Why SMS Marketing Is the Future of Customer Engagement for Independent Businesses

Why is SMS marketing important? 10 reasons why now is the time to start your SMS marketing program for your business.

I’m willing to bet that if you scroll through your texts, at least a handful of your most recent texts were SMS marketing messages from businesses.

I’m also willing to bet that that wasn’t the case 7 or 8 years ago.

You wouldn’t be the only one, either. 

The entire SMS marketing industry has gotten ever more popular, with the market reaching 6.2% and expected to reach a $31.7 billion valuation in 2023.

Big names like Starbucks, Delta Airlines, and Domino’s are texting nowadays, and if you run a business, you may be wondering if SMS marketing is a worthwhile tool for customer engagement. 

In short, yes, and your customers would say the same.

90% of consumers prefer texting over both calls and emails (but we’ll get into that later).

As someone who has spent the last two years interviewing business owners, researching SMS industry trends, and, yes, texting, I’ll walk you through why SMS marketing should be part of your future.

Your Customers Engage With Text Messages Every Day

There are plenty of benefits to SMS marketing, but let’s look at a few of the most notable.

81.6% of Americans Own a Smartphone

As of 2023, just over 81% of Americans own a smartphone, which means the vast majority of the country is able to get your messages. 

Not only can they receive those messages, they’re almost guaranteed to see them. On average, Americans check their phones 144 times each day which fits into around 3.5 hours of screen time each day on mobile devices.

Translation: Texts put you and your brand squarely in front of your customers using a medium they’re already comfortable with and invested in.

78% of People Say Texting Is the Most Important Thing They Do With Their Phones

I mentioned the abundance of screen time Americans are getting nowadays. That’s a little hard to quantify because it includes time spent browsing and gaming, so let me hammer the point home.

Nearly 80% of people report texting as the primary activity they do on their phones, so you can be sure your audience has eyes on their inboxes.

Not to mention, 95% of texts get read and responded to within three minutes of receiving them. That is very literally an unbeatable amount of engagement among marketing channels.

62% of People Already Subscribe to Receive Texts From Businesses 

Even though I’m here to tell you that SMS marketing is the future of customer engagement, I’ll also point out that we’re seeing it work right now, too.

Currently, more than 62% of people are on business SMS marketing lists by choice, so rest any fears you might have about whether anyone will join your list.

54% of People Want to Receive Messages From Your Business 

On a similar note, in my time working in SMS marketing, I’ve run across a lot of business owners who feel like they might annoy their customers every time they send a text.

The truth is that more than half of consumers want businesses to text them, so as long as you’re steering clear of spammy language and being reasonable about frequency, you’re simply giving your audience what they want.

Okay, so, texting works. But what about those other marketing channels?

Traditional Marketing Channels Are Becoming Less Effective

Email Marketing Engagement Can’t Compare

In 2023, the average email open rate across all industries sits between 17-28%, which is more than a little disappointing when compared to text marketing’s 98% open rates.

Here’s real feedback from a business owner who started using SimpleTexting to text customers:

One of the issues we had is that email deliverability is dropping and customers sometimes don’t even see the message. So we were able to use SimpleTexting to reach out and make sure that these customers actually get the message.


Founder, Eu Natural

Direct Mail Is Experiencing a Resurgence (but It’s Slow and Expensive)

What goes around comes around, and direct mail seems to be coming back around lately. 

You may have seen blogs claiming that direct mail is where it’s at currently, but the fact remains that average response rates to direct mail campaigns are around 2%.

Factor in the time and cost associated with direct mail campaigns as opposed to more instant channels (like SMS) and those results aren’t enough to justify the investment.

Ads Are Intrusive and Unwelcomed

Ads have been the marketer’s bread and butter for decades, but that’s beginning to change. As of 2020, 91% of people find ads intrusive (more so than in the previous few years).

If the demand isn’t there and the response isn’t good when considering a channel to invest in, steer clear. 

SMS Marketing Is Effective and Easy to Start

To recap: Texts in, other marketing channels (mostly) out. But you may still be wondering about SMS marketing’s effectiveness and how difficult it might be to pick up.

Let’s break it down.

SMS Marketing Is Affordable and Cost-Effective

The good news is that an SMS marketing platform (depending on the one you choose) will generally cost less than an average phone plan.

With that cost comes the ability to message hundreds of thousands of customers at once, schedule messages to send automatically, segment your customers for more targeted messaging, grow your subscriber lists, and more. 

You know, all the things you’d probably be willing to pay an assistant to do, in one affordable bundle.

It’s Simple to Start SMS Marketing for Your Business

The other concern I often hear from business owners starting out in SMS marketing goes something like this.

“Well, I keep hearing that it works well, but I’ve only ever used email and ads for marketing. Is it complicated to set up an SMS marketing strategy?”

Not a bit. Just pick an SMS platform with plenty of educational resources and a good customer success team and you’ll pick it up fast (within a day, according to two business owners I spoke with recently).

Don’t believe me? Here’s our short, sweet beginner demo. Check out how easy it is to get up and running.

DTC Businesses Are Experiencing Massive Conversion Rates From SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is easy to pick up and scale in your business, and the results speak for themselves. 

Texts see up to a 45% conversion rate to go with the impressive open and response rates, making them a solid channel either alone or as part of a larger strategy.

SMS Marketing FAQs

Why should I use SMS marketing?

You should use SMS marketing for multiple reasons, but the top 3 are as follows.
  • Consumers want businesses to text them.
  • It gets higher engagement and conversion rates than other marketing channels.
  • It’s simple to set up and cost-effective.
Simply put, SMS marketing gets higher open and response rates than email marketing, meaning businesses get more results for their investment with SMS.
I could go on and on, but the 3 biggest advantages of SMS would be these.
  • You can send and receive messages in seconds.
  • Customers are already on their phones and texting, making them more likely to see and respond to your texts.
  • It takes advantage of the fact that a lot of shopping and communicating takes place on mobile devices these days.