The 5 most common prejudices: Is SMS marketing worth it?

Different industries, different needs – sending SMS is used very differently in companies. For example, while SMS is used for alerts and updates in monitoring, more and more companies are starting to use SMS in marketing.

Occasionally, concerns arise based on known prejudices. To give you a better overview of the basics of SMS marketing, we would like to discuss these prejudices in detail today. We will also take a closer look at the most frequently asked question in this context: Is SMS marketing worth it?

Prejudice 1: SMS are outdated

Many people surely remember the heyday of the SMS: it was hard to imagine daily private communication without it. In 2012, almost 60 billion SMS were sent in Germany (source: Statista). Today, the sending of private SMS is only a fraction of this, so SMS as a communication medium has largely disappeared from the collective perception. However, this does not mean that SMS are no longer used: The areas of application for SMS have simply shifted in recent years.

Example: If we ask someone who applies Prejudice 1 when this person last received a text message, the answer is usually something along the lines of “I don’t remember that” or “months ago.” But if we ask that same person to take a look at the SMS they received, the truth is often different.

The reason: most people still think of SMS as P2P communication, i.e. the direct sending of SMS between two people. This idea is actually outdated in most cases. Today, SMS is largely used for purposes other than private communication.

Companies send text messages via SMS gateways to effectively reach their customers, to send important updates to them, to offer an additional service but also for other use cases that have nothing to do with marketing.

In these areas, where so-called A2P SMS are sent, the number of SMS sent per year is steadily increasing, and has even far exceeded expectations  in the last two years.

So it is by no means the case that SMS are generally outdated, they are just used differently today than in the past. Today, they are a simple and effective medium that companies use to reach their customers effectively and offer an additional service.

Is SMS marketing worth it? If you're using the right mobile strategy, it certainly is.

SMS campaigns are up-to-date and easy to personalize.

Prejudice 2: SMS are intrusive

Another prejudice we occasionally encounter is: SMS are intrusive and are annoying to customers instead of being useful. This perception is certainly based on the high level of attention that SMS attracts. But this prejudice ignores a very crucial point:

Your recipients want to receive relevant SMS from you.

We never tire of emphasizing: You should always make sure your SMS are wanted anyway.

We recommend always using a DOI when you want to send marketing SMS, so you can be certain about this point.

If your recipients want to receive your SMS and your content is relevant to your target audience, SMS are anything but intrusive. If you’ve designed your campaign well, they provide specific value to your customers.

What can you do to make sure your SMS messages are not perceived as being intrusive?

  • Use a double opt-in (DOI).
  • Make sure the content of your SMS is relevant to your recipients.
  • Make sure the content is appropriate for SMS and not just a 1-to-1 copy of your email campaign.
  • Plan your SMS campaign as thoroughly as you plan other campaigns.

Also note: a well-planned campaign always takes into account the frequency of messages, which of course should not be too high. If you keep these points in mind, your recipients will not perceive your messages as intrusive. On the contrary: mobile communication with companies is becoming more and more common and is explicitly desired by customers.

Especially in SMS marketing, it is very important that you educate yourself in advance and learn about the regulations of the recipient countries. Find out what you need to pay attention to in our blogpost on sending SMS internationally.

Prejudice 3: SMS only reach a young target group

This prejudice probably stems from the perception that young target groups are very active online and predominantly use their smartphones to do so. However, we have also heard this prejudice in all variations: SMS only reach a young target group, only an old target group, only a target group with very specific values and preferences, and so on. These prejudices are simply incorrect.

The truth is: It almost doesn’t matter how old your target group is, because more than 97% of all households in Germany own a cell phone (source: Statista) and this is a trend that is true worldwide. Undeniably, smartphones are more prevalent in younger target groups than in older target groups, but for SMS reception, this fact is secondary.

Of course, based on the information you have about your target group, you have to decide whether the content you want to send via SMS is desirable or not – but the possibility to reach groups of people of different ages is given in any case.

When creating your SMS campaign, always pay attention to how your respective target group uses their cell phone. A recipient who likes to shop online will benefit from another kind of SMS than someone who prefers to use coupons in retail. Only if you adapt the content of your SMS to your target groups SMS marketing is worth it for all age groups.

Prejudice 4: SMS marketing is too expensive

Interestingly, the price of SMS is also an argument that is occasionally brought forth against getting started with SMS marketing. But here’s the thing: just because SMS marketing is a bit more expensive than email marketing, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth the cost.
For example, if we look at the ROI that can be expected in a well-optimized SMS campaign, it clearly speaks in favor of SMS, as it is significantly higher than comparable campaigns in other media.

This above-average ROI in SMS marketing results from the interaction of a number of factors such as:

  • An opening rate of 98
  • Above-average CTR and conversion rates with well-optimized campaigns
  • Easy integration, which leads to a low workload
  • A high acceptance rate of the messages among recipients

In addition, automated, personalized mass SMS campaigns save time, which is then available to your employees for other projects.

How come SMS is perceived as an expensive marketing channel? Presumably, memories of SMS in private communication play a role here as well. Many of us still remember times when SMS cost more than 20 ct. per message.

Certainly, today’s P2P SMS prices also contribute to the perception, because private SMS are often included without limit in mobile rates, giving the impression that they are free. Comparison with the very low cost of email marketing also plays a role. However, as mentioned above, the expected ROI of an SMS campaign is a lot higher than that of an average email campaign.

The question: “Is SMS marketing worth it financially” must be answered individually. The high ROI basically speaks for a use of SMS in marketing, but how useful SMS can complement other marketing measures has to be determined individually in each company. The potential is there in any case.

Prejudice 5: Only large companies benefit from SMS marketing

The misconception: only large companies with big budgets and comprehensive databases can benefit from mobile marketing and SMS marketing in particular.

Of course, it is true that an SMS campaign is only as good as the data on which it is built. However, especially for small, young and local businesses, SMS are a promising medium to reach customers and interested parties. In the early stages of business development, you want to build a trusting relationship with your customers and make sure that more and more people in your target groups find out that you exist and how awesome you are. SMS is ideal for this very personal customer contact, but also for referral marketing.

Contacting customers via SMS is easily personalized, which adds to the personal touch of SMS. In addition, costs are variable if you choose the right provider, and it’s easy to incorporate SMS dispatch in a GDPR-compliant way. This way, you clear out small stumbling blocks in your messaging strategy right from the start. Discount promotions and exclusive invitations to events further increase the appeal of your first SMS marketing campaign.

So: Is SMS marketing worth it?

In short, SMS marketing is worthwhile wherever it is used sensibly. Even today, you can reach exceptionally large and diverse target groups via SMS, who perceive SMS as a particularly personal communication medium. You can strengthen this perception by simply personalizing your SMS.

If you plan your SMS campaign well and tailor it carefully to your target groups, you can expect an above-average ROI. What’s more, companies of different sizes and orientations can benefit from flexible short messages.

Would you like to try SMS messaging first, before you make a decision? Sign up for free and test our service.

All the best
Your sms77 team

Header picture by alvarez via iStock

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