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SMS: A Truly Global Marketing Channel


SMS marketing is about way than just announcements and order confirmation. Adding SMS to your marketing channels can boost conversion rates, improve customer engagement, and encourage loyalty.

SMS is a vital channel for brands looking to engage customers. Most people have phones nearby 24/7. Its fast-paced nature makes SMS the perfect channel for quick messages such as order confirmations and announcements. But that isn’t its only purpose.  

Immediate and cost-effective, the benefits of SMS are many.  

In a glance: the benefits of SMS marketing 

  • 3.8 billion people own smartphones – that’s nearly half of the world population.  
  • 48.7 million people chose to receive text message marketing in 2020. 
  • SMS marketing has a 98% open rate. 
  • Click-through rates on SMS offer messages are 9.18% higher than any other digital channel.  
  • 75% of people aged 44 and below like contacting businesses via text.  
  • Millennials and Baby Boomers spend around five to six hours on their phones – that’s basically half a day! 

If you want great results immediately, all you have to do is remember the power of SMS shown in these SMS marketing statistics.  

What makes SMS a global channel?  

Savvy marketers are always looking for new ways to cut through the noise and engage with customers. Between email, social media, push, and display ads, the space is saturated.  

Modern shoppers are looking for speed and convenience when it comes to brand experiences. If they decide they want something, they want it now. SMS is the channel that can deliver, no matter where in the world your customer is.  

As a permission-based channel, customers expressly want you to reach out to them on this channel. That means there are no grey areas around whether customers are engaged with your marketing. They want to hear from you wherever they are.  

Global SMS marketing

How to use SMS to engage international customers 

1. Automated welcome messages 

Welcome messages are a vital part of a customer’s journey. It’s your one and only chance to make a first impression.  

For those customers who opt-in to receiving SMS marketing, it’s important to engage them immediately on this channel. With a high rate of conversion, you can include discount codes to be redeemed in your welcome text. Adding a time limit will add the FOMO effect to your marketing and drive new customers to convert quicker.  

2. Target time zones 

When you’re a global marketing team, based in one city but target others around the world, delivering messages at the right time may be a struggle.  

Targeting time zones ensures you’re always reaching customers at the right stage of their journey.  Localized content is more important to customers than ever before. Customers don’t like irrelevance. By keeping content relevant to their location, situation, and stage in the customer journey, you’re going to be creating consistent and meaningful experiences that drive customer loyalty.  

3. Triggered SMS automations 

Timing goes a long way in creating relevant messaging. Triggered automations ensure key stages in the customer journey are taken care of, no matter where they are.  

Abandoned carts are a great way to encourage shoppers to continue the journey while they’re on the go. Birthday discounts with a limited-time discount code drive customers to act spontaneously as well as delighting them with unexpected experiences.  

And they’re not just limited to ecommerce brands. Using lead scoring B2B brands can target customers with renewal reminders and upselling offers when customer actions tip them into a new audience group.  

4. Competitions and surveys 

Short and easy experiences are essential for successful SMS marketing. With the ability to reach regions separately, you can stagger or target messages to land exactly when you want them.  

Whether you’re collecting feedback or driving competition entrances, you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to complete. Multiple choice questions take far less time than open-ended questions. It’s also easier for you to measure, so it’s a win-win all around.  

5. Expiry periods  

When you’re working with customer bases around the world, you need to be careful not to disappoint customers with broken links or expired offers.  

While open rates for SMS marketing are unrivaled, there are still many reasons why customers might not receive your message at the right time. Dead batteries and lack of signal are just a couple factors that might affect the customer experience.  

To ensure you’re not failing to meet customer expectations, you should be setting expiry periods on your messages. This means they won’t receive an offer after the discount code has timed out. With audiences around the world, it’s important you set expiration periods on any campaign that has a time limit. Therefore, you can’t risk unsetting or disappointing any shopper.  

Special thanks to our friends at dotdigital for their insights on this topic.
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