SMS vs. MMS - What's the Difference?
Did you know that 80% of customers prefer to communicate with businesses by text? They don't want to call and be put on hold, and sometimes they get lost on your website. Text marketing offers far more than just sending friendly messages to your customers, like birthday or holiday greetings. Text is also a powerful tool for growing (and segmenting) your lists, sending promotions and discounts, automating reminders, and more.
But before investing in SMS (Short Message Service) for business, consider the unique and inherent differences between SMS and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). A better understanding of these differences is critical to your marketing success.
So first, let’s explore SMS and MMS, their differences, and when to use each one in a text marketing strategy. Read on to discover:
Then with those insights, let’s assess the key differences between them and how you can leverage each in your business to connect better and faster with your customers.
of customers prefer to communicate with businesses by text
What Is SMS?
SMS stands for "Short Message Service.” SMS texts are limited to 160 characters per message and are the most frequently used text format on the planet today.
If you send an SMS message that is longer than 160 characters, it may be broken up into multiple messages. You've probably experienced this when someone texts you a long wall of words, and it comes broken up into multiple texts.
Most carriers today have the technology to chain SMS messages together automatically. This means even if you send an SMS message that is longer than 160 characters, the message will automatically be converted to an MMS message.
When to Use SMS Messaging?
Don’t overthink when to use SMS messaging. Text messaging’s superpower is that it allows you to speak like a human being with conversational texts. It’s fast and easy for your target audience to respond, especially when your communication feels personal and relevant to your customer. Text messaging allows you to market to specific groups with personalized content and mass texting applications also allows your businesses to add security protocols to protect customers from potentially malicious activity.
SMS use cases include:
- Sending reminders to customers about upcoming appointments, sales, and events
- Sending offer codes for discounts or special offers
- Sending helpful payment reminders, receipts from purchase or notifications of sent documents
Interested in SMS marketing for your agency?
What Is MMS?
MMS stands for "Multimedia Messaging Service.” This technology was built on the back of SMS and allows users to send multimedia content.
- MMS messages can include pictures, animated gifs, contacts, and audio and video files.
- Most MMS messages can contain up to 500 KB of data, enough for a 30-second audio or video file.
- Adding an image to your messages can improve engagement rates as much as 250%.
When to Use MMS Messaging?
MMS is a standard way to send multimedia content, including images and videos. MMS allows users to exchange text messages greater than 160 characters in length. Most MMS messages can contain up to 500 KB of data or enough for a 30-second audio or video file. The amount of images users can attach to an MMS message is dependent on file size. Additionally, files sent via MMS count against both the sender's and recipient's monthly data limits.
Many brands leverage the power of MMS to distribute video content. This form of marketing is so effective that 64% of users said they are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video.
Interested in MMS marketing for your agency?
Should My Business Use SMS or MMS?
Which texting strategy is right for your organization? When choosing between SMS versus MMS, think about who you are talking to and why?
- Are you guiding them to a sign-up form or asking them to click through to a website? Then a concise SMS instruction might be exactly what your consumer needs.
- Is your product or service visually compelling (E.g., baked bread, jewelry, spa/beauty services)? Then a beautiful image and a gentle text reminding your customer of your brand might make more sense.
Also, consider the drawbacks of each messaging channel. The character constraint of SMS can cause significant roadblocks for businesses that need to convey large amounts of information. MMS is more visually compelling, but MMS messages also cost more to send. So, make sure you're using MMS at the right time, for the right messages, as sometimes short and sweet wins the day.
Regardless of which strategy you use, always get permission from your subscribers. Like bad email marketing, no one wants to receive a spam text, so make sure your texts are valuable for the end user. And just like email, compliance with texting guidelines is enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Mastering SMS & MMS with EZ Texting
Founded in 1960, Dominos Pizza is recognized as a leader in pizza delivery, operating a network of company-owned and franchise-owned stores worldwide. Ryan Swanson, Area Director for Prairie Pizza, a Domino's Pizza franchise, used SMS to accomplish two goals: growing the franchise's Facebook group and selling more pizza. Previously, Swanson advertised the franchise's web address at local sports games, but switched things up and advertised a text campaign instead.
"Most students are not going to jot down a website during a basketball game," admitted Swanson. "But, taking a couple of seconds to send and receive a text with the URL of the group makes sense."
Almost 10% of the 3,000 students attending the game texted within a few minutes, and another 5% texted later in the evening. They had a total of 600 opt-ins. The Facebook group amassed almost 2,000 fans and more than 850 students enrolled in the franchise's SMS marketing list by the end of the semester.
For more information, visit Domino's Pizza SMS Marketing Case Study.
Most students are not going to jot down a website during a basketball game. But, taking a couple of seconds to send and receive a text with the URL of the group makes sense.
— Ryan Swanson, Area Director for Prairie Pizza, a Domino's Pizza Franchise(Case Study)
Thousands of industry-leading organizations partner with EZ Texting. Features such as autoresponders and drip campaigns allow organizations to effectively and efficiently conduct marketing and messaging initiatives. With EZ Texting, you don't have to become a business text messaging master overnight. EZ Texting’s online resources are available 24/7 and will guide you every step of the way.
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