In Conversation with Adweek: Why Text Messaging is the Future of Brand Communications

Brian Long and Danny Wright headshots
Published on
May 20, 2020
Written by
Giovany Vasquez
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Learn why text messaging has become a top-performing digital marketing channel for commerce brands, plus tips for using this channel in an authentic, revenue-driving way.

As consumer preferences and demands are constantly shifting, brands are always looking for new ways to elevate the commerce and customer communications experiences. And as mobile usage continues to increase, many brands are turning to personalized text messaging as a new performance marketing channel that allows them to do just that.

Attentive’s Co-Founder & CEO Brian Long sat down virtually with Adweek’s Chief Brand Officer, Danny Wright, during the Adweek Elevate: Commerce thought leadership event to discuss why brands are turning to personalized text messaging to engage their mobile audiences directly and personally with two-way communication. Check out the interview recording and read on for highlights from their conversation.

Attentive’s Co-Founder & CEO Brian Long spoke with Adweek’s Chief Brand Officer Danny Wright during the Adweek Elevate: Commerce event.

1. Creating additional communication channels vs. just email

For years, email marketing was the most efficient and effective way to directly communicate and engage with your customers—from sharing new products and limited-time deals to in-store events and special VIP offers. However, over the last five years, open rates and click-through rates for emails have declined by more than 50%.

Oftentimes, it can be challenging for brands to directly reach and engage with their customers through this channel. While email marketing is certainly not going away any time soon and does still have a lot of value as a communications channel, adding additional ways to reach your audience—like text messaging—gives customers more opportunities to interact with their favorite brands however they prefer.

2. Sending messages your audience wants to receive

Communicating with your customers via text messaging allows you to take the overall experience to a much more personal and relevant level. With triggered messages that are automatically sent based on behavioral data, you can welcome subscribers to your text messaging program, let shoppers know about items they have left behind in their cart, or recommend new products based on their purchase history.

If you’re hosting a localized event or offer, you can reach out to that specific segment—quickly and efficiently—with text messaging to update them with relevant content. You can also consider providing customer service via text messaging, prompting higher click-through rates, conversion rates, and ultimately revenue (Attentive clients who quickly respond to shoppers’ inquiries received via text messaging are driving 31% more spend from customers vs. those who do not receive replies). Using text message marketing gives you the opportunity to send messages and content that your audience actually wants to receive—and on the device they are most likely to communicate with.

3. Understanding your audience

Marketing—no matter the channel—is all about identity and knowing your customers. Who is your audience, what is important to them, and what kind of text messages and content do they want to receive from you? The answers to these questions will differ depending on your brand and industry. For example, three in five US internet users said they’ve purchased clothes, shoes, or accessories online in the past month, but 51% will avoid purchasing goods from online retailers that do not offer free returns. E-commerce brands should think about this strategically, and let mobile subscribers know about any policies or deals, such as free shipping and returns, to convert them from casual browsers to loyal purchasers.

Within the food and beverage industry, 42% of consumers said they use their mobile devices to look for restaurant coupons and deals, making it the most popular dining-related activity. Text message marketing can not only help restaurants and hospitality companies drive revenue by directly engaging with their audience who actively use their mobile devices, but it can also boost brand awareness and strengthen relationships with loyal customers.

Attentive recognizes the importance for restaurants and hospitality businesses to have a more effective way of connecting with customers, especially during expected times like the current COVID-19 landscape. We’ve launched the Accelerate 2020 initiative to help these businesses supercharge their marketing in preparation of a recovery period, offering free access to our text messaging platform for accepted applicants.

When Attentive was first founded in 2016, only about 4.5% of the top 1,000 online retailers were using text message marketing. Today, that has significantly increased to over 50%. Every year, more and more brands are discovering the benefits of using text messaging: it’s a new priority channel and an effective way to cut through the clutter and reach your right audience with relevant, personalized messages on their preferred device.

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