Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing


SMS (short message service) marketing can be a great strategy for businesses that want to connect with their customers through their mobile phones, but it does have some drawbacks as well. Businesses should consider the pros and cons of SMS marketing before they incorporate SMS text messages into their marketing or advertising campaigns.

Every form of marketing has pros and cons, and SMS marketing is no exception. Though SMS marketing works very well for some businesses, they should be aware of both the benefits and the drawbacks of marketing with SMS text messages.

Some of the pros of SMS marketing that may draw businesses to use it:

  • SMS text message marketing is targeted to an interested pool of potential customers who signed up to receive SMS marketing messages, aka a niche marketing group.
  • It offers the ability to send on-the-spot messages. For instance, if a restaurant is having a slow day, it can send out a today-only, buy-one-get-one-half-off coupon to draw in more customers. Real estate agents can instantly notify customers about new listings. It is also possible to take charge of the messages being sent about a business, such as immediately doing damage control if a negative message may be starting about a business.
  • It can help businesses create a loyal customer base by providing exclusive news and deals to participating customers.
  • It can be easy to track the success of SMS marketing, which makes it easier to make adjustments to an SMS marketing campaign where necessary.
  • SMS text messages can be circulated to other interested customers, so customers can become partners with businesses in their marketing efforts.

Of course, there’s no perfect form of marketing or advertising. Some of the cons of SMS marketing include:

  • SMS messages are short and cannot include any pictures, sounds, or other forms of media. Though a lot can be said with 160 characters, this does limit what a businesses can do and say with SMS marketing.
  • Businesses have to entice customers to sign up for the SMS text messages. Messages sent without a customer’s willing participation will usually be regarded as spam and drive customers away.
  • Generally each SMS message a business sends must be unique and well thought through, which can take more time and creative energy than creating one good radio spot or print ad that can be repeated over and over.
  • It is easy for customers to ignore or delete SMS messages that don’t keep their interest, and since businesses usually pay for each message they send, they are potentially wasting money on a message that customers don’t see. 
  • SMS text messages have a limited audience. Though text messaging is growing rapidly in popularity, not everyone uses it, especially among older customers, and not all customers are willing to sign up to receive SMS text messages.

When businesses are considering using SMS text message marketing they should weigh all the pros and cons, including the cost of SMS marketing and how well their target market is likely to respond to SMS marketing. Compared to traditional forms of advertising like billboards and radio ads, the potential audience for SMS marketing is more limited, but it can build a loyal customer base that will help advertise the business through word-of-mouth and social media. Some of the pros and cons of SMS marketing are tradeoffs, such as the fact that SMS text messaging is technologically savvy, which will appeal to some customers but may turn others off. 

Depending on a business’s marketing budget and needs, the pros and cons of SMS marketing may fit well with the business’s general marketing plan, complementing its other marketing efforts, but each business has to research SMS marketing and its target audience to decide if it’s a good solution for the business’s needs.