Using SMS marketing for all age groups

16 December 2022

Is SMS marketing for the younger generation?

The largest audience base for SMS marketing is likely to be the 16-44 year olds and that is simply because they are the largest consumers of mobile phones. That doesn’t mean that people over the age of 44 are not using mobile devices, most people under the age of 75 have one and enjoy sending and receiving text messages. The difference is that they are more likely to stick to the same phone for multiple years which reduces their numbers in smartphone purchasing statistics. This is the reason why 84% of the 85% of people who own mobile phones in the UK are mainly part of the ‘younger’ generation.

Why age shouldn’t dictate your SMS marketing strategy

SMS marketing has been a welcome relief for both younger and older generations who are tired of being on long hold times with call centres and choosing from multiple button options in a vain attempt to get through to an actual person. The truth is that they would rather use two-way text messages than speak to a robot. SMS customer service is on the increase and older people are set to benefit.

One of our valued customers, Helping Hands, was able to show its internal stakeholders over 15,000 resident surveys collected via an SMS survey link. Their main service is for the care of the elderly. 

How can I use my SMS campaign to reach different age groups?

Personalisation is key to appealing to different generations with the same brand. Obviously, marketers will already understand what type of marketing appeals to different target groups but, there is a way you can encourage older generations to opt-in to receive your SMS messages.

Look at the attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviours of each age group and tweak campaigns to appeal to them and fit in with those properties. Make sure that you are not firing out text message after text message of irrelevant content. The quickest way to lose SMS subscribers is to turn them off with random text messaging. Build your campaign for each age group using the appropriate tone and areas of interest. For example, younger people have learned to save time using abbreviations and acronyms. This is a dream fit for an SMS message with an upper limit of 160 characters. However, it is likely that this type of marketing language does not travel across all ages and can be lost in translation.

In the same way, a more wordy SMS message could be seen as informative to an older person but boring to the younger. There’s a balance to be found. The use of personalisation means that even when sending bulk SMS, you can appeal to people directly. You can separate all of your subscribers by age group and ensure that you hit the right tone with each age category.

Is SMS marketing the best way to connect across all age groups?

It’s a myth that email marketing is more suited to those under the age of 65. According to SMS marketing statistics for 2022 around 27% of seniors own computers but 53% own mobile devices. Whilst their mobile phones largely have access to the internet, studies suggest that older people do not participate as much in emails as they do in text messages.

Campaign considerations for every age

16-25 years

98% of this group own a mobile phone and they know how to use it. A large majority have had access to a mobile phone since the age of 10. They prefer text messages over phone calls and voicemail is an unthinkable concept because it takes too long and feels awkward.

This group enjoys receiving text messages and would welcome discounts and want to be the first to know everything. They demand instant attention, so if your campaign involves text message advertising, you need to ensure that you are ready to receive their communication channels and interact. They are not fussy about dealing with a real person as long as their needs are met in double quick time or they will go elsewhere.

One downside to marketing to this group is that they tend to have the lowest amount of disposable income due to often still being in education or early on in their career. This is something to bear in mind when choosing which campaigns to target them with such as discounts.

25-35 years

With a larger disposable income and busier lives, 98% of this group also own mobile phones and they also appreciate text over calls. They can expect to receive more email marketing than mobile marketing but, as this generation often has full-time jobs, more of these will go unopened. The average person receives up to 121 emails per day and this generation and the 35-44 year olds as prime targets will be getting more than their fair share. Also often ignored now are push notifications from apps that are long forgotten. This generation much prefers direct communication on their phones.

This group is the most entrepreneurial and fared well during the pandemic when working patterns changed. They have a good disposable income thanks to low home ownership and fewer dependents. As an older and progressive group of people, business, technology, foreign issues, environmental and social issues are important to this group which can help to shape your campaign.

35-44 years

Here we have a generation who were amongst the first to be exposed to social media and influencers etc. They still enjoy Facebook and Instagram. Product recommendations from social media, online shopping, and searching for a bargain are important to this group. They are more interested in the world around them and will be looking at the bigger picture. Issues such as sustainability, health, education, and politics are important to this group.

They also have more financial responsibilities and will be scouting around for bargains on most of their purchases. Like the 25-35’s this group also has little free time and will not welcome ill-targeted SMS messages, so straight-to-the-point content and discount codes will be favoured.

55 – 64 years

This is an interesting group. Previously thought to be behind the times, the current generation is far more tech-savvy than the generation before them. As technology has become more mainstream, they have embraced it and 87% of them own mobile phones. During the pandemic, the group became more adept at using text to keep in touch with loved ones. Many also discovered the convenience and necessity of online shopping.

This group does have more time and more disposable income and many will now have fewer dependents and some may have even paid off mortgages. They are starting to favour quality over price as their tastes do not change according to the latest trends, but they do still love a bargain. As a group, they have a little more leisure time and enjoy browsing the high street. Timing could be useful for SMS messages here, catching people when they are most likely to venture to the high street.

Communication is far more important to this group and they value good customer service. Foster loyalty with customers by using SMS for customer services and ensure that they know how to contact you and that you are listening.

65+ Years

Obviously, this group is the least appealing to marketers, but that can depend on what you are selling. SMS marketing stats show that 65% of this group own a mobile phone and do send and receive texts, therefore, cannot be overlooked.

This group has even more free time and disposable income and over time will naturally become more tech-savvy as the younger generation moves up to replace them. Like the next generation down, these guys really value good customer service, so using SMS for customer services is a good starting point. Rather than trigger words, they would appreciate communication with staff directly which you should consider if you have products or services marketed to this age group. Our SMS predictions are that many consumers will demand this over time.

They are less likely to shop around once they have found a brand that works for them and will remain loyal. They will be more interested in the story of your brand and welcome updates and news. This is a group of people who take the time to inform themselves. Often, you will find the over 65’s looking to save money on bills, food shopping, fuel costs, etc. However, they have been known to spend more on luxury items such as holidays, good-quality furniture, toys, and practical cars. If you are involved in the UK housing market, you may find a few down-sizers in this category. ‍

How to hit the right note

Now you know what is important to each age group, work your SMS campaigns around them and here are our most critical do & don’t.

  • Don’t try to use one campaign to suit all subscribers. 
  • Do segment your audience, make the most of personalised content and tailor your text messages. 

This way, you will keep people opted in with the right content. For example, you know that you can sell good quality products to those over 65’s at the right price because durability and loyalty are important. However, younger generations prefer a bargain and to shop around, so they may need a price nudge to bring them in.

However, it is important not to stereotype. Not all people within each generation will follow the same patterns of behaviour or have the same wants and desires. There are various ways in which you can gain a greater insight into your customer’s needs and habits:

  • Loyalty scheme – customers are often happy to impart more personal information about themselves in exchange for the benefits of a loyalty scheme.
  • SMS interaction – asking your subscribers to answer a question in exchange for discounts or product information is a quick way to find out information for your specific campaign.
  • Demographic – look at differences such as geographical location to help you to form a greater insight into your customers. Subscribers in different areas may favour different products, services, or information. Wages and prices often vary from region to region too.

Use your database to segment your subscribers with all the information you hold about them. This way your text message marketing campaign can be more precise.

Trust the Experts

At TextAnywhere, we are experts in SMS marketing and have a huge range of resources to help you drive your campaign in the right direction. We can offer you regular support with almost anything text-related and can offer you hints and tips to get you started.

We take the stress out of customer communication with:

  • No hidden charges – unlike other providers we only charge you for the messages that you send.
  • Easy Email integration – our gateway instantly works with all major Email providers like Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, Yahoo, and more!
  • Seamless & secure – rest easy as our Email to Text service is packed with in-built safety features like PIN protection and IP address approvals.
  • No training is needed – your team can immediately start sending SMS messages from the comfort of their existing Email provider.

What are you waiting for?

Get in touch

Send and receive a variety of SMS communications including ad hoc updates and much larger campaigns, in just a few clicks.

Start your free trial today

Try our platform; you’re only a few clicks away

  • 20 free credits
  • Full platform access
  • No commitment or credit card required