In response to increased ad costs and more competition than ever in digital retail, ecommerce brands are turning to owned channels to grow their business. However, among owned channels, only 55% of businesses text their customers, while 70% of consumers have opted in to receive texts from brands. So if you haven't added texting as a marketing channel, it's a missed opportunity.

But because text marketing is still a budding channel, many ecommerce brands are at a loss in terms of how to engage subscribers effectively.

To add complexity, MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) has become increasingly popular among marketers giving a leg up over standard SMS (short message service) because of its enhanced capabilities. With this, there's an opportunity for ecommerce brands to take advantage of MMS and improve customer engagement and grow their bottom line. But many brands are still confused about how to use MMS properly.

In this post, we'll discuss seven best practices you can implement to scale revenue for your ecommerce store using MMS marketing.

What is MMS marketing?

MMS marketing is a form of mobile marketing that allows you to send text messages with rich media like photos, videos, GIFs, contact cards, audio clips, and more. It can effectively engage customers on their mobile devices and encourage them to take action.

SMS vs. MMS Marketing: What's the Difference?

The primary difference between MMS and SMS text messages is that SMS messages are only plain text. On the other hand, MMS allows text messages that include media files, making MMS more suitable for dynamic content.

MMS texts can be longer than SMS texts. SMS messages are limited to 160 characters. MMS messages have a much higher character limit of 1600 characters and can include up to 3.75 GB of data depending on the carrier.

The media in an MMS message is more effective at catching customers' attention than plain text… so your message is more likely to stick.

MMS messages are only available in the United States and Canada. So if you include MMS in your text message marketing strategy, you'll want to create alternative communications for global audiences.

Finally, MMS messages typically cost 2-3x more to send than SMS messages, but the increase in engagement can be worth it.

The benefits of MMS marketing

SMS may be cheaper, but MMS has clear benefits that make it worth adding to your text message marketing strategy.

Show, don't tell. Rich media conveys what text can't. Pictures can show off product features that can't be explained by text alone. And animated GIFs can show your brand personality, creating a stronger connection with subscribers.

MMS is more engaging than SMS. The media in an MMS message is more effective at catching customers' attention than plain text. The brain processes visuals faster and retains more information from visuals, so your message is more likely to stick.

Say more with higher character limitations. If you need to convey more than the 160-character limit of SMS messaging, you can write longer texts with MMS.

MMS helps you spread brand awareness. People are probably not going to share a plain text from your brand with their friends. But a funny GIF or a picture of your new must-have summer shoes is totally shareable.

MMS marketing: 7 best practices to grow your business

Now that you know how effective MMS marketing can be, it's time for you to start texting with your customers. Consider these best practices to create a richer customer experience for your next campaign.

1. Get your audience's consent.

First things first: Get your audience's consent before you text them. Getting their permission is a legal requirement and will also help you build trust with the people who subscribe to your messages.

But for opt-ins, you want to focus on quality over quantity. Don't trick your audience into giving you consent. You'll end up with a bunch of angry subscribers who don't want to shop with you anymore. So make it clear when you're asking customers to subscribe to texts.

You're better off with a quality list of people who actually want to hear from you. As a result, you'll have a higher engagement rate and build positive relationships with your subscribers.

To grow your list, give customers an incentive to subscribe, whether that's a discount, exclusive promos, or first access to launches.

2. Keep them subscribed with the right content.

The content you send in your MMS messages should be relevant to your audience. Stick with topics related to your brand and products. But don't just send promos. Consider sending helpful tips related to your product or industry, so subscribers see value in staying subscribed.

Furthermore, your text marketing channel should be meaningfully different from your other channels, so customers have a reason to stay subscribed. Send content exclusive to text marketing channels, so they gain value from it.

3. Personalize messages to drive engagement

Use customer data and segmentation to personalize messages and increase engagement. For example, if you have a small segment of customers that love a luxury activewear brand you carry. By mass text messaging your whole audience to announce a sale on that brand, you'll be wasting your money --- and other customers' attention. Instead, segment your audience so only brand fans get those texts.

Use customer data to hyper-personalize your MMS campaigns. Use information like a customer's purchase history, engagement, location, and preferences to send content they're more likely to resonate with. For example, if a customer always makes purchases on the weekends, you could consider texting them towards the end of the week when they're more likely to be in the buying mindset.

4. Compress your files.

Compressing your files before sending them will make them download faster, which means a better user experience for your audience. And it ensures you're within the data limit of your carrier.

People don't need or expect high-quality images via text. It's all about getting your point across. If fun GIFs used to show off your brand personality are a little pixelated, that'll be fine. But if you're sharing product images, make sure they're high enough quality that the photo still feels like eye candy at a small size. 

5. Integrate with your help desk

Integrate your text messaging platform with your help desk to create a seamless customer experience.

When you start a texting relationship with a customer, it feels much more personal than email, and they'll expect you to reply if they text you. So by connecting your text messaging channel to your help desk, you’ll ensure your customers are taken care of.

6. A/B test your copy, media, timing, and frequency

A/B test everything about your MMS messages to find what works best for your audience.

Test different content. You might find that a longer message performs better than a short one or that some customers engage more with messages that include still images while others like GIFs.

Test your messaging frequency, days of the week, and times of day.

You can even test how specific you make your segmentation across geography, gender, interest, etc. For example, does it make a difference if you create geographically-relevant MMS messages to a specific region, like the San Francisco Bay Area, over something broader like California?

7. Save MMS for promos, use SMS for short messages

While MMS is great for grabbing the audience's attention, it is more costly and isn't necessarily suitable for every text you send to customers. Plus, if you use it for every message you send, subscribers might become numb to it and stop engaging with your content.

Opt for SMS when sending short, text-only messages like order updates, time-sensitive texts like flash sales, or a reminder that a discount code is expiring soon.

MMS is better for creative and promotional content. Use it to show your brand personality, new products, or how-tos.

Ultimately, whether to send MMS messages or SMS will differ by brand, so test your messages to see what performs better.

Maximize revenue with the right text message marketing platform

Knowing what works for your brand is the key to scaling revenue through MMS marketing. When you follow these best practices and pay close attention to how your customers respond, MMS marketing can build loyalty and trust while increasing customer engagement and sales.

The right text message marketing platform will help you scale your business by providing the tools necessary to create a successful text message marketing program.

Emotive is an ecommerce text message marketing platform that can help you make texting a reliable revenue channel. Emotive connects seamlessly to your ecommerce platform so you can automate SMS and MMS messages and flows based on customer behavior and track their impact.

Emotive's powerful features make it easy to create and send text messages, manage your subscriber list, segment customers based on their behavior, and measure the results.

Learn how Emotive powers the MMS and SMS marketing strategies of successful ecommerce brands.