5 SMS Marketing Tips for a Successful Campaign
The first text message ever sent was on December 3, 1992, and it said simply, “Merry Christmas.” Since then, the prevalence of cell phones and text messaging has grown far beyond what the world could have imagined at the time. It is no hyperbole to say that short message service, known as SMS or texting, has been a major player in the digital revolution. SMS marketing tips are essential for a successful campaign.
As with any advancement in modern history, SMS found its way into the world of business, and companies find themselves in need of text messaging services. The digital revolution doesn’t allow for slow progress, so companies, big and small, are quickly learning that SMS communication is essential to staying relevant with clients, competitors, and personnel.
SMS marketing has proven itself to be a marketing cash cow for companies. With the right application of SMS marketing in a campaign, companies can experience high conversion rates at a considerably lower cost to other mediums or marketing channels. Every company on the planet can speak the language of lowered costs.
Besides being low cost, text messages also have a higher open rate than their digital counterpart, email. It’s estimated that SMS open rates are as high as 98 percent, and unlike email, they reach the recipient immediately wherever they are located.
SMS marketing embraces a new aspect of consumer marketing which is consent marketing. The idea is that consumers are more receptive to marketing that they have requested to receive, and they actually anticipate these personal and relevant marketing messages.
Setting up an SMS marketing campaign
The first thing you need in order to market through SMS is a group of consumers who opt-in to receive texts from your company. You can use the other marketing channels to let people know how to opt-in to your SMS marketing.
Once you begin to build your database, you’re ready to start sending SMS marketing messages. Remember some of the following when doing so:
- Keep it short. Limit yourself to around 150 characters. Use a text message platform that shortens links for you.
- Reply quickly. You have instant access to your audience, and they want instant access to your responses too. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience.
- Diversify your messages. Texts that say the same thing every time are likely to be marked as spam.
- Keep your promises. Never send messages that the recipient didn’t agree to or at times outside of the window you said you would text within.
- Don’t overdo it. Too much of a good thing goes bad, so avoid the dreaded opt-out by exercising a “less is more” approach.
- Provide opt-out info. Remember that consumers are consenting to this marketing strategy. Be honest and upfront with how they can opt-out should they choose.
Now that you know some basic SMS marketing etiquette, it is time to think about your marketing campaign goals and how SMS marketing can help you.
Tips for a successful SMS marketing campaign
Regardless of your campaign goals, SMS marketing can help you be successful. Let’s explore five tips for SMS marketing in a successful campaign.
1. Welcome subscribers
SMS subscribers are getting familiar with the process of opting-in, and one of the first things they expect is to have added value for their consent. An exclusive deal or offer is expected as a “thank you” from the company for the privilege of marketing to them via text.
It is important to send this text quickly after a customer initially opts-in. This has two benefits. First, the welcome text confirms that the customer has successfully opted-in and can expect to receive texts in the future.
Second, the welcome text tells the customer that their consent is appreciated and that they are personally valued by the company. This begins a relationship that’s a bit deeper than just provider and consumer.
An example of a welcome text: “Thanks so much for signing up! Use the promo code THANKS to receive 20% off your next order.”
2. Reward loyalty
Consumers have stronger connections with the companies they shop with now. A company is no longer just the provider of goods and services. Steve Jobs saw it more than 20 years ago, and he noted then that Nike was a beacon of successful marketing as he sought to build up Apple’s brand image.
“Nike sells a commodity. They sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike, you feel something different than a shoe company.” Companies aren’t marketing their products anymore. They’re marketing their brand’s identity.
Because of this deeper relationship, consumers respond more to being seen and appreciated by the companies they choose to shop with. You can expect a higher level of engagement by using automated texts that reach out to your subscribers at intervals to increasingly reward them for maintaining their subscription.
An example of this is sending an initial text offering 5 percent off, three weeks later offering 10 percent off, and after two months 20 percent off. It’s an easy way to stay on your customer’s mind, and it adds value to their continued opt-in.
3. Use keywords
You’ve probably participated in an SMS keyword, but may not know it. SMS keywords are a word or phrase subscribers text to a short code or phone number from their cell phone. Typically the first message is an opt-in message.
An example of an SMS keyword is if a text message marketing company asked you to “Text DEMO to 50505 to schedule a demo of their product.” The keyword is DEMO and the initial message opts the subscriber in, and then schedules the demo.
Keywords help you develop databases for multiple audiences within your target market. Also, automate responses to your keywords to engage customers quickly, provide links to drive web traffic, send coupon codes, send forms, etc.
4. Send reminders
It takes a lot of time and effort to set up an appointment with a client. The last thing you want is for a client to forget. A missed appointment is a missed opportunity, and missed opportunities can derail your success.
Sending reminders is a great way to ensure your company stays at the forefront of your customers mind. Remember subscribers consent to receive messages, so they anticipate your communication. Reminding them adds value to their opt-in.
Remind clients about appointments, sales events, pickup times, etc. Text reminders for appointments are preferred by 67 percent of consumers. It’s a low-cost solution which saves your business a lot of money by reducing no-shows.
An example of sending reminders, “Your appointment is scheduled for tomorrow, March 19, 2025, at 3:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you. Please contact us if you need to reschedule or have any questions.”
Reminders are also helpful in billing to make sure consumers don’t feel blindsided by charges when they occur. This makes consumers feel well cared for and improves trust.
Reminders help ensure success. For example, if a customer sees your signage announcing a big event, they mentally plan to attend. But, as we all know, life happens. So, they forget your event… unless you send a text reminder about the event.
5. Timing is everything
The best coaches attest to the importance of time management. You may not be coaching a sports team, but SMS marketing does require good timing.
Texting is instant. That’s what makes SMS marketing so powerful. Be instantly in customer’s thoughts no matter where they are or what they’re doing. So choosing the right time to deliver a message means the difference between successful engagement and lost opportunity.
For example, it’s best to text online shoppers when they have time to shop. Therefore an evening text drives more conversions than a mid-morning text.
SMS marketing is quickly becoming an integral part of a successful marketing campaign. Regardless of your goals, text messaging hleps you achieve success. Text messages are popular, prevalent, and preferred among consumers. When you follow these tips, you build a strategy that works for your business.
Remember: use your SMS marketing etiquette which develops a lasting relationship with your customers.