conversation with the customer. You send her a text that the shoes are in stock. She is delighted and responds to see if her size is in stock. You respond that the shoe is available in her size and provide a link for ease of purchase. Traditionally in marketing, the customer would be redirected to a physical or online store to finalize the purchase, but now you can close the deal in the same SMS chat with the customer fully tuned in. It’s a positive customer experience with AI augmenting a marketing campaign. And your customer is delighted with the zero-friction experience. 

SMS text chat between a shoe brand and a customer

Blueshift helps customers with standard SMS messages as well as two-way conversations. We recently announced a partnership with Sinch to help brands deliver a seamless experience with two-way conversations

RESPOND TO CUSTOMER NEEDS

3. Engage Across the Lifecycle

SMS can be promotional, transactional, and informative. In fact, it should be all of the above. SMS should be leveraged as a strategic piece of your marketing strategy and thoughtfully implemented across the full customer lifecycle. With SMS, marketers can provide customers with important transactional updates such as order and shipping details, give customers exclusive SMS promotions, alert them of flash sales, remind them when they left something in their cart, and more – adding value and engaging with them, no matter where they are in their lifecycle.  

Blueshift customers across industries use SMS to create personalized experiences for increased engagement, retention, re-engagement, and revenue.

Zumper

Zumper makes renting an apartment as easy as booking a hotel. Its dynamic business model makes it critical to stay on top of availability, pricing, user preferences, and user-intent levels. With millions of listings, Zumper uses SMS to connect renters with its mobile app and provide necessary contact information for listings.

Russell Middleton, Zumper co-founder, explained: “Most users need us at defined points in time so we work hard to get the right apartment in front of them at the right time. SMS plays an integral part in our strategy, enabling us to immediately reach customers where they are.”

Read the full Zumper customer success story. 

LendingTree

LendingTree makes comparison shopping for the best loan deal fast and easy. Using its rich first-party data, LendingTree powers a true cross-channel experience, leveraging orchestrated triggers across all touchpoints, including SMS. With SMS, the finance marketplace is able to remind customers about their offers, get feedback after an interaction through NPS surveys, confirm touchpoints, and more. 

Read the full LendingTree customer success story. 

Udacity 

Udacity upskills the world’s workforce through the power of knowledge. Udacity uses rich customer data to easily create and automate contextually relevant student interactions through SMS. Udacity uses SMS for important alerts to engage with students. With SMS, Udacity can immediately let students know when they’ve been matched with a mentor, remind them about important projects, send them a copy of their syllabus, alert them when they’ve been assigned a question, and more.

Read the full Udacity customer success story. 

CarParts.com

CarParts.com streamlines the way drivers get the parts they need, making it simple and convenient to shop for auto parts online. CarParts.com’s cross-channel strategy allows its marketing team to extend a seamless personalized experience across channels. With over a million SKUs, CarParts.com leverages SMS to provide customers with exclusive promotions, nudge them to continue browsing, and remind them to finalize their purchases. It also uses SMS to alert customers of price change, send post-purchase messages while customers are waiting for their order, customer milestones such as anniversaries, and more. 

Read the full CarParts.com customer success story. 

EXPAND YOUR REACH

4. Connect With New Audiences

It’s no secret that young shoppers are more active on their devices, making mobile marketing key for engaging with this audience. Growing up with information accessible at their fingertips, Gen Zers are used to fast interactions. Meaning they both value and expect their experience with brands to be timely and seamless. Gen Z and Millennial consumers actually prefer text messaging over email to engage with brands – one study found that 60% of Gen Z and Millennials prefer text messaging more than email. 

Engaging with and creating lifelong relationships with Gen Z audiences is important for growth. Gen Z make up 21% of the US population and $595 billion land in their bank accounts each year, with 60% of their spending on non-essential items. With seamless, cross-channel experiences, Gen Z and Millennial shoppers can be your most loyal and active customers and brand advocates.

NEXT STEPS

The Right Platform to Reap the Full SMS Marketing Benefits

Implementing a cross-channel strategy with SMS at its core may sound complicated, but getting started is easier than you might expect when you have the right tools. With the Blueshift intelligent customer engagement platform, you can unlock the power of SMS in your cross-channel strategy.  Here’s how: 

  • Use the Blueshift platform to combine SMS with email, paid media and other channels for a seamless customer experience. 
  • Get everything you need, from setting up your short codes, to trackable short URLs, personalization, and more.
  • Engage customers in two-way personalized conversations using the power of Blueshift AI.
  • Reach customers across the lifecycle – from promotional and transactional to triggered messages.

Learn more about implementing a cross-channel marketing strategy by downloading our Smart Guide to Cross-Channel Campaigns and get started. 

Joan Jenkins is CMO at Blueshift.