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Evaluating SMS Text Message ROI And Providers For Small Business

Evaluating SMS Text Message ROI and Providers for Small Business

I want to like SMS or text message marketing…

  1. It’s opt-in or permission-based only, enforceable by Telephone Consumer Protection Act since 2013 (Papa Johns paid a whopping $16 million to resolve unsolicited text campaigns¹).
  2. As high as 97% of subscribers see your message within 15 minutes² .
    These two reasons alone should make text message a campaigns a run-away marketing train, compared to 35% open rate considered excellent for an email campaign³.

Yet, these stats don’t share the story of the opt-out rate, and I question Tatango’s (an SMS service provider) low opt out rate for weekday campaigns4. How many of us want solicitations to come to our phone?

Any SMS campaign I’ve been incentivized to opt-in for, I’ve also opted out within four weeks.

Text messaging is the last sacred platform where I want to receive interruption-based communication from friends and family – unlike email or social media which I control when I access it.

My only text message alert exception is a doctor appointment confirmation. Yet when provided a choice between email where I can click a link to confirm appointment, or confirming via text, I prefer email.



I was recently presented with an excellent use for SMS marketing: At a music event, people are drinking and dancing; they aren’t going to visit a website to opt-in with email, so the easiest invitation to follow band event notifications would be to text a keyword (Name of Band) to short code (313131).

Once opted in, A/B test one group for text message notification opt outs and campaign email opt in option to the other group to measure long-term subscriber engagement.


The majority of SMS providers offer a lot of features at a somewhat high monthly investment around $50 per month for 500-1000 recipients. Few offer a free service other than a 14 day trial period.

Small Business Trends observed already 5 of 13 mainstream SMS services are no longer in business5. I discovered two enduring services with free or affordable options to test SMS marketing for your business:

EZ Texting: I like the easy to understand interface since support requires a paid service, offers free service option up to 250 messages (no charge for incoming responses) and pay as you go 5 cent option for over 250 messages without committing to the next tier of $50 per month.

Betwext Texting: No free option but $9 per month is approachable to check out the service for any small business. This service allows up to 3 keywords for multiple campaigns and includes online support. I would prefer if the dedicated text number were a short code.

Options and pricing increase from there, OptIt Mobile offers $20 per month including 2 cent messaging (both to send and receive). At this point the savings may not be substantial enough not to compare it to the other $50 per month providers to determine which best fits your needs long term (no one wants to learn how to navigate a new service interface every 6 months).

Have a favorite SMS campaign and want to share?

Please post in comments or on my Facebook page for a chance to win a free expert review of your FB ad campaign or LinkedIn profile.





Veronica Cannady combines SEO Research & Copywriting to Design Optimized Websites - Beautifully.

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