How SMS Powers a Better Multi-Channel Customer Engagement Strategy

Danny Ackerman ,


In a recent poll, marketers said that one of the key reasons they’re hesitant to use SMS is fear of over-messaging customers. We agree: pinging your customers too often is a terrible, no good, very bad way to earn trust, loyalty and drive long-term value.

What’s keeping you from improving your marketing strategy with SMS?

That’s why we’ve created smart ways to orchestrate messaging across all your customer engagement channels, so you can use the best mix of channels for messaging, instead of blasting customers on every channel every time.

Here are three SMS combinations you can use to create deeper connections with customers and better integrate text messaging into your overall customer engagement strategy. For more examples, check out our SMS Playbook—download today!

SMS + Mobile Wallet

SMS and mobile wallet are the only two channels that allow you to directly communicate with users on mobile without an app — using them together creates a power combo for maximum engagement.

Reward your loyal customers by sending a text message with a link to download a loyalty card or coupon for their mobile wallet. For crucial and time-sensitive items like tickets and boarding passes, SMS delivers what they need — without depending on a wifi connection or an app. 

See what the power combo could look like in our SMS Playbook.  

SMS + Email

Using email, a popular user-preferred channel, and SMS, a channel with high engagement, together gives you the best of both worlds.

Identify your most loyal customers by using email to promote text messaging communication. This is a great cost-effective strategy; by using email, a less expensive channel, to broadly reach users and bring your more active and loyal users into SMS, you’ll be making sure your text messages are going to those who have a higher chance of engagement, getting your money’s worth in both channels!

Make sure to quickly show your opt-in users how valuable this channel is by providing them a personalized coupon via SMS, based off of a purchase they’ve already made. That kind of personalization will increase the chance of them becoming long-term loyal customers. 

To see examples, download the SMS Playbook here.  

SMS + In-App Messaging:

So, your customer downloaded your app. Awesome! In-app messaging is a great way to send personalized and localized messages to your customers in the exact moment they’re most engaged with your brand. By leveraging in-app messages to encourage them to sign up for text messages, you’ll help ensure that you have a way to connect with them — even if they become inactive on the app — or even delete it.

A great SMS marketing strategy opens up a world of possibilities for creating better, deeper and more valuable connections with your customers, and you can implement all of these strategies, and more, on our Digital Growth Platform.

Get more inspiration in our SMS Playbook.  

Is your brand maximizing the opportunity from SMS? Download the SMS Playbook for more use cases, tips, and best practices.

SMS: Top Ten FAQs (And Answers)

Alyssa Meritt, Jonathan RuedaUrban Airship


SMS can be a tricky marketing channel to navigate, but the possible rewards make it a channel marketers just can’t afford to ignore. As one of the few mobile messaging channels that doesn’t require an app, SMS has the advantage of great reach opportunities. Not only that, SMS has open and read rates that are enticingly high.

With compliance and engagement measures on their minds, marketers have questions on how to get the most ROI from SMS. Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers!) on SMS to help make the most strategic decisions in utilizing this channel for your marketing stack.

1) What are average open and read rates for SMS?

SMS has incomparable open and read rates: A 98% open rate and a 90% read rate within the first three minutes. It is because of these numbers that make SMS a crucial marketing tool.

2) What is the difference between text messages and push notifications?

Push notifications are sent through an app to users who have your app, and have opted in to receive notifications. For SMS, an app is not needed. That also means that far more people can receive SMS notifications — not all smartphones can download specific apps, but the vast majority of smartphones can receive texts.

To learn more about SMS and how many people it is capable of reaching, check out our “Getting More ROI from SMS” Webinar Recap

3) Do compliance requirements make SMS difficult to manage?

It is a highly regulated channel, but with the right partners and guardrails in place, brands can be very effective in using this channel within the regulatory requirements. It’s important to work with your internal legal and compliance teams to make sure your SMS opt-in process is compliant. We are more than happy to provide information to or talk with your legal and compliance teams about Urban Airship’s SMS solution.”

4) How long does it take to get up and running with SMS?

It varies. Generally, it takes three to four weeks to get set up with a long code, and it takes an average of about eight to twelve weeks to send out the first campaign.

5) What is the difference between a long code and a short code?

A long code is a standard phone number that is ten digits long. Although it is longer, there are benefits, such as a shorter time to market, that can make this code ideal for the right use cases.

Short codes are also phone numbers, but only five to six digits long. These are better suited for marketing messages and can also be customized, a vanity short code, for the brand.

6) Can I personalize SMS messages?

Absolutely, and marketers should customize text messages to better get their point across. With Urban Airship, you can customize the audience, send time, and frequency as you would any other supported channel, using audience selectors.  Create truly personalized campaigns by uploading audience lists and leveraging merge tags to pass along customer data into your message.

7) Should SMS be connected to other marketing channels?

Yes! Many marketers still treat SMS as an entirely separate channel. But to get the most out of it, SMS needs to be coordinated seamlessly with other engagement channels.

Urban Airship’s Intelligent Orchestration can not only connect SMS to the other channels but also give marketers the option to set it as a Priority Channel (use SMS instead of other channels) or use it as a fallback channel. Coordinating SMS with email, push notifications, and mobile wallet passes can increase the reach and effective of any campaign or promotion.

8) Are very many brands using SMS?

Given the effectiveness of this channel, it’s surprising that 61% of marketershaven’t tapped into SMS as a marketing channel — yet. But there are many influential brands who are successfully using SMS as part of their marketing strategy.

For example, Abercrombie is using SMS as part of their holiday campaigns to reach customers who don’t have their app. Express and Subway use SMS to increase in-store traffic by sharing coupons through text. These are just some of the ways brands are strategically using SMS.  

9) What are the advantages of using SMS over Facebook Messenger or other message apps?

SMS allows marketers to use an “owned” direct channel to reach users, rather than relying on a third-party app. For each Like SMS, messaging through Facebook or WhatsApp comes with a cost, but it also means they own your relationship with the consumer.

10) What is the best way to use SMS?

There are many ways to use SMS to fill some crucial needs in a marketing stack — particularly if you don’t have an app, or if your app isn’t working as well as you wish it were as a direct messaging channel. It’s also a great channel for immediacy (to deliver important, time-sensitive notification), to increase reach (especially for those app-less consumers), and to foster loyalty (texts can make the relationship between brands and consumers personal). Urban Airship’s SMS strategists can help your band find the best way to get the most ROI from SMS.

To learn more about SMS, watch our “Getting More ROI from SMS” webinar or read the highlights in the recap blog post.

6 Reasons Retailers Need Mobile Wallet

Source:  Jessica Poundstone 

Mobile wallet usage continues to grow – along with consumer expectations about what retailers will offer in the mobile wallet: especially coupons and loyalty cards. The mobile wallet also offers an additional way to connect with your users on mobile.


Here are six ways retailers can make mobile wallet a win-win:

1) Easily Send Personalized Coupons

With just one tap on a URL — which retailers can send through a social media post, email, SMS or other channels — your users can download a coupon directly onto their smartphones. Your coupon will be stored right there in their Apple Wallet or Android Pay app — it’s really just that simple. Using coupons in mobile wallet also has three incredibly unique key benefits: update offers on the pass anytime; send notifications with expiration reminders, and trigger coupon reminders with geolocation triggers.

2) Keep Offers Up to Date

Up to 85% of installed wallet passes are kept on devices and never deleted. This presents a huge ongoing opportunity for retailers to reconnect with customers. Your team can dynamically update the offer on passes — and send notifications with teasers or an alert to the availability of a new offer.

3) Make Loyalty Programs More Convenient & Valuable

Make it easy for customers to pull up their loyalty card at the point of sale — and quickly access and monitor their loyalty rewards. Rewards points can be tracked on the pass itself — and the mobile wallet pass can send notifications to let users know when they have new rewards available.


4) Exclusive Offers Build Deeper Connections With Your Best Customers

Got a big annual sale or VIP-exclusive events? Send members of your loyalty program early or exclusive access right on their loyalty card. Create a customized strip image with your latest promotion, such as “VIP Members: Pre-sale event going on now” to drive traffic in-store or online. Link to your website on the back of the pass to take your customers to the desired destination.

5) Give More With Mobile Wallet Gift Cards

Instead of sending a code that can get buried in an email inbox, send a gift card wallet pass. Configure your pass with fields that can be updated to reflect a customer’s current point/dollar balance and then expire the pass once the amount has been fully used. Pair the pass with a location to remind your users to use their gift card when they are near a store location.

6) Drive More In-Store Traffic

Use mobile wallet to increase awareness and drive excitement for your in-store event or seasonal sale. Use it to grant special entry for your guests or customers. Create a countdown timer in a field of the pass and update it as the date approaches. Build the anticipation by sending a change notification as the event draws closer.

Mobile Wallet = Ongoing Engagement Channel

Mobile wallet marketing complements your existing digital marketing strategy, and creates an even bigger footprint on your customers’ mobile phone, and delivers magical experiences your customers are asking for.

A whole new world of possibilities for mobile wallet marketing is now open to you. Make the move:

Mobile Loyalty Cards to Double Use Over Next Five Years

Mobile Loyalty Cards to Double Use Over Next Five Years *

Adoption of mobile loyalty cards is set to accelerate over the next five years, with more than 3bn loyalty cards operating as either mobile-only or integrated into mobile apps by 2020, up from 1.4bn last year.

According to a new study by Juniper Research, brands and retailers are increasingly responding to consumer demand for mobile integration, with many now offering customers the opportunity to store loyalty cards within a dedicated digital wallet.

Increased adoption of mobile loyalty and digital wallet functions will greatly improve targeting and personalisation capabilities for brands that make use of them, leading to greater activity rates among consumers, improved understanding of shopping patterns and resolving a key failing of traditional loyalty schemes where the lack of relevant offers has resulted in downturns in usage.

However, there is still widespread variation in how retailers and other reward card providers have integrated mobile loyalty into their offerings, and how well they have promoted the capability to existing users. While 40 per cent of Nectar Card holders have downloaded its loyalty app, less than four per cent of Tesco Clubcard users have done so.

“These disparities are likely to result from a number of factors,” said Dr Windsor Holden, author of the research. “While in part they may reflect the level of satisfaction with the app and/or the features it offers, they may also be attributable to a greater degree – or greater success – of retailer marketing of their digital loyalty options.”

* Source:


Britons are the biggest mobile shoppers in Europe



Shopping on mobile devices is set to increase by 584% this year from just £0.7bn in 2010

•         Shopping on mobile devices is set to increase by 53% in the next 12 months hitting £4.5bn, making Brits the biggest mobile shoppers in Europe for the third year running followed by Germany (£2.7bn) and France (£1.9bn).

•         Last year, almost half (46%) of mobile users in the UK owned a smartphone which led to shoppers spending a total of £3bn on mobile devices (£192 each on average), representing 8% of total online spend[1]

•         There are an estimated 24.6 million smartphones currently in the UK – up from virtually zero in 2005

A new report commissioned by Kelkoo and carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, see here, provides the first available estimates of mobile shopping sales in 2011 across 13 European countries and includes mobile retail forecasts for 2012. The report reveals that, for the third year running, consumers in the UK are predicted to be the biggest mobile shoppers in Europe in 2012 and are expected to spend £4.5bn using mobile devices. This has increased from just £0.7bn in 2010, accelerated growth of 584% in just two years.

With total UK online sales set to increase by 14% in 2012 and smartphone usage at a record high, shopping using mobile devices will become an increasingly important part of retail sales, set to represent 8% of all online retail spending in the UK this year.
The UK is also expected to top this year’s European league for the highest proportion of all online spending using a mobile at 7.9%. Conversely, those in Poland (4.1%), France (4.6%) Denmark (5%) and Italy (5.3%) are expected to spend the lowest proportion of their online budget on their mobiles.
UK mobile retail growth to date

With 38% of all mobile users across Europe owning a smartphone – totalling 122.8 million phones in 2011 – the prevalence of mobile retail in Europe is expected to increase. In fact, the UK tops the European table again for smartphone ownership with 46% of mobile phone users owning a smartphone, accounting for 24.6 million phones in the UK.

When we look at spending per person, the UK also comes out on top – spending the most through their mobile devices in 2011 at £192 each. Despite having the third lowest overall mobile spend in 2011, those in Norway actually spent the second highest amount via a mobile device per person at £160, quickly followed by those in Sweden (£147). All of these countries are higher than the European average of £99. Comparatively, those in Italy (£23), Spain (£43) and Poland (£45) spent the least [1].

Chris Simpson, CMO Kelkoo, comments: “Over the last two years, shopping on mobile phones has increased exponentially as a result of simple and secure payment systems, better functionality and increased uptake of ‘always on’ mobile devices such as iPads and tablets. The fact that mobile retailing in the UK has grown by a staggering 584% since 2010 alone highlights how UK consumers are going beyond the PC to find the best online prices wherever they are. At Kelkoo we’ve seen phenomenal growth in mobile shopping comparisons and we’ll be working with our retailers to make the mobile shopping experience as easy as possible from comparison to purchase.”

“You don´t need a creditcard to pay – only your mobile!” Our ProSMS platform now with new Payment API.

Today, Friday 9th September 2016 we have updated our ProSMS platform and also added our new Payment API.

That means we can now offer merchants Payment Services from Strex for both SMS Payment and Direct Payment.

SMS Payment Service (also known as Premium SMS/PSMS) has been been available for many years and this payment method  is available for all buyers via their mobile phone, whether it is a new smartphone or an old “NOKIA”.
Just SMS a “keyword” to a 4-digit short code and pay for the service or goods.

Direct Payment is even more simple, type in your mobile number on a web page, Click the “Buy” button and that´s it.
This service can also be implemented in your App as one of the available payment methods.
Some examples are the “EasyPark App”, VG+,, #Ruter and Fortum.

For more information call us on +47 69 00 67 00 or send an email to:


ProSMS – SMS platform for professionals

You can now take advantage of our new SMS platform for sending out SMS to you customers, Partners and other stakeholders. You can also easily create MobileCoupons and send out a link in a SMS for downloading it to your smartphone Wallet.  We also offer 2-way SMS solutions on both short codes (4-digit) in Norway and longnumbers (VirtualMobileNumbers) in 34 countries.
From September we will also have SMS Payment Services available from the ProSMS platform.
Open your own account for FREE and test the SMS Bulk service today! (for norwegian companies) and for companies in all other countries.

Mobile Purchase Behavior (Awareness)

In the overview of this series we discussed at a very high level how a mobile marketing strategy can assist a consumer down the path to purchasing your product or service over your competitors. Here is a quick recap:

  • Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to assist them in the consumer buying process.
  • There are 6 stages in the consumer buying decision flow:
    1. Awareness: The recognition of a need, this is really an analysis of maslow’s hierarchy of needs in combination with marketing efforts.
    2. Consideration: The creation of an evoked set of alternatives. This is a mental short-list that the consumer creates based on internal and external influences.
    3. Preference: Based on the criteria that is most important to the consumer he/she will narrow down the list to a preferred brand.
    4. Purchase: This is where the consumer will actually buy a product or service
    5. Loyalty: After the purchase the buyer will enter into stages of post-purchase evaluation where they will re-evaluate the purchase they just made and file the experience away (in their minds) for future reference
  • A complete mobile marketing strategy can assist in every stage of flow because of the proximity to a mobile device for the consumer and the marketing efforts a brand undertakes.
In this post we will dive a little deeper into the Awareness stage.
The Awareness stage is when a consumer recognizes that they are missing something that they want or need.
There are a lot of factors that influence this realization:
  • Self-expression – Reflection of personal tastes
  • Affiliation – Be a part of a group
  • Independence – Stand out from the crowd
  • Novelty – Be Awesome

How does this tie into a mobile marketing strategy?

When designing your mobile marketing strategy you need to consider QR codes as your first line of communication with your buyers. QR codes or Quick Response codes allow you to engage with a consumer in a specific and measurable manner.
Specific – QR codes can be placed anywhere and can have built-in context or some text around it to give it context. The power of the QR code is that it allows you to understand and track the intention of a buyer. So when they are in the Awareness stage you can grab their attention at the right time and place.

Measurable – If implemented correctly QR codes can help you track a lot of valuable data about your consumers. Things that can be tracked are:

  • Number of QR scans
  • Geo-location
  • Date
  • Type of mobile device (brand)
  • Mobile operating system (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc)
  • Other Custom Events that help track campaign performance
By reaching consumers at the Awareness stage through the use of QR codes brands have the unique ability to understand who, what and where they need to engage consumer so they will spend more money and always have that brand on top of mind.


How to build a massively successful mobile web site

HTML5 is considered by many the future of mobile web design. It has been heralded as the mobile web’s saviour by more than a few bloggers and fortune 50 companies (Silicon Angel, Mashable and Apple).

Leveraging a post from a fellow mobile web app advocate (Pinch/Zoom) I am going to quickly walkthrough what it takes to build out the correct infrastructure for a massively successful mobile web app. This is not meant to be a technical discussion but more of a commentary on the key point made in the original blog post.

Device Detection

The core to device detection lives within a file that outlines all the different user agents (mobile software provider). Your user agent script needs to always be updated to reflect the changing market conditions, especially now thatGoogle has purchased Motorola.

Offline Browsing

15% of all mobile browsing is done offline so it is important to think about how the data is cached on the phone and how many levels deep someone can browse. By having a offline mobile data strategy you can guarantee that your users’ experience is optimal even when data connectivity is lost.

Interactions and Transitions

Javascript and CSS are the main building blocks to a solid user experience. With tools like jQTouch, Sencha Touchor jQuery Mobile making mobile sites look and interact beautifully is easy. However, these libraries are just a base to build off of, the first step is to identify the your mobile business objectives. After you have identified your business objectives you can pick and choose the components that support those objectives, giving the customer what they want, when they want it.


When considering your mobile marketing strategy you should consider:

  • Device Compatibility – Native apps only work on 1 device type, mobile web apps work on all devices
  • First identify business objectives, then build interactions to fulfill those goals
  • Have a offline mobile data strategy to ensure your visitors experience is consistent whether they have connectivity or not.
  • Consider the options. Without proper planning any technology project can be expensive, especially a mobile one. By focusing on what your customers need you can optimize your marketing and technology dollars in the most efficient maner.