The advice industry is vast. Personal counseling, finance, fitness, astrology, coaching -name a niche and there is sure to be an instructor or specialist that offers keen advice. Its transition online was immediate.
For every expert emailing newsletters or personal advice, though, there is also numerous websites offering generic advice for free. While convenient, however, web content also lacks the personalization of actual dialogue. Even more dramatically, it also lacks the interpersonal ooomph of, y’know, interaction in a shared space…or at least did.
Digital Correspondence and Emotional Impact
People who grew up using computers and SMS are now in their 20s and 30s. What may have felt distant for older generations is more habituated in younger ones. Appropriate or not, SMSs carry significant news everyday -thank yous, breakups, deaths, you name it. People even feel anxiety over the text bubble that pops up in iPhone-to-iPhone or Android-to-Android communication.
Critics may say we are overly attached to our phones. However, they are the portals for a lot of memories. More significantly, SMS and other written correspondence is more open to interpretation. Recipients fill the blanks in their head -tone, delivery, etc.
The deepening emotional impact of SMS is also making new services viable.
Outreach and Personal Services via SMS
Shine is, yes, the shining example of SMS’s growing emotional impact. A startup that sends uplifting messages via SMS or Facebook chat, Shine has a burgeoning subscriber list. Its messages help people through the day, offering perspective and helping to shape outlook. Most interestingly, they are automated -there is no person on the other end directly communicating with the subscriber. That it is, until recently.
Enter Shinevisor, Shine’s premium service. This tier connects subscribers with actual life coaches…via SMS. Coaches offer on-demand input to their specific clients. The service is also dramatically more affordable than regular coaches.
Now the question a lot of people must be asking: does the service provides any identifiable edge? Who knows. What is relevant, though, is that an exclusive service is becoming democratized. This should particularly interest researchers. Soon it may become evident if information or presence is more conducive to results. If SMS life coaching offers similar benefits as regular options then it demonstrates a few things. Most importantly, that SMS has more emotional sway among younger generations.
What Marketers Can Maybe Leverage
So phone correspondence may evoke strong emotions…and? The major takeaway is twofold:
- Mobile channels can/may become more significant over time
- New demand for services may develop
The potential for apps is numerous. Coaching, therapy, education, humor -the list goes on and on. Of course, such on-demand services may also have different levels of efficacy. Professionals may eventually challenge the benefits of SMS or app-based services. Nonetheless, what matters is that the demand may be there.
In the meantime, though, marketers should experiment, experiment, experiment. SMS spam is hardly effective. Perhaps, though, that is because of its usual approach and style. Would there be more conversion if said SMS was friendly and helpful? Maybe.
Pic courtesy of David Holt via Creative Commons