The psychology behind SMS marketing

The psychology behind SMS marketing

We know SMS marketing boasts incredible open rates, quick response times, and high engagement rates. What many people don’t fully understand is why. A lot of it has to do with our brains.

What the data tells us

First, let’s take a look at some statistics. It tells an interesting story about how people interact with and perceive SMS marketing:

  • Text messages have a 98% open rate while email averages at 20% (Campaign Monitor)
  • 48% of consumers prefer to receive brand updates via SMS as opposed to phone calls, emails or other forms of contact (Finances Online)
  • More than 50% of consumers would prefer to text a customer support assistant rather than receive a phone call from them (Finances Online)
  • Almost one-in-five American households are “hyperconnected”, meaning they contain 10 or more devices (Pew Research Centre)
  • 67% of mobile phone users constantly check their phones for any notifications, even if it hasn’t rung or vibrated (Pew Research Centre)

Why the human brain prefers quick-form communications

Shorter attention spans

According to Microsoft, human attention span is now just eight seconds, shorter than a goldfish. With our reliance on multitasking smartphones, the omnipresent nature of data and Wi-Fi, and our heavy usage of instant messaging apps, attentions are likely getting even shorter.

Think about it: Millennials and Gen Zs arrive in a world that operates almost entirely online. From texting to quick-form story content on social media, we’ve developed an appetite for one or two-second consumable content.

Even a quick online search can help you immediately find valuable content on what your mind is curious about. But if a website takes more than three seconds to load, 53% of visitors leave. Each second counts.

Text messages fit within the attention span limit

This is where SMS comes into the picture—in fact, you can argue that the human brain is geared towards preferring SMS communications as it takes up to three seconds to read and process a standard text, lower than the time a majority of people will wait for a page to load.

The text notification and preview itself piques our interest, prompting us to open the text and quickly read it. Texting is also more suited to our modern lifestyles as we can reply to texts when it’s convenient for us.

Finally, SMS is structured more like an in-person conversation, encouraging prompt back and forth messaging and allowing for fun emojis that add personality to each message. A medium like an email, on the other hand, is more often associated with work and can feel more rigid in tone and structure.

Tapping into human psychology for SMS marketing

It’s all about association

Naturally, people associate text messages with positivity because of the messages they receive from their family and friends. After all, people like to feel recognised, understood, and heard.

That’s why your SMS marketing campaigns must be highly relevant to help develop that same positive association with your brand, encouraging them to continue to open your messages to see what you have to say or offer.

How to create positive sentiment

When you want customers to take action, facts aren’t what will convince them. Though they are relevant, it’s the limbic brain, which is responsible for emotions and motivations, that decides.

So if your SMS marketing invokes a good emotional response, then they’ll go for it and keep coming back for more. The human brain naturally seeks out safe, pleasurable, and rewarding experiences in the easiest way possible.

12 Tips to create positive, rewarding SMS marketing campaigns:

  1. Keep your SMS campaign under 160 characters, which will be quick for your recipients to read. Check out our SMS templates if you need help getting started.
  2. Personalise your messages. Your recipients will feel a stronger connection towards your brand if you use their name and relate to their interests.
  3. Segment your lists based on their demographics. Your campaigns will be much more relevant to your contacts.
  4. Have an opt-out. Nothing is more off-putting and triggering than a campaign without one.
  5. Be spam compliant. Let’s keep the messaging landscape a positive one.
  6. Identify yourself. Make sure that your business or organisation name is in the Sender ID or message text to immediately build trust.
  7. Use a consistent virtual mobile number. Having an easily recognisable number builds trust and improves your online reputation.
  8. Create a sense of urgency. The fear of missing out is a powerful driving force, so make sure to highlight the time-sensitive nature of your offer.
  9. Provide exclusive offers, promotions, and discounts that they can’t find anywhere else. After all, you have one of their most personal assets, their mobile number.
  10. Ask your customers for feedback, and send reminders and alerts when necessary to help improve your customer experience.
  11. Take but also give. Provide customer service via SMS. It won’t feel like a one-way street.
  12. Use a bulk SMS gateway to keep your finger on the pulse of your SMS analytics and tweak your campaigns according to your users’ changing moods.

There’s more than just text

The rise of omnichannel messaging also helps SMS remain attractive, with consumers having the choice of seamlessly communicating with brands over a variety of channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and MMS.

Some basic psychological insight, along with our SMS marketing services, can have a huge impact on your SMS success. Sign up for a free 14-day trial of our bulk SMS service today.