WhatsApp vs. SMS Marketing: Which One is Better for You?

WhatsApp campaigns are more suitable for businesses where images play a huge role. SMSs are better for companies that offer a service rather than a product.

WhatsApp vs. SMS Marketing: Which One is Better for You?

Over the last few years, mobile marketing has experienced remarkable growth with the advent of new technologies like WhatsApp Cloud API and has become an integral part of the digital marketing landscape.

With the rapid increase in the number of smartphone users and overgrowing dependence on mobile devices, companies have recognized the potential of reaching out to their target audience through WhatsApp marketing, SMS marketing, or flash messages.

But if you are new in the industry or just starting your business, then you might have this question in your mind as to which type of marketing is suitable for your company and its customers. 

Don’t worry if that is the case. Because in this article, I’ll help you figure out between WhatsApp and traditional SMS, which of these mobile marketing campaigns is a great fit for you. I’ll also provide you with the pros and cons of both these channels, so you can make an informed decision depending on your business and the types of sales you offer.

What is WhatsApp marketing?

WhatsApp has established itself as an industry leader in the communication sector. With two billion average users per month, it is one of the most used apps on the planet. With these many users, I highly doubt that you are unfamiliar with it. 

And as you might already know, WhatsApp marketing is all about using WhatsApp as a messaging platform to promote your offerings using marketing tools for WhatsApp. It involves sending discount codes, offers, or marketing messages to drive customer engagement that could result in sales.

An example of WhatsApp marketing.

Overall, WhatsApp marketing is similar to any other kind of marketing. But the aspect that makes it stand out in comparison to other forms of marketing is the huge audience that you can reach through it. With that said, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of running a WhatsApp marketing campaign.

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Pros and cons of WhatsApp marketing

WhatsApp marketing offers several advantages and disadvantages to your business. Here are some of the pros to begin with:

Pros

Being a widely recognized communication channel, WhatsApp provides these benefits to you:

Global user base

People all around the world use WhatsApp, making them potential customers of your business. In fact, 175 million users utilize WhatsApp to get in touch with a company every day. Such a degree of engagement allows you to reach out to international markets and target customers from different geographic locations. 

Whether you run a local business or a global brand, WhatsApp provides a platform to connect with a diverse range of people. 

Real-time communication

WhatsApp can serve as an effective communication channel for providing real-time, quick information as well as support to the inquiries of your customers. Also, having a business presence on WhatsApp allows your customers to reach out to you easily. They don’t have to fill out forms and wait for a reply for hours. With the help of WhatsApp business automation, businesses are able to retain more customers and keep their engagement level high. 

Multimedia capabilities

One of the biggest advantages of WhatsApp is its ability to share various types of content, such as images, videos, and audio clips to drive engagement. 

This way, you can showcase your products visually by sharing product images, video tutorials, or product demonstrations. 

Cost- effective

WhatsApp marketing is economical as it is free to use (Business app) and the messages are sent via the Internet, which generally incurs no additional charges.  

With a free-to-use Business app and an API that allows you to send 1000 conversations free every month, WhatsApp is an excellent platform even for small businesses to reach out to a large number of prospects.

Opt-in model

WhatsApp uses an opt-in model to ensure that users have explicitly provided their consent before you can send them marketing messages. This requirement means that the users you engage on WhatsApp are genuinely interested in your offerings. This results in higher conversion and engagement rates.

Cons

Now that you are familiar with the benefits of WhatsApp marketing, let’s also take a look at its disadvantages:

Restriction on the number of users/devices

If you are using the WhatsApp Business app, then you can only add up to five people (including yourself) to your Business account. This implies that you cannot add more than 4 additional users to WhatsApp.

If you want to use your WhatsApp account on more than 5 devices, you have to use WhatsApp API and connect it with communication software like Zixflow. Or you can also integrate it with your CRM to use the details saved in it.

No public profile 

Unlike other social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, WhatsApp doesn’t offer a public profile or discoverability features. You cannot have public pages for your audience to find and follow. Instead, you have to rely on other marketing channels to promote your WhatsApp preference.

Can cause message fatigue

Sending too many messages or too many updates can lead to message fatigue. A situation where users may become disinterested or annoyed with your messages, leading to muting or blocking your account. 

Maintaining an appropriate frequency and relevancy of messages is crucial to avoid overwhelming your audience. Different strategies for WhatsApp marketing should be implemented to avoid this kind of situation.

24-hour time limit

WhatsApp Business has a 24-hour Window clause, where you, as a business, can send proactive messages to the customers for free within a 24-hour period after the last customer-initiated interaction. 

But if you didn’t reply to a customer’s message for 24 hours, you can only use WhatsApp Business Message Templates for conversations. These templates are pre-approved messages that should follow WhatsApp guidelines and belong to a particular category like account updates, shipping notifications, or order confirmations. 

By using these templates, you will incur some costs according to WhatsApp’s “per-conversation” pricing model. To know more about this, check out WhatsApp Business pricing.

What is SMS marketing?

Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing, is a sales engagement approach, where you send promotional or informational messages as a text message. It involves using an engagement platform to reach a target audience directly on their mobile phones.

It is one of the oldest types of marketing that businesses use to date to market their products or services. Text messages can contain various types of messages, such as promotional offers, product updates, or reminders. 

An example of SMS marketing.

Having said that, let’s check out below the strengths and weaknesses of SMS marketing. This will help you see how it can be a good marketing tool for your business along with its limitations.

Pros and cons of text message marketing

Like any other marketing channel, the SMS channel also has its benefits and restrictions. Below I will talk about a few of the key ones:

Pros

As a messaging channel, SMS offers the following benefits:

Less competitive

One of the benefits of SMS marketing is that it is generally less competitive compared to other channels like email. Just 40 out of 100 companies use SMS marketing as a primary medium. This means that there is a higher chance for you to stand out without being overwhelmed by competing messages.

High open and conversion rates

SMS messages have high open rates, often within minutes of being delivered. This high visibility ensures that your message is viewed by a large portion of your target audience. In comparison to other mediums where promotional messages are easily missed or overlooked, SMSs offer a greater likelihood of grabbing your customers’ attention and boosting sales engagement.

Highly reliable

Text messages have a high deliverability rate, meaning your messages are delivered instantly. Also, you do not need internet connectivity to receive text messages. This is great for sending important or urgent messages as the recipient only has to be within their phone’s coverage area.

Extreme reach

SMS marketing has a wide reach, even wider than WhatsApp, that can be used to target a large number of individuals. Although it is possible that a person having a phone doesn't have WhatsApp, it is not the case with SMS messages. This makes it a viable option for reaching a wider customer base.

Cons

While SMS marketing provides several benefits, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Here are some of them:

Limit on message characters

There is a limit to the number of characters you can use in a text message. Usually, this limit is 160 characters, which makes it more challenging to convey complex details effectively. You have to be concise with your message, which may require careful editing and prioritization of content.

Next to no multimedia capabilities

SMS messages are mostly text-based and lack visual elements found in emails or WhatsApp messages. This aspect makes it difficult to highlight your products or provide visual descriptions. You only have to rely on written text to convey your message effectively.

Variable pricing

Although SMS marketing is typically cost-effective, the cost can vary based on the number of messages you are sending and the pricing plans of your service provider. That’s why it is necessary to consider the potential costs associated with SMS marketing if you want to send bulk messages.

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WhatsApp or text message: which one is suitable for you?

By now you must have a pretty good understanding of the difference between WhatsApp and SMS marketing. Now the choice is up to you to decide which one to use.

When you make that decision, consider which channel your audience most actively uses or which one can allow you to promote your offerings more successfully. 

Whichever option you pick, you have to use a communication platform to run your messaging campaigns (except for the WhatsApp Business app.) And for that, you can use Zixflow. It is an outbound sales platform where you can run both WhatsApp and SMS marketing campaigns. 

You can use it to build WhatsApp campaigns and message templates easily.

WhatsApp marketing campaign builder in Zixflow.

Similarly, you can also create SMS campaigns to send text messages to your audience.

SMS marketing campaign builder in Zixflow.

On top of that, Zixflow comes with a sales CRM, using which you can import the contact details of your recipients directly into the campaigns. This will further streamline the execution and save time by not having to enter these details manually.

So, get Zixflow today and expand your reach using the channels of your choice.

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