With all the options out there, it can be hard to know which channels you should use to reach your customers, drive sales, or even increase customer engagement.

You have email marketing, social media marketing, chat apps, and many other forms of marketing.

But in this blog post, we will focus primarily on SMS marketing.

SMS marketing is a great way to reach your customers. It's fast, effective, and can be used to send anything from coupons to appointment reminders. But is it right for your business?

I will highlight 12 pros and cons of SMS marketing so you can decide for yourself.

Introduction to SMS marketing

SMS marketing is a type of mobile marketing that involves sending promotional or informational messages to customers via SMS (short message service), also known as text messaging.

It can be a powerful tool for businesses and organizations of all sizes, as it allows them to reach a large audience quickly and easily.

You have probably noticed that we are all glued to our phones. That means when you get an SMS message (even from a business), you are more likely to read and act on it immediately.

However, SMS marketing is not suitable for every business or situation. To determine if it is right for your business, we need to look at both the advantages and disadvantages of this type of marketing.

So let’s dive in!

Business owner holding phone

Advantages of SMS marketing

Now that we've covered the quick introduction, let's look at some of the pros of SMS marketing.

There are several advantages to using SMS marketing as part of your business's marketing strategy:

  1. High open and conversion rates
  2. Targeted messaging
  3. Cost-effective and high ROI
  4. Easy to track and measure
  5. Personalization
  6. Immediate delivery
  7. Wide reach
  8. Reliability
  9. Ability to include call-to-action
  10. Versatility
  11. Improved customer relationships
  12. Easy to use

1. High open and conversion rates

SMS messages have high open rates and response rates. According to Gartner, an average open rate for an SMS is as high as 98%, while an email has only 20%. And when people read them, they are more likely to turn your recipients into customers as SMS messages have conversion rate as high as 45% while emails only 6%.

That makes SMS marketing an effective way to get your message in front of a large audience quickly and efficiently - and get more sales from your marketing efforts!

For example, let's say that you are a clothing store. If someone receives a text message from you with a discount code, they are more likely to use the discount code than if they receive it in an email. They might even forward the message to their friends and family!

2. Targeted messaging

People do not like to be spammed. They are much more likely to respond to a message positively if they know it is coming from a legitimate source.

SMS marketing allows you to target specific groups of customers based on their preferences, location, and other factors. That means you can send personalized and relevant messages to people who are more interested in your products or services.

Let’s assume that you have an e-commerce store that sells musical instruments. If you want to send a text message marketing campaign about new pianos, make sure you are reaching customers who are interested in pianos, not guitars.

3. Cost-effective and high ROI

Looking for a cheaper way to reach your customers? SMS marketing can be more cost-effective than other forms of marketing. Especially when you consider the high open and read rates.

If you run a small business, this is enormous benefit. You can afford to keep up with your competition in the digital world without having to spend all of your budget on advertising.

For example, if you were to send a text campaign to 1000 people, let’s say in the UK, you would pay approximately 23 euros (see our price list to get an idea). Even better than its low cost, SMS marketing has a staggering return on investment (ROI). Companies typically see a 10x to 20x return on their SMS marketing investment.

So if you want to get a lot of bang for your buck, SMS marketing may be right for you.

4. Easy to track and measure

If you're looking for a marketing strategy that is simple and effective, SMS marketing is for you. It is one of the most direct ways to reach your audience, and with the right campaign in place, it is easy to see the results of your efforts.

SMS marketing platforms typically provide detailed analytics and reporting. That allows you to track the success of your campaigns and make any necessary adjustments to them if needed based on data-driven decisions.

5. Personalization

What's the best way to get your customers to open up and engage with your business?

Personalize your message.

SMS marketing allows you to do this since you can send personalized messages to customers or groups of customers. You can make sure you are reaching out at the right time, using their name or language that resonates with each customer and delivering offers and information that are relevant to their interests.

That can help increase the relevance and effectiveness of your messages.

Sending every potential customer the type of information they want to receive - whether it is a coupon code, a special offer, or a reminder - can help you build stronger relationships with your customers and increase your sales.

6. Immediate delivery

What is better than delivering a message right away?

SMS marketing is fast and enables you to reach your customers or audience almost immediately.

That is useful when you need to send your customers time-sensitive messages to customers, such as reminders or updates about appointments and events, or even sending them urgent notifications or OTPs.

This channel also works well for businesses that need to deliver essential information to their customers right away, so no one misses out on the info.

For example, if you are running a sale and want to let your customers know, you can use SMS marketing to send them a text message with the details of the sale as soon as it starts, or urge them to taking action before the sale is over.

7. Wide reach

What's the best way to reach your customers?

If you're like most companies, you might think that it's email marketing. After all, email is so easy to use, and it's been around for ages—what could be better?

According to estimates, there are 7.3 billion mobile phones in the world. That's almost as many people as there are people.

So if you are trying to expand your reach, SMS marketing might be the answer.

It can reach a wide range of people. It doesn't matter what age or gender you are or even where you live—you can send an SMS message to anyone with a mobile phone anywhere in the world.

8. Reliability

One of the biggest benefits of SMS marketing is that it is reliable - it has high open rates, fast delivery, and broad reach. Companies can also expect high levels of engagement with their SMS marketing campaigns, as I've previously covered.

But in this section, I will focus primarily on SMS marketing delivery rates as one of the main points.

If you've ever used email marketing, you know how easy it is for your messages to get caught in a spam filter or even disappear into the ether. But with SMS marketing, you can rest assured that the vast majority of your message will be delivered directly to your customers' phones.

The delivery rate is so high because the SMS messages are delivered directly to the mobile carrier's network and then onto the recipient's phone. They are much less likely to be affected by problems such as power outages or network overload that can affect the delivery rate of other messaging channels.

So by using SMS marketing, businesses can be confident that their messages are reaching the intended audience, increasing the chances of conversions and customer engagement.

9. Ability to include call-to-action

Another benefit of SMS marketing and its text messages is that it encourages people to take action. Your SMS messages can include calls-to-action, such as links to websites or phone numbers, which can help drive conversions and sales.

For example, you can send the message "Text DISCOUNT to {phone number} to receive a special offer on our products!” to your customers. Or you can ask them to reply with their email address in order to be added to your email list.

Or you could send the message with an offer such as “Get 50% OFF on your order today! Click here to find out more: [insert short link]” - see the benefits of URL shortener.

Remember that since SMS messages have a limited character count, it is crucial to keep your CTA short and to the point.

10. Versatility

SMS marketing is very versatile - you can send texts with just about anything!

That means you can use them as:

  • reminders for appointments or events notifications,
  • send them out during sales events and also as promotional offers,
  • send them out after someone signs up for your mailing list,
  • send them out when someone wins something in one of your contests.

The possibilities are endless!

11. Improved customer relationships

When you send SMS messages to your customers, you reach them personally and directly. You can give them updates and reminders about things they have already purchased from you or let them know about special offers or discounts.

You can also use text messaging to give customers an easy way to contact you for help with a problem or question. That can be an excellent way to increase customer loyalty, because it shows that your company cares about its customers' needs and wants to make sure they feel supported.

It's easy for customers to ignore emails or other types of marketing messages—but not when those messages are delivered directly to their phones!

12. Easy to use

SMS marketing is easy to set up and use, which makes it accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Most SMS marketing platforms have user-friendly interfaces, and offer step-by-step instructions for creating and launching campaigns. That makes it easy for businesses to get started with SMS marketing and quickly begin reaching and engaging with their customers.

In addition, SMS marketing requires minimal technical expertise, which makes it straightforward and low-maintenance marketing channel for businesses.

All you need to do is sign up for an account with a provider like BulkGate, set up your campaign, and start sending text messages to your audience.

Business owner weighing advantages and disadvantages

Disadvantages of SMS marketing

While SMS marketing has many advantages as you can see, it also has some drawbacks that businesses and organizations should consider before implementing this type of marketing.

The cons are:

  1. Character limit
  2. Opt-in requirement
  3. Potential for spamming
  4. Potentially low conversion rates
  5. Limited ability to include media
  6. Potential for high costs
  7. Deliverability issues
  8. Legal restrictions
  9. Limited personalization
  10. Lack of some measurement and analytics
  11. Lack of integration with other channels and systems
  12. Not suitable for every business

1. Character limit

A single SMS message is limited to 160 characters. That can make it difficult for businesses to communicate complex information or call-to-action offers. This limitation can be solved by sending more than one message, but that naturally adds to the cost. The character limit can also limit the ability to be creative with messages.

For example, if you want to tell your customers about a new product or service but don't have enough space to explain all the details, they might not understand what they are being offered or why they should buy it. That can make it harder to generate interest and drive conversions.

2. Opt-in requirement

In many countries, businesses are required to obtain permission from customers before sending them SMS marketing messages.

This means that you can't just send them messages without their opt-in, which is a good thing for your business. But it also means that you will need to invest time and effort into communicating and building the relationship with your customer before they are likely to give you their number.

So this may limit the size of your SMS marketing audience.

3. Potential for spamming

If you do not follow best practices and abuse this powerful tool by sending too many irrelevant or unwanted messages, you risk annoying your customers and being seen as spam.

This can lead to customers opting out of your SMS marketing list, and you could even end up in hot water with regulators and face potential fines. But ultimately, such behavior can damage the reputation of your business.

4. Potentially low conversion rates

While I wrote that SMS messages have high conversion rates, this does not necessarily mean that every single SMS campaign turns into gold.

The good news is that this problem has nothing to do with the technology—it's more about how you use it. We recommend doing some A/B testing to see what works best for your audience. It is essential to craft your SMS marketing campaigns and calls to action to maximize the chances of converting leads into customers.

5. Limited ability to include media

Do you have the kind of product or service that benefits from being able to include media in your marketing? If so, SMS marketing might not be the best option for you.

SMS messages are text-only, which means you cannot include images, videos, or other types of media like with Viber or other chat apps. SMS also doesn't support rich text formatting, which means you won't be able to use bold or italics in your messages.

This shortcoming can however be fixed with the use of short URL in your SMS message, which can take your customers to a webpage where you show them whatever you want.

6. Potential for high costs

While SMS marketing can be cost-effective, it can also become expensive if you send a large number of messages - you usually pay for each SMS, so try not to go over the character limit - or use features such as Unicode unless you need it.

7. Deliverability issues

Although SMS messages have a very high delivery rate, there are still some issues that can cause messages to be undelivered. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as typos in phone numbers, temporary network problems, phones being switched off, recipients having recently changed their phone numbers, or even your customers accidentally or deliberately giving an invalid number.

8. Legal restrictions

In some countries, it is illegal to send an SMS message without the permission of the recipient, so remember, asking customers to opt in is always a good practice.

Businesses must also comply with regulations related to the content of SMS messages. In some countries, you cannot send SMS campaigns promoting gambling or high-risk financial activities and others.

It is also critical to comply with laws that relate to data protection and privacy, such as GDPR, which regulates the collection, storage, and use of personal data.

So, if you want to be successful with SMS marketing as part of your business strategy, it is vital that you must understand how legal restrictions apply to your specific approach and market.

9. Limited personalization

SMS marketing is limited to text, which makes it limiting by nature to personalize content fully. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect.

However, you can still personalize the content, not just by using recipient names, but you can also use certain types of targeting, such as location-based targeting or targeting by demographics or behaviors. But you have to gather additional data about your customers.

10. Lack of some measurement and analytics

While SMS marketing is easy to track and measure, there are some metrics you may be missing.

For example, you won’t find out who read your message. Although, as said previously, SMS messages have notoriously high open rates.

Another metric that is harder but not impossible to obtain is return on investment (ROI). To measure it, you need to know how much you paid for the SMS marketing services and how much it generated on the business side.

Some of the shortcoming can be fixed with the use of URL shortener, as it can provide you with some extra metrics and analytics.

11. Lack of integration with other channels and systems

For some, this may not be an issue whatsoever, as they would like to use SMS marketing as a standalone channel and send messages through some user-friendly interface, and that's it.

Others may find this an issue as they want to use SMS marketing in their app or some system, or integrate it into their complex communication strategy.

Although it is not completely in the nature of SMS marketing, there are some workarounds to make it work. Either some integrations that enable you to send SMS messages from your system or app, or you can connect the SMS gateway and the system/app through SMS APIs.

There are also other solutions, such as Make or Zapier, that enable you to make more complex automatic workflows, and connect many different apps and channels together.

It just requires a little bit of effort.

12. It is not suitable for every business

Although it is the center of this post to find out whether SMS marketing is right for your business, it is crucial to say that it's not right for every type of business.

Take funeral homes, for example. SMS marketing may not be the most appropriate channel here, as the sensitive nature of the products and services, the emotional state of the target market, the local area focus, and the industry's regulations may make it less effective and even inappropriate.

Happy text message conversation between a business and customers

Factors to consider when deciding if SMS marketing is right for your business

Before implementing SMS marketing as part of your business's marketing strategy, it is essential to consider the following factors:

Your target audience

Is your target audience likely to be receptive to SMS marketing? Understanding your audience's SMS habits can help you determine if SMS marketing is the right choice for your business.

Your marketing goals

What do you hope to achieve with SMS marketing? Do you want to drive sales, increase brand awareness, or improve customer relationships? Understanding your goals can help you determine if SMS marketing is the most effective way to achieve them.

Your budget

SMS marketing is cost-effective but can also become expensive if you do it wrong. It is necessary to consider your budget and determine if SMS marketing is a viable option for your business.

Legal considerations

In many countries, there are legal requirements for obtaining permission from customers before sending them SMS marketing messages. It is vital to familiarize yourself with other requirements and ensure you can send your intended content to your audience.

Conclusion and next steps for implementing SMS marketing in your business

In conclusion, SMS marketing can be a powerful tool for businesses and organizations looking to reach and engage their customers in an effective manner.

However, it is essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages of SMS marketing and determine if it is the right choice for your business.

If you decide that SMS marketing is a good fit for your business, here are some next steps to consider:

Define your goals

As we mentioned in the previous subsection, you need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with SMS marketing. That will help you create targeted and effective messages and measure the success of your campaigns.

Build your list

In order to send SMS marketing messages, you will need a list of phone numbers. You can build your list through opt in forms on your website or social media, in-store sign-ups, or other methods. It is important to send messages only to those customers who have given you permission to send them SMS messages.

Choose an SMS marketing platform

There are several SMS marketing platforms available. Each with its own features and pricing. Research and compare different platforms to find the one that best fits your needs and budget.

Create and test your messages

Building effective SMS marketing messages can be challenging due to the limited character count. It is crucial to carefully plan your messaging and test different versions to see which are most effective.

If this blog post helped you find the answer that SMS marketing is suitable for you, then I wish you good luck!