Is SMS marketing still effective in 2023?

There is no doubt about it, SMS marketing is here for the long term. It will always be popular with marketers and customers because it can be personalised, segmented by demographics, and affordable. It's also being transmitted via the nation's favourite method of communication.

8 June 2023

Incredible insights: Unveiling the power of SMS marketing

Don’t just take our word for it, the statistics speak for themselves:

  • 88% of Brits own mobile phones (Uswitch)
  • 30 years after the invention of texting, 1 in 3 of us still sends text messages out every single day. (The Independent)
  • 9 out of 10 people text message marketing to any other channel. (Finances online)
  • 98% open rate (TextAnywhere)
  • 15% higher click-through rate than email marketing campaigns (Finances online)

Discovering the untapped advantages of SMS marketing


Your customers have to opt-in to become SMS subscribers. This means that you know they are interested in your brand. When a customer decides that they want to hear from you, your marketing campaigns are less likely to be viewed as spam.

On the flip side, they can opt-out too. They won’t feel trapped into receiving marketing texts and will be less likely to ignore you. Subscribers respect the fact that they have the choice.

Build relationships with two way SMS marketing messages

There aren’t many marketing channels that allow customers to interact instantly with a business. Depending on your platform settings, your customers will be able to respond to your texts.

Two-way conversation offers benefits to both the customer and the business such as:

Customer direction

Get customers where they need to be and fast to prevent them from browsing your competitors. If you sell different products or services, you can ask customers to reply with whatever they are interested in knowing more about. Using keywords, relevant further information can be sent back. For example:

David, book your summer holiday with us by 31st Jan and get £500 off. Simply reply with your preferred destination.

If David replies with Lanzarote, your automated SMS can send a link to a brochure or more information about the hotels the company uses, etc. From here David may decide to continue the conversation. Depending on your most frequently asked questions, you can set up more keywords to carry on the interaction or transfer the conversation to a member of staff.

Customer profiling

Enhance the quality of your database by asking questions. Find out more about your subscribers to tailor your marketing strategies. You will be better able to segment your audience and personalise the customer experience when using text messages to build customer profiles.

Customer support

Use mobile messaging as part of your customer support plan. We discovered that 73% of consumers feel that having a good customer service platform increases their brand loyalty and 77% of people feel that bad customer service affects their quality of life. This makes sense when you consider how we can be affected by bad customer service. Many people have an issue or complaint on the back burner that they are dealing with. In the worst cases, incidents can drag on for days and weeks.

86% of people are put on hold every time they call a business. The use of SMS for customer support can:

  • Cut down on waiting times
  • Reduce staff levels
  • Decrease the amount of frustration felt by customers

How SMS marketing compares to Email marketing

Email marketing campaigns have had huge success over the last 10 years for their ability to reach prospective customers where they are. We don’t necessarily think that SMS marketing messages will spell the end for email marketing, but as part of a wider digital marketing strategy, it would be wise for marketers to be looking to evolve into areas with a greater reach.

Open rate

With a 98% open rate and the relationship we now have with our phones and texting, it is hard to see how businesses can afford to overlook SMS in their marketing strategies.

In comparison a good email open rate should be between 17-28%. The reason behind this is a simple matter of convenience. Text messaging is more easily accessible to the end user and alerts are recognised and dealt with quickly. Many people now have their mobile phones synced with smartwatches and fitness trackers so will see alerts and can read text messages even when not holding their phones.

Email inboxes are saturated with marketing messages and it’s hard for customers to cut through the chaff. The average person can receive up to 100 emails per day. Many of these will be deleted without being read.

However, there is an argument for both methods as both provide different functions. Is SMS marketing better than email? Let’s just say that we think email is better with SMS marketing.

Click through rate (CTR)

A click-through rate is the number of subscribers that will click a link sent via digital marketing.

A good CTR for email marketing messages sits around 2-5%. Text messages have an average CTR of 45%.

It is thought that subscribers get bored of reading marketing emails and hit the back button long before they get to the call-to-action. SMS messages are very short so they have to capture the attention in fewer words. This is appealing to a growing generation of mobile phone users who require more instant action.

SMS messages are an underused resource

A lot more businesses are still using email marketing campaigns than SMS marketing. So consumers are receiving far fewer text messages than emails. By receiving less communication from brands via SMS, subscribers don’t view SMS messages as a nuisance or spam. They are more likely to engage with them.

Response rate

There is a 45% response rate for SMS messages compared to just 8% for email marketing. There are two elements to this. Firstly, many of the marketing emails people receive in their inboxes are “no reply”. There will be contact information on the email but, that will be way down at the bottom and most subscribers won’t even get this far.

Secondly, emails are not as easy to access as SMS messages. We can usually deal with SMS in the moment or shortly after. People often need to set aside time to go through emails and it might be at the end of the day when we are at our least productive.

An image of a mobile phone representing SMS marketing.

What about Return on investment (ROI)?

SMS marketing boasts an incredible ROI.The best thing about SMS marketing programs is that your subscribers have opted in to receive the communication. This is a good indication that they are interested in your brand. Unlike other marketing channels, which are often shooting in the dark with their efforts, you can be sure that your list of engagers is high quality.

SMS marketing campaigns are also trackable via your platform. Any campaigns that are not hitting the mark will show themselves very quickly, in minutes in some cases. The response rate will be monitored and can be checked at any time during the process. For each campaign, you will know how many text messages were read, how quickly, and the CTR rate and interaction.

This knowledge can help you to steer future campaigns and if you are concerned with the progress of a campaign you are currently running, you can pull it or tweak it for better results.

SMS marketing optimises the customer life-cycle value

There are features of SMS marketing that no other marketing channels can rival. Brands can reach out to customers wherever they are and text messages are far more personal than other forms of communication. The functions available to SMS marketing make them still the marketing tool all businesses need in their toolkit.


Having such an advanced database coupled with a clever sign-up process means that businesses can offer personalised marketing messages to subscribers. This includes being able to address recipients by name, recognise special birthdays and even alert them to information about their favourite products.


As a further advancement to personalisation, SMS marketing messages can be segmented into subscriber categories. Split customers by demographics such as age, location, interests, family status, income, and more.

Thanks to SMS messages being two-way, as well as sign-up information, you can also gather further details by interacting with your subscribers. Ask them questions and use keywords to store the data. This will allow you to create more targeted and relevant communication in the future.

By sending more relevant information out to your subscribers you can keep your unsubscribe level low. There is nothing more off-putting than receiving information you are not interested in. No other marketing channel can offer this level of engagement and client profiling.

Abandoned cart and browsing reminders

Now that you understand how much data you can collect using a good SMS marketing platform, it will come as no surprise to learn that you can also link data from website activity and use that. Send text messages to remind customers who have abandoned their shopping carts to check out.

If you see that a customer has been browsing a particular item but has not committed to purchasing, you can also send a reminder for this. Send an image of the cart contents or the product they browsed. Ask if they forgot to checkout. There can be so many reasons why a customer doesn’t check out. Many customers get distracted and forget and for some, the price may be an issue. You can send discount codes if you feel your customer needs a gentle nudge.

Abandoned carts need not be a lost sale, but an opportunity to win customers round.

Rewarding loyalty and customer incentives

Your customers like getting rewarded and they are starting to understand that the best way to get discount codes is by signing up to receive text messages from their favourite brands. 77% of customers say they sign up to receive discounts.

As well as sending voucher codes as part of your wider SMS campaign, your database should be able to record purchasing information and their level of SMS interaction. You will be able to pinpoint your most loyal customers and offer them more as a reward.

Other marketing channels are not smart enough to compete with SMS marketing.

If you would like to give SMS marketing a try or are already using it but are interested in finding a company that offers a high-performing platform, Call TextAnywhere for your free trial.

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