For many years, direct response advertising has offered consumers two primary ways of reaching out to marketers: the telephone and the web. Now a third, exciting avenue has emerged: text. Why do we think this is such a compelling opportunity?
Let’s explore some convincing numbers that allow us to count the ways:
- According to Statista, U.S. mobile phone penetration has reached 81%, representing 223 million consumers.
- Those consumers spent an average of 4.7 hours per day glued to their smartphones according to AT&T and The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction.
- Among their behaviors: 93% of smartphone users have them handy while they watch television as reported by the USA Edition of the Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey. Naturally, that viewing includes television advertising.
Beyond these numbers, is the critical role that text now plays in our everyday lives. To wit:
- 97% of U.S. adults text daily reports the Pew Research Center.
- Texting is the number one activity for smartphone users according to the same source.
- Texts have a 99% open rate compared to 20% for email according to a study by SinglePoint.
In other words, marketers have an opportunity to align their outreach with behaviors that are already habitual for smartphone users. But it isn’t just the simple fact that people are chronically texting – the text screen on a smartphone is the equivalent of beachfront property that consumers gaze at continuously. Instead of being trapped inside an app that is dependent upon a consumer opening it, an advertiser sits right there beside family and friends. In simple terms, texting is easy, casual, and conversational. That may explain why the public has expressed a desire to interact with businesses using this vehicle as evidenced by the following findings:
- RingCentral reports that 78% of consumers wish they could have a text conversation with a business.
- Three out of four like offers sent via text reports Digital Marketing Magazine.
- Texting with a qualified lead can increase conversation by over 100% according to Velocify.
- In an article entitled “Text Messaging Is Absolutely Eating Phone Call’s Lunch,” Franchisehelp reports that their research indicates that 90% of leads prefer to be texted, as opposed to being called.
So, what does all this mean?
That by simply adding a text option to their call-to-action, advertisers stand to significantly increase their inbound leads and conversions. Using an easy to remember five-digit short code, marketers are able to leverage a memorable and easy-to-recall numerical sequence across all of their advertising. So, for example, a DRTV ad for a housewares product might include the pronouncement: “Text CLEAN to 1-2-3-4-5.” The consumer who texts as instructed then gets an immediate return text response and direct link to the sponsor’s website. This allows the advertiser to bypass search and the associated risk of having their leads being siphoned off by competitors.
According to our sources, those who are running DRTV ads that include a texting call-to-action are seeing a material lift in sales for the same media dollars from what appears to be a more qualified lead. The proof? Consumer traffic that arrives to a DRTV marketer’s e-commerce site by way of text has been seen to convert at two or even three times the rate of web traffic arriving from other sources. Moreover, the average order value generated from traffic arriving to a DRTV marketer’s e-commerce site as a result of text has been running 5 to 10% higher than sales generated from other sources. A dollar spent on offering a texting option has been measured to generate 3x, 5x, 10x, or, in one recent case, a jaw-dropping 25x in incremental sales. For these reasons, your Friday Forecasters think that direct response advertisers who use text to let their prospects’ thumbs do the walking, is a notion worthy of a double thumbs-up.
Colleen Ferrier is a seasoned direct marketing expert who specializes in guiding integrated direct-to-consumer campaigns with an acute focus on ROI. Her broad experience has included management oversight of marketing, operations, media, and international distribution. The campaigns she has been instrumental in helping lead to success across her 15+ year career include Pillow Pets, Little Giant Ladder, Dream Lites, and Stompeez. Ferrier has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Augusta University, Georgia.
Rick Petry is a direct marketing veteran of over 25 years who has been involved with campaigns that have generated over $1 billion in sales. He provides creative services to both B2C and B2B marketing campaigns and recent projects have included Actegy/Revitive, Education Connection, GOLO, Joybird, and OYO/DoubleFlex. The author of over 200 articles on direct marketing best practices, Petry has a Bachelor of Arts in Cinema/Television from the University of Southern California and an MBA with a Concentration in Marketing and Sales from Marylhurst University.