The writing is on the wall for the next two years… SMS is far outstripping other mobile advertising methods in getting messages to customers.

In 2016-2017, 54% of opted-in message recipients actively engage with a text message from a business, and about a quarter of those opt-in SMS recipients click on a web link and forwarded the text on to others. This indicates phonemonal results for marketing your message via mobile

What this implies is that text messaging is going nowhere, and though businesses across the world, from large global providers (Vodafone, Orange have scrambled to create specific apps and utilize mobile platforms more effectively, most people are downloading the apps, and (up to 77%) Uninstall the app immediately, leaving them with only their SMS messages. Yes, that large sum of money your company just spent on creating a mobile shopping experience was wasted. No one wants to clutter up their new iPhone with an app they will use a handful of times, if that. And then there’s the problem … of it not rendering well on every smartphone.

And so marketers go back to the “drawing board” in frustration, while acutely losing customers by not using the tools they still have available. And so we remember the SMS shortcodes, which we used for games and sharing links. Oh the kids loved it. Everybody loved it – as was obvious from the huge amounts of money gained by the mobile operators worldwide –  when SMS shortcodes were all the rage.

The UK mobile market now

  • Mobile phones have become one of the most effective ways of engaging with consumers.
  • Mobiles and feature-phones, (and smartphones in particular) encompass virtually all other marketing activity
  • UK has 56.5 million users and 79.14 million devices suggesting that many individuals are multiple device users.
    – the number of people are using multiple devices, most likely for personal and work
  • Screen real-estate is valuable

Then they fell out of vogue. They were superseded by something better, faster, more… or did they? Shortcodes for SMS communication is still used. In fact it’s moved from link sharing and download sharing to more popular and regular use in communicating with patients in hospital treatment, government communication with citizens and retailers engaging customers, not to mentions it being the best way to target the youth and app gaming players.

SMS doesn’t need to be connected

SMS doesn’t need to be connected to the internet to be effective, and as long as the marketers and companies have your number, the message they are conveying will be received and read. This takes us back to almost a decade ago where the evolution of SMS rendered shortcodes extremely effective in engaging with customers.

  • Shortcodes are easy to type, especially in an SMS reply.
  • The shortcode becomes identifiable with your brand.
  • Short is more easily committed to a users memory

Whether the shortcode is a “Dial 4101 to download a link” or it invites a customer to engage with the next step of the process, it is an effective method of engagement.

What we need to learn from this is:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make your call to action do-able in one step
  • Provide a measurable result for your customer
  • Even old methods can achieve really good results
  • It’s a very cheap way of communicating with your market
  • Do your homework on the available e]send and text-based communications

Sites like SMS comparison offer businesses and small and medium service providers a quick way of glancing through the different options available on the market (see for a quick guide on what costs are offered by service providers in the UK)

Every marketer knows that if you want your customer to participate in the conversation, you have to make it both direct and simple. Too much effort and you can lose your captive audience.