How to Make Your Engagement Strategy Even Smarter with SMS

On its own, SMS can be an efficient channel to reach and engage with customers. But when integrated with other marketing channels, it can make your engagement strategy even smarter.

The limited number of mobile messaging channels means you can’t afford to ignore one. When three of the direct channels are app-based, that leaves a gap for those customers who don’t (or can’t) download the app. The best way to reach those customers and meet their real-time communication expectations on mobile is to utilize SMS with your other channels. So what’s the best way to include SMS into your messaging strategy without overwhelming your user or overspending?

Take a look at these recommended strategies for coordinating SMS with your other marketing channels to find out what works best for your brand.

The Fan-Out Strategy

SMS can be a powerful addition to your fan-out strategy. The fan-out strategy notifies users across all of the communications channels and should be only be used for important messages, especially when timing is a crucial factor. Order confirmations, boarding passes, game tickets, and account balance notifications are some types of messages that have real-time information your users want or need. Sending out the message via email, web notification, app notification, and text message will increase the odds of the message being seen at the right moment.

The Brand-Preferred Strategy: Engagement Optimization

Not all messages are crucial and sometimes you need to be selective on how you get your message across. When you have multiple channels to choose from, how do you decide which channels to prioritize and where does SMS fit in? There are two approaches that we recommend.

The first one is to prioritize by engagement. Which channel delivers the best results, the one that has the biggest audience and/or the best engagement rates? By prioritizing the channel that makes the most sense for your audience and only falling back to other channels if a customer has not opted-in, you’re not overwhelming the customer with multiple or repetitive messages. While it is a great priority channel, SMS can also play the important fallback role by reaching customers who do not have your app.

The Brand-Preferred Strategy: By Cost Optimization

The second way to prioritize your channels is by cost, with the most cost-effective channel being first in your martech stack. However, keep in mind that a low cost doesn’t mean the channel is better to use. App notifications may be more cost-effective than text messages, but they are limited to users who download the app, and thus have a smaller reach.

On Urban Airship’s platform, you will be able to intelligently orchestrate your text messages, sending a text when it is the best option based on the situation, the customer’s preferences, and the brand priorities. This will also decrease your chances of sending duplicate messages, cutting down costs. SMS can play the crucial fallback role in this strategy, as well, reaching customers your other channels can’t.

User-Preferred Strategy

At Urban Airship, we’ve known for a while that giving users the ability to dictate their experience can have a very powerful return. Giving them the choice leads to higher opt-in rates and higher retention rates within those opt-ins. The User-Preferred Strategy gives the power of choice to the user. Many of our clients use preference centers to not only give the user options on which channels they want to receive notifications on but also what types of messages they want to receive and on what channels.

For instance, a customer can dictate that they only want to receive important messages like shipping and order confirmations through text, but for sales and offers they prefer email or web notifications. Urban Airship’s platform can also automatically detect the channels the user is opted-in and prefers and send the message to those specific channels.

If you want to see how these strategies play out on our platform, you can watch me go through the steps on sending a text message in the SMS Product Demo Webinar: 5 Ways to Integrate SMS into Your Customer Engagement Strategy. I show how SMS plays an important role in a multi-channel strategy, with examples like sending personalized coupons and offers through SMS and mobile wallet. You can watch the webinar here.

For more SMS reading, check out “SMS Regulatory Compliance: What You Need to Know About Text Messaging” and “SMS: Top Ten FAQs (And Answers)