Before there was Whatsapp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger or any of the other myriad instant messaging platforms we have today, there was the SMS. The humble text message that we could send and receive from any cell phone to any cell phone, no data required. It was simple, cheap and fast, and we loved it. We still do, in fact, which is why SMS marketing is still an immensely popular and successful way for businesses to reach their customers – no matter what phone they have, or where they live. Progress, however, marches relentlessly on, and the launch of Apple’s iMessage in 2011 heralded a new way for iPhone users to message each other – for free.
The concept is pretty cool. When you, as an Apple user, send a text message to another peson with an Apple ID, the iMessage app automatically recognises that ID. It then sends the message through Apple’s own servers instead of through your cellphone service provider. This effectively avoids any and all charges usually applied by your carrier.
It’s pretty genius when you think about it. But it didn’t stop there. Regular updates to Apple’s operating system saw the functionality of the iMessage app expand to include pictures, sound and location. Significant updates in iOS 10 in particular, increased iMessage’s capabilities even further. Suddenly you had bubble and screen effects, digital touch and handwriting, iMessage apps and emoji tapbacks.
Of course, the iOS update didn’t just make iMessage cooler for us to use to send messages to fellow Apple-ites. It also opened up a whole new world of possibilities for SMS marketing.
What Does iMessage Mean For SMS Marketing?
Before the launch of iOS 10, links sent via iMessage showed up in pretty much the same way as when they were sent through a regular SMS – an underlined hyperlink that, when tapped or clicked, directed you through to Apple’s search engine, Safari, and then on to the final destination.
The iOS 10 update, however, was a game changer for businesses wanting to leverage the power and reach of SMS marketing. All of a sudden, links stopped appearing as generic blue strips of underlined text. Instead, there was a preview image – in colour – with a short text summary. We all know how effective images are from a marketing perspective, so the new update opened many exciting doors for digital marketers on the hunt for new and innovative ways to reach more customers. Whereas boring old links are easily ignored, attention-grabbing pictures do just that. How much more persuasive is it to send an image of whatever it is you’re promoting via a link preview than a text-only message? Branded images also come across as more professional and less spammy than a link on its own.
Message To The Max – Top Tips for iMessaging Mastery
Knowing how to make the most of iMessage ensures your SMS marketing campaign packs maximum punch. For example, so that your url link doesn’t get lost in translation, make sure you put it either right at the beginning or right at the end of your message. If you put it anywhere else, it’ll stay as a link instead of appearing as a link preview image.
There are also some great iMessage tools you can add to put the funk in the functionality.
- Try Mate, an audience outreach tool that translates your message into multiple languages. This is a great way to connect with consumers around the world.
- Fam lets you host multi-member chats with your brand’s most loyal social media followers. You can also use it for market research, or group question and answer sessions.
- Looksy is a great app for live streaming videos within iMessage, letting you share footage from a conference or talk.
Of course, while iMessage is undoubtedly a fastastic way to pump up your SMS marketing, it is limited to the iOS platform. Regular SMS campaigns reach all users on all cell phones, regardless of operating system. In addition, although Apple is the largest cell phone brand in the US, worldwide, it still trails behind Android devices.
At Cellfind, we’re a leading mobile technology solutions company. We pride ourselves on our ability to design and execute tailored SMS marketing campaigns for all our clients. If you’d like to explore the many ways in which iMessage can add variety and punch to your SMS marketing, chat to us today.