SMS vs. MMS: What They Are and When to Use Each

28 Nov

Remember when text messaging was first introduced? We were all blown away by being able to send a typed-out message rather than have to call someone. Flash forward to today, and while texting is commonplace, businesses have increasingly begun to leverage texting as part of their marketing and customer service strategies.

But what texting options do companies have to help them boost sales? SMS and MMS are the two types of texts that organizations can send out; learn what they are and how they can best be used to provide a seamless customer experience.


SMS is an abbreviation for Short Messaging Service, and it refers to the basic text messages you send every day. These messages are just words. SMS typically allows you to use up to 160 characters, including spaces (a character is a letter, number, punctuation mark, etc.). At the 161st character, your SMS will convert to an MMS, or be split into a second SMS.

As a business, you may want to use SMS to send out information about promotions, discounts, special events, and more. A typical text may look like “Free garlic bread all weekend @ Tony’s Pizza!” or “Make a difference in your community – City Council meetings are every month at 7pm at City Hall.”


MMS is shorthand for Multimedia Message Service, and it is a message that includes a picture, sound file, or other attachment. You can also include text in an MMS.

Companies can best use MMS to add another layer of excitement and anticipation. In the SMS example above, the owners at Tony’s Pizza could further entice customers by including a high-resolution picture of a large cheese pizza, fresh out of the oven (this reminds me: pizza is a MUST for dinner tonight). They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so with MMS, let your attachments do the talking!

And that’s all there is to it! SMS is a text-only message to your contacts, while MMS includes an attachment. Both types of texts have their pros and cons, so you’ll have to determine which is best based on the message you’re sending to contacts.

Just remember to keep texts shorts and send them during regular business hours. Your contacts may love what you’re selling, but waking them up in the middle of the night with a special offer will probably do more harm than good. Also, keep in mind that depending on your customers’ data plans, they may incur a small cost for each MMS they receive.

Now, time to jump online and see if Tony’s Pizza delivers…

About Daniel:

Daniel graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Media Arts and a Communications minor. He also graduated from California State University of Fullerton with an M.A. in Communications.

When not being a tech evangelist, Dan enjoys an active lifestyle that includes the beach, tennis, swimming, weights, and stand-up paddle boarding. He’s also is a grill master who ensures everything has the right amount of char on it. An avid LA sports fan, Dan used part of his wedding speech to talk about the Dodgers’ and Lakers’ soul-crushing playoff losses.

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