SMS Marketing vs. Mobile Marketing: Which is Best for Your Business
Mobile Marketing

SMS Marketing vs. Mobile Marketing: Which is Best for Your Business

SMS Marketing vs. Mobile Marketing: Which is Best for Your Business
Alex Alabiso
President at Semaphore

Businesses are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of shifting their strategy from traditional to digital marketing. Since mobile phones and laptops have become part of the lives of so many people, especially when it comes to purchasing goods and services, business owners should leverage digital technologies to market their products.


For instance, smartphone users now number tens of billions worldwide, representing a large group of the total global population. 

Digital marketing, or online marketing, involves the use of the internet and other tools to promote products or services and distribute content to consumers. In digital marketing, branding and promotional campaigns occur on various channels such as email, social media, texts, and mobile apps.

With almost everyone owning a mobile phone, SMS (short message service) and mobile marketing have become widely used digital marketing tools for many businesses. However, the question is, which of the two can deliver better results in achieving your marketing objectives?


What is SMS marketing?


For anyone who owns a mobile phone, receiving text messages with promotional content is not uncommon. The company or business that sends such text messages directly to potential customers leverages SMS as a marketing strategy. 

These text messages are usually about ongoing promotions, deals, sales events, special offers and discounts, loyalty perks and rewards, and other types of information with the objective of marketing a specific product or service. 

Sending SMS as a marketing strategy is permission-based—meaning it requires the permission of the mobile user to receive text messages. To build your customer SMS database, you must ask your prospects to sign up to indicate they’re allowing you to contact them on their mobile devices. You may use your website, physical store, email, or voice calls to entice consumers to opt-in. 

Your text message should contain a designated keyword with a short code that customers can use to engage with your SMS campaigns and receive alerts. Customers should have an opt-out alternative and know about telecom charges they may incur when they respond to your SMS.


Why should you use SMS marketing?


With the massive number of mobile phone users worldwide, SMS marketing presents a high-potential opportunity to connect your business to customers. 


There’s no shortage of online resources pointing to people’s positive reception toward SMS marketing campaigns. Here’s what you can get from those efforts:

  • More and more consumers are opting-in to SMS messages from businesses.
  • You can enjoy a high SMS open rate, given how mobile phone users spend considerable amounts of time checking their devices. Compared with email, for example, text messages are quicker to see as they come in. As such, people are more likely to open them almost instantly.
  • A high opening rate can translate to a more extensive reach for businesses. Plus, response rates to SMS marketing campaigns can also be potentially high. This is especially true for consumers who love receiving notifications from their favorite brands regarding exclusive offers. 


On top of all these, consider SMS marketing’s other advantages:

  • Quick and instant message delivery - Prospective and existing customers receive your message within seconds. This capability ensures the timely delivery of important announcements such as product sale schedules and special offers. Therefore, customers can immediately act because they see it sooner than if you send them an email.
  • Wider audience reach - You can use business SMS services for bulk messaging so that your marketing campaigns get delivered to everyone in your customer database— not to mention you can readily handle consumer inquiries.
  • Less costly - Unlike traditional marketing campaigns, such as television, print ads, and direct mail, sending SMS messages is only a tiny fraction of the cost. It is cost-effective for businesses because a single marketing message can quickly reach a broader range of customers.
  • More personalized interactions with customers - You can build customer loyalty among highly engaged mobile users by tracking their interactions with your brand, then using those insights to send them relevant updates and special promotions. 
  • Easy to use - Almost everyone can text and read messages, and compared to having to set up an email account or visit websites, using SMS is less complicated.
  • Does not require internet connectivity - Text messages work for all mobile phones with or without connectivity. Your target audience does not need to connect to the internet to read your messages.
  • Automated response - You can use SMS marketing software with auto-response functions that can be triggered when a customer engages with your message.


When should you use SMS marketing?


One key consideration in using SMS for marketing is the length of your message since it can only contain 160 characters. Although you can send longer messages, text messaging should be short for readability. Because of this unique characteristic of business SMS, they work best as a marketing tool for the following:

  • Product promotions such as vouchers and rewards
  • Welcome messages for new customer sign-ups
  • New product launch
  • Flash sales happening for a limited time only
  • Sending links for feedback surveys that can improve your business
  • Promotion of your social media account and website
  • Transactional messages such as reminders, order status, and tracking
  • Other announcements, such as new business hours and new store location


What is mobile marketing?


Aside from SMS messaging, another marketing tool that you can use to improve your business and get ahead of your competitors is mobile marketing. Simply put, mobile marketing is using mobile devices to promote products or services.


Mobile marketing delivers customized content to your target customers through hand-held devices such as smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches. It uses content marketing channels such as mobile apps, social media, and websites to distribute SMS and multi-media messages (MMS).  


Why should you use mobile marketing?


Again, billions of smartphone and mobile device users worldwide represent a potentially large audience you can tap into. Web traffic from mobile devices is also on the rise, which means more people are accessing the internet through mobile devices than through their laptops or computers.

Whether you have a service or product-based business, there are several advantages to using mobile marketing to make your business grow faster.

  • More marketing strategy options - Mobile marketing gives you choices on how to strategize your digital marketing campaigns. You can integrate your ads on social media like Facebook or run pop-up ads in mobile games. You can also use QR (Quick Response) codes linked to your site to direct customers to marketing channels. Alternatively, you can create a video ad for streaming on mobile devices.
  • Localization - Mobile marketing works well with geographic targeting, enabling businesses to send ads to mobile users within a specific location. Using global positioning system (GPS) capabilities, you could develop a mobile app that triggers your ads to promote your physical store to nearby consumers. Another aspect of localization in mobile marketing is customizing your mobile app to match your target users’ language, region, or culture. This approach can help make your campaigns more relevant and engaging to prospective customers.
  • Personalization - As mobile devices become crucial to people’s lives, they become attached to them and spend a lot of time using them. Businesses can use this as an opportunity to create more personal communication with their customers.
  • Shareability - If you want massive shares or virality in your marketing campaigns, mobile marketing is the best way to do it. Mobile users have the habit of sharing content that they like.
  • Room for creativity - You can experiment with different platforms with their unique audience to determine what you think will be the best way to run your ad campaign. You are not limited to using plain text because you can add photos, videos, or anything that can make your ads engaging.


When should you use mobile marketing?


Mobile marketing is an omnichannel strategy that you can use in many ways to give your business an advantage. Here are some examples:

  • Creating brand awareness, specifically if you need to introduce a new product
  • Onboarding new customer opt-ins
  • Sending real-time product updates, detailed store promotions, or product brochures 
  • Gathering feedback from customers
  • Offering location-based business products or services
  • Following up with users regarding inaction, such as during cases of cart abandonment
  • Analyzing user activities to initiate improvements
  • Beefing up campaigns for referral and loyalty programs


There are many other ways you can creatively use mobile marketing. Remember that your objective is to engage customers using their preferred platforms. You will sometimes need to create a mix of specific strategies, such as sending a push notification and a link to your new product.


The Best Option for Your Business


When choosing what is best to use for your business, the answer lies in evaluating what objectives you want to achieve vis-a-vis the resources you have.


Between SMS messaging and mobile marketing, the former entails lesser cost. However, you do not need to drain your budget to develop an effective mobile marketing strategy. You can creatively use marketing tools available through digital technology.


Remember that both SMS messaging and mobile marketing strategies can deliver results—the key is to provide your customers with an excellent and seamless experience.