5 Common SMS Marketing Misconceptions for DTC Brands

Josh Zhang
December 21, 2023

I decided to dig a little more into SMS, so I asked Erin Falter to assist me. You can view a deck created by clicking here, which really addresses the question: Why SMS?

Erin and I have worked together tackling different brands' concerns with approaching SMS (which stands for short message service), and I wanted to share a document Erin put together on pushing through SMS misconceptions. If you'd like to get in touch with Erin, you can email her (erin@pinkskies.co) or find her on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

Let's dive in and take a look at some of the top five misconceptions that eCommerce brands have about text-message marketing, SMS marketing software, the ROI for campaigns on this channel, and more.

1. SMS is a substitute for email.

Absolutely not! Just like how people thought TV would replace the radio and it didn't, SMS is not replacing email.

SMS is a significantly more intimate channel. You need to communicate with your customers differently here with a level of respect for their privacy that can often be overlooked with email. You're delivering a one on one message with your customer that is delivered directly to their personal mobile device.

This isn't just about sending "text blasts." You need to take a more personalized approach with your SMS campaigns since your customers have provided you with explicit permission to reach out to them and have two-way conversations. You’ll often have more email subscribers than SMS subscribers for that reason.

It's important to remember that you can’t send as many full-list, bulk text messaging campaigns as you would be able to do with email marketing. SMS should be used strategically in tandem with email when you have a big moment worth communicating to your customer.

Finally, SMS subscribers are often more engaged, qualified, and loyal than email. This is another reason to treat them differently!

2. SMS is for discounts only.

You COULD but you’d probably have significantly higher unsubscribe rates, which is no bueno. We’ve all been there: annoyed with the 3rd text in 2 days from the same brand saying, "Last chance. Buy now!" And we’ve also then unsubscribed.

SMS messages don't have to always be transactional messages.

SMS should be used to communicate your most important messages to the most applicable customer. That means a maximum strategy of segmentation and personalization. For example, instead of sending the sale you are having on the SKU you are looking to sell off to everyone, target only the people who have purchased it in the past within the lifetime window that they’d be looking to replenish that item.

You’ll see higher engagement and conversion rates with a lot fewer unsubscribes.

3. More messages = more revenue.

It’s more like more messages, more problems. Piggybacking on the point before, it is super important to not send every message to every SMS subscriber. Ask yourself:

  • Does everyone need to hear this?
  • Does the message add value?
  • Am I sending this at a time that is annoying for the consumer?
  • Did they receive another text from me too recently?
  • Could I save money by further segmenting my audience?

It's easy to think that your customers will buy more if they get more notifications from you on their phones. However, that is not always the case. You risk diminishing your open rates and annoying your customers if you send too many SMS marketing messages.

4. It’s better to have a long code number.

People often think that long codes (aka having a number for your brand that’s the same length as a normal phone number) are better than a short code. It might feel more human, but long codes are more expensive and not built for mass text marketing communications.

They are slower and could lead to sending errors. Besides, consumers are more accustomed to receiving marketing messages than you think: over 80% of consumers have received text messages from a small business or organization before!

5. MMS performs better than SMS.

MMS (multimedia messaging service) is used when you have an image, gif or emoji in your message. They also cost significantly more to send. And while they might stand out more in your message feed, PostScript confirms that SMS performs just as well as MMS, so choose your message type wisely!

Getting started with SMS

There are so many different marketing channels to use, but SMS should somehow be integrated into your marketing strategy. Brands that use SMS marketing are finding out that it can be a high-converting channel for their business.

Once you launch your first SMS marketing campaign and deliver a personalized text to your prospects' mobile phones, you'll see the power of mass text messaging and how you can use it to launch more hyper-targeted promotions than ever before.

Remember, you can get the Why SMS PDF here!