Apple released the first iPhone in the United States. The movie “Spider-Man 3” was one of the biggest box office hits. The Spice Girls announced their reunion. What do these things all have in common? They all happened in the year 2007. But can you guess what other major milestone occurred that year? In 2007, Americans sent and received more text messages per month than phone calls.

Let’s Back Up
  • The first text message was sent in 1992. Since phones didn’t have keyboards yet, Neil Papworth actually typed the message on a computer prior to hitting send. Fun fact: Are you nosy enough to wonder what it said? “Merry Christmas”
  • In 1997, Nokia released the first mobile phone with a full keyboard.
  • In 1999, texts were finally enabled across mobile networks.
  • In 2007, Americans sent and received more text messages per month than phone calls.
Now, 10 Years Later…

A lot has changed. Texting is way more than one of the fastest and lowest hassle person-to-person communications vehicles out there. It’s one of the hottest marketing tools we can get our hands on. When it comes to text, 94% of SMS text messages are opened within three minutes of receipt. In fact, according to EZ Texting, SMS marketing performs four to five times better than online advertising when creating brand awareness and encouraging purchasing.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Text marketing will continue to evolve as younger generations of consumers increase their purchasing power and age into your target market. So the savviest local businesses will do their best to keep up with the texting trends. Otherwise, these younger consumers will give you a low-key TTYL, fam. Savage. (Translation: They’ll be saying, “Sayonara” to your business and finding someone a little more relevant. Bummer.)

Share mobile coupons via text instead of email.

Text messages and promotions like flash sales are similar in that they both create a sense of urgency. So marrying them together could give consumers the urge to spend their dough with you right away. The pros make this work for them by using language like “Use code: FLASHSALE to redeem,” or “Present this text to take advantage of the offer.”

Make your mobile subscribers feel special by offering them sneak peeks to new promotions, product lines or service offerings.

Use text marketing to invite them to special events to preview your newest stuff. Not only will this make them feel extra special, it’ll encourage immediate purchases at the point of sale. That’s because customers will feel like they’re getting VIP access.

Don’t stick to plain text.

If you want your text marketing messages to stand out, become familiar with emojis and even memes or gifs. Word to the wise: Pay attention to your audience. Some folks may be a little less hip with pop culture references and won’t appreciate you being so “extra.” And always keep things professional.

Conduct surveys to really get in the heads of your customers.

By sending text message surveys you may have otherwise sent via email (perhaps after purchase), you’ll improve your response rate and thus the reliability of the information you get back. Most text message services will allow you to implement micro surveys that encourage a response or reply to a specific number. But if you’re not quite that advanced, feel free to drop your survey link directly into the message with some instructions on how to complete it.

If you’ve already reached pro status at text marketing, go all in and enable orders and order confirmations via text.

You’ll need a few things in place to make this a reality: a system that can handle this functionality, communication to tell customers how it works, and an auto-responder to confirm you’ve received their order. The science here is simple – the easier it is to order from you, the better.