Communicating via email has proven to be one of the most reliable forms of customer engagement for decades. Since the very first email was sent back in the 1970s, the number of people across the globe who now use email has exploded, with just under 90 percent of Americans aged over 15 using email today. However, with roughly 85 percent of Americans also owning a smartphone, it comes as no surprise to hear that it’s becoming more and more common for businesses, especially those in the automotive industry to use SMS to communicate with customers. With email and SMS both hugely popular, we’ve had a look at the pros and cons of using both to send your SnapCell video.
SMS: Send video straight into customer’s hands
Undoubtedly, a huge benefit to sending your SnapCell video via SMS, is that the receiver will instantly receive it.
Ask yourself this, where is your phone now? Perhaps you’re even reading this blog on it? Even if that’s not necessarily the case, we’re confident that your phone will be within a reachable distance from where you’re sitting or standing right now. Our point is, if you choose to send your video via SMS then your message is pretty much guaranteed to land straight into the hands of the customer – and better still, they will be notified of the message. Furthermore, it rarely matters where the customer is in the world, in this day and age, the chances are they will be able to receive an SMS quickly and easily – and opening that message will require little to no effort, even if they’re on holiday across the other side of the globe.
Of course, it can also be argued that since more people are using phone email applications these days, sending your video via email would come with the same benefit, especially as America has one of the highest percentages worldwide – at nearly 63 percent – of people who view emails via their mobile phone.
The difference of course is, it’s difficult for the customer to avoid and ignore an SMS that pops up on their screen – whereas, if you’re relying on email phone applications, you have to assume that the recipient has changed their settings, so they get notified when an email comes through. Ultimately, physically visiting the email app – even though it’s still easy – definitely takes more effort than simply opening an SMS.
Put it this way, SMS messages tend to be opened within 90 seconds, whereas emails are generally looked at after an average of 90 minutes.
If you look specifically at the open rate of SMS vs email, you’ll find that SMS comes out on top – and quite considerably. In fact, 90 percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes, compared to just 20 percent of emails received.
SMS: Customers seem to prefer texting
If you look at recent statistics surrounding American preferences of communication, you’ll soon notice that people seem to prefer texting. Honestly, it’s true – according to a recent survey, more than half of consumers in America would rather text a customer support agent rather than use other available options. Furthermore, approximately 75 percent of people like offers that have been sent via SMS.
SMS: Instant two-way communication
A benefit that comes with sending your SnapCell video via SMS is that your staff can instantly – and easily – hold a two-way conversation with the customer. And, with 78 percent of Americans admitting that they wish they could have a text conversation with a business, it looks like customers see the appeal of this too.
Imagine, the customer is out shopping, watching TV, or even out at a sports game – wherever they are – they can view your SnapCell video, then effortlessly have a conversation with a member of your staff, just as they would if they were physically in your dealership – but thanks to developments in modern technology, you can have this conversation remotely.
SMS: There’s no spam folder
Unlike email, as it stands, phones don’t have an SMS spam folder – which means the chances of your message getting ‘lost’ or unread is pretty slim.
SMS: A more intrusive option
While we’ve been quick to list the multiple benefits of being able to send your SnapCell video directly into a customer’s hands, avoiding potential spam, and being able to instantly hold two-way communication with the shopper, wherever they are in the world – some might argue that all of these factors make SMS messaging the more intrusive option.
The fact that the message is delivered directly to a customer – and the message will pop up on their phone, could be seen as more invasive, or pushy, to some. Some customers might feel a certain pressure when receiving an SMS, that they need to respond there and then. Likewise, a customer receiving an SMS at a time that’s not convenient to them could lead to feelings of irritation – which could have a negative impact on the customer-dealership relationship.
However, it’s definitely worth noting that if you use the SnapCell app, you can give your customers the option to opt-out of SMS communications. The ability to do this will not only allow dealerships to quickly identify which of their customers are serious about buying a car but it also gives shoppers the control to stop communications if they wish.
SMS: You’re assuming the customer has access to a smartphone
We’ve already mentioned that 85 percent of Americans own a smartphone but what about the other 15 percent? Furthermore, of those 85 percent of people who do own a smartphone, how many of those are actually confident to use it – and actually receive and respond to videos?
It’s important that any of your staff who will be using the app are aware of each customer’s preferences, to ensure they are communicating with them effectively and efficiently.
SMS: Character limitations
Remember, sending your video by SMS comes with a character limitation of 160. Unlike emailing – which has an unlimited character count – your staff will need to get extra creative when sending an SMS, to ensure they’re sending the required and relevant information in just 160 characters.
Email: It’s tradition, it’s what’s expected
Put simply, receiving a message from a dealership via email is what’s expected. It’s tradition. Sending an email seems to add a sense of authenticity to your brand, resulting in a stronger relationship between your dealership and the customer – especially considering 61 percent of consumers reveal that they trust email as their preferred method of communication1.
Email: Sharing is easy
A huge advantage that comes with email is that the customer can easily share and forward any information that your dealership is sending over. And while you can, of course, share and forward SMS messages (by copy and pasting) it’s arguably more of a hassle to do this than simply clicking the forward button on an email.
Whether it’s a personalized message from a team member, or a walk-around vehicle video highlighting a hot offer, if the customer wants to, they can simply forward the entire email at the simple click of a button. For your dealership, this means the potential for a higher share rate, resulting in you increasing your audience reach.
Ultimately, word of mouth remains one of the strongest forms of marketing, and customers being able to easily share the emails you’ve sent out, has the potential to bring in new audiences, while boosting your reputation.
Email: More potential to customize
With no character limit, there is a lot more opportunity to customize an email. And while some might argue that the character limit helps to get straight to the point and avoid any waffle, others suggest that it gives dealerships the flexibility to really personalize the message you’re sending out. Plus, it gives you the chance to add as much or as little information as you want, including any additional deals, offers or, action calls.
Email: Less Intrusive
Some might suggest that the fact a customer must physically visit their email inbox, or email phone app, makes sending your SnapCell video via email a less intrusive option.
SMS messages pop up onto the customer’s screen – making them unavoidable to see – and this isn’t necessarily always the case when it comes to receiving an email. In fact, depending on the customer’s settings, they might not even get notified that they’ve received an email – and although this might prove to be a disadvantage for dealerships because their video isn’t being viewed instantly, some customers might actually prefer this method.
With this in mind, this could benefit your business when it comes to boosting your reputation, along with improving the relationship between your dealership and the shopper.
Email: Your message might head straight into the junk folder
A clear disadvantage to sending your video via email is the possibility that your message might end up in the customer’s junk folder. Some people’s email accounts will automatically put emails from unknown senders into their junk folder, which could lead to your message getting lost and the customer actually never viewing it.
SMS and Email: The best of both worlds
Having looked at the pros and cons of your dealership using both SMS and emails to send your SnapCell video, we hope you agree that instead of your business building a strategy around just one of these techniques, you’d be best off utilizing them both.
Email might feel like the safer option, especially if it’s what your dealership is used to but mixing things up and sending SMS too, could really benefit you. From an increase in sales, boosting your reputation, to instant engagement with customers, there are plenty of reasons why you could consider using SMS. Of course, don’t forget just how much of an impact sending an email can have too – and let’s be honest, we know it does the job, so why stop using it?
The trick is, to strengthen your marketing strategy by combining the two and putting your dealership in the driving seat when it comes to customer engagement. At SnapCell, our team of experts is committed to delivering you an ongoing service. This means, supporting each of our customers in getting the most out of the app and using our knowledge of the automotive industry to make sure you are taking full advantage of everything SnapCell has to offer. If you’d like to hear more or schedule in a free demo then contact our team today.