Businesses have two primary options to communicate with customers via text messaging.
SMS, which stands for Short Message Service, is a popular type of messaging that allows you to send up to 160 characters of text. MMS, short for Multimedia Messaging Service, is a variation of SMS that enables you to insert pictures, video and other types of content into a text.
If you’re confused about when to use MMS and SMS in your marketing strategy, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll break down the differences between MMS vs. SMS and the most common use cases for both so you understand how to reach your customers with text marketing.
- What Is SMS?
- What Is MMS?
- MMS vs. SMS: 3 Key Differences
- MMS vs. SMS: Which One Should You Use?
- When to Use SMS for Marketing
- When to Use MMS for Marketing
- Jumpstart Your SMS and MMS Marketing With Textedly
What Is SMS?
SMS is an abbreviation for Short Message Service. It allows short messages to be sent to devices that can accept them over a mobile network connection. They’re suitable for messages that only contain text and are limited in length.
SMS was invented in the 1980s, which makes it one of the oldest texting technologies. It’s also the most widespread and frequently used one. More than 5 billion people around the world can send and receive SMS messages.
It’s important to note that SMS falls into a different category than popular messaging applications like iMessage, Whatsapp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger. These applications are referred to as “Over The Top” (OTT) applications. Unlike SMS, which requires a mobile network connection, OTT apps send and receive texts over WiFi or a mobile internet connection.
What Is MMS?
MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. MMS uses the same technology as SMS, but as the name suggests, it allows users to send multimedia content via text message.
MMS makes it possible to send messages that contain a range of content, including pictures, audio, video files and phone contacts. Most MMS messages can hold up to 500 KB of data.
MMS Vs. SMS: 3 Key Differences
What is the difference between MMS and SMS? While both come from the same technology, they differ in a few key ways:
- Character Limits: SMS has a limit of 160 characters. MMS messages don’t have character limitations, but they do place a limit on file size: 500 KB of data or enough for a 30-second video or audio clip.
- Supported Media: As mentioned above, MMS allows you to embed rich media, such as images, audio files, short video clips and GIFs. SMS can only support links that are attached within a text.
Cost: MMS messages typically cost a bit more than SMS because they transmit more data. The price for bulk MMS and SMS varies from provider to provider. Textedly’s SMS packages start at $29 per month for 1,000 messages and go up from there to fit any business’s needs.
MMS Vs. SMS: Which One Should You Use?
MMS and SMS are both ideal methods for instantly connecting with customers without requiring them to open an email or switch on the TV. They provide a seamless way to get in touch with customers you haven’t heard from in a while to remind them of your presence and prompt them to return.
When it comes to choosing between MMS vs. SMS, consider your goals, objectives and the type of content you plan to send. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- What is your budget, and how many messages do you need to send? SMS is typically cheaper, so you’ll be able to blast out more messages at a more affordable cost per message.
- Is your message intended to be informational or promotional? Informational messages are best sent via SMS. Promotions and creative messages can go both ways, but you’ll have more creative leeway with MMS.
- How long is the content you want to send? SMS character restrictions could be an issue if you need to send lengthy messages.
When to Use SMS Marketing
SMS messages allow you to immediately relay important information to customers and prompt engagement.
Most people always have their phones on hand, so your message is likely to be read. SMS has a whopping 98% open rate, compared to a 20% open rate for email.
SMS messages have the edge over MMS in any situation where only a few sentences are required to pass on information. You can use SMS to communicate essential details, such as a reminder, confirmation or alert.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to reach a large number of customers, SMS marketing is the way to go.
Appointment Confirmations, Adjustments and Reminders
No-shows are a big problem for healthcare professionals, beauty salons, barbershops and other similar businesses. Every missed appointment equates to lost revenue.
Calling patients and clients to remind them of appointments can be effective, but this process is also time-intensive and prone to human error, especially in larger businesses.
Sending automated SMS reminders instead is an effective way to reduce missed appointments. You can send appointment confirmations, information about changes and timely reminders that will keep more appointments on your schedule.
Bill Payment Reminders
Collecting bill payments is a time-intensive burden for industries like healthcare, utilities and insurance. To encourage users to pay their bills on time, businesses can set up automated SMS reminders to alert customers of upcoming payments, due dates and overdue payments.
One study found that SMS payment reminders increase on-time loan payments by 7-9%. Late payments also reduce by an average of two days when companies send SMS reminders.
Financial institutions can use SMS to communicate information about remaining loan balances or other credit arrangements.
Subscription-based companies can also send text reminders for upcoming payment renewals for their service or a product to increase customer lifetime value.
Critical System Alerts
System malfunctions, downtime and data breaches can damage a business’s reputation and harm customer relationships – especially when companies don’t communicate problems to customers in a timely manner.
SMS alerts help you navigate situations like these. Businesses can immediately alert customers via SMS when a security breach or downtime occurs. Text message updates ensure that the right information is delivered to the right people, reliably and quickly.
Customers crave real-time updates on packages and deliveries, and using SMS helps improve the shipping experience and automate notifications.
Package delivery services like DHL and FedEx are turning to SMS to keep customers informed with tracking and delivery updates. Many ecommerce companies also leverage SMS to notify customers when their orders have shipped and arrived at their destination.
Use SMS to confirm shipping details immediately after an order is placed, and provide the option to defer delivery or choose a convenient time. Constant text communication fosters a better customer experience and helps delivery companies reduce costs due to lost or delayed items.
When to Use MMS Marketing
MMS allows you to enhance your messages with various multimedia elements. You can embellish your texts with high-quality graphics, company logos, short videos, creative holiday designs and more to engage customers in a new, fresh way.
MMS messages also give you the option to embed hyperlinks to direct customers to specific webpages or services you want to promote. You can also format MMS content with your company colors and logo to maintain a consistent brand image across all your marketing efforts.
Pro Tip: Proceed with caution when creating content to send via MMS. Media will show up differently depending on the quality of the recipient’s phone and operating system.
An image with a certain resolution may show up differently on Apple and Android phones, and an audio clip that sounds clear on one device may sound grainy on another. It’s always smart to test MMS messages on various devices before sending them out in bulk to your customers.
Looking to send a thank-you card or holiday message to your customers? Instead of mailing or emailing a traditional card, send an animated card via MMS!
Not only are customers more likely to open them, but they will also remember them far longer than the generic messages they receive in their email inbox from competitors.
MMS is also a great option for sending business cards because recipients can save important contact information directly on their mobile devices.
Promotions and Coupons
MMS messages work well for announcing promotional offers, coupons, discounts and sales.
You can make your MMS offers easy to redeem by providing scannable coupons or personal redemption codes to each customer. Scannable coupons also protect your business because they prevent people from redeeming coupons multiple times.
Two-thirds of people would prefer to learn about a product or service by watching a video, according to a study by Wyzowl.
And eMarketer reports that 75% of all video plays happen on mobile devices.
Sending a short video via MMS is a great way to promote your product or service using a medium people will actually pay attention to.
For example, a movie theater can send movie teaser trailers to their customer base via MMS to promote an upcoming film release.
Jumpstart Your SMS and MMS Marketing With Textedly
If you’re still trying to decide which texting method to use, the good news is that there’s a place for both SMS and MMS in your marketing strategy.
SMS is best suited for situations where you need to communicate information cheaply, such as reminders, announcements or updates. MMS is ideal for creative messages or promotions that would benefit from enhanced graphics, video or audio content.
The SMS and MMS use cases outlined in this article are here to guide you, but don’t hesitate to get creative – the possibilities with text marketing are endless!
Need a hand executing your SMS or MMS campaigns? Have some additional questions in mind? Don’t worry; we’re here to help!Textedly provides simple SMS and MMS solutions for businesses that are easy to set up, so you can start messaging your customers right away. Get started with Textedly’s free trial to kickstart your SMS marketing campaign.