Marketers have been asking the same question since the dawn of the internet: What’s the fastest and best way to get my message into the hands of my target audience?
Well, one way to begin answering this age-old question, is by creating a channel strategy. Which is marketing-speak for the process of deciding which channels to use.
To help you get started on channel choosing, we’ve gathered some information and data about popular mobile channels, including text. Because, while we’re huge fans of SMS, it’s not the be-all and end-all for every single business.
In this blog we’ll unpack:
- Why use email?
- Email vs SMS
- Mixing SMS with email
- What is Chat Marketing?
- Why use Facebook Messenger?
- Messenger vs SMS
- Why use WhatsApp?
- WhatsApp vs SMS
- Why use Instagram Direct
- Instagram or SMS?
- Why we love SMS for chat marketing
Read on, marketers.
Why is email still important?
Email is massive. The global email software size was valued at 1.12 billion USD in 2020. And, it’s not slowing down anytime soon.
Businesses have been sending emails since the 70s. Using email for marketing is very accessible because almost everyone has an email address. There are currently 4 billion daily email users, and 99% of consumers check their email daily.
Many businesses choose email because it’s:
- Cost-effective compared to paid ads.
- Businesses can use a bulk email service
- Easy to measure for campaign reporting.
- Regularly produces a return on investment (ROI).
Sounds great, right? Let’s dive into the numbers.
How does texting compare to email?
Email and SMS are a little different — text is mobile only and requires no internet connection. While email is often viewed on both mobile and desktop, giving it different reach.
It’s a good idea to think about using these channels in tandem rather than picking one over the other. We compared some key stats to help with your planning.
Considerations when using email as a channel
Email is great, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. There are some things to consider if you move ahead with email.
- Can be marked as spam
Most people receive hundreds of emails every day. Because of this, many email servers have spam filters in place. Your audience can increase their filters so many marketing emails go straight to the spam folder and never get seen.
- Low CTR
Email is a great way to market your business but it does have a lower CTR. Consider projected results against your budgeted spend to work out if it’s right for you.
- It’s very competitive
It’s likely that most of your competitors use email, so it’s harder to stand out and get sales. Shameless plug: only 43% of marketers used SMS in their strategy in 2022.
Mixing SMS with email
Smart businesses pair SMS with email. Depending on your industry, audience expectations and company goals, SMS can be more effective for some communications. And email for others.
Think about the type of communication you’re sending. Who you’re sending it to. And, what you want them to do once they’ve received it.
SMS is more immediate, reaches customers faster, and has a high open rate. But there is limited character space. Many companies use SMS for reminders or alerts and notifications. Basically, any short-form communications that require quick audience action.
Email is a good option for newsletters, press releases, visual product updates and sharing blogs. With flexible design options, it’s more suited for long-form content that your audience can dive into.
What is chat marketing?
Thanks to smartphones, chat marketing apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram have blown up in the past decade.
We all know that these apps are great for talking to family and friends. However, they’ve recently become a place for business to customer conversations too.
Let’s take a look at each chat platform.
Why use Facebook messenger for your business?
There are 1.3 billion Messenger users worldwide. It’s a great place to acquire customers and generate high-quality leads.
Using Messenger as an online chat, businesses can sell directly to the customer or provide an in-store experience with the convenience of shopping online.
You can provide direct customer service from Facebook Messenger and answer questions privately for your customer’s peace of mind.
Did we mention it’s free?
How does SMS compare to Messenger?
Facebook is one of the most downloaded apps of all time. It’s a widely used chat platform — but, is it as popular as SMS? Let’s see.
Considerations when using Facebook Messenger as a channel
Messenger has a great open rate and CTR. But, just like every channel — it’s not perfect. Here’s some things to keep in mind when working out if Messenger is right for you.
- You have to wait for contacts to come to you
Businesses can only contact a user if the user messages them first. Then, the business has a 24-hour window to reply. Making it hard to build your Messenger subscriber list. Technically you can get permission to contact a user via a sponsored message, but it will cost you.
SMS has opt-in and compliance rules too. But, it can be easier to build your contact list by collecting consent and opt-ins during the checkout process.
- Data collection
Another limitation of Messenger is that it collects more consumer data than other channels. After the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out, actions on Facebook, such as likes, shares and posts, have dropped by almost 20% — yikes.
Why use WhatsApp for business?
WhatsApp is a free, multi-platform messaging app that allows users to send video, voice calls, and text messages.
WhatsApp Business allows businesses to add information such as a business description, your address and opening times.
You can also use quick replies to send automatic greeting messages and add interactive business messages with clickable buttons.
SMS vs WhatsApp
The main difference between these two platforms is that SMS relies on carriers and cellular networks to send messages. While Whatsapp relies on an internet connection.
Although WhatsApp and SMS have differences, the stats are very similar.
WhatsApp has impressive numbers, but make sure you consider the below before you go ahead.
Considerations when using WhatsApp as a channel
There are a few things to consider before using WhatsApp as a channel for your business. Check them out below:
- Not native to mobiles
To send messages to your customers via WhatsApp, they must first download the app on their smartphone.
- Limited outreach ability
You can only have one active Whatsapp Business account on one device at a time, which can seriously limit outreach ability if you have multiple locations and businesses.
- Small contact lists
Contact lists, more commonly known as broadcast lists, are limited to 256 people. To contact more people, you must create multiple lists, which can be time-consuming.
Why use Instagram Direct?
Instagram direct is a private message feature that allows users to send and receive text, photos, posts and stories with one or more people.
It’s easy for customers to get in touch with businesses. All they have to do is click the “send message” button on your business page.
You can also add your IG.me link to your Instagram bio to redirect users to a conversation. Your IG.me link can be added to your website, email newsletters and more.
Instagram and Facebook are owned by Meta, so you can manage all your messages from both platforms in one place (Meta Business Suite). You can also set-up automated responses, messenger greetings, instant replies, and away messages.
SMS vs Instagram Direct
Instagram Direct has limited data around CTR and open rate, but we found data around usage and users.
Considerations when using Instagram Direct as a channel
Instagram is easy to use for customers to get in touch with your business but there are still a few things to consider before using the platform for advertising.
- You need to build community first
To begin receiving DMs from your customers and build audience trust, you’ll need a well-structured Instagram feed with engaging and high-quality content. This can take a lot of effort. Although, the investment definitely pays off for some businesses.
- Expand your budget
Even if you have great content on your Instagram business account, organic reach will only get you so far. Many businesses pay for sponsored posts to build their community and following, faster. It’s worth considering whether an investment into instagram fits with your strategy.
Why we love SMS for chat marketing
Chat marketing can be a channel worth exploring — especially if you have a large following on social media. However, there are over 6x as many SMS users as chat apps users.
That’s a big jump.
SMS is also native to all mobile phones. So, you can message any customer as long as they have a mobile number and a working sim card, without needing an internet connection and smartphone ownership.
We’ll even throw in some free credit to get you started.