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Psychology behind SMS marketing: Why is SMS so effective?

Psychology behind SMS marketing: Why is SMS so effective?

SMS marketing is a highly powerful marketing tactic because of the highly addictive dopamine it activates in our brains, resulting in its incredible 98% open rate. People receive so many messages everyday on platforms like Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat. On top of that they receive tons of emails everyday. This makes it hard to get noticed as a brand. The fact that people don’t frequently check their SMS actually makes the perfect opportunity.

Because receiving an actual text message doesn’t happen that often, people will immediately be tempted to see what it is about when it pops up on their screen. This creates an excellent opportunity for marketers to interact with their audience on a profoundly personal level, resulting in increased engagement and ultimately, sales. In this article, we will dive into why SMS is so effective from a psychological perspective, and how to properly use it. Do you not have the time to read this article? Watch a video down below for a short summary on the article.  

Why more and more marketers are shifting their budgets to SMS

SMS marketing is all about reaching customers where they are—on their phones—and providing moments of delight and value that keep them coming back for more. Marketers can unlock the full potential of SMS by understanding the neuroscience behind it and using clever approaches to generate business success while establishing long-term relationships with their audience.

In this digital age, people receive over 120.000 triggers PER DAY. In comparison, this is the same amount of triggers people of 100 years ago received in a whole year. It only makes sense that it gets harder and harder to get through to people, especially as a marketer. This is why SMS is such a powerful tool. It is a communication channel that delivers your message in a personal way whilst remaining cost-efficient. With Spryng’s SMS and WhatsApp platforms, you can help to optimize the purchasing process by eliminating friction, reach everyone at once and streamline communication.

However, its value extends beyond sheer convenience, as it taps into underlying psychological principles that drive human behavior. Understanding these principles, particularly the importance of dopamine and emotional triggers, can greatly improve the effectiveness of SMS marketing initiatives. 

SMS as a quick-form communication channel

Picture this: You're blindly scrolling through your social media page when the familiar buzz of your phone breaks your focus. Looking up, you are surprised to see a text message from a clothes store you recently visited. You had considered purchasing several of their products but were hesitant due to the cost. Now, they've contacted you with an appealing offer: a 25% discount on your purchase if you buy now. Suddenly, ideas of an updated wardrobe flash through your mind, and you eagerly accept the offer.

How did you go from browsing on TikTok to securing a new outfit in only seconds? It all has to do with the fact that people are more likely to get things done whilst it is still new and fresh in their minds. Why SMS and not for example, email, you ask? People often don’t get notifications for email or just overlook yours through the enormous amount of other emails they receive, not to mention that your email could end up in spam. With SMS you can be unique and steal the attention away from other brands.

Why does the human brain prefer quick-form communication?

1. Shorter attention spans: In today's digital age, humans' attention spans have shrunk to eight seconds, less than that of a goldfish. Our reliance on cell phones, instant messaging apps, and continual access to data all contribute to this situation.

2. Fitting within attention span limits: SMS messages are ideal for our restricted attention spans, taking only a few seconds to read and comprehend. This makes them great for attracting attention in a world where every second is valuable.

3. Association with positivity: Text messages are naturally associated with good relationships with friends and family. Using this good association in SMS marketing might motivate recipients to interact with your business.

The effect of SMS on the human brain

The simple ding of a new message sets off a dopamine loop in our brains, causing us to go for our phones in anticipation. It's no surprise that 1 in every 3 people checks their text notifications within one minute of receiving a message, with text messages outperforming all other apps in terms of frequency of use. Dopamine, also known as the "feel-good" neurotransmitter, is vital to the effectiveness of SMS marketing. Every successful engagement, whether it's a response, a like, or a share, causes a dopamine release in the brain. This neurotransmitter is linked to reward and motivation, actively encouraging people to seek fulfillment.

rational versus emotional

Rational versus emotional persuasion

Through an understanding of the psychology underlying successful messaging, companies can design SMS campaigns that captivate their target, prompt action, and nurture enduring loyalty. SMS marketing has the ability to generate significant responses and drive corporate success through a variety of strategies, including utilizing dopamine-driven curiosity and emotional triggers. Success with every tool is dependent on your ability to comprehend, modify, and make the most of it.

Persuasion in marketing primarily comes in two forms: rational and emotional. Though we like to think of ourselves as logical beings, the truth is that emotions influence our decisions greatly, and logic frequently follows to support those conclusions.

Using both emotional and rational appeals can be quite successful in grabbing client's interest in the world of SMS marketing, where communication is quick and personal.

Rational persuasion

In contrast, logical persuasion concentrates on providing evidence, logic, and useful advantages to persuade the recipient of the offer's worth. Although feelings could draw people in at first, reasoned arguments provide them the justification they need to make a choice. The anticipated savings in the previously mentioned example provide a logical appeal since they are a distinct, concrete benefit that speaks to the recipient's rational side.

Emotional persuasion

By appealing to the recipient's emotions and desires, emotional persuasion tries to immediately assist them see the benefits of accepting the offer. This can be especially effective in SMS marketing, when instant impact is critical and space is limited. Something along the lines of "Don't miss it! Place your order today and save 50%. Get your discounts right here: [link]”. By highlighting the chance to save money, it appeals to the recipient's emotions and creates a sense of urgency and fear of missing out. 

Tips to create compelling messages using Cialdini's 7 influencing principles

Using Cialdini's 7 principles in SMS marketing

To create a successful campaign, your messages should primarily be built on the previously mentioned ‘emotional persuasion’. Marketers can fuse these emotional appeals with rational appeals that connect with recipients on multiple levels. The emotional appeal is most important since it sparks the first curiosity and involvement, rational thinking strengthens the decision-making process and raises the possibility of conversion. 

The "godfather of influence", Dr. Robert Cialdini, has established seven persuasive principles that might be used to craft effective SMS campaigns.

  1. Reciprocity: Give exclusive rewards to encourage customers to reciprocate.
  2. Scarcity: Highlight limited-time offers to create a sense of urgency.
  3. Authority: Feature endorsements from trusted sources to build credibility.
  4. Liking: Personalize messages to humanize your brand and connect with customers.
  5. Social Proof: Include testimonials and reviews to show others' positive experiences.
  6. Consistency: Encourage action by aligning with customers' past behavior.
  7. Unity: Engage customers by fostering a sense of community and belonging.

By using these principles in your SMS messaging, you can effectively engage your audience and prompt action. Remember to test different approaches and track results to improve your SMS marketing strategy over time. However, as a marketer you don’t always have the time to think of new and innovative ways to compile your messages every time. That is why Spryng has created 21 easy templates to get you started. 

In this article, we created ready-to-use 21 templates for SMS taking the 7 persuasive principles of Cialdini in mind. Have a look! 

Using the psychology behind SMS marketing in practice as a marketing tool 

Keeping Cialdini’s principles in mind, here are some other useful tips to know when compiling your messages. 

Teasing with information

Dopamine-driven curiosity might be stimulated by offering customers tidbits of information they're interested in. This builds excitement and encourages those who receive it to look for more interaction. SMS uses the instantaneous nature of text messages to direct users to landing pages or other platforms, encouraging quick action. For example, a phrase like: “Click the link below to get an exclusive sneak peek and be the first to know when it's revealed to the world!”, can make your customers feel special and awaken interest.

Creating loyalty and habits

SMS marketing can promote brand loyalty and long-term habits in addition to immediate engagement. Businesses can build a deep emotional bond with their audience by integrating SMS into several client touchpoints and delivering high-value communications. For example, beginning your SMS with “we value your loyalty and want to make sure you always feel appreciated, that is why we are offering exclusive 20% discounts especially for you!”, can strengthen their sense of loyalty towards your brand.

Leveraging loss aversion

A psychological technique known as "loss aversion" highlights the tendency of people to place a higher priority on preventing losses than on making profits. By framing their messaging to take advantage of this tendency, marketers can generate a sense of urgency and motivate action. For example, include in your messages sentences like: “Last chance!” and “Limited offers!” to really emphasize on the sense of urgency. Striking a balance and taking the long-term connection with customers into consideration is crucial, though. Over-reliance on loss aversion strategies has the potential to decrease loyalty and trust over time.

What to keep in mind when creating SMS content 

  • The Art of Conciseness: Keep messages brief, impactful, and value-focused to capture attention and guide recipients toward the desired action.
  • Personalization: Going Beyond the First Name: Make use of client information to send tailored recommendations and offers that encourage a feeling of unique interaction.
  • Describe yourself: Clarify the name of your company or group in the message to increase trust.
  • Request feedback: Promote communication by requesting feedback and giving relevant reminders.
  • Opt-In Strategies for Informed Consent: Create clear opt-in procedures that inform subscribers of the benefits they will receive and comply to legal requirements.

Timing and analytics for SMS marketing

  • Respectful Frequency and Timing: To prevent spamming and preserve a great brand image, strike a balance between the frequency and timing of your messages.
  • Smart Audience Segmentation for Tailored Messaging: Utilize audience segmentation depending on preferences and actions to provide interactions that are extremely relevant.
  • Keep an eye on analytics: Track campaigns with a bulk SMS gateway and make the necessary changes.

Discover what SMS via Spryng can do for you

In short, SMS marketing is one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of your customers because of its underlying psychological aspects. Marketers can create messages that appeal to emotions and curiosity. By offering personalized deals and valuable content, they build strong relationships with customers. 

SMS reaches people directly on their phones, prompting better results. By combining psychology with good strategies, marketers can use SMS as their secret weapon. Do you want to know what SMS can do for your company?

At Spryng, you can create an account, receive free test credits and before you know it, you will be able to send out your first campaign within a day. Stand out from the crowd and contact Spryng today to see how our platforms can benefit your business! When performing large SMS marketing campaigns, Spryng can get the dirty work done for free. You simply provide us with a list of recipients and your content, we advise to you, and get it done. 

Request your pricing here or create a test account here. We’re happy to get in touch without any obligation.

Video summary: The psychology behind SMS marketing

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