A Complete Guide to SMS Marketing Pricing to Maximize ROI
Published: Aug 15, 2023
The impressive open rate of 98% is enough to prove that SMS has gained massive popularity worldwide. But before venturing into the realm of business text messaging, you must consider the costs that come with it. This includes understanding the factors that contribute to SMS marketing pricing, as well as getting familiar with payment models. In any case, the return on investment of text marketing is often worth every penny you end up paying.
You may be asking, “How much does SMS marketing cost?” It’s safe to say that there’s no definitive answer, and it all depends on a number of factors. With that in mind, it helps to understand how these factors shape pricing.
One of the main factors determining the cost of SMS marketing is the volume of text messages. SMS platforms typically offer tiered pricing plans or pay-as-you-go models based on the number of messages. The cost per message is normally lower with higher volumes. If you expect to send many messages regularly, go for a pricing plan that suits your volume needs while maintaining cost-effectiveness.
The country you’re sending your marketing campaigns to can play a major role in the pricing. Carrier fees and regulations vary from one country to another. This results in a different text message marketing cost sending messages to each country.
Since international SMS rates tend to be higher than domestic rates, make sure to account for the geographical reach of your campaigns. Certain business messaging services offer specific international pricing plans or charge extra fees for SMS texts that you send outside of certain regions.
Type of Phone Number
Another factor that affects the text message marketing cost is the type of phone number you’re using. Leasing a standard long code doesn’t cost as much as leasing a short code or a toll-free number.
While short codes are more memorable and ideal for high-volume SMS campaigns, their setup and monthly fees can be higher. Standard long codes, on the other hand, are typically cheaper and better suited for campaigns on a smaller scale. The type of number you choose ultimately depends on your campaign goals and budget.
Inbound Vs. Outbound
SMS marketing typically involves carrying out two-way communications with subscribers. In certain cases, outbound and inbound messages may have different pricing. For inbound messages, you may sometimes expect additional fees, especially if you’re using keywords that trigger auto-replies. Account for the ratio of inbound to outbound texts in your messaging campaigns to figure out how they influence the pricing.
Mobile carriers charge fees for sending SMS or MMS messages to subscribers. These fees differ from carrier to carrier and depend on the volume of texts you send. Providers often include carrier fees as part of their pricing plans, either based on usage or as a flat rate. Getting familiar with carrier fees is key to measuring the overall cost of an SMS marketing campaign.
In some cases, you may need to pay a one-time setup fee when onboarding with a platform provider and having your account configured. Providers may charge this fee to cover the configuration of the messaging platform according to your needs and preferences. This can vary depending on how complex the setup is, the level of customization you need, and the extent of integration with other systems.
Added features that platform providers offer can affect SMS marketing prices. These often include multimedia messaging, custom sender IDs, short link tracking, advanced reporting, and analytics. While certain communication platforms offer such features as add-ons to their basic packages, others include them in higher-tier plans. Make sure to evaluate how relevant these are to your campaigns if you end up paying for them.
Compliance and Regulatory Costs
Ensuring that you’re compliant with SMS marketing regulations, like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), may involve additional expenses. These can include the cost of implementing certain features, such as SMS opt-in and opt-out mechanisms, enhanced data security, and more. This may require technical development in addition to legal consultation fees.
Different Pricing Models for Text Message Marketing
Pricing models tend to vary from one SMS platform to another, each serving different marketing requirements. Understanding these models is key to choosing the one that best aligns with your messaging needs.
A pay-as-you-go model is basically when you pay for what you use. Each text you send or receive incurs a per-message fee, and your platform provider bills you accordingly. The flexibility of this payment plan makes it ideal for small businesses with varying message volumes. It doesn’t involve any contracts or monthly commitments, which is perfect for occasional or small-scale SMS campaigns.
SMS Marketing Pricing
We use a pay-as-you-go pricing model, meaning we charge per sent message. No monthly or sign-up fees. SMS marketing costs vary depending on your destination.
This pricing model is when you pay a monthly fee for a fixed number of text messages. You are billed the same amount of money per month whether or not you use your allocated messages in full. Subscription plans can be beneficial if you’re launching campaigns on a consistent basis. This is because they offer cost predictability and often include extra perks or features.
Certain platforms offer different pricing tiers based on the number of messages. You choose a plan that corresponds with your estimated monthly text volume. And, the cost per text decreases as you go up to higher tiers. Tiered pricing benefits businesses with steady SMS usage.
This is ideal when you want to cut costs for higher volume campaigns. It offers a balance between flexibility and cost-effectiveness for brands that have consistent marketing needs.
Credits or Packages
Text marketing services may also sell credits or packages that you can use to send a certain number of messages. Businesses buy these plans upfront and use them as necessary. Credits and packages are cost-effective when it comes to high-volume users who may be looking to benefit from bulk pricing discounts. They are normally valid for a specific period, and you would need to renew the plan every time it runs out.
Custom Pricing Model
Custom or enterprise pricing is a model that caters to larger companies that carry out SMS marketing on a larger scale. It involves tailoring the plan to the specific needs and messaging volume of the business. The plan may include personalized features, negotiated rates, and dedicated customer support. This is the go-to choice for businesses with complex campaigns or those looking to establish an extensive partnership with a provider.
Pricing Plans by Various SMS Marketing Platform Providers
So how much is text message marketing? To give you an idea, we took the liberty of listing the pricing structures of each SMS platform provider in detail.
Besides a 14-day free trial that allows for 50 text messages, Textedly offers a range of monthly plans. All packages offer free inbound messages, unlimited contacts, picture messaging, one toll-free phone number, one 10-digit long code, one user seat, and live chat support seven days a week. The Plus plan and onwards give access to a text-to-pay feature, Google Business Reviews, and extra keywords.
- Basic: You pay $26 monthly for 500 messages per month (600 messages if billed annually) and one custom keyword
- Bronze: You pay $38 monthly for 1,000 messages per month (1,200 messages if billed annually) and one custom keyword
- Plus: You pay $69 monthly for 2,000 messages per month (2,400 if billed annually) and two custom keywords. This plan unlocks the text-to-pay feature as well as Google Business Reviews. These added perks also apply to all the higher bundles
- Enterprise: You pay $99 monthly for 3,500 messages per month (4,200 if billed annually) and three custom keywords
- Elite: You pay $139 monthly for 5,000 messages per month (6,000 if billed annually) and four custom keywords
- Business: You pay $249 monthly for 10,000 messages per month (12,000 if billed annually) and six custom keywords
- Silver: You pay $349 monthly for 15,000 messages per month (18,000 if billed annually) and seven custom keywords
- Premium: You pay $499 monthly for 25,000 messages per month (30,000 if billed annually) and 10 custom keywords
- Pro: You pay $599 monthly for 35,000 messages per month (42,000 if billed annually) and 13 custom keywords
- Gold: You pay $849 monthly for 50,000 messages per month (60,000 if billed annually) and 15 custom keywords
- Platinum: You pay $1,599 monthly for 100,000 messages per month (120,000 if billed annually) and 20 custom keywords
- Diamond: You pay $2,299 monthly for 150,000 messages per month (180,000 if billed annually) and 20 custom keywords (same as Platinum)
- Champion: You pay $2,999 monthly for 200,000 messages per month (240,000 if billed annually) and 50 custom keywords
EZ Texting presents four different pricing plans that come with 500 free messages per month. The Enterprise plan, however, includes 200,000 messages each month. With every package, you get unlimited contacts, keywords, incoming texts, two-way messaging, phone and chat support, and more.
- Launch: This costs $25 per month (or $20 per month if billed annually) and offers a local textable number and a maximum speed of 500 messages per day at $0.03 per text ($0.027 with annual pricing)
- Boost: This costs $75 per month (or $60 if billed annually) and offers a local high-volume number and a maximum speed of 2,000 messages per day at $0.025 per text ($0.0225 with annual pricing)
- Scale: This costs $125 per month (or $100 if billed annually) and offers a local high-volume, high-speed number and a maximum speed of 50,000 messages per day at $0.02 per text ($0.018 with annual pricing)
- Enterprise: This costs $3,000 per month and offers a dedicated short code as well as a maximum speed of one million messages per day at $0.010 per text
The layout of SimpleTexting’s credit-based packages is based on how many messages you plan on sending each month. An SMS costs one credit per message (and 3 credits for MMS).
You benefit from various perks, including unlimited keywords, unlimited contacts, free incoming messages, Mailchimp and Zapier integrations. On top of that, you get a free phone number, three user seats, and customer support seven days a week. You can also get advanced automations and contact sync integrations as paid add-ons.
- 500-message plan: You get 500 credits each month for a monthly payment of $29 (or 6,000 credits a year for $23.2 per month with annual billing)
- 1,000-message plan: You get 1,000 credits each month for a monthly payment of $49 (or 12,000 credits a year for $39.2 per month with annual billing)
- 2,000-message plan: You get 2,000 credits each month for a monthly payment of $79 (or 24,000 credits a year for $63.2 per month with annual billing)
- 3,000-message plan: You get 3,000 credits each month for a monthly payment of $109 (or 36,000 credits a year for $87.2 per month with annual billing)
- 7,500-message plan: You get 7,500 credits each month for a monthly payment of $229 (or 90,000 credits a year for $183.2 per month with annual billing)
- 15,000-message plan: You get 15,000 credits each month for a monthly payment of $399 (or 180,000 credits a year for $319.2 per month with annual billing)
- 25,000-message plan: You get 25,000 credits each month for a monthly payment of $549 (or 300,000 credits a year for $439.2 per month with annual billing)
- 50,000-message plan: You get 50,000 credits each month for a monthly payment of $899 (or 600,000 credits a year for $719.2 per month with annual billing)
Choosing the 25,000 or 50,000-message plan also gives you access to the Customer Success Manager. As for businesses who plan to send more than 50,000 messages a month, the platform offers a custom plan.
TextMagic uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model with text marketing costs depending on the country you’re sending messages to. The platform doesn’t charge any account fees and offers access to all premium features—you only pay for what you use. The features include two-way messaging, email to SMS, text message scheduling, Zapier integrations, opt-out management, and more.
SMS: You can use this platform to send SMS messages to a wide range of countries. The price per text varies from one country to another:
- United States and Canada: $0.049 per text
- United Kingdom: $0.068 per text
- Argentina: $0.11 per text
- Australia: $0.045 per text
- Bahrain: $0.051 per text
- Bulgaria: $0.118 per text
- Denmark: $0.076 per text
- Estonia: $0.059 per text
- Japan: $0.101 per text
MMS: Sending MMS messages using TextMagic is only available in Canada and the United States. The price per text in both cases is $0.08
With SlickText, you can choose one of 8 pricing packages. Each bundle includes a certain number of keywords, free incoming texts, rollover texts, unlimited contacts, picture messaging, and live chat support. Going for the Big Bro plan or higher also lets you benefit from automated workflows and one-on-one onboarding.
- The Basic: A monthly payment of $29 gets you 500 messages per month and two keywords
- The Step Up: A monthly payment of $49 gets you 1,000 messages per month and four keywords
- The Lil Bro: A monthly payment of $79 gets you 2,000 messages per month and six keywords
- The Big Bro: A monthly payment of $139 gets you 3,600 messages per month and eight keywords
- The Boss: A monthly payment of $189 gets you 5,000 messages per month and 14 keywords
- The Albatross: A monthly payment of $350 gets you 10,000 messages per month and 16 keywords
- The Whale: A monthly payment of $750 gets you 25,000 messages per month and 20 keywords
- TheMontsro: A monthly payment of $1,250 gets you 50,000 messages per month and 30 keywords
SlickText also offers enterprise pricing that caters to the needs of advanced text messaging programs. Moreover, the platform has Canadian pricing bundles that are slightly different from the US prices above.
Twilio’s pricing features a pay-as-you-go model with discounts on outbound and inbound SMS messages the more you scale. The following SMS marketing price structure applies to both, whether you’re sending (or receiving) them via (or to) a long code, a short code, or a toll-free number.
- First 150,000 messages: $0.0079
- 150,001 to 300,000 messages: $0.0077
- 300,001 to 500,000 messages: $0.0075
- 500,001 to 750,000 messages: $0.0073
- 750,001 to 1,000,000 messages: $0.0071
- More than 1 million messages: $0.0069
As for MMS messages, the rate is fixed regardless of the volume. Here’s the MMS message pricing structure:
- Long code: $0.02 for outbound and $0.01 for inbound
- Toll-free: $0.02 for both outbound and inbound
- Short code: $0.02 for outbound and $0.01 for inbound
The cost of SMS messages tends to differ from one country to another. While the US rate starts at $0.0079, for example, sending messages to Brazil costs $0.0599 for the first 20,000 messages. These rates exclude carrier fees that vary depending on the type of message (SMS or MMS), type of number (short code, long code, or toll-free), the carrier, and the end-user’s destination.
Dexatel follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model, offering rates that decrease the more you send. Users may also benefit from ongoing loyalty discounts and offers. Here are examples of starting rates per message:
- United States: $0.01580
- Mexico: $0.0108
- Japan: $0.084
- Greece: $0.0517
- Sweden: $0.054
- Qatar: $0.02
- Australia: $0.078
ROI and Cost Effectiveness of SMS Marketing
If done right, SMS marketing can yield a sizable return on investment for businesses. You can start by thanking the high open rates of SMS, which ensure that your message reaches your target audience.
Moreover, marketing plans like personalization result in higher engagement and conversion rates. The low costs of texting make it a great bargain considering the potential of the SMS marketing ROI. This is especially true if you use it in conjunction with other tools like email marketing and social media.
There are several ways to maximize the marketing ROI and cost-effectiveness of SMS. Sending messages to interested prospects who actually opted in ensures that you’re not talking to a wall. Using third-party contact lists, on the other hand, can result in low engagement and possible legal issues.
It’s also a good idea to take advantage of real-time tracking and analytics tools to make data-driven decisions. Segmenting your audience based on preferences and purchase history allows you to deliver more tailored and relevant texts.