If you aren’t already aware of the mobile messaging trend, take a look at my recent Bizmology post to get an introduction to this growth market. I noted in that piece that the practice of sending texts or instant messages through an app such as Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Viber, or Line is becoming increasingly popular, as these services combine the best of both worlds. They offer the private one-on-one communication of traditional texting with the extra features of a Web-based app, such as games, commerce, or payments. The result is a multidimensional messaging experience.
Another bonus of mobile messaging for consumers, especially those who reside overseas where mobile plans may be less likely to include unlimited free texting, is that these apps don’t use up SMS allowances or other data when connected to WiFi.
In part because unwanted messages from marketers and salespeople can end up costing consumers big money, the FCC and the TCPA have rules regarding telecommunications and advertising. It is illegal for a company to text someone with offers or solicitations unless it has been granted express written consent.
While this may seem like a major drawback for using instant messaging for marketing, the reverse may actually be true. Interacting with customers via a messaging app may simply involve asking loyal customers whether they would like news and special offers sent directly to their mobile device. This would help marketers waste less time with customers who aren’t interested in hearing from them.
Another approach could entice a customer to give consent to receive marketing messages in exchange for a free item or discount.
As noted, sending product news, offers, and discounts directly to consumers is a key way in which mobile messaging can contribute to the sales process. Data backs the assertion that consumers respond well to promotions sent via instant message. For example, mobile coupons receive 10 times higher redemption rates than print coupons, according to GoMobileBook.com. Meanwhile, 50% of survey respondents report responding to a text offer, according to Marketingcharts.com.
So what makes an app a more attractive option than a direct text? Mostly, it’s about reaching a person in an environment she frequents, where she in turn can influence other contacts who may be more inclined to trust her opinion.
WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger alone have 900 million and 700 million active users, respectively, so with an audience of more than a billion, some sales and marketing messaging is bound to stick.
Amy Schein is an Industry Specialist at First Research, where she covers various aspects of the media industry. She earned her BS and MA in media studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Amy on Twitter.