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SMS vs. WhatsApp marketing: a comprehensive guide to choosing the best for your business

SMS vs. WhatsApp marketing: a comprehensive guide to choosing the best for your business

SMS and WhatsApp marketing are becoming increasingly popular as they provide businesses with an effective way to reach their target audience. Over 91% of customers want to get SMS messages from businesses, and messages sent using the WhatsApp Business API have a 99% open rate. This just proves how both of these forms of messaging have become essential for businesses looking to communicate with their customers in a timely manner.

Instant messaging, including SMS and WhatsApp, generates better marketing results with an impressive open rate of around 98%.

Upon putting WhatsApp vs texting on SMS side by side, many businesses may wonder, “what exactly is the difference between WhatsApp and texting on SMS?” Now, let’s take a look at the basics of SMS and WhatsApp marketing to find out the striking differences between WhatsApp vs text messaging.

What is SMS marketing?

SMS broadcast message template

SMS marketing (short message service marketing) is a technique used by businesses to promote their products or services through text messages sent to customers' phone numbers via telcos. It involves creating a text message with a promotional offer or information about a product or service and sending it to a list of subscribers who have opted-in to receive messages from the business.

SMS marketing can be an effective way for businesses to reach their target audience quickly and directly, as text messages have a high open and read rate compared to other forms of digital marketing such as emails. However, it is important for businesses to obtain the consent of customers before sending them text messages, as unsolicited messages can be considered spam and may lead to legal issues.

Why use SMS marketing

Showing an SMS blast software

There are several reasons why businesses use SMS marketing as part of their overall marketing strategy:

  • High open rate (~98%)

  • Instant delivery, effective for time-sensitive promotions or urgent messages

  • Wide reach, since almost everyone has a mobile phone

  • Does not require an internet connection

  • Requires a lower budget as compared to print advertising or TV commercials

  • Personalized communication through analyses of customer data

  • Opt-in ensures that messages are only sent to people who are interested in your products or services

Fast forward to 2023, we now have a variety of instant messaging apps to send text messages, and consumers are shifting from SMS to other popular social media channels such as WhatsApp. Hence, it is also crucial for businesses to start adopting WhatsApp marketing tactics to attract and retain customers.

What is WhatsApp marketing?

Sending out WhatsApp Broadcast Messages for WhatsApp Marketing

WhatsApp marketing is a digital marketing technique that involves using WhatsApp business messaging to promote a product or service to customers. This technique involves businesses reaching out to potential and existing customers through WhatsApp and engaging them in one-on-one conversations.

Some examples of WhatsApp marketing include sending promotional messages through WhatsApp Broadcast, offering customer support through the app, and sending updates about new products or services. This type of marketing can be highly effective because it allows businesses to communicate with customers in a more personal and direct way.

Why use WhatsApp marketing?

SleekFlow platform automation feature for WhatsApp marketing messages

Similar to SMS marketing, WhatsApp marketing is effective in capturing the attention of consumers and increasing customer engagement. They are also beneficial because:

  • High open rate (~99%)

  • WhatsApp has a large user base of over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide

  • Personalized communication and interactive features such as chat buttons

  • Multimedia content such as images and videos can be attached to WhatsApp messages

  • Up-to-date WhatsApp catalogs can be shared easily

  • Cost-effective and more budget-friendly compared to SMS marketing (can be free if messages are broadcasted to a smaller audience on the free WhatsApp Business App)

  • Real-time analytics for WhatsApp marketing campaigns

  • Opt-in ensures that messages are only sent to people who are interested in your products or services

Pricing for SMS vs. WhatsApp marketing

girl blasting sms on marketing platform

A quick comparison of the pricing for SMS vs. WhatsApp marketing:

  • SMS marketing

SMS broadcast messages are normally charged per message sent, and the price ranges from $0.25 to $0.50 depending on your carrier. This means that you will need to prepare a large amount of marketing budget if you plan to broadcast to a large number of customers.

  • WhatsApp marketing

WhatsApp broadcast messages can be free on the WhatsApp Business App, but you will only be able to include 256 recipients. To send to a large audience, you will need to use the WhatsApp Business Platform. There will be conversation fees charged by WhatsApp and a monthly subscription fee required for the WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP) assigned by Meta. However, a WhatsApp conversation includes all messages sent within the 24-hour window. The fee per conversation also varies depending on the country and the type of messages sent, making it more budget-friendly for businesses to scale.

To understand how WhatsApp conversation fees work, check out our latest 2023 pricing guide.

What’s the difference between SMS and WhatsApp marketing

Now that you understand what SMS and WhatsApp marketing are, here’s a table summarizing the key differences between SMS vs. WhatsApp marketing.

SMS MarketingWhatsApp Marketing
ChannelPhone numberWhatsApp
DeliveryUses phone's messaging app, does not require internet connectivityRequires internet connectivity
MultimediaLimited support for multimedia contentSupports larger and more varied multimedia content, including WhatsApp catalogs that can be updated from time to time
CostTypically charged per message sentFree or charged per 24-hr conversation
EngagementLimited interaction, typically one-way communicationReal-time, interactive engagement, ability to have one-on-one conversations
Open ratesHigh open rates, typically up to 98%High open rates, typically up to 99%

Choosing the right instant messaging platform for Your business goals

SleekFlow Campaigns easy broadcast to list of recipients

SMS and WhatsApp marketing both have their advantages and disadvantages, but the truth is, you don’t have to choose either one. On SleekFlow, you can achieve your marketing goals using SMS and WhatsApp marketing, and compare the results to see which instant messaging strategy works best for your business and products or services. The fastest way to find the most effective solution is to test it out on your customers.

SleekFlow, as an omnichannel social commerce platform, understands your business needs. Powerful integrations with both Twilio and WhatsApp Business API or WhatsApp Business Platform are made available for you to broadcast marketing messages via SMS and WhatsApp. 

As the official WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP), SleekFlow offers a wide range of solutions for you to guide customers through the shopping experience seamlessly. By completing your SMS and WhatsApp marketing strategy on SleekFlow, you can benefit from many other features:

  • A shared inbox for teams to collaborate on managing conversations and complete interdepartmental hand-offs smoothly

  • In-chat payment links for customers to pay instantly

  • Automated workflows and chatbots to assist customers and sell through all popular social messaging channels 24/7

  • Social CRM tools for proper customer segmentation and accurate retargeting

  • Integrations with existing CRM platforms or e-commerce stores for complete customer details (such as lead stage or purchase history) right next to the chatbox

You get also get professional assistance for the application of your official WhatsApp Business account, including the green tick verification!

Want to see how other businesses succeed in doing WhatsApp marketing via SleekFlow? Check out our success stories.

Get marketing solutions tailored to your business needs on SleekFlow. Start today.

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