The Complete SMS Marketing Guide

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to get in front of your customers where they’re spending most of their time, look no further than SMS marketing.

The average American checks their phone 96 times a day – a 20% increase from just two years ago. As people become more attached to their phones, texting is now a direct (and preferred) line of communication between businesses and customers.

Looking to learn what text marketing is and how it works? In our comprehensive SMS marketing guide, we’ll walk you through every component of SMS marketing and break down the best strategies for getting the most out of your SMS investment.

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing, also known as text message marketing, is the practice of sending promotions and transactional messages via targeted, permission-based text messages. These messages help businesses communicate time-sensitive offers, alerts and updates to people who have given their consent to receive texts from your company.

SMS marketing messages are typically limited to 160 characters. They allow businesses to send instant, trackable messages to a large audience with just a few clicks, making SMS an appealing alternative to other marketing channels like email.

These SMS mobile marketing statistics further prove the impact of SMS marketing:

  • 99% of all text messages are read by the recipient
  • 78% of people want the ability to text businesses
  • SMS campaigns receive an average response rate of 90 seconds

Why Is SMS Marketing Effective?

SMS has a stellar reputation in the marketing industry for a few key reasons:

  • Nearly everyone has a mobile device. 96% of Americans own a cellphone, and 88% of smartphone users primarily use their devices for texting.
  • It boasts higher engagement rates than email. SMS engagement rates are 6-8 times higher than email when used for redeeming coupons and generating brand awareness.
  • Text marketing has a high ROI. 29% of SMS recipients click on links in the texts they receive, and 47% of those go on to make a purchase. That’s close to a 14% conversion rate.
  • It’s versatile and works in any industry. Communicate any type of message, from promotions and sales to appointment reminders, updates, events and more.

Discover more benefits of SMS marketing.

What Is Permission-Based Marketing?

SMS marketing is a form of permission-based marketing, which means customers need to give their explicit consent to receive marketing texts. Permission-based marketing establishes trust between your business and your customers.

Traditional marketing methods like ads, commercials and billboards attempt to interrupt consumers, constantly bombarding them with unwanted messages.

Permission-based marketing breaks through the noise because the audience has expressed specific interest in receiving messages from your company. They’re genuinely interested in hearing from you, which means higher engagement, click rates and open rates.

SMS Marketing Use Cases – We Use Them Everyday

SMS has countless use cases for businesses that want to reach their customers quickly and effectively.

  • Promotions: Retailers and ecommerce businesses can use SMS to promote limited-time offers and share discount coupons.
  • Tracking & Order Updates: Send real-time order confirmations, shipping updates and delivery notifications via SMS to keep customers informed on the status of their purchases.
  • Appointment Reminders: For medical offices, salons and other businesses that rely on appointments, sending automated reminder texts is a great way to make sure customers remember their appointment dates and show up at the right time.
  • Event Updates: Planning and executing an event involves many moving parts. Use SMS to send reminders, updates and cancellations to keep event attendees in the loop.
  • Internal Alerts: SMS alerts can also help you communicate urgent messages such as office closures and emergency updates to your staff.
  • Giveaways & Contests: Promote exciting giveaways and competitions via SMS to increase brand awareness and real-time engagement.
  • Surveys: SMS marketing boasts an average 45% response rate (compared to 8% for email), making it an ideal channel for sending surveys and polls to your customers.

What Types of Businesses Use SMS Marketing?

Any type of business can reap the rewards of SMS marketing. Certain industries that are ideal targets for SMS marketing include:

  • Retail and ecommerce stores
  • Travel companies like airlines and travel agencies
  • Medical offices and dentists
  • Appointment-based businesses, including salons and spas
  • Nonprofits
  • Restaurants
  • Schools and colleges
  • Logistics and delivery services
  • Large organizations with 100+ employees
  • Finance and insurance
  • Political organizations

In a nutshell...