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MMS marketing: A detailed explainer

Alia Paavola
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In a bustling world, marketers must get creative to capture their audience's attention. When it comes to using mobile marketing, how can businesses ensure their messages stand out? That’s where MMS marketing, a powerful gem of modern communication, comes into play.

This guide will give you a deeper understanding of MMS marketing, including a clear definition, real-world examples, best practices, and how to get started.

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<h2 id="Whatis">What is MMS marketing?</h2>

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) marketing is a form of mobile advertising that lets businesses send multimedia content to a target audience. Brands use MMS marketing to send rich content like images, videos, or GIFs alongside their text messages to increase brand awareness, customer engagement, and sales.

MMS marketing differs from SMS marketing because it allows longer text messages and multimedia. SMS, on the other hand, is limited to 160 characters and is plain text. Another difference between MMS and SMS is that MMS costs more per message. 

MMS messaging, introduced in 2002, has grown in popularity. In the U.S., the number of MMS messages sent increased by 28 percent from 2019 to 2020.

How does MMS marketing work?

To send MMS marketing campaigns, brands need to use a texting platform that enables them to send mass text messages at scale. Once you have that platform and an SMS subscriber list, you can send multimedia messages directly to those opted-in contacts.

Customers don’t need to download a separate app to get MMS messages; they’ll be sent directly to the native text messaging app on their mobile device.

<h2 id="Benefits">10 benefits of MMS marketing</h2>

MMS marketing is an effective strategy brands use to reach customers, boost engagement, and drive conversions. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the top text marketing benefits, starting with the benefits of MMS. 

  • Higher engagement rate. Research shows that MMS messaging campaigns enjoy higher engagement rates than SMS campaigns. Some studies point to a 300 percent higher engagement rate when using MMS vs. SMS for marketing purposes.

  • Improved branding. With the ability to add multimedia content, a message can become more on-brand for your business. The images or files you include in your MMS should help your company add a pop of personality to your messages.
  • Longer character limit. Another key characteristic of MMS is its longer character count. With MMS messages you have 1,600 characters, which allows you to send longer messages.

  • Stand out with visuals. Images and visuals can help your brand stand out from competitors and separate from scammers. That’s because scammers often use plain text in their fraudulent messages.

  • High open rate. All text messages, including MMS, have a 98 percent open rate. This is more than four times the open rate of email. Since messages are sent directly to consumers’ phones, they’re hard to ignore, quick to read, and enticing to open.

  • Wide reach. Most Americans, 97 percent, own a cellphone capable of receiving MMS messages. This means you can reach your audience with an MMS message.

  • Solid conversion rates. The reality is mobile marketing campaigns drive sales. Research shows they generate six times higher order rates than email marketing campaigns.

  • Instant delivery. MMS messages are delivered within seconds and read within minutes. Research shows that 80 percent of text messages are read within five minutes of receipt.

  • Cost-effective marketing. Even though an MMS message costs more to send than an SMS message, it still costs just pennies. The cost per click for other ads on Google or social media can cost several dollars.

  • Lower competition. The reality is email marketing and social media marketing are highly saturated. SMS and MMS marketing aren’t as prominent, even though the strategy is growing in popularity.

<h2 id="Leverage">Different ways to leverage MMS marketing</h2>

Let’s look at the types of marketing campaigns where MMS may be beneficial to use over SMS or other mobile messaging types. All of these campaign types can benefit from including a visual.

  • Product launches. When promoting a new product to your SMS list, including a photo of the item may improve engagement and interest.

  • Restock alerts. A visual alongside a restock alert message may generate interest from your subscribers, especially if they signed up to be alerted when the item was back in stock.

  • Seasonal or holiday sales. An MMS marketing campaign may boost the success of your seasonal or holiday sales. That’s because a visual may grasp the attention of your audience.

  • Coupons and discounts. Include a visual alongside your text campaign that gives subscribers coupons or exclusive discounts. You could even send a QR code coupon that subscribers can use in stores.

  • Birthday offers. Send an image alongside your birthday wishes and offers. Your customers may feel delight from a happy birthday image.

  • Event invites. Send a poster-like image alongside your event invites to encourage more attendees and get them the necessary details.

  • Contest or giveaways. Since MMS offers heightened engagement, encourage more entries into a contest or giveaway with a visual attachment.

Interested in learning the instances where SMS may be a better fit? Check out this blog on SMS vs. MMS.

<h2 id="Examples">17 examples of MMS marketing</h2>

Are you interested in seeing how brands utilize MMS marketing in the real world? Here are 17 examples of MMS marketing campaigns to get you inspired.

Welcome message

Lovepop welcomes new subscribers to its contact list with an MMS marketing text. This welcome text gives an overview of the brand’s primary offering, includes a call-to-action, and shares an SMS link for customers to view its website.

An MMS welcome text from Lovepop.

Product launch

In this example, SKIMS uses an MMS marketing text to announce a new product. The image clearly shows the latest product and the brand uses a link to encourage customers to shop immediately.

A product launch MMS marketing example from SKIMS.

Limited-time sale

Toxin-free cosmetics brand Crunchi uses a photo text message to announce a limited-time sale. This marketing campaign encourages customers to shop quickly before the deal ends. The image is relevant to the exclusive discount offering.

A limited-time sale MMS marketing campaign from Crunchi.

Last chance sale

In this MMS marketing campaign, Outdoor Voices announces a last-chance sale. The outdoor apparel company lets customers know that a 70 percent discount is available through the evening to encourage purchases. This image announces the sale vs. showing a specific product.

A last-call MMS marketing campaign from Outdoor Voices.

Seasonal sale alert

Another MMS marketing example comes from SKIMS, which announces a summer sale. You can use this type of SMS marketing campaign no matter the season. For example, you could also have a fall, winter, or spring sale. 

A seasonal sale MMS alert from SKIMS.

Holiday sale

In the following example, Crunchi wishes its SMS subscribers a Happy Labor Day and offers free shipping. This is a great example of a holiday promotional text message to encourage customers to buy on their day off. 

A holiday sale MMS marketing example from Crunchi.

Black Friday sale

Many brands use MMS marketing to promote their Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals. Lovepop does just that in this MMS marketing text. It promotes a Black Friday Super Pack and encourages customers to take advantage of the best discount of the year. 

A Black Friday MMS marketing example from Lovepop.

P.S. Looking for more Black Friday text examples and templates? Check out this blog 😊

Engagement campaign

You don’t always have to sell something in your MMS marketing messages. Take a page out of Pacific Batch Cookie Co.’s book and run an SMS campaign to engage and delight customers. In this MMS marketing text, the bakery offers customers a recipe guide to bake sugar cookies. It also plugs its service if customers don’t want to bake themselves.

An engagement MMS campaign from a bakery.

Restock alert

Use MMS marketing to alert customers about product restocks. You can encourage customers to sign up for marketing text messages when an item is back in stock or shoot a mass text to your subscribers when a popular item is back on the shelves. In the example below, you see SKIMS sent a restock alert to its customers. 

A restock MMS message from SKIMS.

Giveaway campaign

Use MMS to encourage customers to enter for a chance to win a giveaway. You could offer them a chance to win a gift card, special product, or exclusive discount. In the example below, Crunchi encourages SMS subscribers to enter its Instagram giveaway.

A giveaway contest MMS marketing text from Crunchi.

Abandoned cart campaign

The reality is that abandoned carts negatively affect every ecommerce store. Recover more lost revenue with abandoned cart text reminders. Alphalete uses an abandoned cart MMS to remind a subscriber about an item they left behind. It includes an image of the particular product as well. 

An abandoned cart MMS message from Alphalete.

Event promotion

Don’t be afraid to use MMS to promote an upcoming event. You can use an event reminder text to get more attendees to your conference, webinar, trivia night, and more. In the following example, UW Madison promotes the “Day of the Badger, " a philanthropic event that takes place each year. 

UW Madison promotes an event via MMS.

Birthday offer

Make your customers feel special on their birthdays with an MMS message. You can send a message to wish them a happy birthday and give them a special reward. In the following text, City Dog gives a special discount to the birthday pup.  

A birthday MMS message from City Dog.

Loyalty reward offer

Encourage customers to join a rewards program with MMS. Lovepop encourages customers to join their rewards program and earn points for every dollar spent. It urges SMS subscribers to become members and enables them to buy today because they would earn double points.

A loyalty program offer from Lovepop sent via MMS.

Brand advocate solicitation

If you run any affiliate marketing programs, use MMS to ask customers to become one. Crunchi uses MMS to encourage its customers to become brand ambassadors for their clean beauty movement. This can help you sell more products through word of mouth.

A brand advocate MMS message from Crunchi.

Free item offer

Run a promotion via text that offers customers a free reward for going to your store or making a purchase. Clothing brand Aerie offers its customers a free calendar board when they spend $75 in stores. This MMS example clearly shows the free item and the promotion.

A free item promotional MMS from Aerie.

Upsell text

Use MMS to upsell to existing customers. In the following example from a bridal boutique, the store uses an MMS message to let customers know the store hours and encourage them to shop for bridal accessories in-store.

An upsell text from Miss Jessa Boutique

Are you looking for more MMS marketing campaign ideas? Check out 12 other MMS examples.

<h2 id="BestPractices">12 SMS and MMS marketing best practices</h2>

Help your SMS and MMS marketing campaigns go off without a hitch with these best practices. 

1. Get SMS opt-ins. To stay compliant with SMS marketing laws, you must get consent to text each customer. You must obtain this consent before sending the first text.  You must also make it clear that they will be getting marketing messages. Check out 12 ways to obtain this opt-in and grow your SMS subscriber list.

2. Honor opt-outs. In addition to getting an opt-in, you must provide an easy way for customers to opt-out. Make sure you honor these opt-out requests by not texting contacts who unsubscribe. Many brands allow customers to opt-out if they reply with words like STOP or END. Most SMS marketing platforms, including Textline, have a mechanism that automatically unsubscribes contacts for you.

An opt-out message from High Brow Boutique.

3. Choose visuals wisely. Ensure the image or multimedia attachment you choose is relevant to the marketing campaign and message. You’ll also want the image to be high-quality, on-brand, and sized correctly. For example, MMS messages sent via Textline must be 0.5 megabytes to appear as an embedded image on any phone.

4. Be creative. MMS messaging gives you a longer character count and the ability to include images. Use this to your advantage by being creative and writing convincing copy. Well-written and enticing copy can make or break your campaigns.

5. Be brief and clear. Even though there’s a longer character count, get to the point quickly. Mobile messages are meant to be brief and quick to respond to or act upon. Don’t overcomplicate your marketing MMS messages by adding unnecessary words.

6. Add a CTA. Use a clear call to action to guide customers. This helps them understand the next step you want them to take. Some great CTAs for marketing texts are: shop now, book now, or claim your discount.

7. Use SMS links. If you have an online website, use SMS links to direct customers to the right product or page. Including links can increase both website traffic and sales.

7. Keep timing in mind. Pay attention to the timing of your marketing MMS message. You want to avoid sending texts during marketing quiet hours (before 8am and after 9pm).  But, you also want to ensure you’re reaching customers at the right time in their buying cycle. The best time to send a marketing text will depend on your business, use case, and campaign goals. But in general, it’s a best practice to test different send times to find the best fit. 

8. Pay attention to the frequency of texts. The number of text messages you send per month matters. You don’t want to overwhelm customers with too many promotional messages, or you risk increasing unsubscribes. Test different frequencies to see what works best for your business. 

9. Leverage automation. Don’t be afraid to set up automated marketing texts. This can help you save time and reduce manual work. For example, you could set up an automated welcome message to send to any new subscribers or set up a text to send one hour after a cart abandonment. Automations can help you improve the timing of your marketing texts. 

10. Personalize your messages. You want to personalize and tailor your marketing texts. You can personalize by using a customer’s first name or sharing promotions related to previously purchased products. Tailoring and personalizing will increase conversions and engagement.

11. Set goals and KPIs. Ensure you set proper goals and key performance indicators for your MMS marketing campaigns. Some KPIs to consider include revenue generated, click-through rate, open rate, and unsubscribe rate.

12. Measure performance. Don’t forget to measure your results. Track the performance of your campaigns and analyze them to understand what’s working. 

Read more: 17 SMS marketing tips to set you up for success 

<h2 id="HowTo">How to get started with MMS marketing</h2>

Let’s look at the key steps to get started with MMS marketing.

1. Create a text marketing strategy. The first step is to build your SMS marketing strategy. You’ll want to determine your use case, target audience, and campaign goals. You’ll also want to tie your SMS and MMS campaigns to your overarching marketing team goals.

Get Textline’s full 12-step guide on how to create a winning SMS marketing strategy. 

Textline's 12-step SMS marketing guide.

2. Pick your SMS platform. To send mass marketing texts, you must pick an SMS marketing software provider that works well for your business. During this step, make sure this provider supports MMS messaging. That way you know you can send images alongside your texts. To help your business determine the best fit, create a list of must-have features and integrations. You can also examine the pricing structure, reputation, and support offered. Textline is the most secure SMS platform on the market and makes it easy to send MMS marketing messages with mass texting and automations.

3. Grow your SMS contact list. Your MMS marketing campaigns will only be as good as your contact list. That said, you’ll need to get more SMS subscribers by collecting explicit opt-ins. There are many ways to collect this opt-in, including using SMS keywords or collecting opt-in during the check-out process. As a note, The Telephone Consumer Protection Act requires that businesses collect and store this opt-in from customers.

4. Choose your image. The next step for MMS marketing is to select your image or GIF wisely. You’ll want to pick a high-quality, on-brand image relevant to your message content. You’ll also want to size the image properly. For example, the image would need to be  0.5 megabytes. If it’s over this size limit, the image will be sent as a URL.

5. Craft your messages. After selecting an image, you’ll want to craft a message that goes alongside the image to let your contacts know about any deals or the significance of the image. Make sure to proofread and include a call-to-action like “shop now.”

6. Send your MMS message. After proofreading and testing your message, it’s time to send your marketing text to your audience. Pro tip: Make sure to track performance and fine-tune your content.

Send MMS marketing messages via Textline

Ready to level up your marketing with engaging MMS campaigns? Textline can help you crush your goals with MMS marketing. Our platform equips companies with the tools they need to scale and grow. With features like mass MMS messaging, automations, metrics, and text templates, Textline is a top-rated and secure platform for MMS marketing. 

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