What Is the Use of Text Messages?

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by Nick Brems | Last Updated: Mar 15, 2023

It’s safe to say technology has made our lives easier. One of the greatest improvements we have made is in communicating with one another. Communication has rapidly evolved since the first email was sent in 1971 and the World Wide Web went public 20 years later. Arguably, nothing has changed the way we communicate more than text messaging. In 2021, mobile users in the United States sent roughly 2 trillion SMS or MMS messages. Worldwide, 23 billion texts are sent every day — that’s 270,000 every second, as cited by Forbes. Brands began adopting text messaging strategies to combat consumer email fatigue.  With 95 percent of all text messages read within the first three minutes of delivery, it’s no wonder why marketers use text messages to engage consumers. 

What is the Meaning of Text Messaging?

Text messages, or texts, are electronic notes sent over Wi-Fi or cellular-data networks between two or more connected devices. Also known as mobile messaging, text messaging examples include text-based messages, meaning written words. Multimedia content can also be shared over text messaging, including images, videos, gifs, and audio files. There are two types of text messages: SMS and MMS. Short messaging service (SMS) restricts senders to 160 characters per message. Messages that exceed this are separated into segments of 160 characters each. MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service, as the name implies they are used to send multimedia files, such as photos, voice memos, and brief videos. Both SMS and MMS messages are sent over a cellular network. If your text messaging strategy includes international recipients, you will need to consider the current international guidelines. For example, only the United States and Canada currently support MMS. However, Twilio, one of the most respected customer engagement platforms, offers an MMS Converter feature. This functionality automatically converts MMS to SMS when sent to destinations that don't support MMS. These SMS messages will contain a link in the body to let the recipient access the media. Think of this like the difference between HTML and plain text emails.

What is the Use of Text Messages?

Adopting a text messaging strategy can be highly advantageous to your organization. Brands can expect their texts to be read, since 98 percent of text messages are read. On top of this, text message communication feels more personal. This is because your customers think of text messages as an intimate communication channel for family and friends.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Text Messages?

The advantages of SMS marketing campaigns outweigh the disadvantages by a rather large margin. Text messaging advantages include: Disadvantages There are three major disadvantages of SMS campaigns that need to be taken into account.
  1. Character Limit: With SMS messages, you can only send 160 characters in a segment. This means your messages must be short and to the point. If you include a URL in the text, that counts towards the character limit. Sending more than 160 characters will result in multiple text messages being sent, likely in a different order than expected. 
  2. Annoying Recipients: If you don’t adhere to text messaging etiquette and best practices, you run the risk of annoying your customers. Sending texts too frequently or sending pointless messages will increase your opt-out rate. Customers opt-in based on a promise of receiving exclusive offers and/or urgent updates. Hold up your end of the bargain.
  3. Skeptical Customers: The incidence of spam texts is on the rise. As a result, your customers may be leery about signing up to receive your brand’s messages, or if they have signed up, they may be cautious about clicking a link in a message.

How Do You Write a Text Message?

Like any communications channel, marketers must take their target audience into consideration. When in the customer journey will an individual receive a brand’s text message? How will it be helpful, engaging, entertaining, or otherwise build brand loyalty? These are factors marketers must consider before ever drafting text messages. Messaging solutions enable marketers to build an audience that has completed the required double opt-in, and segment that audience to receive different messages at different times. Marketers can write text messages in a messaging solution and schedule them to send at a later date and time, or immediately.   We’ve covered that SMS messages must be 160 characters or less. Within those 160 characters a well-crafted brand message will be engaging, informative, and provide the reader with actionable details - a CTA (call to action). A CTA can be clicking a link to buy tickets, replying to confirm an appointment, or a request to save the date. When writing good text content in an SMS campaign there are a few key steps to follow.  Take a tour of our Messaging solution and see first-hand how easy it is to communicate with your customers via mobile. 

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