SMS Marketing in the UK: Why You Need to Start Texting Your Customers

Woman looking at her phone and smiling

Ping. You just got a text message. How long before you check it?

If you’re the average UK resident, the answer is less than three minutes1.

This magnetic draw to texts isn’t limited to personal communication, either. In fact, according to the same data, 64 percent of UK consumers say businesses should use SMS more.

So, do your customers fall in this majority of people who are asking UK brands to communicate with them this way?

While the brands in the UK that are using text messaging may be early adopters, SMS marketing has become increasingly popular in the United States, paving the way for ecommerce brands around the world to explore how powerful SMS can be as a marketing channel.

GhostBed, a US-based mattress company, even yields a 200X ROI on their SMS welcome series.

Want to lead the way in the UK and implement SMS before your competitors? Keep reading to learn:

  • Why SMS might be a good fit for your brand
  • How to make SMS marketing effective for a UK audience
  • Key UK compliance regulations for SMS
  • How much SMS marketing costs in the UK

The SMS-shaped piece of the ecommerce puzzle

Whether you’re just starting out with ecommerce or your brand’s a household name and you want to test a profitable new marketing channel, you can use SMS to build relationships with your customers.

Thanks to how quickly UK consumers check their mobile, texting is the fastest way to share important updates, like announcing time-sensitive offers, limited inventory, and new products.

In other words, say goodbye to calls from disappointed customers who want a price match on the flash sale they saw a week after it ended.

But text marketing isn’t just a way to inspire quick conversions. You can use SMS to build customer loyalty, too. By using text messages to engage with your customers throughout the buying process, you can inspire more people to make additional purchases. Say hello to a higher customer lifetime value (CLV).

If you offer replenishable products, like apparel and consumer packaged goods (CPGs), messages that are highly valuable to your repeat customers—like Grind’s reminder to their customers to restock their coffee capsule supply—will likely resonate when you send them with a text message because of the channel’s personal, informal nature.

Is SMS marketing effective?

While the value you’ll see from SMS marketing will depend on your brand and your customers, you can use it to complement your email marketing tactics and create unique experiences for your customers.

And, spoiler: Those experiences also translate into more money for your brand, to the tune of an average 25X ROI for Klaviyo SMS customers.

The question isn’t is SMS marketing effective—it’s why is it so effective?

Think about the quality of interactions via text versus other marketing channels.

Nearly everyone opens their text messages, which means SMS as a marketing channel has exceptionally engaged users.

Plus, engagement doesn’t stop at high open rates. Promotional text messages have an average click through rate (CTR) of 36 percent2—that’s eight times email’s average CTR of 4.5 percent.

Sure, your SMS list is likely to be smaller than your email list, since people can be selective about what brands they want to see light up their phones.

But wait—list size isn’t everything.

Communicating with a targeted audience typically means you’ll see higher engagement rates. That means your SMS audience is more likely to be interested in your messages since they’ve already let you into one of the most personal parts of their lives.

This also means that using SMS with email—rather than instead of email—offers you even more opportunities to make your marketing efforts resonate with your audience.


User flow that includes SMS and email messages after someone subscribes to a newsletter


Engagement and building relationships is great—but it’s not enough to justify SMS as an effective channel for to grow your ecommerce business.

What really matters: Will SMS drive revenue for your online store?

For brands using Klaviyo, where text messages make up at least 30 percent of their total messages, their revenue per recipient (RPR) increased 187 percent after adding SMS.

Does that sound too good to be true? If you’re scratching your head wondering where the catch is with SMS marketing, you’re not alone.

The two main questions I hear from UK brands are legal and financial, so I’ll address both.

Is SMS marketing legal?

Yes, SMS marketing is legal in the UK—you just need to follow data privacy regulations when sending text messages on behalf of your brand.

As GDPR and the Data Protection Act of 2018 require, you’re only allowed to send texts to customers who have given explicit consent. (Psst… That’s why brands who use Klaviyo actually aren’t able to send texts to someone who hasn’t opted in—so you don’t have to stress after you hit that “Send” button.)


Screen that shows how many profiles are opted in to SMS


For compliant SMS marketing, you’ll also need the ability to delete a customer’s data, manually or via an API, and the option to unsubscribe.

GDPR could be an article on its own—so if you want to learn more, read about the details of how to handle GDPR.

SMS marketing compliance, beyond the strict legalities, is also about ensuring your customers don’t feel spammed, which is especially important to UK consumers.

By using zero- and first-party data, or rather Customer-First DataTM, to create SMS profiles and segments, which are all GDPR compliant, you can create meaningful text messages that your audience will love.

Plus, you don’t have to rely on third-party channels to collect data that your customers don’t really want you to have.

That means that not only is SMS marketing legal, it also gives you more control over your customers’ experience so you can take your marketing from compliant to compelling.

How much does SMS marketing cost in the UK?

The price of SMS marketing typically depends on how many people are on your marketing list and how many messages you want to send.

You’ll find that, per message, SMS is usually more expensive than email.

But as I mentioned, SMS lists are highly targeted by nature, which leads to excellent returns. The average ROI of SMS marketing is 25X—and brands like US-based KontrolFreek spend 38 percent less on each SMS conversion after switching to Klaviyo SMS.

Plus, with Klaviyo, only your customers who opt into SMS count towards your plan, so how much you pay is based only on people who actually want to engage with you via text.

When you consider adding texts to your marketing strategy, these numbers make SMS significantly less expensive and more valuable than what you tend to see with paid channels like Facebook or Google, where 5X ROI is often a good result. What’s more, targeting on third-party channels is getting increasingly limited due to data privacy laws, which means marketing spend is getting more inefficient.

Will you opt your brand into SMS?

Your customers in the UK are ready and willing to hear from you with a text message.

By combining SMS with your email marketing program, you can elevate your messaging and create unique customer experiences your subscribers will love.

Want to see how SMS could fit in your marketing strategy? Read about five ways you can use text messaging for your ecommerce store. 

Get started with Klaviyo SMS and start seeing results.



1 “The power of SMS for UK businesses.”

2 “How SMS Marketing Works With Email To Strike A Better Balance.”

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