SMS marketing in Germany: everything you need to know

Overview of SMS marketing in Germany

SMS marketing is an effective way to contact customers and inform them about offers and news. In Germany, there are certain laws and regulations that companies need to follow to ensure that they contact their customers in a legal way. In this article, we provide an overview of the most important aspects of SMS marketing in Germany and show you how to launch a successful campaign.

Introduction to SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is a form of direct marketing. This means that potential or existing customers are addressed directly and thus actively come into contact with your offer, instead of passively, as in the case of outdoor advertising, for example. Direct marketing is usually characterized by a high degree of individualization.

SMS marketing is personal and close to the customer. In addition, SMS are opened and read much more quickly than promotional e-mails, for example. The opening rate itself is also much higher.
SMS marketing in Germany offers a lot of chances for companies because it is not as common as, for example, in the US.

Relevant laws and regulations

SMS marketing is subject to strict rules in many countries. For your SMS marketing in Germany, you have to pay attention to the DSGVO in particular. It is easier to comply with the DSGVO if you choose a reliable and reputable SMS gateway that has its server locations in Germany or in other EU countries.

When choosing a provider, our article will help you: What to look for when choosing a bulk SMS provider.

It is also particularly important that your recipients have consented to receive promotional SMS. Different types of SMS are subject to different rules. Transactional SMS, for example, are treated differently than promotional SMS. For you it is especially important: If a recipient consents to receive transactional SMS, this does NOT mean that you can also send them promotional SMS.

For more information on the basics, see our blog post on legal basics for sending SMS and double opt-in.

We would like to point out that we advise our customers to discuss their individual case with their in-house legal counsel to be on the safe side.

We do not guarantee the completeness, accuracy or timeliness of our information.

If you also want to send advertising SMS to countries other than Germany, different and also strict rules may apply. Find out in detail about the rules in the recipient country.
You can find an initial overview in our blog post on sending SMS internationally.

Advantages of SMS marketing

As mentioned above, SMS marketing offers several advantages. The most important ones are:

  • A high opening rate of up to 98 percent
  • A fast opening (approx. 90% within the first five minutes) also enables short-term communication
  • The very personal touch
  • Easy to personalize with a well-maintained database
  • Often cheaper compared to other advertising media (such as print or television advertising)
  • Enables effective asynchronous communication without being impersonal
  • SMS reach all cell phones without extra effort for the owners

Use all these advantages to benefit from SMS as a strong partner in your communication.

Target groups and areas of application

Basically, there is only one group that you cannot reach via an SMS marketing campaign: People, without cell phones. Of course, it’s still important to segment your target audiences to give your customers the best possible experience to ensure the success of your campaign.

The good thing is that since you need consent from your recipients, you already know that your messages are wanted. That’s why it’s especially important that you draw very accurate conclusions about different audiences and their needs based on the data you already have.

SMS are used for different purposes in almost every industry. When it comes to SMS marketing in Germany, it is mainly the retail and online trade, freelancers and the hospitality industry that benefit from personalized short messages. Effectively, however, any company with direct customer contact can use SMS profitably.

The most common promotional SMS are:

  • Exclusive offers, such as early-bird pricing or earlier access to the new collection.
  • Highly personalized product offers
  • Invitations to special events
  • Newsletters or other promotional updates
  • Upselling messages
  • Referral marketing messages

Want to learn more about audience segmentation for SMS campaigns?
Read our blogpost on customer segmentation for more details.

Success factors for an effective SMS marketing campaign

What does a successful SMS marketing campaign need? There are many factors that lead to success. In addition to the consent mentioned above, the relevance of the message is particularly important.

On the one hand, for a message to be relevant, it is important that you know your target audience and have segmented it accordingly. On the other hand, the content of the message must have a specific goal, be brief but appealing and personalized, and contain a call to action.

To optimize your campaign, you should also validate your contacts’ numbers. Sorting out invalid numbers will save you money and ensure that your contact database is always well maintained.

It is also important at what time you send your SMS. While in other countries it is forbidden to send promotional SMS at certain times, in Germany you have more options. Nevertheless, you should definitely stick to common contact times. Don’t send promotional SMS late in the evening, at night or very early in the day. The right timing can be crucial sometimes. A text message that needs to reach a team leader effectively will most likely need to reach her at a different time than if you want to reach a mother on maternity leave, for example.

Last but not least, personalization is a crucial factor. Take full advantage of the fact that SMS is perceived as a very personal medium. Address your recipients by first or last name using placeholders, and also use other data you have about your recipients. The important thing here is to strike a balance: Be personal, but not intrusive. Successful personalization stands or falls on the quality of your data – so make sure everything is correct before you send out your campaign.


Want to get started with SMS marketing in Germany? We have prepared a checklist that you can use to make sure you have thought of everything.

Overview of the most important resources

You would like to learn more? Find an overview of the blogposts mentioned in the article here:

Do you still have questions about SMS marketing in Germany?

Leave us a message or a comment below this post. We look forward to hearing from you.

All the best

Ihr sms77 Team

Header picture by ViewApart via iStock

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