Text marketing continues to grow as a popular and effective digital marketing trend. 9 out of 10 consumers prefer to text with businesses, and text messages are 35 times more likely to be read than emails.
Stay-at-home orders following the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on digital text marketing. Studies show that 56% of people have increased their cell phone usage since COVID-19 began.
As more companies adopt text marketing in 2021, you’ll need to keep your strategy fresh by capitalizing on the latest SMS marketing trends.
To increase the effectiveness of SMS in your digital marketing strategy, consider these 13 text marketing trends for 2021 and beyond:
1. Continued Growth of SMS as a Customer Service Channel
Customer service plays a supporting role in marketing departments by delivering on your brand promise.
Consumers expect quick and accurate responses to their inquiries, and they’re not afraid of sharing their negative experiences on social media platforms.
Studies show that over 50% of consumers prefer texting customer support reps over phone calls, which is becoming more mainstream.
SMS can facilitate many customer service functions, such as:
- Sending order confirmations
- Providing delivery tracking information
- Sending appointment reminders and rescheduling appointments
- Responding to frequently asked questions
- Asking for product and service feedback
Texting with customer support allows anyone with a mobile device to resolve issues quickly — without enduring long hold times and transfers. Shorter resolution times with SMS can also encourage consumer trust and help boost the bottom line.
2. 10-Digit Long Codes (10DLC) Dominate
10-digit long codes, or 10DLC, are 10-digit local phone numbers used by organizations and businesses to send high-volume text messages for marketing campaigns and other communications.
The introduction of 10DLC is a shift away from using shared short codes for SMS marketing. AT&T announced that they would stop activating shared short codes in October 2018, and most other mobile carriers quickly followed suit.
Converting to 10DLC SMS technology solves several problems caused by shared short code marketing. 10DLC is faster and cheaper than shared short codes and provides spam protection, improved deliverability and enhanced consumer trust.
3. Customers Want You To Text Them
“Don’t talk at me; talk to me.”
Not only is SMS texting successful from a marketing standpoint, but studies also show that 75% of customers want to receive marketing offers via SMS. What’s easier than communicating via text?
Receiving two-way communications and offers from businesses via text is fast and easy, paving the way for enhanced business-customer relationships and transactions.
4. Growth Across Promotions, Sales and Offers
Around 49 million consumers opt in to receive text messages from businesses.
Beyond promotions, marketers will leverage SMS marketing by incorporating cart abandonment offers, VIP programs and birthday or anniversary specials to boost brand loyalty.
Text marketing generates a 209% higher response rate than email, phone calls or Facebook, so adding it as a promotion channel should be an obvious choice.
5. Cross-Selling Through Transactional SMS Updates
77% of consumers have a positive perception of companies that keep them informed through text messaging.
With increasingly cluttered email inboxes, more consumers are opting in to SMS to receive order updates. Text messages let companies provide instant value through transaction updates such as order confirmation and shipping/delivery notifications.
Sending status update text messages also gives companies a way to cross-sell or provide discounts for future orders while customers are already engaged.
6. Mainstream Availability of AI-Enhanced Chatbots
SMS chatbots are a huge text marketing trend that started taking off this year. Chatbots save time and effort by automating parts of the customer experience, providing instant answers to common customer inquiries.
Breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) have made the technology more pervasive in mainstream software products. These advances will continue to spill into SMS software.
You’ll see more AI-powered chatbots stepping in to answer customer questions, complete tasks and facilitate orders with no human intervention.
AI also allows for greater personalization, which will enable companies to customize messaging and create meaningful customer interactions at scale.
7. Advanced Targeting Through Trigger-Based Text Messages
Just as email automation has allowed marketers to scale communications dramatically, trigger-based messages (also called auto-reply texts) offer a similar benefit to text marketers.
You can set triggers to celebrate milestones, notify potential customers of an abandoned cart or even request feedback.
SMS also adds a more personal touch to automation, so your audience is more likely to connect with the message and take action.
8. Rise of SMS Marketing Among B2B Companies
B2B marketers have been slower to adopt SMS trends in their marketing campaigns compared to B2C companies. But the popularity of SMS also applies to individuals working in the B2B sector.
B2B companies rely heavily on relationship building and targeted marketing campaigns to attract and convert the right customers. But cold calls and mass emails feel impersonal and rarely get through to a busy business professional.
Winning with B2B texting starts by establishing communication and providing value. B2B marketers have found new, creative ways to use SMS, including:
- Communicating order updates and logistics: Sending personalized messages keeps customers informed of their order status and expected delivery times.
- Sending product and service updates: Letting customers know about product upgrades and improved service offerings keeps customers in the loop.
- Generating business leads: Nurturing client relationships via personal text communications keeps potential clients engaged.
- Gathering client feedback: Getting timely feedback about your company’s products and services helps improve your offerings.
B2B marketers also leverage SMS as a business productivity tool. Scheduling product demos and webinars, answering FAQs and providing limited-time offers can increase customer LTV.
9. SMS Will Become a Top-Performing Marketing Channel
Email is touted as a high-ROI marketing channel, with 73% of marketers claiming it’s their best source for return on their marketing investment.
However, compared to SMS, email marketing platforms can be expensive. And although email contact lists are often larger than SMS lists, engagement and conversion rates are much lower for email.
The fact that SMS messages reach their intended recipients instantly is quite compelling. While most emails remain unread, customers’ phones will continually remind them of their unread text messages, increasing engagement and conversion opportunities.
As more companies build out their SMS programs, they will quickly identify text marketing as a high-ROI digital marketing channel.
10. Review Requests Will Escalate
Reviews weigh heavily on a consumer’s purchase decision. 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses, but only 53% consider visiting a business with less than four stars.
However, earning customer reviews isn’t easy. With a more engaged base, SMS offers an effective way to gain customer reviews and build trust.
Because reviews play such a critical role in marketing and sales, more companies leverage text marketing’s high engagement to collect more customer reviews.
Using SMS to generate customer polls and surveys is an effective way to monitor customer satisfaction with your products and services — before you find out on social media.
11. Demand for Personalized SMS Marketing Will Rise
According to SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers now only engage with personalized marketing messages tailored to their interests. And why not? If your customers don’t sense that you know their needs, they’ll find a company that does.
If your “vanilla” SMS messages have missed the mark, crafting personalized text messages makes your customers feel seen and valued. Adding a personal touch to automated messages makes it more likely that your audience will connect with your brand and take action.
12. Influencer Marketers Adopt SMS
A startup platform called Community, which allows fans to “text” their favorite celebrities, is gaining traction. Community enables influencers to answer questions, promote projects and send last-minute invitations to their followers via SMS.
While the platform doesn’t promise one-to-one communication, it offers meaningful and direct exchanges at a massive scale — all through texting.
13. SMS Relationship Building is Strong
Relationship building is a long game. If you’re only communicating with your customers to sell them something, you’re missing opportunities to connect with them and build brand loyalty.
If you don’t know your customers’ birthdays, the holidays are the perfect time to express gratitude and heartfelt wishes. Sending SMS messages during the holidays helps you stand out from your competitors and pay dividends in increased sales and customer engagement.
Capitalize on Text Marketing Trends With Textedly
A successful SMS campaign begins with the right software. Whether you’re new to SMS marketing or want to employ new SMS marketing trends in your existing 2021 strategy, Textedly offers the flexibility to accomplish your goals.
Textedly provides simple, easy-to-set-up SMS solutions so you can start messaging your customers right away.