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Why messenger marketing is better than SMS

by Noa Bar-Shay

October 4, 2021

According to statistics, more than three quarters of mobile phone users have bought products through their phones in 2021. The numbers clearly show that businesses need to upscale their messenger marketing strategies and communicate with customers through their mobile devices.

Trends in messenger and SMS marketing

It’s vital for a business to stay in touch with its customers. But traditional formats like emails and SMS might go unnoticed. To elevate client communications, businesses must turn to a channel that their clients use most often – messaging apps.

People prefer to keep all correspondence in one place and want to have control over when to start and end conversations with businesses. Messaging apps allow non-intrusive communication, and customers love them. And it’s vital you listen to what your customers want: according a study by Accenture, 81% of people are more loyal to brands that communicate with them through their preferred communication channels.

Business messaging is the natural evolution of SMS, but given an extended set of features. At the outset of SMS marketing, bulk messaging was common, but with shifting patterns of consumption and increasingly sophisticated technologies, customers prefer more personalized, one-to-one correspondence. Messenger marketing has developed from a one-way communication channel (where only brands can send information to clients without an option for clients to respond), to two-way conversations (dialogues) – this is an even more beneficial solution for businesses.

Privacy and security in mobile marketing

Brands of all different types and sizes around the world see the advantages of personalised communication and providing meaningful information to their customers, and prefer to use messaging apps in their mobile marketing strategies.

It is important that customers trust your business messages. For example, Viber Business Messages are sent only to those people who are part of the company's client base and have given their consent to receive notifications from the brand. Users can easily check whether the brand is verified, indicated by a "blue tick" next to their name.

An official Viber business account may include information about the brand, logo, address and phone number. In the first message from the brand, customers can see the reason why they were contacted, the sender's name and the message context even before they open it, thanks to the Overlay feature. This means users can decide whether they want to interact or refuse receive notifications from the brand. They can adjust these settings at any point during the conversation.

Some messaging apps have end-to-end encryption for private chats and calls, but use other technologies for business messaging. For example, to secure business communications Viber uses encryption in transit for business messages, doesn’t store messages on servers and uses only a secure HTTPS connection.

Benefits of messenger marketing

Business messages in apps are a native, secure and bilateral way of brand communication, and unlike regular SMS, they are also efficient and cost-effective, with a wide set of analytical tools.

Interactive

Business messages can contain many more characters than SMS (up to 1000, compared to 160 for SMS) as well as more media types including images, links, and various file types including instructions, warranty cards, etc. For example, brands can send invoices to customers, discuss the terms of the order, and solve customer queries, including receiving photos or videos from them, all in one chat.

Cost-effective

Messengers also allow you to save more money than SMS. On Viber brands only pay for business messages that have been delivered, not just sent. And they can deliver time-sensitive messages by setting TTL (Time To Live) – this determines the maximum period of time to deliver a message before it is canceled or redirected to another channel. A company won’t pay for a message that doesn’t reach a user within that time frame.

SMS fallback

If a brand’s customers don't have internet access or the messaging app installed, they can still receive important and urgent messages with SMS fallback (which uses SMS as a backup option if delivery on a messaging app has failed). Brands can be confident that their customers will get key notifications, for example, a one-time password or about financial transaction information via SMS.

Real-time analytics for your messenger marketing strategy

Messaging apps give companies reports on customer interaction in real time. They can see the status of the message: whether it was delivered, received, or failed. They also have access to detailed statistics, including open and click rates, which can be taken into account while adjusting their mobile marketing strategy, segmenting the audience and personalizing communication with customers.

Integration with CRM

Brands can easily integrate their CRM system with messaging apps to save customer interaction history, analyze behavior and send useful and relevant personalized messages.

How to maximize effectiveness of your messenger marketing

Of course, not every message sent through a messaging app will have the same impact. Here are some tips that will help you to effectively interact with your users, achieve your business goals and retain customers:

Personalize your messages. According to SmarterHQ's "Privacy & Personalization" study, 72% of users want to receive individual offers from businesses, and marketing in messengers allows that. You can do bulk messaging hoping it will resonate with your audience (aka "Spray and Pray" marketing), or you can use a messaging app connected to your CRM system to target specific audiences. The second approach will help you to communicate with your audience in a more meaningful way, while achieving higher conversion rates and excellent marketing results.

Speak your customers’ language. Messaging apps are a space for personal communication, so you can afford to be more informal in your conversations with customers. Adopt a communication style that matches your customers’ needs – adjust your tone of voice depending on your customer’s age or interests, and on their mood during the communication. This approach will make your conversations with customers more engaging and elevate your messenger marketing.

Endorse conversations and stay in touch after the purchase. According to Salesforce, 71% of users want to communicate with companies in real time. Chatting with customers in a messaging app allows businesses to instantly respond to requests and increase so-called CLV (“customer lifetime value”). With real-time customer support you can get instant feedback and show your customers that they are valued. Just because people aren't in a physical store, it doesn't mean they should miss out on the experience that only a sales assistant can offer.

Integrate with your CRM and keep your customer database updated. You can access your customer’s history by integrating your messaging app with your CRM. This will let you follow your customer’s journey, see what parts of your business they are most interested in and modify your marketing efforts accordingly. With the ability to track real interests of your customers, you can send truly personalized messages and create a natural end-to-end user experience. Messenger marketing allows you to communicate with users on a platform where they spend most of their time and solve all important issues in a single conversation. Detailed analytics, interactivity of business messages and easy integration with CRM help brands to segment their audiences and personalize their messages. Companies around the world are already benefiting from the rich set of features, security and cost efficiency. If you want to keep your brand relevant and interesting to your clients, you can integrate marketing in messengers into your marketing strategy and enjoy all the advantages of two-way conversation with customers.

Do not hesitate to contact us to learn how messenger marketing tools like Viber for Business can benefit your business.

Tags

mobile marketing
business messages
SMS