SMS Tops Email For Delivering Last-Minute Offers, Registrations

More and more marketers are realizing that SMS is one of the most immediate and powerful ways to reach today’s mobile-connected consumers. But even so, many Aprimo customers have some fundamental concerns as they start developing their SMS campaigns. For example, here are the two questions I get asked most often:

  • What is the right message to send over SMS?
  • When is the right time to send an SMS message?

Of course, my answer to each of those questions begins the same way. I always start my response with, “It depends…”

Now, to some, that may sound like I’m taking the easy way out. But, in fact, just the opposite is true. You see, the answers to questions like those really do depend on certain parameters. Before you can decide on the right SMS time and the right SMS message, you have to identify your target audience. You have to know that audience’s preferences and behaviors. And you have to be crystal clear about the goals of your SMS campaign.

Here’s an example to prove my point.

As Mobile Commerce Daily reports, Bestbet Jacksonville used SMS to drive last-minute sign-ups for a $500 buy-in poker tournament. About two hours before the event, the company sent an SMS message to about 500 opted-in consumers. As a result, Bestbet Jacksonville netted 25 new tournament sign-ups within one hour.

What made this initiative so successful?

  • The channel. Because SMS is immediate, it’s the perfect choice for pushing out time-sensitive messages.
  • The message. Bestbet Jacksonville used a clear prompt and a straightforward call-to-action. The text sent was: “$50,000 guaranteed prize pool, $560 buy-in. Seats avail until 2:30 pm TODAY at BestBet Jacksonville. You have until 2:30 to register.”
  • The timing. By sending this message about two hours before the event, the company created a sense of urgency and incentive to act.
  • The audience. As the director of marketing at Bestbet Poker, Simulcast & Gaming, Jacksonville, FL, points out in the article, this particular target audience is known for last-minute sign-ups.

Clearly, this case study shows SMS can be a great medium for encouraging customers to respond to last minute registration opportunities or offers…and now, let’s take a minute to contrast that with email.

I have several clients who want to guarantee delivery of their emails within a certain time of day. Even though I hate to disappoint them, I have to let them know the simple truth: With email, that type of guarantee just isn’t possible. Why? Because the time that an email arrives in a customer’s inbox is dependent on several factors, many of which are beyond the control of any marketing team.

For example, email delivery times depend on:

  • the volume of email an ISP receives at any given moment
  • overall internet traffic
  • your recipient’s connectivity
  • your sender reputation (Although, you do have control over your good name!)

And on top of all that, even if your email is delivered in a timely fashion, there is no guarantee your recipient will log in and read your email within the timeframe you’d prefer.

For me, the choice is clear: SMS tops email for last minute registration opportunities or offers. Still need convincing? The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) reports that 97 percent of SMS messages are opened – and a full 83 percent are opened within the first hour. What’s more, SMS can help you cut through the digital noise. The average number of emails a customer receives a month is 1,216. The average number of texts? Less than 200.