SMS Marketing: Complete Guide to Finding Success with SMS

Learn about SMS strategies, best practices, and tools in this complete guide to SMS marketing.

Nowadays, a successful marketing strategy requires a combination of multiple communication channels and a high degree of audience personalization. If you haven’t added SMS marketing, also known as text marketing, into the mix, now’s the time to start.

Not only are texts faster to write than emails and easier to create than social media posts, but customers prefer SMS marketing. SMS allows you to meet customers where they are and match the pace of their daily lives—something you can’t do by only sending long-winded emails. To help you dive into the world of SMS marketing, we’ll explore the following topics:

With the right tips and tools, you can start building stronger relationships with customers through SMS marketing in no time. Let’s get started by covering the basics. 

Click this image to explore Mogli’s features and learn how it can take your SMS marketing strategy to the next level.

What is SMS Marketing?

Short message service (SMS) marketing is the practice of sending text messages to promote a business or organization. 

SMS marketing encompasses all kinds of texts sent to customers and stakeholders for the purpose of promotion or relationship building. It’s used by businesses, nonprofits, universities, associations, and more. SMS marketing works on an opt-in basis, meaning that your recipients must explicitly sign up and give their consent to receive marketing texts.

The types of messages sent by SMS marketers may vary depending on goals, audience, and strategy. For example, a commercial business might use SMS marketing to promote a 20% off deal to text subscribers, while a university might text prospective students to make connections that boost admissions.

Does SMS Marketing Work?

SMS marketing can be highly effective, thanks to its speed and how easy it is for customers to engage with texts. The average American spends over five hours a day on their phone. That means that no matter who your audience is, they likely check their text messages often, making SMS a naturally successful channel. 

Take a look at just a few of the reasons SMS marketing works so well:

This graphic and the text below explain a few key reasons why SMS marketing is effective.

  • Easy to send: The short length of texts means your team spends less time creating content than you would for email or social media. With dedicated SMS marketing tools, it’s quick and easy to automatically send the right texts to the right customers.
  • Easy to read: SMS leaves no room for wordiness. Texts get straight to the point, making them much easier for recipients to read and engage with quickly. 
  • High open rate: The average text message open rate is 98%, much higher than any other traditional marketing channel. You won’t see open rates like this anywhere else.
  • High click-through rate: SMS promotions have an average click-through rate of 19%, significantly higher than email’s 2.6% average

Even with all of these benefits, you should still situate your SMS marketing efforts within a wider multichannel strategy for best results. Treat text marketing as a highly impactful addition to your marketing strategy, rather than a full replacement.

SMS Marketing Best Practices

To truly tap into the benefits of SMS marketing and make your messages as effective as possible, there are a few considerations and best practices to keep in mind:

Follow text opt-in laws

Since SMS marketing operates on an opt-in basis, it’s vital that you follow national text opt-in laws. The crux of these laws is that it’s illegal for businesses to text individuals promotional messages without their permission. 

In order to legally text customers in the US, you must:

  1. Obtain explicit, written permission to text each recipient.
  2. Have an existing relationship with each recipient.
  3. Allow customers to easily opt out of text messages at any time.
  4. Clearly identify commercial texts as advertisements.

Not maintaining compliance with these laws can not only damage customer relationships, it can also lead to hefty fines—up to $1500 for each unsolicited text message. To stay compliant, make sure to set up clear opt-in and opt-out procedures for your customers to follow. 

Segment your audience

Just like any other kind of marketing, SMS works best when communications are personalized. The more personally relevant your text messages are, the more likely customers are to engage with them and remain on your contact list. 

Beyond simple steps like using recipients’ names, one way to make personalization more efficient and effective is to use audience segmentation. Create segments of customers based on shared characteristics like:

  • Age 
  • Location
  • Purchase history
  • Interests
  • Engagement history
  • Communication frequency preferences

Once you have your segments, you can easily tailor texts to the interests of each group and increase the chances they’ll engage with the message. Audience preferences are always changing, so be sure to update your segments periodically or whenever you receive new information about a specific customer. 

Update your strategy based on results

Reporting on your text messages’ success helps you determine which strategies are working well for your audience and which ones need adjustment. To track your SMS marketing strategies’ effectiveness, pay attention to metrics like:

  • Click-through rate: This is the number of recipients who click a link in a text message out of everyone who received that message.
  • Conversion rate: Monitor how many customers make a purchase, use a coupon, or sign up for an event because of your text promotions.
  • Opt-out rate: If you see a high number of customers opting out, this could indicate that your texts aren’t relevant enough to your audience. 

With the right resources, you won’t have to track these metrics on your own. Quality SMS marketing tools include reporting features designed to help you tailor your strategy based on what works best for your audience.

Effective SMS Marketing Strategies with Examples

Now that you know the basics, take a look at some examples of common types of messages you can incorporate into your SMS marketing strategy:

Automated reminders

This is an example of an automated reminder text, one of the many kinds of messages you can incorporate into your SMS marketing strategy.

Using an SMS marketing platform, you can set up automated texts that remind customers about expiring deals, appointments, opportunities to give feedback, and more. Use simple scheduled automations to send reminders 24 hours before a deal expires, or create custom workflows that automatically send multiple reminders based on set triggers.

Thank-you texts

In this example, a university uses SMS marketing to thank someone for a donation over text.

Quick messages of appreciation boost engagement and help you build relationships through SMS. Create personalized, one-on-one thank-you messages like the example above, or use automation tools to trigger thank-you texts each time a customer makes a purchase or a donor makes a gift.

Text surveys

In this example, a university uses SMS marketing to thank someone for a donation over text.

By setting up a series of automated responses, your customers can take surveys directly via text, rather than having to open another app or browser to give feedback. SMS surveys are highly interactive and engaging for customers, and they provide an opportunity to gather immediate feedback from your audience while showing them you value their opinions. 

Using SMS Marketing Tools to Improve Results

SMS marketing involves a lot of moving parts, from tracking thousands of phone numbers and individual preferences to ensuring every message maintains legal compliance. This can be tough to handle on your own, so many marketers choose to invest in dedicated SMS marketing tools to simplify the process. 

SMS marketing tools like Mogli don’t just help you keep track of your data, they also enable you to:

  • Pull data straight from your CRM to populate text messages
  • Schedule send one-to-one and bulk messages
  • Create complex, interactive SMS surveys
  • Automate messages, reminders, and notifications

These comprehensive features make it easy to create, personalize, and send messages that make an impact on your customers or constituents. 

Mogli, our Salesforce native SMS, MMS, and WhatsApp solution, works seamlessly with your CRM to give you all the tools you need to let data guide your SMS marketing strategy. Plus, built-in reporting features and an expert customer support team take the technical tasks off your plate, allowing you to focus on finding success with SMS.

Click this image to learn more about Mogli, our top recommendation for SMS marketing tools.

Getting Started with SMS Marketing

Adding SMS to your marketing strategy can make a major impact on your ability to reach and connect with customers. With high open and engagement rates, SMS helps you grab your audience’s attention without taking up too much of their time. To get started, explore SMS marketing tools and successful campaign examples, then talk with your team about creating your own SMS marketing strategy.

Want to learn more before bringing SMS to your team? Check out these additional resources to go deeper into the influential world of SMS marketing:

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