More than one-third (36%) of small to medium sized businesses intend using SMS to reach their customers in the next 12 months, and 72% of those already using SMS are reporting related revenue increases of 10% or more, according to a survey by business SMS service provider TextAlert.
According to TextAlert's Tim Hatton, "Smaller businesses are fast becoming aware of the benefits of using bulk SMS to communicate with customers. The survey results confirm that businesses are finding that SMS can give them a competitive advantage for very little outlay."
The TextAlert survey was conducted to aid the publication of the company's new guide to SMS (short message service) marketing. The guide asserts that, compared to most other forms of direct marketing, text messaging is cheap, effective, and has the highest recall rate of any advertising channel. In fact, 79% of the businesses surveyed that are already using SMS-based marketing techniques said that it was "more effective than other marketing channels or loyalty tools".
Age versus location
The survey, which was conducted in the USA and UK, examined the opinions of businesses with fewer than fifty employees and found there remained some differences in attitude between the two countries (particularly in terms of consumer age). Most business owners in the US felt that text-messaging was the preserve of the young, which backs up recent figures suggesting that 63% of 18-27 year olds use texting compared with 27% across all age groups (Pew Internet & American Life Project).
The survey also noted that businesses using SMS said that consumers' biggest resistance to signing up for any text alert service was their fear of mobile spam (for example, receiving unwanted or irrelevant advertising messages, or having their contact details passed to other marketers without permission). Hatton stressed the need for SMS providers to act responsibly, or risk damaging the impact of their own service: "Our system is designed specifically for marketing to an existing customer base, or for CRM, or as a means of driving loyalty - but not for advertising."
TextAlert's marketing guide also includes a section about the responsible use of text messages in consumer communications, and can be downloaded without charge from the company's web site.