One of our Account Executives, Amanda Duffy, asked me if SMS was the next voicemail. There’s no question voicemail has declined rapidly in recent years as we’ve shifted our messaging preferences to email, text messaging, and now Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Why the decline in voicemail? Simple … it is not an immediate response tool, meaning, unless you’re on the same network, you can’t do a quick response to the sender. Secondly, we have gotten very attached to our email windows, especially as tools like Outlook have become aggregators of the messages we receive from our various social networks.
Voicemail will come back around of course, with speech recognition. Users will undoubtedly be seduced by the ability to speak a message into their phone, and have it translated to text and deposited in the recipients mailbox. Stay tuned on that one.
For now, can SMS be a productive business communications tool? It already has. I have personally noticed many Analyst Relations managers are using SMS to keep in touch with me and to keep me informed.
What about best practices in using SMS for business communications? The usual rules apply. SMS is just a medium. But messages obviously need to be short, clear and have a clear “call to action.”
– I have two ideas for how we can add more value to our relationship. Do you have 5 min to discuss?
– Could we talk for 5 min about how we can help with your new initiative?
– Can you call me at 2pm to review how we can help you boost sales? I could also talk at 3pm or 430.
– One of our analysts has some innovative ideas for how we can help you kick start your marketing plan. Call me in the morning to arrange a conversation.
Bottom line: any medium that is constrained by message size … requires a “teaser approach” to messaging. Think TWITTER. The tweets that drive the most traffic are usually preceded by the words, “How to …” and are less than 140 characters. For example, my tweet “How to manage a customer reference program” was retweeted three times in 20 minutes.
People are hungry for “how to get things done” and “how to do something” …. so use the word “how” in your SMS messages whenever you can.
But remember … sensationalized messages are indeed ineffective and considered offensive. If you sensationalize the message just to get a return call … that’s a major offense. Things like “Call me for tips on how to get rich in 10 days” tick people off. You know the drill on that one…..
And of course, an entire new discipline, “mobile marketing” has sprung up thanks to cell phone adoption. As the guys at clickatell.com remind us:
“Consumers all over the world have come to rely on their mobile phone as an essential communications tool. They personalize it, take it everywhere they go, and many cannot imagine living without it”.
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