How to Make SMS Marketing Work for You


Published: August 10, 2020 Author: Jason Holicky - Hometown Design Studio Inc.
How to Make SMS Marketing Work for You

We’re all probably aware of how ubiquitous our mobile devices have become in our daily lives. They’re the first thing we check in the morning, where we turn when we have a few minutes to spare, and often the last thing we put away at the end of the day. It’s easy to see why SMS marketing has been generating positive returns for marketers—at least the ones who are doing it right.

Always Get Permission

The first and most important thing to know about SMS marketing is that you must have explicit, written permission from people before sending them text messages. Not only is it potentially irritating to receive messages you don’t want, but it’s also illegal for marketers to send them.

The best way to get permission is with an opt-in campaign that encourages customers to send a message requesting to participate in your marketing offers. For example, you can ask customers to send the word “deals” to your number if they’d like to receive weekly deals. Increase the number of people opting in by promoting the offer on social media, your website, in-store, and mailers.

Another legal requirement is to include a way to opt-out of receiving your messages by replying directly to them with a word like “stop” or “unsubscribe.” You must make this clear in the first message you send, and it’s a good idea to include it with each message you send.

Segment, Segment, Segment

While SMS messaging may offer one of the best response rates in marketing, it’s also one of the easiest ways to annoy your customers. Most people tend to read a text message immediately upon receiving it, and if it’s an irrelevant marketing offer that disrupted the customer, they probably won’t think too highly of the interruption.

Instead, use what you know about your customers to create segments and develop personalized offers based on their profiles or past experiences. The more you know about their purchase history, location, and other demographic information, the better you can tailor your SMS marketing messages and avoid being annoying.

Make it Easy

Text messages are meant to be fast and simple, and your messages must be, too. Make sure you get right to the point, clearly and in plain words. Avoid the temptation to use a bunch of emojis, fancy language, or abbreviations that are not commonly understood by your audience.

It’s also important to make it easy to get more information, so always include a link to a full page with all the details. For example, if you’re promoting a sale, add the necessary information and the dates in the message with a link to a web page with more details.

While we’re talking about links, make sure all messages have a call-to-action that’s interesting to boost engagement and inspire interaction. For example, you can ask customers to show the text at checkout to earn a discount, text a reply to enter a sweepstakes, or click a link to place an order.

Timing is Everything

It’s essential to make sure your messages are sent at the right time and at the right frequency. If you’re working with customers across different time zones, be absolutely certain you’ve got everyone sorted correctly. The last thing you want to do is annoy your customers with a 5:00 a.m. wakeup call about a sale. Also, SMS messages are typically the most effective when action can be taken immediately, so don’t send messages about offers that are not live yet or sales that are still days away.

Getting the frequency right is critical, and in the area of SMS marketing, it’s always better to err on the side of less frequent than too often. Consumers are constantly bombarded with advertising and interruptions, and you don’t want to add to those distractions. Instead, save your SMS messages for only the most exciting, exclusive, or time-sensitive offers. That way, when someone sees a message from you, they’ll know it’s something good.

Maximizing the Benefits

SMS marketing can be an effective way to get your messages into the palms of your customers’ hands easily and efficiently. There are a few things to keep in mind as you venture into this arena, but the payoff is worth the extra planning. If you’re ready to get in the game, but you’re not sure how the technology works or which messages will be right for your audience, let us know! We’ll create a plan and craft messages designed to get results.

About the Author

Creative Director Jason co-founded Hometown Design Studio of New Lenox, IL in 2013. He spends his days guiding and consulting industrial clients and small businesses owners on their marketing strategy and projects. Jason enables everyone to be successful and grow their business by sharing his knowledge and experience.
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