In the UK, one of the best examples of new technology being utilised for marketing in recent times is that of mobile phones. Owned by around 93% of the UK, mobiles now represent another platform for marketers and businesses alike to talk to their customers.
Mobile phone technology has grown rapidly over the past 20 years. From the original ‘pay as you go’ Nokia phones that swept the marketplace in the mid-90s – to the latest iPhones that come out periodically from Apple. Each new release brings higher spec and now, some phones are even more powerful than lower end laptops/pcs. Believe it or not – the first range of iPhones to hit the market were more powerful than NASA’s computer equipment that sent men to the moon. It really shows how far technology has come in such a short time.
With so many people having mobile phones it opens the doors to try innovative marketing techniques and one medium that has been consistent through the growth of mobiles has been that of short message service (SMS); commonly known as text messaging. While the trend is now going towards instant messaging services like ‘Whatsapp’, these are limited to people having data or being connected to the internet; SMS messaging does not. It simply requires the phone to be connected to the network (which is around 95% coverage of the UK).
A perfect example of a small business using SMS in marketing would be that of your local garage. Setting up a system to text a customer when a service is due or a MOT is up for renewal would benefit your customer and show that you, as a business, are aware of your customer and are trustworthy. A similar format for other services or businesses can be a doorway to a great return on investment.
The downside to SMS is that people can think it’s spam. If you are a small business this isn’t so much of a problem as you have a more personal relationship with your customer and are trusted. With bigger business’ being contacted through SMS can initially be deemed as spammy, impersonal or be seen as intrusive. Sending out unsolicited mass texts can and will ruin your reputation as a company.
SMS is a small, yet powerful, marketing tool not to be overlooked. With the cost involved it’s a great way for small businesses to utilise data that they might not necessarily realise they have to their disposal.