Understanding SMS and MMS Marketing

Reach your customers on their mobile devices to increase conversions. 

Image courtesy of Pexels

Texting. It’s a communication method that we use every single day. So much so that we often find ourselves glued to our phones. 

There’s even a name for the phenomena — nomophobia

Nomophobia is the fear of not having your phone with you at all times, and it’s becoming more and more widespread. Just think about the last time you went for more than an hour without your cell phone nearby, you probably spent most of the time worrying what you’re missing. Let’s not even talk about the last time you misplaced it. 

Our society is so attached to our cellphones that most of us will feel a sense of panic or desperation when we misplace our phones. Showing that we are more dependant on our cellphones than we like to admit. Image courtesy of Psychology Today

That’s because we are becoming so attached to our phones, 66% of our population shows signs of nomophobia. To put it into perspective, 20% of people would choose to go without shoes for a week rather than take a break from their phones. And 71% of people sleep with their phones nearby. 

Sounds crazy, right? But it’s the reality that we live in today. We are all guilty of using our phones a little more than we should. 

The good news is that for companies looking for a way to break through the noise, texting is the way to do it. That’s because the open rates of text marketing are a whopping 99% and these messages are generally read within 3 minutes. 

Before jumping ahead, here’s a sneak peek at the topics we’ll discuss in this article: 

  • Why text message marketing is important in today’s mobile world
  • More about what SMS and MMS messaging, best practices, and the pros and cons to using both
  • How they can work together for the best mobile marketing experience 

Text Message Marketing

So, how do companies market to consumers who are always on their phones? Through the communication method that they prefer over anything else — texting. 75% of consumers have said they are okay with receiving text messages from a brand that they’ve opted-in to. Meaning that your customers actually want to be hearing from you via their cell phones. 

Making sure your customers opt-in to your SMS campaign will ensure you do not run into any regulatory issues. Using shortcodes will let you identify customers who are interested in becoming a subscriber and know what customers are interested in text communication from your company. Image courtesy of Listrak

From appointment reminders and flash sale announcements to feedback and account security notifications, your customers want to hear from you via texting. As long as you have the right permissions (they must opt-in to your program), you can send your customers any marketing content via texting.

That’s where SMS and MMS marketing messages come into the picture. If you’re looking to get into the text marketing game, you need to understand what both of the terms mean, how they work, and when to use one over the other. 

Let’s take a look at each different type of texting to help you determine which is the best solution for your marketing strategy. 

SMS Marketing

SMS, which stands for short message service, is one of the most popular types of text message marketing available. 

Customers must opt-in to a company’s SMS marketing by texting a shortcode that identifies they are interested in subscribing. From there, the company now has permission to send marketing content to them via SMS messages — a simple but important process. 

SMS messages can be used in a number of different ways. This example shows how customers can easily communicate with a company to update information and confirm details for an upcoming event or appointment. Image courtesy of Business 2 Community

SMS Messaging Best Practices

When using this type of mobile marketing, you’ll want to keep messages short and sweet. Not only is this a best practice, but it’s one of the limitations of SMS marketing. Sticking to a few best practices around SMS messaging will let you know 

Here are a few best practices for using SMS messaging to its fullest potential. 


  • Remember text limitations. If you choose to use SMS messaging, you’ll want to always remember there is a character limitation. Keep texts below the 160 character max to ensure the message is received in full and isn’t broken out into multiple different messages. 


  • Include a call to action. Never forget to include a call to action in your message. Although it might be tempting to cut your call to action to save space, it’s not worth it if you’re trying to generate sales. If a customer has nowhere to go next, they will read the message and delete it. 


  • Personalize content based on your customer segmentation. You have a captivated audience when it comes to SMS and text message marketing. Use this to its full potential by segmented marketing content to your audience preferences. The more it appeals to their interests, the more likely they are to click into the offer. 




Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing

Next, let’s take a look at a few of the pros and cons of SMS messaging. By dissecting each, it will allow you to understand which offers the best solution for your marketing strategy. 


  1. Price point: SMS is the cheaper of the options. With the right contact list and service provider, you can send communication out to your customers in a cost-effective way while converting leads. 
  2. Interactivity: Customers can easily interact with your SMS marketing plan. It allows you to easily have a two-way conversation with your customers and will help build brand loyalty.

SMS messaging improves business results in a number of different ways. From increased open rates to an increase in loyal customers, SMS messaging is worth the investment. Image courtesy of Finances Online



  • Character limits: As we mentioned above, SMS marketing has a character limit when it comes to what text you can send. Anything over 160 characters will be cut off and sent out as separate messages. This could cause the content to lose its purpose and annoy customers with multiple notifications. 


  • Cannot use images: SMS messages use plain text. There is no way to include images, gifs, or videos. That means your copy has to get everything across and be enticing enough to encourage customers to click through to learn more. 



Now let’s take a look at what MMS messaging is and how it differs from the traditional SMS communication method. 

MMS Marketing

MMS, which stands for multimedia messaging service, is a more advanced version of SMS messaging. Using MMS messaging will allow you to send visuals such as images and GIFs along with text content to your customers. 

Similarly to SMS, customers must still follow an opt-in process to receive your content, but you can send even more appealing and enticing content this way. For example, with MMS you can now include an image of the product you are promoting to peak customer interest to click through to the website — they always say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so why not use it. 

MMS messages can add imagery with text to help encourage customers to click into the message and learn more. Providing extra details on a sale is a great way to do this while increasing the amount of promotional content you can share. Image courtesy of Listrak

 MMS Best Practices

While MMS messages allow you more creativity and freedom, there are still a few key factors you’ll want to consider. Although many best practices can be true across the board when it comes to text marketing, here are a few that apply specifically to MMS messages. 


  • Don’t get too content-heavy. Although you may not have to adhere to the 160 character limit like you would while using SMS messaging, you still want to pay attention to the length of your content. Try to keep messages below 1,000 characters for the best customer experience — most people don’t want to read a novel when they get a text.


  • Image sizes do matter. Keep image size in mind when creating MMS messages. Try to keep files under 850k and the best image types are JPG and PNG. In addition the best results, the optimal image size is 1080w x 1920h.


  • Considerations for animated files. GIFs are the only animation file supported at this time. As with images, it’s recommended to keep file sizes under 850k. Although GIFs are a supported file type, there’s no guarantee of how the user’s platform will deliver them, so you may only want to use these periodically. 




Pros and Cons of MMS Marketing

So far, it’s likely MMS marketing sounds much more appealing than SMS — adding imagery to the messages is a huge advantage. But before you jump on the MMS bandwagon, let’s discuss the MMS specific pros and cons. 



  • The obvious one: images. The biggest pro to using MMS messages is the option to include imagery in your marketing communication. Adding imagery will add to your content and will give customers more details about your products or sale. 


  • More likely to be shared. MMS content is 8x more likely to be shared. Adding imagery and making the content more enticing will encourage users to share information with their friends, family, and social networks. 



MMS marketing boasts a 15% increase in click-through rates and is 8x more likely to be shared. With stats like this, it’s worth considering adding MMS messages to your mobile marketing strategy. Image courtesy of Listrak



  • Cost. The biggest con of MMS messaging is the cost factor. Having the ability to send larger messages with images and GIFs is much more costly than a simple SMS message. This is one of the main reasons many companies choose to stick solely with SMS messages. 


  • Device support. Unlike SMS messages, MMS messages must be supported by the receiver’s cell phone and service provider. In many cases, you may not know exactly what customers have a phone with MMS enabled, so you could be sending these messages without successful results. 



Determine Which Text Marketing Works for You

SMS and MMS messages both play an important role in the mobile marketing world — and you can’t go wrong with either. The most important thing to take out of this information is that you should be communicating with your customers via text. 

The best mobile marketing strategy will actually incorporate both of these tactics. By combining efforts, you can communicate with your customers based on the information you want them to know. If it’s an important launch, use MMS to include an image. But if it’s an appointment reminder or security alert, an SMS message will get the point across in a quick and concise manner. 

Finding the perfect mix will take time, but implementing any type of text marketing will set you ahead of the curve and improve your conversion rates. So what are you waiting for? 


Blogtrepreneur is a website where busy entrepreneurs learn to strategically use blogging as a way to exponentially grow our business and make more money.