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Why SMS Marketing is Dying and What You Need to Know for Business

Written by
June 15, 2022

Are you ready to bid farewell to those trusty old SMS marketing strategies? If you’re reading this, we’re willing to bet that you don’t think so. After all, there are countless reasons why marketers everywhere are still choosing SMS marketing as a go-to communication strategy in their digital marketing mix. However, with the rise of chat apps and services like Kik, WhatsApp, and even Facebook Messenger continuing to gain popularity among users of all ages and demographics, it’s become clear that the future of SMS marketing is bleak. Let’s take a look at why SMS marketing is dying and what you need to know about why it’s going away sooner rather than later.

What is SMS Marketing?

Before we go any further, let’s get a clear understanding of what SMS marketing is. Since it’s the foundation for the rest of our discussion, it makes sense to start there. From there, we’ll move on to discuss why SMS marketing is dying and how it’s all connected. SMS marketing is a specific type of marketing that sends promotional content, such as coupons and special offers, product information, and more to a user’s mobile phone. It’s important to note that SMS marketing is not the same as sending text messages between two people. Rather, it’s a way for businesses to broadcast information to a wide range of people – both existing customers and people who may find the information relevant or interesting. SMS marketing is most commonly used via the carrier network, meaning that companies don’t directly send the messages to customers’ phones. Instead, they use a third-party service to send the messages on their behalf.

SMS Marketing is Dying Because of the Dangers of Offline SMS Marketing

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of why SMS marketing is dying, it’s important to first address the dangers of offline SMS marketing. Perhaps the biggest reason why SMS marketing is dying is because of the ways in which marketers previously used it. You see, SMS marketing took off in the early 2000s, when a few companies tried to use it to directly connect with customers in the same way that email marketing is used. However, because SMS is an offline channel, it’s not secured in the same way that email is. As a result, fraudulent marketers used it to steal their customers’ information, often using such information to empty their bank accounts. This, in turn, led to government agencies cracking down on all forms of SMS marketing. Now, it’s not uncommon to receive a warning or a cease-and-desist order if you’re using SMS marketing to talk to customers. While you can still use it as a marketing strategy, it’ll be very difficult to reach a wide range of people, especially if you’re targeting people who don’t have smartphones.

Why SMS Marketing is Dying Because of Consumer Behavior

Beyond the dangers of offline SMS marketing, there are other reasons why SMS marketing is dying. For one, the sheer volume of communication options available to people today means that SMS has lost its appeal. With services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and even dating apps like Tinder and Bumble offering end-to-end encryption, SMS marketing just doesn’t have the same appeal that it once did. Not only are such services encrypted, but they’re also constantly evolving to include new features. For example, Facebook Messenger recently introduced an API that allows businesses to easily send automated messages to customers. WhatsApp, meanwhile, wouldn’t be far behind. After all, it was founded by the same people who created Facebook. And with Tinder now publicly traded, Bumble is likely to follow suit. When you add all of this up, it’s easy to see why SMS marketing is dying. People have many communication options available to them, and they’re not choosing SMS.

Why SMS Marketing is Dying Because of Shifting Technology

Beyond the rise of more convenient communication options, there are other reasons why SMS marketing is dying. For one, people are switching from traditional mobile phones to Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices such as smart speakers and smartwatches. Because these devices don’t use SMS, marketing via SMS is difficult if not impossible. From there, you also have to consider the rise of RCS technology. RCS, short for Rich Communication Services, is a more advanced version of SMS. It allows businesses to send more interactive messages that include images, gifs, and other rich media. And while RCS is catching on in some countries, it’s still struggling to gain traction in others. There’s also the rise of blockchain-powered communication apps, such as Bitmo and TEP. These apps allow businesses to send automated messages to their customers. However, they also offer a decentralized system that protects customer privacy while allowing them to easily unsubscribe from unwanted messages.

How to Adapt to the Death of SMS Marketing

Now that we’ve discussed why SMS marketing is dying, it’s clear that you’ll need to begin making changes to your strategy. While it may be tempting to cling to the old ways of doing things, you’ll only be hurting your business in the long run. Instead, you need to adapt to the new ways of doing things. Here are some ways to do so: - Start using more advanced communication channels - As we’ve discussed, the rise of more advanced communication channels means that the once-popular SMS marketing strategy is now less relevant. If you want to keep your customers engaged, then you need to start using more advanced communication channels. - Use automated messages - As we’ve also discussed, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other services allow you to send automated messages to customers. Not only are these messages useful and relevant, but they’re also a lot less time-consuming than actually talking to customers one-on-one. - Focus on quality, not quantity - Yes, it’s important to use advanced communication channels and automated messages. However, you also need to realize that not every customer will respond to these messages. In fact, some customers may even be annoyed by them. That’s why it’s important that you don’t spam your customers. Instead, focus on quality, not quantity. - Invest in better targeting - Even though you now have more advanced communication channels at your disposal, it doesn’t mean that you should spam everyone. After all, you don’t want to annoy your customers. Instead, you want to ensure that your messages are going out to the right people. That’s where better targeting comes into play. - Don’t give up - Even if you do everything correctly, the death of SMS marketing may still hit you hard. After all, the shift may happen gradually, and it may take a while for people to stop using SMS. The important thing is not to give up. Instead, you need to keep investing in new strategies and technologies. - Don’t be afraid to pivot - You may have a clear vision of what your business is and what it offers. However, it’s important to remember that the industry around you is always changing. If you want to stay relevant, then you need to be prepared to pivot whenever necessary. - Be open to new opportunities - Finally, it’s important to note that the death of SMS marketing may actually open up new opportunities for you. With people now shifting to new communication channels, there are lots of customers who are ready to engage with your business. You just need to open your eyes and ears to the new opportunities that are out there. - Bottom line - There will always be new communication technologies and strategies that come into play. That’s why it’s so important to be flexible and open to new opportunities. It’s also important to keep an eye on the trends and be prepared to pivot as necessary.

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