There are plenty of people, perhaps even you, who believe that an app is the answer to every company’s communication challenges.
It’s true that apps are generally easy to find and install. Since more people are using mobile devices, some as a prime source of communication instead of a desktop or a laptop, an app isn’t a bad way to access information without visiting your device’s browser.
Plus, ‘push’ notifications from some apps make it easy to provide you the exact info you need rather than having to search it out.
However, there’s also another digital tool that’s even easier to work with: the text message.
Some have said that SMS has served its purpose and is past its prime, but texting continues to be a popular way of interacting. Here’s why:
- You can respond. Push notifications are one-way messages sent to everyone who has signed up through an app. If you want to respond or have further questions, you must find contact info through your app or a company site, and then send an email, a voice mail or even a text. With texts you can always respond and even have a conversation.
- Access to larger audiences. Not everyone who is a fan of a particular company or product will download its official app, or even has the right type of phone to do so. But just about everyone has text capabilities on their mobile devices. Businesses wanting to connect with more subscribers and potential customers can easily send texts rather than cultivating the smaller number of app subscribers.
- Easy to create multiple lists and manage multiple campaigns. Companies that send out mass texts can use texting programs to segment different audiences, often by different topics, demographic info or interests. But with push notifications, every subscriber gets the same message, although every end-user can configure how they’re displayed.
- Texting is inexpensive. Texting is one of the more affordable ways to contact customers. You may have to pay extra if you create MMS (multimedia messages with audio, video or photo attachments) or buy short codes, which are words and numbers customers can use to respond to you. In comparison, an app can be a significant financial investment for your company. Whether you’re building one from the ground up or a using a third-party, the process takes weeks or even months of design and testing time.
- Easy sign-up. To subscribe to a business text list requires only one opt-in, where you inform the company that you want to start receiving their messages. Push notifications, on the other hand, require installing the app, customizing it to sign up for apps, and sometimes adding other security steps such as an authentication passcode.
- Universal compatibility. Texting works worldwide, or at least anywhere you can access a mobile network. Apps may have certain restrictions or areas where notifications may not work.
Overall, app notifications make it easy to connect to mobile users. But in terms of person-to-person communication, texting still remains champion.
Joe Butler writes about personal finances and the modern retail experience. He loves the idea of mobile coupons, since he frequently forgets the paper ones at home.
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