April 6, 2023

Generative AI for SMS Marketing and MMS Marketing


generative ai for sms marketing

Marketing via SMS (short message service) or MMS (multimedia message service) is massively popular because it takes advantage of mobile technology almost everyone owns and uses constantly—a smartphone. Research from Constant Contact shows that both sides benefit: 91% of consumers show interest in signing up for texts while 95% of marketers find that texts help boost revenue. Leveraging Generative AI for SMS marketing and MMS marketing can allow these high-powered programs to reach the next level of impact—so long as the messages themselves include language that motivates customers to act.

How do businesses benefit from SMS marketing and MMS marketing?

As more and more consumers opt into and prefer text messages, more marketers rely on SMS and MMS to promote their brands. Let’s look at some texting statistics:

  • 62% of consumers have subscribed to get texts from at least one business
  • 90% of customers prefer text messages over phone calls
  • Text messages maintain a very low spam rate of 2.8%

Marketers use SMS and MMS technology to:

  • Send scheduled promotions to increase sales
  • Share coupons and product images
  • Collect customer reviews with strategic post-purchase texts
  • Launch new products 
  • Conduct surveys
  • Send appointment and invoice reminders
  • Collect payments (using third-party technology)
  • Send drip text campaigns to new subscribers
  • Run text-to-win campaigns
  • Share order status updates on shipping or in-store pick-ups
  • Thank customers for their business 

8 uses and benefits of SMS marketing

Developed in the 1980s, an SMS consists of a text message of up to 160 characters without an attached file. The technology relies on standardized communication protocols that allow mobile devices to exchange short text messages. A common component of most telephone, internet and mobile device systems, SMS remains one of the most popular and instantaneous ways to communicate. One in three consumers checks their text notifications within one minute of receiving a text.

Easy to send and widely read, marketers enjoy the following benefits from SMS marketing. Many also apply to MMS marketing which is very similar to SMS marketing, but with additional character limits and multimedia capabilities (i.e. images, video, audio, etc.).

1. High open rate

Research shows that text messages earn a 98% open rate. (By contrast, a successful email campaign boasts open rates of 20%.) Since mobile consumers place a premium on convenience and simplicity, text messages command much higher—and faster—response rates than other approaches.

2. More engagement

Consumers find SMS marketing more personal, creating a stronger brand relationship. Businesses communicate directly with customers without needing to go through third-party platforms such as social media.

3. Healthy click-through rates

The average SMS (and MMS) click-through rates range between 19% and 35%.

4. Effective across industries

Although texting works well as a stand-alone marketing method for retailers, SMS (and MMS) can also support other industries, from retail to financial services, travel to healthcare. Healthcare providers, for example, send both SMS and email reminders for appointments. If the text message incorporates an address, a patient can map out the best route to the medical office in one click.

5. Instant delivery 

Text messages arrive in a flash, making SMS (and MMS) marketing a perfect tool for time-sensitive promotions, sales, and announcements.

6. Cost effective 

Text messages are cheaper to send than other forms of advertising, such as placing paid social media ads, developing TV commercials, or sponsoring events. This is in part because it goes direct to the consumer, without passing through a third-party channel. An average SMS message ranges between $0.01 to $0.05 to send, with MMS texts costing slightly more because they are bigger, including up to 1600 characters and data like emojis, images, and brief video.

These benefits have helped push SMS marketing to the forefront. But, these channels are not perfect—they also come with challenges.

7. Short and to the point

While the 160 character limit for SMS is also a challenge for marketers, their short and to the point nature makes SMS messages perfect for messages like quick shipping updates and appointment reminders that often go unnoticed via email. 

8. Can be sent to any cell phone

Even if the customer doesn’t have a smartphone, they can still receive an SMS message. 

5 challenges of SMS marketing

SMS marketing also comes with its share of challenges. When used incorrectly, SMS marketing can come off as spammy or even be mistaken for fraudulent texts. Plus, marketers have limited characters to work with – SMS has a 160 character maximum. 

1. Limited length

The main challenge with SMS marketing is length. Topping out at 160 characters, SMS marketing messages are very short. Determining the most precise language to motivate consumers can be difficult. 

2. Compliance regulations

Prospects and customers must opt-in to SMS (and MMS) marketing campaigns. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (or TCPA) requires companies to get written consent before they send commercial text messages to any customer. Fines for texting customers without permission remain as high as $18,936 per violation. A famous cautionary tale comes from Domino’s Pizza. In 2013, the company paid over $10 million in fines for unsolicited text messages.

3. Easy opt-out

TCPA also requires companies to provide clear instructions and an easy method for opting out of receiving text messages. Most companies use a text messaging provider to send out mass communications. Through text messaging services, recipients can opt-out of receiving text messages by replying with the words “STOP,” “QUIT,” “UNSUBSCRIBE,” “OPT-OUT,” or “CANCEL.” The message carrier acknowledges these commands and stops future messages from going out to that customer.

4. Spam filters

The CAN-SPAM Act protects consumers from commercial text messages from unknown companies. Enterprises must continually test their text marketing platforms to make sure their campaigns aren’t flagged as spam, even if the consumer opted in.

5. Finding the proper cadence

60% of the respondents to a recent SimpleTexting survey indicate they unsubscribed from business SMS (and MMS) messages because they receive too many alerts per brand. Text messages statistics also reveal that 56% of these consumers prefer to receive just one text message a week.

Additional uses and benefits of MMS marketing

MMS relies on the same technology as SMS, and allows for multimedia content. Marketers mostly send photos through MMS, but the program can also send audio, phone contacts, and short video files. An MMS message can contain up to 10 images and up to 1600 characters, as long as the entire message is under 5 MB in size.

MMS marketing has a lot of the same benefits as SMS marketing with instant delivery, high open rates, great click-through rates, and effectiveness across multiple industries. But, since multimedia–such as images and video–are also included, that is a bit different from SMS and so it offers some unique benefits. 

Longer character limits

Marketers are less likely to run out of characters when sending MMS messages due to the increased character limit of 1600 characters vs. 160 on SMS. This reduces the need for companies to send multiple texts. Even with the extra space, MMS messages should still be short and to the point. It isn’t the right channel for longer form branded content. Despite the longer character limits of MMS, both SMS and MMS are more suited for quick updates, offers, and reminders. 

Multimedia capabilities

MMS marketing allows brands to create richer branded experiences via text messaging by including photos, audio, GIFS, or even video. While they do have longer character limits, brands have the opportunity to say a whole lot more via MMS through multimedia. These multimedia capabilities are perfect for showing pictures of products or images of package deliveries or orders ready for in-store pickup. Companies can share maps or photos of their locations to make it easier for customers to find them or voice reminders for a more personal touch. It’s a more immersive brand experience. 

Additional challenges of MMS marketing

MMS marketing also shares a lot of the same challenges as SMS marketing. These include compliance, easy opt-out, spam filters, and finding the proper cadence. However, there are also challenges unique to MMS marketing. 

Higher cost 

MMS requires more data than SMS. So they cost more to send. Some customers receiving MMS messages may have to pay extra to receive MMS messages depending on their cell phone plan.  

Additional content creation

While it’s a huge perk that MMS marketing allows for images, video, audio, and more, marketers often need to dedicate additional resources to creating content for MMS. This can also bring up the cost of MMS marketing if the multimedia assets you already have aren’t a fit for a particular campaign.  

Recipient must have a smartphone

MMS messages cannot be sent to customers without a smartphone. While most people today have smartphones, MMS is not as universal as SMS which can be sent to any phone.

How Generative AI for SMS marketing and MMS marketing improves business returns 

In 2022, 70% of consumers opted in to receive texts from businesses. Marketing departments are turning to Generative AI to come up with ideas and revise text message content. SMS and MMS messages are short, so companies need to get their messaging right the first time in order to get customers to engage and limit unsubscribe requests. Generative AI offers enterprise brands sending numerous SMS and MMS variations with scalability and the flexibility to quickly refresh large amounts of content quickly. 

While other Generative AI platforms only offer efficiency in creating a lot of digital content in a short amount of time, Persado Motivation AI offers both efficiency and effectiveness since it uses enterprise-proven Generative AI based on 1.5 billion customer interactions. Companies that use Motivation AI for SMS marketing and MMS marketing not only receive digital copy that fits their brand, but it also motivates their customers to engage and act. 

Generative AI can also automate image, audio, and video generation for MMS messages and other digital marketing campaigns.

The average American spends up to three hours a day browsing through a smartphone. Companies find that Generative AI for SMS marketing and MMS marketing crafted by the Persado Motivation AI Platform boosts their campaign performance. 

Nothing is more personal than sending a direct message to a customer’s device. With the character limits inherent to text messaging, words really do matter. By mapping precise language to human emotion, enterprises fully understand their customers. Personalized language moves across touch points, creating a continuous ability to learn, gain further insights, and drive ever higher performance.

The Persado Advantage for Generative AI for SMS Marketing and MMS Marketing

The Persado approach elevates Generative AI for marketing. The Persado Motivation AI Platform is enterprise-ready. It interprets the intent of a SMS or MMS message, uses AI and machine learning models, and together with an unparalleled decision engine and knowledge base, generates the precise language that resonates with each individual. Persado leverages patented algorithms and learns consumer response patterns to continue to refine digital marketing language for performance.  

Understanding your ideal customers’ pain points remains critical to the success of SMS and MMS marketing campaigns. While brands see great results from SMS and MMS, Persado Motivation AI–a specialized class of Generative AI for the enterprise–drives results across every digital channel (i.e. email, website, social media, etc.) to deliver personalized language at scale that boosts conversions across the entire digital journey. For example, British retailer Marks & Spencer saw its conversion rate lift as high as 34% using Persado AI-generated language across their digital channels. 

By recognizing different customers based on their reactions to language, Persado uses these insights to generate personalized content. One example is Vodafone, a leading technology communications company in Europe and Africa. Vodafone has leveraged the Persado Generative AI for SMS marketing since 2013. In the last decade, the company notes a 42% increase in conversion rates. 

Brands that use Persado Generative AI for SMS marketing and MMS marketing enjoy increased sales, see higher conversions, and have stronger engagement. In short, our proprietary AI tools move the needle faster for dynamic results that can’t be replicated in the market. 

96% of Persado content delivers better performance than the brand’s best alternative message. To learn more about Generative AI for SMS marketing and MMS marketing, talk to Persado.

Related Articles