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10 SMS Marketing Tips
for Successful Text Message
Campaigns

SMS Marketing Matters

There’s a reason SMS marketing is still alive and kicking.

Text messages are extremely cost-effective, quick and easy to implement, and don’t rely on an internet connection to work.

In fact, they might even have an edge over email!

Studies show that SMS open rates are around 82%, as compared to only 20% for email.

And even though text messages are pretty basic – no images, videos, or fancy stuff – they have sensational engagement rates!

The point is – there is still a huge potential for SMS marketing, especially when you combine it with your existing email marketing strategy.

Here are a few tips to ensure that you’re doing your SMS Marketing right:

1. Make the Most of 160 Characters

You really don’t have the space to blabber on – text messages are limited to 160 characters.

Make sure you get to the point – fast!

Here’s how you can make the most of the limited text space:

  • • Avoid flowery language and make sure your text has a clear purpose.
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  • • Your customers will resent you for making their phones buzz for absolutely no reason.
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  • • Just because you have limited text space to work with doesn’t mean you start using confusing abbreviations, like ‘tmw’ ‘gr8’, or ‘wknd’. They might not make sense to everyone, and will end up making you look unprofessional!
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  • • We know emojis work great in email subject lines – but when it comes to SMS, all they do is take up unnecessary space.
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  • • If you’re putting links in your texts, shorten the URLs to save space and avoid clutter.
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  • • Use short sentences wherever possible. This helps break up the text into bite-sized pieces!
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  • • Use ALL CAPS only when you need to highlight an offer or a keyword, like FREE or SALE. Be careful not to use too many caps in your text – it will make it hard to read and you’ll sound like you’re screaming!

2. Promote SMS Opt-In Everywhere

SMS marketing comes with a catch.

Subscribers need to grant you permission before you can start sending them texts!

If you don’t pay attention to this seemingly tiny detail – you can end up breaking the law under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and face hefty fines.

But hey – don’t let that discourage you from investing in SMS marketing!

There are still a lot of legal ways to get customers to opt in. Here are some tips:

  • Use social media to grab your customers’ mobile numbers. For example, you can add a ‘Phone Number’ field to your Facebook lead generation form:

Better yet, include an opt-in button to get them to subscribe to your SMS campaigns.

  • Who doesn’t love a freebie? You can offer your customers benefits, like a free gift or discount, for opting in to receive your SMS. If you own a restaurant, for example, you can offer free drinks to the customers who opt in.

The key is to grab every opportunity to promote your SMS opt-in – both online and offline. With Sendlane’s webforms, you can include a phone number field to get SMS and email opt-ins simultaneously!

If you let customers know about the sweet deal they’ll be getting if they decide to opt in, like receiving updates, special promotions, and exclusive discounts – chances are they’ll want to subscribe.

3. Identify Yourself

Getting a text from an unknown sender is downright creepy. Don’t put your customers through this for no reason.

It’s good practice (or common courtesy, really) to identify your business somewhere in your texts.

Letting subscribers know who you are before you ask anything of them helps build trust and gets them to take your SMS seriously.

4. Offer Value to Your Subscribers

Sending texts just because it’s cool is NOT cool.

SMS is a highly personal channel – your texts should offer genuine value to your customers, instead of just spamming their inboxes.

There are so many ways to offer value to your subscribers – you can send out discounts, updates, sale announcements, reminders, and so much more!

Better yet, consider sending exclusive, SMS-only deals to your customers. It makes them feel special and gets them excited about your text.

Whatever you decide to send, just make sure it’s relevant to your target audience and worth their while. If it isn’t, don’t bother sending an SMS at all!

5. Use SMS Calls-to-Action

Want to get immediate results out of your SMS campaigns? Make them actionable!

Just like with email marketing, you can get subscribers to engage with you by dropping an irresistible CTA that’s specifically tailored for texts!

Here are some examples:

  • • Running a contest or a lucky draw? Brag about your prize and ask them to ‘Text to Win!’
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  • • SMS is an awesome channel for conducting mini-surveys and engaging polls. All they need to do is ‘Text to Vote!’
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  • • Ask customers to ‘Show this text’ at your store or restaurant to get hold of exciting discounts and freebies!
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  • Like this:

6. Personalize Your Texts

You know what’s better than a good deal? A personal touch!

SMS is a pretty intimate channel. Make sure you treat it like one.

You can personalize your texts by addressing your customer by their name, or tailoring it according to their geographic location, interests, and activity – just like with email!

But here’s how you can take SMS personalization to a whole new level:

  • • Send exclusive sale or discount texts to customer near your store.
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  • • Most people don’t check emails on-the-go, but would likely peek at a quick text!
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  • • Make your customers’ special day even better by sending them a heartfelt message on their birthday – maybe throw in a discount coupon as a gift!
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Here’s an example:

Personalizing your texts makes your brand look more human (less robot) and your texts more authentic and meaningful.

7. Engage Your Subscribers

Don’t bore your subscribers with static text messages to just read and forget about.

Spice it up by getting them to interact with you.

Remember – they’ve opted to receive your SMS. Make the most of this opportunity by getting them to take some action after reading your text.

Although they can’t directly respond to you via SMS, your subscribers can always engage with you on other channels, such as email or social media.

For example, you can ask subscribers to leave a review on Facebook post-purchase:

Or make it fun!

Run SMS contests, lucky draws, and polls, and offer exciting incentives for the winners and watch the responses pour in!

Getting subscribers to engage with you on text will help you build stronger, more meaningful relationships with them. You’re also likely to be on top of their minds.

Plus, it will always keep them excited about your texts!

8. Drive Traffic to Your Website

SMS marketing isn’t just plain text – you can also include clickable links!

Use that opportunity to drive more traffic to your website. Make sure you shorten the URL and include a hard-to-resist CTA.

A word of caution, though. Use your links wisely – don’t include a URL if it doesn’t relate to your text and the action you want your customers to take.

Here’s a good example of using SMS to drive traffic to your site:

The link will take the users directly to the booking page on their website – smart move!

Online stores can also use SMS marketing to simplify the purchase process.

Like if you offer subscribers a discount code on items they left in their carts – include a link that takes them directly to the checkout page!

9. Boost Your Email Opens

Our favorite thing about SMS marketing is that you can use it to boost the results of your email campaigns – texts offer 8x higher engagement rates than email!

I mean, think about it.

Your email can easily get lost in the sea of all the other emails in your subscribers’ inboxes. If you send them a quick follow-up text reminding them to check their email, it can do wonders for your open rates.

Even better – make them curious!

Tell them ‘something special’ awaits them in their email inboxes and they really don’t want to miss out!

10. Encourage Immediate Action

We all know texts are meant to be read and responded to right away.

Don’t expect your customers to reopen your SMS once the moment has passed – they won’t. Encourage immediate action or risk being forgotten.

If you’re sending a discount, make sure they can take advantage of it immediately.

In case of surveys or contests, encourage subscribers to respond as soon as possible by setting a time limit!

Rev Up Your SMS Marketing

Text messages are one of the most underrated digital marketing channels out there.

Smartphone or no smartphone – every mobile user out there can receive and respond to texts.

This means you can reach a bigger audience, have personalized interactions with your customers, and maximize your success by integrating SMS with your email campaigns!

Did you find any of these tips helpful? We’d love to know about your experience with SMS marketing! Let us know your feedback, comments, and questions below.

Caitlin Hutchinson

Caitlin Hutchinson

Brand Marketing ManagerSendlane
A native of San Diego, California, Caitlin has a passion for developing creative and engaging marketing content. Primarily responsible for overseeing the development, execution and delivery of digital content across all of Sendlane’s channels while maintaining an online presence of Sendlane's team culture. Host of The Marketing Automation Hustle Podcast and Sendlane Youtube Training Channel. Works closely with the marketing team to manage creative projects and develop creative assets/solutions to enhance the brand. Collaborates at the intersection of marketing, product, content, and sales to develop powerful and memorable stories and interactive experiences that bring the Sendlane vision to life.
Caitlin Hutchinson