Although mobile phones have been around for some time now, smartphones are really beginning to take off. In 2013, over one billion smartphones were shipped in a year for the first time ever. Despite this, many firms aren't taking advantage of SMS marketing. Here are some impressive statistics that will show you just how big an impact SMS marketing can have on your business.

Smartphone ownership

Some 5.1 billion out of the 6.8 billion people on Earth own a mobile phone - that's a huge market. In fact, technology is more important to some people than their dental hygiene, as only 4.2 billion people own a toothbrush. As a marketer, it also means you shouldn't just be targeting smartphones. Remember that some of your audience will only have a basic mobile phone, but they will still be able to receive text messages.

Fast response times

On average, it takes 90 minutes for someone to respond to an email, but of course some people might takes hours or days to even look at it. With text messages, the average response time is 90 seconds. A lot of people will take their mobile phones everywhere with them and therefore are quite likely to see a text straight away. Not everyone checks their emails and even when they do, they might not be able to respond to it straight away. With a text, people can reply quickly no matter where they are.

Open rates

Around 98 per cent of all SMS messages are opened, but only 20 per cent of emails are looked at. Whilst email marketing obviously has its merits, it seems that your message is much more likely to be received and taken in if it's delivered via SMS. It's a similar story for social media too; only 12 per cent of Facebook posts and 29 per cent of tweets are read. Remember that it's pretty difficult for someone to ignore they have a text message, but because thousands of social media posts are published every day, your customers will probably just scroll past the majority of them.
Consumers prefer SMS messages

Not only is SMS marketing more effective, it's also preferred by consumers. Around 75 per cent of people would like to have offers sent to them via SMS, rather than see adverts on mobile apps or whilst they're browsing the internet. It's natural to receive a text message, but people don't like adverts getting in the way of their everyday activities. By giving people an option to opt in or opt out, you're making them feel like they're in control of the messages they see, instead of shoving them in their face.

Less is more

Sometimes it's tricky to know how often you should send marketing messages out to your customers. You don't want to send out too few, otherwise your customers will forget you exist, but send out too many and you risk driving them away. Some 83 per cent of people only want to receive a maximum of two messages a month. Just two per cent of people would like more than five a month. Two seems to be the magic number here; send anymore than that and some of your customers might decide to unsubscribe.

SMS loyalty programmes work

Perhaps it's time to move away from traditional points cards and instead migrate customer loyalty programmes to SMS. Over half (57 per cent) of consumers would be happy to sign up to an SMS loyalty programme. Moreover, 90 per cent of consumers signed up to such schemes feel they have gained value from them. Remember that SMS can be used for a lot more than just sending out adverts and offers.

The majority of consumers still haven't been marketed to

Some 80 per cent of consumers haven't received SMS marketing messages from their favourite brands. This shows many businesses are missing out on a huge market. If someone's a fan of your brand, chances are they'll want to receive marketing text messages from you and you should take advantage of this. Make that fan feel special with an SMS campaign that rewards them with unique offers just for them. It shows them that you value them as a customer, meaning you're much more likely to retain them than lose them to a competitor.

If these stats show anything, it's that you could be losing out on a lot of revenue by not making SMS a big part of your marketing campaign. The Coca-Cola Company says it spends 75 per cent of its mobile budget on SMS marketing and it's easy to see why. Not only can it drive more visits to your website and result in more conversions, it can also help maintain customer loyalty.


By Laura Varley, writer and journalist writing for Text Local. 

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