The Power of Text Message Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are leading the way in making text messaging the preferred method of communication. In fact, given the choice, 75% of Millennials would give up the option of making voice calls on their phones in order to keep texting. As a business seeking to market to this demographic, you must consider SMS marketing or text message marketing, to be one of the most powerful ways to reach your customers and clients. Going forward, there are several questions to be answered. Could text message marketing overtake email marketing, with regard to return on investment? What are the reasons behind this shift? What are the best practices companies should follow when implementing an SMS marketing campaign?

Text Message Marketing vs Email Marketing

In terms of ROI, email marketing remains an incredibly effective tool to reach your customers, including the Millennial segment. However, evidence suggests that email may be declining. The Radicati Group found that in 2015, the number of worldwide email users was around 2.6 billion. This dwarfed their previous prediction that there would be 4.6 million email users in the same interval. Currently, there are nearly 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. This works out to be 95.5% of the world’s population. Around 75% of those phones are text-enabled.

The Power of Text Message Marketing

Reaching your target is one thing, but converting them is the ultimate goal. One study yielded some very encouraging results. It found that sales prospects who were sent SMS marketing messages converted at a rate 40 percent greater than users who received no marketing related text messages. The same study discovered that text messaging elicited a 45% response rate, whereas email marketing delivered only a 6% rate of response. Additionally, the following statistics have merit,

  • Emails have an open rate of between 17% – 28%
  • SMS has an open rate of between 98% – 100%


  • Meeting Millennials Where They Are

When the mega department store, Nordstrom, discovered that its social media and email campaigns were not reaching as many of their customers as desired. They polled their customers and found that 33% of their customers actually preferred to be contacted by text message.

  • Increased Real-Time Engagement

Considering that 90% of text messages are opened and read within 90 seconds of receipt, the concept of the near instant engagement is realized. Text messages are also more reliable than emails, which are often trashed before being opened. The ability to reach your users with well-timed precision and accuracy opens up the possibilities to create marketing campaigns designed to quickly impact sales or conversions, such as timely offer codes, discounts, and promotions. Geofencing is a new technology that offers a way for targeted offers to be sent to subscribers when their GPS enabled device indicates they are within a pre-specified distance from a business.

  • Digital vs. Private: Millennial Enigma

One of the main reasons cited for text messaging popularity is the belief that at least 76% of Millennials have that texting is less disruptive than other means of communications. Millennials tend to separate their digital lives and personal lives. They are almost always connected to the Internet, yet they tend to be very private. This apparent contradiction extends to the manner in which they prefer to be contacted. They do not see forms digital communication as being intrusive, while they do find phone calls to be invasive and unwelcome. This generation also welcomes text messaging as a convenience because the texts are opened and read on the recipient’s schedule. Though another interesting contradiction is that only 19% of Millennials report regularly listening to voicemail.

Powerful Ways to Utilize Text Message Marketing

There are many creative ways in which companies are using SMS to successfully reach their Millennial base. Some of these include;

  • Personalized product offers or discounts
  • Notifications for upcoming events
  • Shipping and delivery alerts
  • Payment reminders
  • Follow-ups and satisfaction surveys

SMS Marketing Best Practices

Before starting any type of SMS marketing campaign, it is important to learn the legal and ethical best practices. Here are a few things to consider.

  • Obtain Consent

This is a Federal requirement and failure to oblige can result in, fines, penalties, and consumer lawsuits, not to mention, damage to your brand and unhappy customers. Millennials are private individuals who allow you into their world on their terms therefore, aside from the legal and ethical ramifications, consent is integral to the success of your marketing endeavors. For more on regulatory guidelines, visit

  • Frequency and Hours

No one wants you to blow their phone up with marketing texts. Data suggests that 80% of consumers would like to receive at most, two marketing messages each month. As well, off-hour texts are not appreciated, so it is best to only send messages within the normal business hours for your area.

  • Disclaimer and Opt-out

Each text message should include opt-out language and a rate disclaimer. The more simple and straightforward the better. The following are effective and commonly used; “Msg & Data rates may apply” and Text STOP to unsubscribe”. This not only ensures compliance with regulations, it also establishes trust and credibility with your customer.

Millennials as the largest living generation have much sway over trends in all sectors of the economy. Businesses seeking to connect with this group must differentiate by meeting them where they are, on their terms and with offerings they value. Text message marketing is certainly one way to put your business ahead of the competition, as SMS is becoming the default means of communicating.

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