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SMS Marketing in 2023: Trends and Innovations to Watch

|  7 min
SMS Marketing Trends
In this article

Short Message Service or SMS text messaging has been around since the early 1990s and remains popular with users of all ages and skill sets. One reason for this is that SMS capability is almost universal: it’s available on conventional handsets and smart phones alike and does not require an internet connection.

This accessibility of SMS on a diverse range of personal devices also promotes immediacy for text as a communications medium. Statistics consistently show that a majority of consumers (90%, according to a survey by Gitnux) prefer text messages over phone calls. Recipients tend to open and respond to the vast majority of text messages within three minutes of delivery, and recipients open around 98% of all text messages (a figure almost four times higher than the open rates for email).

These factors make SMS text an ideal channel for commercial organizations and institutions to promote their products and services, or disseminate information. A range of technology and software solutions such as SMS gateways, SMS portals, SMS as a Service, and short message service application programming interfaces (SMS APIs) are helping to extend the reach and range of texting options available to businesses wishing to engage in SMS marketing.

So, what are the trends and innovations that SMS marketing organizations should be on the lookout for in 2023? They include the following.

According to Gitnux research, SMS marketing has witnessed a significant rise in popularity in the United States and is projected to reach a valuation of $31.7 billion in 2023. Globally, enterprises are predicted to spend $50 billion on SMS messaging by 2025.

Overall, SMS marketing has proven to be a highly effective tool for marketers, with almost 96% of those who use it reporting increased revenue generation. At a consumer level, nearly half of customers (48%) prefer receiving special offers via text message, with click-through rates for embedded links of up to 19%, compared to other marketing channels such as email marketing (4%) and Facebook (1%). Some 62% of consumers have subscribed to at least one business to receive text messages in the past year.


SMS Marketing as Part of a Larger Marketing Initiative

However, organizations should not necessarily depend on SMS marketing alone. Rather, applications like bulk texting, application-to-person messaging (A2P SMS), and SMS integration into line of business systems should be seen as part of a larger, holistic marketing initiative that unifies the brand message across a range of communication and promotional channels.

Adoption of SMS Marketing by Influencers

Despite their fame and massive popularity, influencers are individuals first and foremost, and therefore appreciate the value of one-to-one dialogue with their fans. Strategic use of SMS can help to nurture such interpersonal relationships and provide a level of intimacy with the fan base that isn’t possible via platforms like Instagram or YouTube.

While direct one-to-one communication with fans isn’t possible at scale, there are alternatives available. For example, a startup platform called Community allows fans to text their favorite celebrities, and enables influencers to answer questions, promote their projects and send invitations to their followers using SMS.

Using Discounts to Drive Sales

Everyone loves a good deal and using SMS marketing to promote discounts and special offers continues to resonate with consumers. Among the respondents to the Gitnux poll, coupons and promotional codes were welcomed by 30-50% of those surveyed, with 39% of consumers wanting to receive birthday deals, and 31% looking for upcoming promos/sales/discount announcements.

For SMS marketers, VIP programs, birthdays, and anniversaries are also very effective opportunities to implement timed discounts on products that are only available during limited periods. Beyond these special promotions, organizations can use SMS marketing to chase potential lost revenue and boost customer loyalty by incorporating cart abandonment offers, and information relating to new or exclusive products and services.

Transactional SMS updates can also provide opportunities for cross-selling. For instance, while providing order confirmation and shipping/delivery notifications, companies can cross-sell related products, or provide discounts for future orders.

Putting the Emphasis on Personalization

Adding a personal touch to SMS messages (either hand-crafted or automated) makes your audience more likely to connect with your brand and take action. Taking the time to analyze customer profiles and transaction histories can provide data that enables SMS marketing teams to include time-dependent and personalized elements to promotional messaging.

Using multimedia messaging service (MMS) elements, you can embed rich media such as images, audio files, short video clips and GIFs into your communications, to increase engagement levels and provide greater information clarity.


Looking Beyond Advertising

SMS messaging can play an active role in customer service delivery and community building. Automated SMS alert systems and two-way messaging help keep customers in the loop concerning their orders and purchases and provide customer support departments with an avenue for quick issue resolution.

Using SMS polls and surveys to gather customer feedback helps make consumers feel that they matter to the brand and are contributing to its success. This information also provides organizations with valuable clues as to how they can improve their own performance.

Occasions like client birthdays or anniversaries provide an opportunity to connect with consumers at a personal level, with celebratory wishes and/or special offers. The same applies to holidays.

For human resource (HR) departments, SMS can provide an avenue for recruitment and follow-up with potential hires, and an instrument for the organization as a whole to inform the workforce about important news and updates.

Effects of SMS Automation

Enterprise SMS and bulk texting campaigns require a degree of care in the crafting of message content, the timing of message delivery, and the monitoring of its results. Platforms offering a text service for business users will therefore typically include a number of automation and configuration options. This automation enables users to individually tailor messages to fit specific customers or target audience groups.

Trigger-based messages or auto-reply texts enable SMS marketers to set triggers that can for example celebrate milestones, notify potential customers of an abandoned cart, or even request feedback.


Increasing Regulation and Scrutiny

With privacy and data protection high on the agenda for organizations in all sectors of the economy, SMS marketers must also anticipate increasing levels of scrutiny and industry regulation. For example, in the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is developing a framework that will impose new requirements on wireless providers. Specifically, providers will conduct analysis at a network level and block messages that are from invalid or unused numbers, and numbers from a blacklist. To avoid inclusion on this blacklist, advertisers will need to exercise greater care in their SMS marketing.

Increasing Reliance on 10-Digit Long Codes (10DLC)

Security concerns prompted mobile carriers to phase out shared short codes for SMS marketing in 2021, leaving only a limited pool of dedicated short codes for marketers. As a result, the 10-digit long code (10DLC) now reigns supreme.

10-digit long codes are 10-digit local phone numbers, used to send high-volume text messages for marketing campaigns and other communications. They tend to be cheaper than short codes and provide spam protection plus improved deliverability. As people tend to put more faith in local numbers than toll-free numbers, 10DLC also has the edge in consumer trust.

Integrating AI into the Customer Service Mix

With the rise of conversational and generative AI – and its incorporation into an increasing number of mainstream software applications – putting artificial intelligence to work for customer support is now easier than ever.

Chatbots on corporate websites are now a common feature, with natural language processing (NLP) engines generating a human-sounding conversation that can provide custom answers to customer queries. Such chatbot technology is spilling over into SMS software, expanding enterprise customer support and customer engagement options.

Technology Considerations

A successful SMS campaign begins with the right technology platform. To harness the power and versatility of SMS communication across a range of business systems, many organizations are now seeking solutions capable of providing SMS integration with various platforms.

A short message service application programming interface (SMS API),is a set of protocols and tools that enables software applications to send and receive text messages (SMS) programmatically. It allows developers to integrate SMS functionality into their own applications, websites, or systems, facilitating the automation of SMS communication.

The IDT Express SMS API enables organizations to capture global interest using impactful bulk SMS messages powered by a carrier-grade platform and an extensive network of 550+ direct carrier connections. Users can send messages to 70+ countries globally using IDT’s local DID numbers and receive messages in 14 different countries on SMS-enabled phone numbers.

IDT Express SMS API offers swift SMS integration into your current systems or applications, via a user-friendly wizard-driven code generation process that is fast and effortless to utilize. Comprehensive documentation is available to facilitate quick deployment, along with 24/7 support for you and your team.

With IDT’S reliable and scalable Notifications API, you can create highly personalized SMS notifications that cater to any use case with unmatched flexibility. For authorization and transaction completion, our SMS OTP APl provides the swiftest, highly secure, and cost-effective solution for user verification and authentication.

For SMS marketing and information dissemination, you can send timely reminders to customers about upcoming appointments, allowing them to confirm or reschedule through their preferred communication channels. With IDT Express SMS API, you can also quickly send SMS polls, surveys, and request customer feedback with two-way messaging.

To find out more about how the IDT Express SMS API can take your SMS marketing efforts to new heights, book a demo.

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