Education Technology

Do SMS messages have a good ROI? 

person sitting inside car with black android smartphone turned on

Photo by Roman Pohorecki on

If your boss asks you to send out an email blast but you’re not sure if it will be effective, or if you’re starting a new company and need to figure out how to market yourself and attract the right customers, then we still have some good news for you. The cost-benefit of sending a text message is finally in your favor. Studies show that SMS messages are actually a more efficient tool for marketing than other direct channels like direct mail or telemarketing. They are also less intrusive, as they can only be sent to people who opted in to receive them.

What are SMS messages?

SMS (short message service) is a messaging protocol that allows text messages to be sent to and from mobile devices. It is part of the family of technologies that make up mobile communication and was originally created in 1984 as part of the GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) standard. SMS text messaging technology predates the now ubiquitous use of smartphones but has since been incorporated into them and is found on every type of device from phones and tablets to wearables.

Benefits of SMS text messaging marketing:

SMS messages apply to a range of industries. For example, political campaigns and fundraising campaigns are both popular.

Political texts

Political text examples include reminders to vote and calls for volunteer campaigners as well as more general campaign messages.

Fundraising texts

With telemarketing and direct mail, you only have a small window of time to present your case – after the first no, you’ve lost the chance to raise money from that person. But with mobile, fundraisers have a nearly endless pool of potential donors. You can keep texting them as much as you like about different opportunities for giving and ways to help, even if they say no the first few times.

Higher response rates: 

According to several studies, the response rate to SMS messages is higher than in other direct marketing channels, including email and social media. The highest response rate is seen with mobile coupons. This makes sense when you consider that people are hesitant about entering credit card information on mobile devices.

Appeal to the smartphone user base

More than 85% of adults in the US have a cell phone, and the majority of them have smartphones (for more details see this infographic). That’s a lot of potential customers who could receive and act on your messages.

Track results in real-time:

The fact that people have to opt in to receive your messages means you’re only communicating with people who are interested in what you have to offer. The ability to measure response rates and the performance of individual campaigns allows you to improve the content and frequency of your SMS messages and quickly learn which topics, ideas, products, or services resonate with your audience.

Overall, there’s a good chance that text messages are being sent to the same people you want to reach. Since everyone has their cell phones with them all day, you have the potential for a greater response rate than other channels.