10 Text Message Trends to Watch in 2021

Text message trends — are you up to date with the latest for 2021?

Over the last decade, the way we communicate and conduct business as a society has been evolving at a faster rate than ever before. This was further boosted dramatically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes it has brought to how we live, conduct business, and connect are likely to be permanent.

Text message marketing is also undergoing a major revolution, and the opportunities SMS marketing delivers for businesses to connect with customers are paramount. Not only is SMS affordable, but it is also:

  • Easy to set up
  • Quick to implement
  • Simple to use
  • Widely adopted
  • Low maintenance
  • Exceedingly deliverable
  • Near-perfect open rate
  • Enables 2-way communications
  • Facilitates one-on-one and mass text messaging
  • Is preferred by consumers across almost all demographics

In short, there is no more economical or effective way to drive engagement, maintain customer satisfaction, and boost your company’s revenue than by using text message marketing.

Basic Insights Behind Text Messaging
Basic Insights Behind Text Messaging

SMS text messaging has long been the preferred way to communicate with clients and customers. It offers a fast and highly deliverable method of getting your message out fast and to a wide audience. Furthermore, SMS elicits near-perfect open and read rates, far exceeding those of any other bulk communications channel.

Consider:

  1. Massive Growth and Opportunity of SMS
    The use of SMS has exploded worldwide since February 2020, with more people using it to maintain contact with their families, friends, employers, and colleagues. Its use has also increased for making appointments, confirming arrangements, managing deliveries, and curbside pickups, receiving updates and alerts from schools and universities, and more. It has also been the primary method of receiving COVID-19 test updates and results.
  2. Fast and Reliable Communication Method
    Text message marketing is the fastest, most reliable way for a business to reach the majority of its customers or clients. This is extremely important, as most business operators report that they experience challenges when calling their customers on the phone or generating fast responses using email or direct mail.
  3. SMS Simply Works
    According to market research, more than 30% of businesses currently using SMS adopted it in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vast majority intend to continue using SMS in the future as a crucial (if not their primary) client communication channel.
4 Consumers Sending and Receiving Text Messages on Different Handsets
4 Consumers Sending and Receiving Text Messages on Different Handsets

Consumers, on the whole, welcome text messages from their preferred businesses and brands. They appreciate SMS reminders, updates, notifications, and SMS to be convenient and unintrusive.

In terms of the changing world we are living in globally as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns, consumers are generally spending much more time on their smartphones than before. With most people having their phone within arm’s reach (if not in their hand or on their person) most of the time, what better way to communicate instantly than via text message?

Of all messaging tools accessible on any smartphone, the texting app is one of the most frequently accessed and far outweighs the use of voice calls. Almost 65% of smartphone owners use their default SMS app as their preferred messaging channel, with other popular messaging channels like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and others being significantly less utilized.

The type of SMS message received from business matters as well, with consumers ranking the value to themselves of text messages as follows:

  1. Appointment reminders
  2. Delivery status updates
  3. Discount coupons/special deals
  4. Prescription refill alerts
  5. Quick answers to specific questions
  6. Booking confirmations/changes/cancellations
  7. Last-minute appointment opening alerts
  8. COVID-19 updates
  9. Traffic/transit alerts
  10. Email inbox alerts

Some communications from businesses are less welcome — and this needs to be considered from a customer retention perspective. The text message trends of sending political bulk SMS content and spam, for example, are less well-received, as is anything else which could be considered spam. Not only are these types of message annoying, but also could be illegal. You must consider your content carefully in these terms — what is its value to your client?

The value of text messaging by and for businesses is ranked overall by business entities as follows:

  1. Reminders/scheduling
  2. Customer support/service
  3. Alerts
  4. Internal communications
  5. Promotions/marketing
  6. Sales
  7. Billing alerts
  8. COVID-19 communications
  9. Recruitment
  10. Delivery updates
  11. Mobile payments
  12. Curbside delivery/pickups

It’s easy to see that, for both business and consumers, text message marketing is an intrinsic asset for your business and must be adopted for optimal outcomes, which leads us nicely into looking at some major trends for 2021.

Text Message Trends Upwards on a Mobile Handset
Text Message Trends Upwards on a Mobile Handset

Text messaging will continue to evolve considerably for business use, and here are some major text message trends to watch in 2021:

Automated text messaging is going to become an even more important part of the customer journey. Similar to drip email campaigns, SMS automations can help nurture your customers throughout their customer lifecycle. The right SMS automation strategy will allow for personalized, timely, and relevant text messages to be automatically delivered to consumers to handle everything from appointment confirmations and reminders, to payment-due reminders, abandoned cart alerts, renewal reminders, and more.

Using a multi-channel messaging approach with SMS will deliver in an array of ways. These include combined email to SMS promotions, social media marketing combines with SMS, and sharing of content such as updates and newsletters via SMS.

The digital landscape is more crowded than ever before. According to the personalization platform SmarterHQ, almost 75% of consumers are now willing to engage with only those brands and companies they have a personal connection to, and which send content that is customized and personalized for them. This means mass broadcasts of sales pitches will not be enough to engage and convert an audience. Personal connections are what matter most. Even bulk SMS must be personalized for its recipients — based on location, time zone, age, gender, interests, and other demographic markers.

Dedicated 10-digit long codes are toll-free numbers that, unlike shortcodes, enable both bulk messaging as well as one-on-one messaging. They are also more affordable than using a dedicated shortcode. A single 10-digit toll-free number can be used for both sending and receiving SMS, and you can send bulk messages to millions of recipients at one time using an instantly recognizable number that your business alone has access to.

One way to enhance trust and loyalty in consumers for your brand is to adopt an SMS sender ID. Alongside your dedicated number, your sender ID helps your message recipients not only recognize you but also psychologically reinforces your presence in their lives.

Retaining existing customers is as important as generating new ones, and loyalty marketing is key to this. Global media company Forbes predicts that, in 2021, marketing for loyalty and retention will increase by 30%. Businesses will send more SMS renewal reminders, subscription renewal reminders, missed payment alerts, and membership renewal reminders.

The capacity to send a quick text message to a business, rather than an email or sitting on hold on the phone is very appealing to most consumers. Don’t send text message marketing blasts too frequently — consider the identity and preferences of your target clientele as well as your services and products.

Customer satisfaction is critical for the success of your business. There is nothing more damaging to the business-customer relationship than flawed customer service. Among consumers’ biggest gripes is the requirement to sit on hold on the phone, or worse still, be unable to get through at all. Sending emails for support and waiting an interminable amount of time for a response is also not ideal. By offering a “message us” or “text us” option for customer support or service, efficiency is improved, costs are reduced, and customer satisfaction increases.

You must make it very clear to clients and customers that they can “make the first move” and send your business a text message if they prefer, rather than communicating with you primarily via email, website contact form, or your social media pages. It can be simple to add a Click-to-Text button on your website — make sure you add texting capability to your Home Page and Contact Page, as well as to your call to action.

Text message trends will expand to include B2B communications, with more businesses and workers opting for SMS as their preferred contact channel. More businesses will incorporate text message marketing for active lead generation, customer service, content marketing, and more.

When a celebrity or influencer shares their number and tells followers to text them, often it feels more personalized than sending them an email or direct message on social media. Thus many influencers have been able to grow their following using text marketing.

With influencer marketing growing in popularity for many businesses, competition is also becoming fiercer in this niche. Influencers need to show businesses tangible results in terms of clicks, engagement, or sales. SMS marketing will help track these results — one way to do this is by using designated keywords for discount links to be acquired via SMS opt-ins.

MMS is the evolution of SMS and brands can benefit enormously from this. Sending longer messages, media-rich content, videos, images, animations, and more — all combine to convey brand identity and unique message in a more meaningful way. Moreover, mobile landing pages enable you to send your MMS recipient to a mobile-optimized landing page without developing an expensive app or another system.

Access the very best SMS software for your text message marketing: choose ClickSend. We are an industry leader with hundreds of clients worldwide. We offer superior solutions for SMS marketing, email marketing, and a variety of other services for businesses and other organizations.

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Business Communications. Solved. Otherwise a massive lover of all things tech and marketing.