What Is SMS Marketing? Everything You Need To Know

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS (short message service) marketing is the process of sending promotional, transactional and other marketing-related messages to customers via SMSs on mobile phones.

SMS marketing is just another marketing channel for your company to reach your customers. For example, you can combine SMS marketing and email marketing for more targeted drip campaigns.

However, unlike most other marketing channels, SMS marketing tends to be extremely precise due to its 160 character limit.

In spite of that, SMS marketing remains one of the most commonly used marketing tactics today. It’s reliable, accessible and will help you reach your customers in no time.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about SMS marketing and show you how to leverage it for your company.

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How Does SMS Marketing Work?

Now that we’ve covered “what is SMS marketing”, let’s get down to understanding “how it works.”

SMS marketing campaigns are fairly straightforward. They usually follow two steps:

Step 1: Opt-Ins

The first step in an SMS campaign is getting the customer to opt-in to your messages.

Getting their consent is important as unsolicited SMS messages come across as spammy and can deter a customer from engaging with your brand.

Most SMS marketing opt-ins contain two things:

  • A keyword – the word/phrase the customer has to type to opt-in to the SMS campaign.
  • A short code – the number they have to message the keyword to.

For example, if you were a food delivery business looking to get more customers, use a messaging service to send an SMS message like:

Fresh food is just a message away! Text “TASTY” to (000)000-0000 for amazing food delivery promos!

In this example, “TASTY” is the keyword, while “(000)000-0000” is the short code. Once the customer texts “TASTY” to the short code mentioned, they’ll be part of your SMS campaign.

Step 2: Sending Marketing Campaigns

After a customer has opted-in, you can start sending them SMS messages. Most companies use SMS marketing software to send targeted messages to their customers at the right time. 

For example, your messaging service can send a customer loyalty offer to encourage them to make a purchase.

Here are a few reasons why tons of companies have adopted an SMS marketing strategy:

1. It’s Accessible

SMS marketing’s reach gives it an edge over most other marketing channels.
As almost everyone has a mobile phone, they can easily receive and engage with a short message immediately!

Also, as smartphones can easily access the internet, you can include links in your SMS messages to drive your online engagement too.

2. It’s Quick

Another great thing about marketing SMSs is that they’re instantly delivered to your customers. This way, you won’t have to spend hours waiting for them to receive your message. 

When you use a messaging service, simply click send, and the SMS message will pop into their phone instantly! You can even use an SMS platform with marketing automation to schedule your text messages in advance.

This speed of delivery is one of the main reasons why companies are adopting an SMS marketing strategy. If you’re looking for instant customer engagement, this is the way to go.

3. It’s Cheap

When compared to other marketing channels, an SMS marketing strategy is extremely cost-effective. Most companies with bulk SMS numbers have great discounts on outgoing messages that reduce their cost-per-message to nearly zero!

Who Can Benefit From SMS Marketing?

The real question should be – who can’t benefit from SMS marketing?
As the SMS platform is so versatile, pretty much anyone – in any industry –  can benefit from it.

Here’s a deeper look at how SMS platform marketing can help:

A. Retailers

Retailers stand the most to gain from short message marketing. It’s the perfect marketing platform to inform their customers about deals, new store additions and other promos to encourage purchasing. It’s no surprise that SMS advertising is on the rise!

Here’s a text message example –
Hey Roger, thanks for shopping at ShirtsandShoes! Lots of exciting deals coming up so visit your nearest SnS store today or log into www.shirtsandshoes.com today!

B. Service Providers

Service providers can also use text marketing to communicate promos; however, that isn’t all they can use it for. Most service providers also use SMS marketing to send reminders to their customers about appointments/services they’ve booked.

Here’s a text message example – 
You have a 16:00 appointment at Dr. Smith’s Dental Clinic today. Pls reach 15 mins early. If you can’t make it, click here to reschedule. 

C. Travel Companies

Like service providers, travel companies can use text marketing to promote offers and inform their customers about their upcoming bookings.

Here’s a text message example – 
Your PNR is JA1111 for flight AA1111 on Sunday, 10th Nov from LAX to JFK at 18:30. Have a nice flight, American Airlines.

3 Ways To Use SMS Marketing

What is SMS marketing good for?

You could use SMS marketing services for:

  • SMS advertising.
  • Updating customers.
  • Sending surveys.

And that’s just scratching the surface of what a text marketing tool can be used for! 
However, most people use text marketing for one of these three reasons:

A. Promotional Messages

Tons of companies use SMS marketing services for SMS advertising. They use it to promote offers and coupons to their customers. This encourages the customer to make a purchase which increases your sales revenue.

Here’s a mass text messaging example:
Show this SMS to your waiter to receive a complimentary entree on your next 2 meals at Sal’s Pizzeria. The offer is valid till 12/12/19.

B. Transactional Messages

Companies also use SMS marketing services to send personalized messages that are triggered by certain customer actions, such as making a purchase. Most credit card companies use these messages to keep their customers informed about their purchases.

Here’s a short message service example:
You recently paid $50 to XYZ. Txn ID: 123456789. Updated balance: $1000. 

C. Update/Reminder Messages

Companies also use message marketing services to keep customers in-the-loop about important messages.

Here’s a short message service example:
Mr. Adams, your package AWB 29913333 is out for delivery. To track your parcel, visit www.trackmypkg.com.

Here’s our list of 20+ sample text message templates for all your SMS marketing needs.

The 4 Best Practices For SMS Marketing Success

Here are four key things to keep in mind for text message marketing success:

1. Always Get Your Customer’s Consent

This is an incredibly important step that most companies overlook.
You can’t send unsolicited text messages to customers and expect them to be receptive. 

Remember, they already receive tons of texts everyday – you’re just adding to it. That’s why unsolicited text messages can annoy customers and deter them from engaging with you.

Plus, they could also come across as spammy.

Think about it.

How would you feel if you suddenly started receiving promotional offers from an unknown number?

Always ensure that your customers have opted-in to your marketing campaigns. It’s a great way to ensure that they’re open to your marketing strategy; which will increase your conversion rates.

2. Time Your Marketing Strategy Messages Well

One of the best things about text message marketing is that it’s incredibly fast.
Most customers instantly receive and open your text messages the moment you send them.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to time your messages well.
You can’t afford to send an SMS message to a customer that wakes them up at 2 A.M, right? 

Always send messages when your customers are primed for engagement.
But how do you know when they’re primed for engagement?

As there’s no specific time that’s standard across all customer demographics, you’ll have to figure this out yourself.

When starting out, send out a few SMSs at different times of the day. For example, you can send a batch at 10 A.M, another batch at 2 P.M and another one at 4 P.M.

You can now monitor SMS marketing statistics like the click-through rate to gauge the engagement level of these batches. If you notice that customer engagement was particularly high with a specific batch, that’s the best time for your text marketing strategy! 

3. Tie Your Marketing Messages To Your Overall Campaigns

Remember, text message marketing is just one channel in your marketing arsenal.
Most companies don’t solely rely on SMSs for their campaigns. 

Instead, they employ multi-channel marketing strategies that include SMS, social media and email marketing efforts.

Don’t look at SMS marketing as a standalone marketing channel, tie it to your other campaigns to create a multi-channel marketing strategy. For example, you can use social media marketing and text message marketing together to attract new customers. 

However, as you’re tying your SMSs to your overall marketing campaign, there needs to be uniformity in its tone. 

For example, your promotional messages can’t differ too much from your social media marketing efforts. Doing this will confuse your consumers as they’re used to a certain style that’s not being conveyed through your promotional messages.

This will interfere with their expectations of what your brand stands for – confusing its identity in their minds.

4. Ace Your Message Signature

No marketing SMS is complete without a message signature.

You can’t receive SMS messages without a signature and know who sent it!

However, you can’t use the same signature for your entire multi-channel marketing strategy. Remember, with SMSs, you’re working with a 160 character limit –  your signature can’t take up over half of that quota!

Here’s an example of what not to do:
Will get back to you soon. Thank You!
Roger, Roger’s Furniture, 9876 Park Avenue, CA, roger@rogersfurniture.com, (000) 0000000

Instead, aim for a signature like this:
Will revert soon. Thanks! – Roger @RogersFurniture

This lets the reader know who the message is from without taking away valuable characters from your actual message! 

Why You Need An SMS Marketing Software

If you really want to boost your SMS marketing campaigns, consider investing in a dedicated SMS marketing software like SalesMsg. It’s going to give you all the functionality you need to effectively manage your marketing campaigns and interact with consumers for maximum engagement.

What’s SalesMsg?

SalesMsg is a simple two-way SMS marketing tool that will streamline sending, receiving and handling your marketing SMSs. It’s a marketing tool used by companies like Comcast and CrossFit and has everything you need to maximize your text message marketing outreach. 

Shows the SalesMsg dashboard.

Here’s a brief look at what this SMS marketing tool can do for marketers: 

Automated Texting – The SMS service can automatically send text messages to leads in your SMS marketing campaigns.
MMS Texting – The marketing tool lets marketers send SMS messages with pictures, gifs and vCards for better customer engagement. It also supports two-way communication to let consumers respond to your text messaging marketing campaigns.
Schedule Messages – Marketers can use the SMS marketing tool to schedule text messages in advance to ensure that they reach customers at the right time.
Double Opt-In – This SMS service streamlines the opt-in process to get your customers’ consent easily.
Bulk SMS Texting – The SMS service also supports bulk SMS texting using your own dedicated shortcode.


It’s no secret that SMS marketing is a core digital marketing strategy today.

Its accessibility and speed have made it the go-to option for tons of businesses looking to boost customer engagement. However, it can be tricky to master if you don’t know what you’re doing. Simply follow the tips we listed out in this article and you’ll be fine!

Also, remember to invest in a dedicated SMS marketing platform like SalesMsg to take your SMS marketing game to the next level. It has everything you need, so why not sign up for a 14-day trial and get started today?

Chris Brisson

Hey. I'm the co-founder of Salesmsg and we created this software to help you connect with your prospects and customers. Let's face it... people don't want to talk these days, they'd rather text. We can help you text.