With many businesses adopting text message marketing, you might be wondering if you should, too. Here's a list of the pros and cons of SMS marketing to help you make up your mind.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: Why would you listen to me on the subject of the pros and cons of SMS marketing? I work for a business texting company, obviously I’m biased.
Okay, yes. But I’ve also done hours of research on why business owners love SMS marketing (and why some don’t).
The fact is, SMS isn’t going anywhere. We recently wrote about why SMS marketing is not only still relevant, but a major marketing trend.
Between the declining performance and rising costs of other popular digital marketing channels, SMS is experiencing a significant resurgence.
In 2022, 55% of businesses used text message marketing with their customers, showing a 27% year-over-growth in SMS adoption.
With so many businesses planning to try out text message marketing, you might be wondering if it’s right for you.
To help you get a handle on whether to invest your time—and budget—in texting, I’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of SMS marketing.
Before I delve into the specific pros and cons of SMS marketing, here’s a quick snapshot of some of the most common SMS marketing service use cases.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Businesses of all industries and sizes use SMS marketing to achieve different objectives.
For example, SwimOutlet used texting as a sales channel to send promotions to customers. This year it also began to use text messages to deliver audio and video messages from Olympic athletes such as Ryan Murphy, a three-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming.
Now that we’ve gone over the uses of SMS marketing, let’s cover the reasons why 73% of business owners plan on increasing their SMS budget.
The advantages of SMS marketing:
Here are a few pros of SMS marketing:
Studies show that the conversion rates of SMS campaigns can be as high as 45%. (That represents the top end of the spectrum.)
When we take the average across different SimpleTexting customers and third-party studies, we see that the conversion rate hovers around 29%.
Compare this to the average conversion rate for other digital marketing channels:
One of the significant advantages of SMS marketing campaigns is that they drive conversions. It’s why Toroe Eyewear generated a 156x return on its SMS messaging.
“We set up the widget, created a 10% discount for subscribers, and the code has generated an extra $7,028.01 in store revenue within 30 days. That’s 156x return on the cost of sending the texts–we recommend it!” –Walter Castillo
Beyond sky-high conversion rates, people open, read, and respond to texts quickly. You may have heard before that the open rate of text messages is 98%.
But it’s not that people eventually open their texts, 90% of people read a text message within the first three minutes of receiving it.
When you combine those numbers, you have the perfect channel for flash sales or time-sensitive offers. It’s why the Barn Bowl & Bistro uses text marketing to respond to downtimes and immediately bring in customers.
SMS marketing is a very affordable channel. That comes as a surprise to most marketers, who expect the cost of sending texts to be prohibitive.
If your store’s average order value is $10 and you send a text blast to 500 contacts, you’ll generate $1,450 in revenue. That’s a 5,000% ROI.
SMS is a channel that people use to communicate with close friends and families. When your business gains access to someone’s inbox, it takes up the same real estate. Right off the bat, it’s a personal channel.
You can take it a step further by incorporating personalization into your text marketing strategy. If you’re wondering why you should care, 72% of consumers say they’ll only engage with marketing messages if those messages are tailored to their specific interests.
We wrote a step-by-step guide to tracking revenue from SMS campaigns. Most SMS marketing platforms offer some level of reporting, and SimpleTexting provides a user-friendly dashboard that makes it easy to see how your campaigns are performing.
You can also track the click-through rate of your campaigns using our link shortener.
In a book called Blue Ocean Strategy, Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne came up with the term “blue ocean” to describe markets that represent ample opportunity for growth.
While the authors weren’t talking about marketing channels, the concept can be co-opted nicely for thinking about how to invest your marketing budget.
Customer acquisition costs for channels like paid social are on the rise, which is one of the reasons texting is growing in popularity.
The fact is, brands are searching for new places to talk to customers. Specifically, they’re looking for places where customers aren’t yet sick of hearing from them. SMS marketing is the answer.
Channel preference studies show that customers want businesses to text them. That demand plus the ease of use makes it a winning combination.
We wrote about this advantage in an article on why text message marketing is so effective. The TL;DR is that since people subscribe to receive your texts, your message is guaranteed to reach an audience genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
It goes a long way to explain the high level of engagement and conversion rates businesses see when they send texts.
You may have heard that your customers find text messages invasive. We’ve found that this can be easily mitigated by following a few straightforward best practices for SMS marketing.
However, this isn’t to say that text message marketing is perfect. Like any form of communication, it has its downsides.
Disadvantages of SMS Marketing:
Here are a few cons of SMS marketing:
It’s a multi-channel marketing jungle out there.
Inspirational Instagram posts—tick. Facebook recommendations—tick. Trending TikToks—tick. Emails—tick.
Throwing a new channel into the mix can pose a challenge to business owners and marketers already wearing a lot of different hats.
Luckily we have a series of step-by-step videos and help center articles to help you get the hang of things quickly. Our support team is also at the ready seven days a week to answer any questions.
With text marketing, you need people to text. It sounds obvious when you put it like that, but it’s something that businesses overlook when considering SMS as a new channel.
The good news is that we offer tons of different ways to grow your SMS subscriber list. Here are a couple of the fastest ways to grow a list:
When visitors click on a trigger button, it opens a pop-up with more information on your text marketing program. When they click the button within the pop-up, their native text app opens with the keyword and number prefilled. All they have to do is hit send.
There are very few—if any—marketing channels you can set and forget. Even marketing automation tools require constant monitoring and tweaking to ensure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
To be an effective SMS marketer, you need to collect phone numbers from your target audience. Then you need to keep these contacts interested with different calls to action (CTAs). Sending the same 160-character promotional message or coupon every two weeks is a surefire way to make your contact unsubscribe.
It’s why we constantly post articles on our Navigating SMS blog. We want to provide all the tips and inspiration you need to send fresh campaigns.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creative SMS marketing, here are seven unique SMS marketing examples to inspire your next campaign.
No marketing channel is free from cons.
However, as you can see from the above, the pros of SMS marketing outweigh the cons. If you’re still not sold, you can always try out text marketing for two weeks at absolutely no cost. We don’t even ask for your credit card.
If you have questions about the pros and cons of SMS marketing, our team of experts would love to answer them. We’re available 7 days a week. Text or call us at (866) 450-4185 or use the chat at the bottom of your screen.
This piece was originally published June 17, 2020. It was refreshed and repurposed May 30, 2023. Drew Wilkinson originally authored this piece.