President and CEO of VOXOX. 5 Time Tech CEO. Advisor and Investor. Board Member and Speaker. Started Cybersecurity Titan Websense.

For better or for worse, our lives have depended on digital connectivity this past year. Among distance learning, reimagined workplaces and brick-and-mortar closures, phones have transitioned from convenient distractions to cornerstones of our operations.

Many businesses responded to the new normals by incorporating SMS texting into their marketing tactics, and the numbers show. According to Omnisend’s statistics report for 2020, there was a 378% increase in SMS messaging from 2019, and the stellar returns promise that it’s here to stay.

Combine SMS marketing with AI’s adaptive algorithms positioned in an advanced 5G-enabled landscape, and you have a bird’s-eye view that helps you empower everyone in your reach. You gain the ability to anticipate your customers’ behaviors, patterns and needs, which in turn allows you to set the stage for more meaningful conversations and higher conversions.

From your business’s perspective, it’s a no-brainer. Returns on investment, efficiency and satisfied customers are all proven outcomes of good SMS. And these quantifiable outcomes are all necessary to keep you and your business afloat. In the year 2021, it’s time for something more.

Think about it. What’s in a ping?

Maybe you don’t wonder too much about what it looks like on the other end when a customer opens your text. This text message realistically represents only about one second of their day. Ping! They check their phone, open the text, skim a few lines and then either feel compelled to act on the message or decide to ignore it.

We, data-driven business people, want them to act on it of course. We are laser-focused on moving the needle, and in the process, sometimes forget about the real human being on the other side of the text that’s moving the needle.

Not that you forgot, but these are unprecedented times.

Polarizing chaos and division dominate the news and cast a shadow on virtually every aspect of life. I don’t have to tell you that it’s hard to catch a break. Even if the state of our world isn’t front-of-mind, it’s still humming in the background.

When you send a customer a text, that ping is an opportunity to interrupt that stream of negativity or stress. While it might take your customer a mere second to skim your text, the quality of this second can turn their whole day around. That’s power, so use it!

Do market research on where your business interests intersect with what consumers not only want but will truly value and benefit from. Understand their fluid interests and how they want them reflected in a brand. This is your chance to turn hard data into real-world, human emotion. How can you take a customer from blah to OMG with one text?

Incorporate connectivity amid the absence of connection.

We can’t pin poor human connection on the younger “phone-obsessed” generation anymore. Thanks to technology’s long-growing pervasiveness in our lives and the forced shift to e-everything, we’re all constantly on our phones. In fact, the average smartphone user interacts with their mobile device about 52 times per day.

We’re constantly connected at the expense of human connection. Of course, we’ve tried to compensate for the lack of in-person social interaction with virtual movie nights and work happy hours. When it comes to business, we’ve shifted what we can to a digital experience, and much of this innovation is likely to stay.

SMS marketing is your way of filling some of the voids and simulating a real, human connection with your customers. After all, customers are humans first, and as humans, we crave real connections. Leverage SMS’s conversational character to foster two-way communication and build trust among your base. Offer customer service, interact via polls and collect data with surveys all from your SMS marketing platform.

Don’t forget to make it personal! When you’re in a text message inbox, it’s just you and your customer. Customers respond to personalization, and with the increase in e-commerce, the data available to make this happen is already here. If you aren’t yet personalizing, it’s time to act fast. According to SmarterHQ (registration required), 72% of consumers surveyed say they only engage with B2B marketing messages that are personalized and tailored to their interests.

The bottom line is that there’s something missing. The new world of SMS paired with 5G and AI will allow you to learn and respond to your customers’ hunger as it happens. They’re craving something bigger … and you have it.

Show that you notice them as an individual and care about earning (and maintaining) their business. Offering a simple product or service is no longer enough. Who are you? How do you prove that you value the person at the other end of the text?

Take action in 2021 to create human connections.

I believe that SMS messaging will hold strong as we readjust to “normal” life (whatever that may look like). If last year taught us anything, it’s that we can’t count on our plans for the future, but genuine human connections are everything. For SMS marketing in 2021, this looks like keeping pace with customers as whole individuals and not just partners in a business transaction.

Think beyond returns, beyond hard data and beyond that ping. That is where you’ll turn your “Hello” into “OMG.”


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