What is SMS Marketing? Recommendations, Benefits & Negatives

What is SMS Marketing? Recommendations, Benefits & Negatives

Read Time: 8 Minutes


28 Jul 2023

It’s 2023 and businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to reach and engage with their customers. While social media and email marketing have been popular choices, there is one channel that often gets overlooked: SMS marketing.

In this blog post, we will explore what SMS marketing is and provide you with some benefits and strategies to turn text messages into revenue!


What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing, also known as text message marketing, involves sending promotional or informational messages to customers via their mobile phones.

This direct and immediate form of communication allows businesses to reach their target audience instantly. Unlike most channels such as email or ads, SMS messages come through straight to your customer's mobile phones.


Types of SMS Marketing

One of the great things about SMS marketing is the variation. Not only can you send out your main news to your customers, but you can use a variety of other marketing methods that are a sure way to get customers to order more!

Some of the methods include:

  • Promotions and discounts – Send exclusive discounts to tempt customers to come pack.
  • Product announcements – launched something new? Be sure to tell customers about it.
  • Reminders – did a customer mention they’d like to order something? Be sure to remind them just in case they forgot!
  • Abandoned cart – do you know that a customer added something to their basket but didn’t order? Remind them with an SMS.
  • Surveys – got a question you are dying to ask your customers? Collate a survey by having them respond to your message.
  • Event invitations – hosting an event? Let your audience know about all the details.
  • Order status – customers love to know the progress of their order. Some service providers allow you to work with postal companies to track their orders.
  • Giveaways – everyone loves a freebie. Create the hype with a giveaway.
  • Promote other channels – it’s not all about sales! Increase your social media account following by promoting it via SMS.


Benefits of SMS Marketing

Marketing Channel

Open Rate

Click-Through Rate

Conversion Rate

Response Time

Cost per Engagement

SMS marketing




3 minutes


Email marketing




30 minutes


Social media




2 hours



1. Instant Communication

Unlike other marketing channels that require users to be online or check their emails, SMS messages are delivered directly to their customer's mobile phones. This means they are more visible compared to other marketing strategies, such as email or social media.

According to 99Firms, SMS Marketing comes with an average of 98% open rate. This is huge compared to other platforms such as email marketing (20%) and social media (1%).

This allows businesses to get their message in front of customers when they are most likely to be interested.

Another study by G2 states that 60% of consumers say they read a text within 5 minutes of receiving it. Talk about instant communication!

So, if you are looking for a marketing channel where customers are certain to read their message, SMS is a great option.


2. Personalisation

One other benefit of SMS Marketing is how you can use customers' data to tailor their message based on preferences, behaviour or even where they live.

Some ways you can personalise your message include:

  • Using your customers' names – get a personal connection with your customer.
  • Personalised offers – give only your VIP customers a discount (maybe to celebrate their anniversary or birthday).
  • Order status – keep customers updated on their orders. Not all SMS service providers cater for this, but this can be super useful!
  • Abandoned cart reminder – had a customer add something to their cart but forget to order? Use SMS marketing to remind them!

One final tip, make sure your customer's data is as precise as possible. Getting personal information wrong such as their name, can really give the customers the ick!


3. Increased Customer Engagement

With SMS marketing, you can send personalised messages, promotions, and exclusive offers to your customers, creating a sense of exclusivity and encouraging them to engage with your brand. This means that engagement stats for SMS marketing are high!

According to Luisa Zhou, SMS has a huge click-through rate of 19%! This is considerably high compared to rival marketing channels such as email (2.8%) and social media (0.05%).

Another study by OpenMarket that found that SMS marketing has a conversion rate of 45%, compared to 3% for email marketing and 0.1% for social media.


4. Cost-Effective

SMS Marketing is a better cost-effective alternative to marketing compared to other channels. This means it allows you to reach a large number of customers at a fraction of the cost.

A good comparison of how cost-effective is by comparing SMS marketing with email.

The cost of sending an email message to 10,000 people would vary depending on the email marketing provider you use, but it would likely cost between $500 and $1,000. The cost of sending an SMS message to 10,000 people would be much lower, typically around $200.

This means that SMS marketing is about 2.5 times more cost-effective than email marketing. Additionally, SMS messages are opened much more often than email messages, so you are more likely to get your message seen by your target audience.

So, if you are looking for a way to get your business out there without all the additional costs, we highly recommend you consider SMS marketing.


Negatives of SMS Marketing

1. GDPR Issues

As with all marketing, you need to make sure that you have the correct permissions to send out your SMS message. Otherwise, this can lead to a hefty fine and a customer complaint!

Ensure that you have got the consent of your customer to be able to communicate with them, either in verbal or written form. Another way you can keep information of your customer updated is by having an easy-to-access unsubscribe area, or somewhere they can update their preferences.

You might even have some customers who do not currently receive your messages and now decide that they do! So, make sure the option is open for them too.

Most SMS marketing service providers give you an unsubscribe feature, but you can make it even more streamlined by adding the option to your website.


2. Character limits

SMS Messages are limited to 160 characters, which can make it difficult to get your message across.

The 160 characters also has contained any links you put in there, and an unsubscribe method. This means you’re going to have to be especially creative with your SMS copy!

This means that you’ll be struggling to use SMS for all of your marketing purposes, so make sure you have other channels open to use!


3. Potential for spamming

Too many promotional messages can be annoying! Most customers use their mobiles to check out social media or message their friends, so not all may appreciate you messaging them.

Make sure you don’t send out too many SMS messages as they might start treating you as a spammer. This can damage your reputation with the customer, or even damage your IP reputation. This means that the more people who complain or unsubscribe to your marketing, the more likely others are to not receive your messages!

It’s also the case of keeping your customers happy, so don’t out too many. We recommend around 1 a week unless it’s extremely important.


What’s the best SMS Marketing Software?

There’s a huge list of SMS Marketing service providers and having to pick between them can be daunting. Luckily for us, G2.com has given us a handy list of their recommendations!

Here are some of their favourites:

  1. Attentive – 4.8/5 stars – easy to use and perfect of for retail, apparel, and fashion.
  2. SlickText – 4.8/5 stars – trusted leader in all things SMS. Ideal for small businesses.
  3. Klaviyo – 4.6/5 stars – if you’re into automation, this one is for you.
  4. Close – 4.6/5 stars – designed to bring in sales. Great for agencies.
  5. Active Campaign – 4.5/5 stars – also use email, social media, and others!

Want to see the full list? Check it out here.



SMS Marketing is a great way to shout out about your business. With a huge 98% open rate, instant communication, and personalisation options, it offers a different type of marketing compared to others such as email or social media. Just be aware of the issues such as the 160-character limit and GDPR compliance.

Thinking of other ways to boost your marketing? Don’t forget the power of print! Here at instantprint, we offer a wide range of print products certain to bring customers through your door, from flyers and leaflets to roller banners!


About the Author

Hi, I’m Jonny and I’m instantprint’s Marketing Executive. I love helping small businesses make the most out of their digital marketing.