We all know what it's like to send out a thoughtfully-crafted text message and then wait in nail-biting agony for those three little dots to show we're getting a response. 

Well, it's not much different when using text messaging to engage customers with your business. Have you ever excitedly launched a new service or promoted an event to your client base only to find the engagement remains painfully low? 

Or what about when you send out reminders to clients? Or want to collect feedback to help improve your services, yet the analysis shows that no one is opening your messages? Spending time, energy, and money trying to communicate with clients can quickly become disheartening and damaging to your business if those messages don't hit home. 

This article will explore the fundamental differences, advantages, and disadvantages between SMS and MMS and how using them well can create tangible improvements in fostering excellent team and client communication.

Why Sms Why Sms

SMS vs. MMS: What is the difference? 

What is SMS messaging?

SMS is an acronym for Short Message Service, also known as a text message. SMS messaging was the brainchild of ​​Friedhelm Hillebrand and Bernard Ghillebaert, who developed the concept in the Franco-German GSM cooperation in 1984. However, it wasn't until 1992 that British software architect, designer, and developer Niel Papworth sent the first-ever text message. 

To this day, SMS messaging is the most frequently used texting technology, and can be found on every mobile phone in the world, be it an ancient Nokia or the latest shiny iPhone. There is a 160 alphanumeric character limit per message and no capability to support sending graphics or pictures.

What is MMS messaging?

MMS is an acronym for Multimedia Message Service and is typically used to send multimedia content, including videos, photos, GIFs, and audio files. Unlike SMS, these messages have a much bigger restriction length, giving users greater scope to convey a range of information to their audiences. The maximum message size (along with the attachments) recently increased from 300KB to a maximum size of 600KB. However, size restrictions can be imposed by wireless carriers themselves.


Why should we care?

In the U.S. alone, more than 6 billion SMS messages are sent each day [1]. Research by the Data & Marketing Association revealed that 90% of texts would be read within three minutes, which rose to 98% by the end of the day [2].

In short, if you send an SMS message, your customer will see it. So incorporating this type of communication can massively increase customer engagement. The total number of SMS and MMS messages sent in the United States each year is eye-watering. We're talking thousands of billions of messages. That's thousands of billions of opportunities to connect with your customers, promote your products and cement your brand. 

Being clear on the difference between SMS and MMS messaging can help businesses decide which will be more appropriate and effective to use under what circumstances. You may not be maximizing the potential benefits if you don’t understand the nuances between the two and when it’s best to use them. Incorrect usage could lead to ineffective campaign communication, poor engagement, and even loss of customers — which costs the business money. 

From Papa John’s to JCPenney, big companies worldwide are using SMS and MMS messaging to market their services, collect information, and connect with their customers. And it's working. Take Dirty Lemon, for example, which has been using text messaging to take orders since 2015, and its direct sales to customers continue to increase monthly. [4] 

Advantages and disadvantages of SMS vs. MMS

Let’s take a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of both SMS and MMS

Advantages of SMS

Disadvantages of SMS

Advantages of MMS

Disadvantages of MMS

Why should we care?

Being clear on the advantages and disadvantages of SMS and MMS messaging enables businesses to make more informed decisions about what's suitable for their customers. Either way, it's clear customers want businesses to contact them for many reasons, so if you aren't already using this type of communication to engage your customers, you could be missing a trick. 

SMS vs. MMS use cases 

So when is it best to use SMS to connect with clients?


When is it best to use MMS to connect with clients?

Should I use SMS or MMS?

SMS is best to convey simple information, reminders, and updates with a clear message and prominent CTA that will inspire action. For event promotion, more complex support issues, or launching a new product or service, presenting your offer visually via MMS may be the way to go.

Many businesses have legitimate cost concerns around MMS but still want to take advantage of media capabilities. In this case, a more budget-friendly and equally effective alternative may be to employ channels such as WhatsApp to communicate with your customers.

Get started with messaging today

Since Freshchat offers both SMS and messaging channels, we could be a great option for your business. Getting started with SMS via Freshchat is hassle-free and offers easy engagement between businesses and their customer base.

This is achieved via live chat, chatbots, and messaging apps, including Whatsapp, Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, and LINE

Now that you understand the differences between MMS and SMS messaging and where their strengths and weaknesses lie, you can use both to communicate with your customers and increase engagement.

In doing so, you can say goodbye to poor customer response, missed reminders, and low feedback rates and enjoy a renewed, rewarding, and long-lasting relationship with your client base. 


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