Navigating different communication channels may be overwhelming at first. Figuring out which channel reaches which target audience, where they are most effective, and how to use them can be complex. This guide aims to ease the choice of the most suitable communication channel for your company's communication strategy.
The channels can be categorised into three main types: traditional channels, rich channels, and in-app. Traditional channels include SMS, voice messages, email, and fax. Rich channels encompass RCS as well as all Over-The-Top (OTT) channels. Finally, in-app refers to messages sent within an application, such as an internal message in your banking app. SMS and RCS are standard apps, meaning these channels are built into mobile phones and thus accessible to all mobile users. SMS, being a universal standard, reaches every mobile phone, while OTT channels require app download, potentially creating a barrier to reaching a broad audience.
Now that we have identified these three main categories of channels let's delve into each category to understand their unique features and advantages. By comprehending these differences and similarities, your company can tailor its communication strategy to leverage the most suitable tool for its specific needs and goals.
SMS is a successful channel with an impressive open rate of 98%, and 90% of recipients open and read the message within 3 minutes. These numbers contrast with email statistics, where the open rate is 20%. SMS can be used for various purposes, including notifications, staffing, crisis communication, and more. Through SMS, you can create personalised messages and establish two-way communication with the recipient. It is also possible to schedule SMS broadcasts and use a company name as the sender ID.
Additionally, it's worth highlighting that SMS is the optimal channel for grabbing attention promptly. In a world where we carry our mobile phones with us and check them multiple times a day, SMS is unparalleled in ensuring immediate message visibility. This stands in contrast to emails, which might go unnoticed during meetings or other focused activities.
Let's delve deeper into SMS with links. The text is limited to 160 characters, and reach a substantial global audience. With links, you can guide your customers to a personally tailored landing page. This enables a deeper interaction and provides access to relevant information through a simple click from the recipient. By using graphics carefully customised to your brand, call-to-actions, videos, and other engaging features, you have the opportunity to enhance the brand experience and strengthen communication with your customers. SMS is the most frequently used channel among marketers, standing out as the channel with the highest readability.
SMS also allows the transformation of text messages into voice messages when needed, which is particularly effective in critical situations and when communicating with people with disabilities. Additionally, the integration of voice-to-text technology enhances the versatility of SMS, providing a convenient option for users to dictate messages when typing may not be feasible.
Email is another traditional channel that, unlike SMS, offers greater flexibility in terms of message length. Email broadcasts also enable the inclusion of images, attachments, and multimedia to a greater extent, facilitating more detailed communication. Another advantage of email is its ability to be read on various platforms, such as desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets.
CloudFax has been a longstanding communication channel for businesses for decades, but its popularity has significantly declined with the increasing adoption of modern digital communication methods. In certain industries and regions, there are still legal requirements to use fax for specific types of documentation, especially within healthcare and legal sectors, as well as other authorities. This may be attributed to regulations and authentication requirements. In various fields, including the legal sector, cloud fax provides high security when transmitting confidential documents. A central aspect is the integration of timestamps, which play a key role in compliance and transparency. Notably, CloudFax offers the convenience of sending faxes directly from platforms such as email, showcasing its digital capabilities in contrast to traditional fax machines.
In-app messaging refers to messages occurring within a specific application or platform and are commonly employed by businesses to engage with their users. In-app facilitate personalised and targeted communication directly within the application. This can encompass transactional notifications, promotional messages, or support interactions tailored to user preferences. Additionally, in-app can communicate information such as order confirmations, delivery updates, and other notifications related to user activities within the application. Many businesses integrate in-app messaging with their customer support systems, allowing users to contact customer service and seek assistance without leaving the application.
Next up, we have the RCS channel. With Rich Communication Services (RCS), also known as the new generation of SMS, you can send branded messages with an app-like experience. Using pre-programmed responses enables straightforward two-way communication between you and the customer. This can, for instance, streamline customer service by allowing them to focus on more advanced queries while simpler questions are handled with pre-programmed responses. RCS is in an emerging phase in the market and is currently fully available in several countries, including the USA, France, India, the United Kingdom and Brazil. RCS has recently become available in the Nordics as late as 2023, making it a new and current feature here. RCS is currently only compatible with Android devices, but discussions with Apple for compatibility are ongoing.
RCS is supported by several Swedish mobile operators in the Nordic region. In Sweden, these include TELE2, Telia, and 3. In Norway, it's Telenor and Telia, while in Denmark, it's 3.
Over-The-Top (OTT) Channels refer to applications that users need to download to their mobile phones before use. There is a variety of OTT channels available for implementation. Below, you will find a brief description of each OTT channel.
WhatsApp for Business
WhatsApp Business is a channel designed for those aiming to enhance the customer experience through notifications, marketing, and customer service. WhatsApp has a global reach, spanning over 180 countries, providing a potential connection with over 2 billion users, making it the most comprehensive among all OTT channels. It is predominantly used in South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Explore features such as multimedia, pre-programmed messages, CTA buttons, carousels, and read receipts. Every WhatsApp message is securely sent with end-to-end encryption, ensuring the secure handling of your data.
WhatsApp Business is also part of a suite of tools offered by the Meta corporation, which owns WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram.
Explore the possibilities of Facebook Messenger to engage customers through personalised messages with a deeper content experience. Currently utilised by over 1.3 billion individuals worldwide, Facebook Messenger is particularly popular in North America, Scandinavia, and Oceania. Much like WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger facilitates real-time interactions with customers, fostering engagement and accessibility. The platform also offers call-to-action prompts directly within messages, providing customers with the ability to make choices without leaving the messaging environment.
Currently, Instagram has over 2.4 billion active users worldwide, solidifying its position as one of the leading social media platforms in the market. The channel is ideal for various purposes, including e-commerce, campaigns, customer support, and survey execution. Through Instagram's messaging feature, businesses can engage users in a personalised manner, creating opportunities to transform Instagram users into potential customers.
Viber is a modern multimedia channel primarily prominent in Eastern Europe and parts of Southeast Asia. Monthly, over 100 million users worldwide leverage Viber. The channel has demonstrated effectiveness in areas such as marketing, retail, customer support, and notifications. Viber also offers a security-focused encrypted messaging feature, contributing to securing communication for both you and your customers. With a globally dispersed user base, Viber continues to evolve by introducing innovative features and services, aiming to meet the increased communication and collaboration needs of its users.
KakaoTalk is primarily used in South Korea and boasts over 53 million users. The platform offers a range of unique features, including open chat forums where individuals can network with others. KakaoTalk serves as a go-to channel for businesses seeking to establish their presence and communicate with customers in South Korea. By tailoring their communication to the KakaoTalk platform, companies can forge a stronger connection with their target audience, for instance, by sending pertinent business messages and offers.
Line has more than 178 million active users each month in their main markets of Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Thailand. The platform offers original chat features, including creative stickers. Line is particularly well-suited for e-commerce, campaigns, and customer support.
While SMS is supported globally (universal standard in all mobile phones) the map below highlights the predominant OTT-channel in each region.
Each channel has its unique characteristics and advantages, and the choice of communication strategy should be tailored to your specific business needs and objectives. Ensure a thorough understanding of your target audience, geographical reach, use case (notifications, OTP, marketing messages or customer support etc) and desired interactivity when selecting your optimal channel.
LEKAB provides mobile messaging services, messaging APIs and software for advanced business messaging and process automation. We offer digital tools and solutions to companies that want to optimise how they communicate and interact with customers and employees on the mobile to improve productivity, availability and the customer experience through mobile channels. Do you want to know more or ask us for advice? Contact Us!