The Value of Consolidating SMS and Email Onto One Platform

We have recently added SMS solutions in to the mix (which you can read more about on Bizcommunity), to expand our service offering and enable marketers to reap the benefits of having SMS and email on one platform. In this article we will focus on the benefits of using the two together, in order to streamline business processes and marketing campaigns.

Email provides a content rich, broad reaching communication channel while SMS is ideal to deliver short, impactful messages at the right time and place. Consumers are often more receptive to two-way communication via SMS than other channels too, making it the obvious choice to take engagement to the next level – for both transactional and marketing communication. So choose your SMS provider wisely.

Transactional SMS and email

The key to making a success of transactional email is for it to be scalable, reliable and incredibly easy to integrate into existing business systems.

The TotalSend platform can deliver millions of messages per day, with the delivery of transactional text messages coordinated with transactional emails, based on user preferences or actions in real time. For example an SMS can be automatically sent upon a user opening or responding to an email, or set to send a week after an email was sent but not opened.

Marketing SMS and email

Take engagement and interaction for every campaign to a new level by splitting communication across SMS and email.

You can segment your audience and data, and automate follow up messages based on user actions. For example you can automate SMS reminders when a lead indicates interest in an email campaign.

This really makes lead nurturing and dynamic targeted communications a whole lot easier and more effective than ever before.SMS can be used to highlight or reinforce content in an email, optimise delivery or engagement time and ensure each customer receives content tailored to their interests.

Benefits of a multi-channel platform:

  • Ease of use: save valuable time, energy and money by using a single provider for worldwide delivery of high volume email and SMS. Cost: economies of scale will work in your favour when you consolidate your messaging with one supplier.
  • 360° customer insight: develop intelligent customer profiles to deliver messages where your customers are most likely to read and engage with the content. Also leverage analytics from one channel to trigger campaigns across other channels. While we’re on the topic of cross-channel campaigns, make sure you are POPI compliant by getting your customers to opt-in to receive messages via email and SMS before you begin a campaign. Read more about POPI here.
  • Scalability: We offer scalable digital messaging for big data operators. If you are using another provider, make sure their platform is reliable and scalable – i.e. that it can handle both email and SMS.
  • Security: our secure statement delivery ensures that you have an effective means of delivering personal information to your clients at low cost.

How to integrate SMS and email

So when it comes to email to SMS, the first step is to get customers to give you their phone numbers. There needs to be a strategy behind this – focusing on three things:

  • Explain why and how they should opt-in.
  • Make it easy for them to do so – add an SMS opt-in to your website, social media profiles and your next email campaign.
  • Incentivize them with specials or valuable content that’s only available via SMS.

Once you have a decent SMS database you need to integrate SMS and email in a way that plays to each of their strengths. The majority of your content will be communicated via email; with targeted, condensed content, updates or offers sent via SMS.

Timing is everything

The inherently higher open-rates associated with SMS over email (SMS has a remarkable open rate of 98%, compared to 22% for email) means the time at which messages are sent will have a significant impact upon whether the user will respond or even be receptive to the content.

Remember that SMS to email works too – so another great strategy is to send similar email and SMS messages to contacts at staggered times. Your message is highly likely to stay top of mind and recipients are more likely to follow through on your requested call to action.

Putting the theory to the test

One of the best uses of SMS to drive revenue is a once-off/ limited time offer mobile coupon. Consumers will always have them on hand when they want to use them, and are likely to make other purchases while they are in-store using their coupon.

For example, a brand like Wal-Mart could send an email to their database that incorporates a simple SMS call-to-action. The email content can outline the current promotions and offers available in store, similar to a normal newsletter, while also incorporating a simple SMS call-to-action that encourages users to SMS a short-code in order to receive free coupons to their phone, and these can be used in their local Wal-Mart.

This magnifies the response rate, makes your email content interactive, and encourages a two-way dialogue with your audience. The two channels work together to offer the recipients a choice regarding how they interact and respond to your brand.

Remember to time SMS and email send outs to play to their respective strengths - for example, if the desired call to action is to buy tickets to a conference, an email can be sent long before the event because it has the ability to carry rich content to the recipients, which will give them the most reasons to attend. An SMS message can be used a week prior to, and/ or on the day of the event as a reminder, as it has a higher guaranteed delivery rate and will be received by all parties at the same time.

To wrap up

Utilising a single platform to send both email and SMS gives you the flexibility to orchestrate workflows and effortlessly automate your messaging requirements – ensuring that brands are reaching the right person, with the right offer, through the right channel, at the right time. The beauty of it all is that you can reduce costs while you improve the effectiveness and performance of campaigns.

Don’t forget that reporting and smart analytics are crucial to make a success of your marketing efforts. Knowing what triggered each response will give you a clear idea of what’s working, and what you need to improve on.