In South Africa 92.8% of the population owns a mobile phone, so the short message service (SMS) is fast becoming a powerful tool for businesses to interact with new and existing clients.
(Image: [[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Dfoy_%28WMF%29 Dfoy (WMF), via Wikimedia Commons)
The platform offers a unique moment for consumer engagement, where businesses are able to provide their target markets with what they need almost instantly. They help business in a number of ways.Grab attention immediately
There's a 97% read rate for all SMS messages and most within 4-5 minutes of it being received. A perfect example: the next time your SMS notification goes off, why not see how long it takes you to read the message. Global research shows that the average person can withstand the urge to read their messages for 120 seconds. One of the biggest challenges facing marketers is the target markets response time to a campaign. With SMS marketing, this challenge is minimised. SMS has the fastest reply rate, allowing your target market to interact, communicate and be informed almost instantaneously. SMS marketing grabs your audience's attention immediately, which positively influences the growing of a delighted and satisfied customer base. Complement other marketing efforts
SMS marketing is a great way for your other marketing platforms to be noticed through cleverly created synergies - 62% of users access the net from their mobile phones and, with SMS marketing, redirection is simple. Placing a URL link in a SMS will allow customers to like, follow and even tweet their opinions of your brand from the simplicity of the handheld devices. SMS marketing creates great exposure for your brand and new products or services on offer. Build personalised relationships
One of the great features of SMS marketing is two-way communication. SMS marketing has proven to have great ROI for any brand/business as its cause and effects are felt immediately. Take for example the innovative USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) string, which allows you to build personalised relationships by talking directly to each individual target audience member. Allow for casual interaction with customer
The perfect way to have two-way communication with existing and new customers is through a Premium Rate SMS (short code). Short codes work in such a way that it allows the customer to feel an instant connection with the brand/business. The short code can also be used in more innovative ways such as SMS competitions; creating sales leads; increasing participation in polls and surveys; and even gathering votes for your perfect idol. This can turn an otherwise static promotion message into an instant opportunity for brand building and increased sales.Control costs
Costs are always a big consideration within any marketing strategy and using a bulk SMS campaign has proven time and again to be the most cost-effective way to interact with your target market. Bulk SMS is easy to use, time-saving and, with the right provider, you can achieve brand and business value.