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SMS marketing has become an increasingly popular tool for businesses to connect with their target audience on a more personal level. We get the question on almost every consultation we have with customers. With its high open rates and instant delivery, it’s no wonder that marketing managers and small business owners are considering implementing this strategy.

However, one question that often arises is: how much does SMS marketing cost? In this blog post, we will explore the factors that influence SMS marketing costs and provide insights into creating an effective SMS marketing campaign without breaking the bank.

What Is SMS Marketing?

Let’s start with what is SMS marketing. SMS Marketing is a marketing technique that uses permission-based text messaging to spread promotional messages from a business. To receive text message specials, new product updates, or more information, customers are usually required to opt into an automated system by texting an initial shortcode or by filling out a form to opt in.

You might be most familiar with SMS marketing at restaurants when your table is ready, or at the doctor’s office to remind you when your next appointment is.

Key Features of SMS Marketing

  1. Instant Deliverability: SMS is lightning fast, literally putting your message into your subscribers’ pockets or purses seconds after you send it.
  2. High Open Rate: Compared to email marketing, SMS has a staggeringly high open rate. Essentially, almost every SMS sent is opened (and read), whereas only a fraction of emails sent are read.
  3. High Conversion Rate: With SMS, there is an incredibly high rate of subscriber action. Whatever your SMS, there is more action taken compared to any other marketing strategy.
  4. Reliable: Unlike email, SMS doesn’t have to battle against spam or other email filters. If anything, SMS is more of a direct connection to your customer base than any other marketing strategy, and there aren’t any barriers.
  5. Short Messages: Though this is a challenge for some businesses, the 160-character length of SMS is a boon for marketing. It forces you to be clear and concise. Instead of having your subscribers slog through content that isn’t always relevant, SMS gets to the point immediately without anything that is unnecessary.
  6. Personal and Targeted: Text message marketing is a personal way to communicate with your customers. You’re not just sending a mass email hoping someone will read it. Your message goes directly to the person you want to target.

While in theory SMS marketing seems like a business’s dream it can be difficult to tap into if done incorrectly.

Recent Spam/Consumer Protections With SMS Marketing

It’s worth noting that there have been recent updates to protect consumers from spam SMS marketing, where consumers are not opting in to receive text messages.

The Campaign Registry is a popular reputation authority around SMS marketing for businesses and helps hold businesses accountable. Moreover, the CAN-SPAM Act protects consumers by setting laws around electronic business communication such as text messages.

Today, businesses must apply/register to send text messages. You must register with your business EIN number (in the United States) and in some cases supply sample SMS marketing messages including SMS marketing opt-in forms your customers will be using.

With these legal hoops, it can be difficult to get SMS marketing started in your business without the right help, but more on that later. For now, let’s get into how much SMS marketing costs.

Factors Affecting SMS Marketing Costs

These are the main factors that make up your SMS marketing costs. The biggest differences are going to be the platform you choose, volume, and target county. Larger, more well-known platforms with more features can charge a premium. Alternatively, smaller SMS platforms may charge lower fees to bring in customers.

  1. Service Provider Charges: The cost of SMS marketing largely depends on the service provider you choose. While some providers offer pay-as-you-go plans, others may charge based on the volume of messages or monthly subscriptions. It’s important to compare different providers and their pricing structures to find the best fit for your budget and needs.
  2. Message Volume: The number of text messages you plan to send per month significantly impacts the overall cost. Providers often offer tiered pricing options, where the more messages you send, the lower the cost per message. Assess your communication requirements and consider whether you need to reach a broad audience frequently or have more targeted campaigns to manage costs effectively.
  3. Additional Features: Some SMS marketing platforms include additional features like personalized messaging, automation, and analytics. These advanced functionalities can enhance your campaign’s effectiveness but may come at an extra cost. Evaluate which features align with your goals and budget before making a decision.
  4. Target Country: If you’re targeting customers in different countries, be mindful of the international SMS rates charged by service providers. Sending SMS internationally can be more expensive than domestic messaging, so factor this into your budgeting calculations.

Overall, you can expect to pay fractions of a penny to send an SMS message in the United States. On the other hand, it can be a 1 cent or a few cents depending on other countries. At WolfPack, we charge $21/month for 1,000 text messages with our marketing automation platform. View more SMS pricing here.

sms marketing with emails for review requests

Cost-Effective Strategies for SMS Marketing

While SMS marketing costs can add up, there are several strategies you can employ to optimize your budget and maximize ROI:

  1. Segmentation: By segmenting your audience based on different criteria such as demographics, preferences, or past purchases, you can tailor your messages to specific customer groups. This approach ensures that your SMS campaigns are highly relevant and targeted, increasing the likelihood of generating positive results without wasting unnecessary resources.
  2. Automation: Utilizing automation tools allows you to streamline your SMS marketing efforts while reducing manual labor. Set up automated messages for customer onboarding, reminders, or special offers, saving both time and money in the long run.
  3. Clear Call-to-Action: To make the most of your SMS campaigns, ensure that each message has a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether it’s promoting a limited-time offer, inviting customers to an event, or encouraging them to visit your website, a compelling CTA can drive more conversions and increase the overall effectiveness of your campaign.

When we have conversations about using SMS marketing in your overall business strategy, it comes down to the psychology of the consumer, ensuring they are opting in, and that the message is sent with a direct purpose. For example, review requests, invoice links, or appointment reminders. Sending text messages just to send messages is usually received poorly from consumers.

Most businesses can use SMS marketing in their overall marketing automation and omnichannel strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does it cost to send messages internationally?

It depends on the platform and the country, however, in most cases, it costs $0.01 – $0.02.

Q: How much does Twilio SMS cost?

On average, it’s a fraction of a penny, but you can view their full pricing here.

Q: Can I send promotional messages without annoying my customers?

Absolutely! The key lies in personalization and timing. Ensure that your promotional messages are relevant to each customer’s interests and preferences. Additionally, be mindful of the frequency and timing of your messages, avoiding excessive or intrusive communication.

Q: Is SMS marketing suitable for all types of businesses?

While SMS marketing can benefit various industries and business sizes, its suitability depends on your target audience and goals. If your target audience actively uses mobile phones and prefers concise and immediate communication, SMS marketing can be a valuable strategy.

Q: How can I measure the success of my SMS marketing campaigns?

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and ROI can help measure the success of your SMS marketing campaigns. SMS marketing platforms often provide analytics features to monitor these metrics and optimize future campaigns accordingly.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the cost of SMS marketing varies depending on factors such as service provider charges, message volume, additional features, and target countries. By implementing cost-effective strategies like segmentation, automation, and clear call-to-actions, businesses can make the most of their SMS marketing campaigns within their budget constraints.

Remember to personalize messages, respect customers’ preferences, and track performance metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your efforts. With careful planning and optimization, SMS marketing can be a valuable tool for marketing managers and small business owners to engage their audience and drive conversions.

Ready to start with SMS marketing? Get a proposal from WolfPack today.