18+ SMS Marketing Tips for Driving More Revenue

Categories: Sms marketing
Updated: November 16, 2021


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Let’s start with the following statistics:

  • People check their phones 160 times a day on average
  • 46% of people say they check their phones before getting out of bed
  • Open rates for SMS vastly surpass email - 98% vs. just 20% for email

Many online marketers laugh at the idea of SMS marketing as they think it is more regulated than email marketing.

Not really!

To connect with audiences on mobile phones - where they spend most of their time - brands need to be creative with SMS marketing. To be honest, text marketing is lurking in the background and waiting for you to capitalize on it.

With that in mind, we put together 18+ SMS marketing tips. They are actionable, and where applicable, we include real-world examples. We promise that your SMS marketing strategy will benefit from reading this guide.

Without any further ado, we should start right now!

Table of contents

What is SMS marketing?

Simply put, SMS marketing (or text marketing) involves the practice of sending marketing messages between phones or from a computer to a mobile device.

It is a form of opt-in marketing that requires contacts to subscribe. This differentiates it from social media marketing, where marketers post public content that people can choose to like or follow.

Common examples of SMS marketing include:

  • Offers and discounts
  • Personalized promotions
  • Remarketing
  • Surveys/Feedback collection

Customers are becoming more and more comfortable when interacting with businesses on mobile devices. In many cases, they expect to reach businesses by messaging or text.

Thus, it is no surprise that even back in January 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended how businesses interact with customers, more than half of US retailers planned to increase their investment in messaging and SMS platforms.

By June 2020, that number had risen to 56%, outranking other areas for potential investment.

18+ SMS marketing tips for driving more revenue

If you are already on board with SMS marketing, here are 18 tips on how to maximize your success.

1. Promote opt-in across all media

Firstly, you need to get customers to subscribe to your SMS list. Give them the chance to do this action at every point of contact:

  • Website. Make sure that SMS opt-in is a prominent feature on your website.

  • Social media. Add a “phone number” field to your Facebook page sign up and a “Subscribe” button for them to sign on to your SMS marketing campaign.

  • Newsletter. Make SMS opt-in visible in your newsletter.

  • Snail mail. When sending coupons or promotional mail through the post, ensure that instructions for SMS opt-in are printed on it.

  • Point-of-sale. Ensure that employees ask if customers want to opt-in for SMS texts for sales and promotions.

  • SMS. Send a text asking if customers want to opt-in, such as “Get access to 4 texts per month from {business_name} for SMS -only discounts. Text 1234 to opt-in.”

2. Don’t send without a clear opt-in

You probably already gather phone numbers from your customers. That doesn’t mean you should start mass texting them. Much like email marketing, SMS marketing requires a clear opt-in.

You can ask your audiences to opt in to text messages on your official website or other channels. But, before sending, you should get a text confirmation that they actually do want to subscribe.

One method is to send one SMS (and one only) thanking them for subscribing and asking them to confirm their action with a simple Yes or No. Unless they respond, don’t text them again. And obviously, if they respond No, don’t text them again either.

Send with a clear opt-in
Send with a clear opt-in

3. Include clear instructions to opt-out

This is a best practice (and a legal requirement) for all marketing communications. But it is essential for a more intrusive method like SMS marketing. Repeatedly texting people that don’t want to hear from you is more likely to drive them away than lead to sales.

You should include opt-out information even for transactional messages, such as appointment reminders or shipping updates. Not everyone wants to receive these kinds of details by text.

As open rates of text messages are consistently much higher than those of email, your opt-out rates may be higher, too. Don’t panic if you realize a spike in unsubscribes after a message goes out.

Instead, analyze your opt-out rates over time. Once you have fully implemented your SMS marketing campaign, you can establish an opt-out baseline. Check all future text messages against that baseline, and investigate any outlying results. If unsubscribes are unusually low or high, analyze your message to see if you can identify what led to the change in result.

4. Identify yourself

You cannot assume your recipients have you in their SMS contacts. That means your text message will appear from a number they don’t recognize without inherent identifying information. If you really want them to get past the first couple of words, it’s vital to identify yourself right away.

A straightforward way to implement this is to put your brand name right at the start of your message, followed by a colon, like Domino’s Pizza does here:

Identify yourself
Identify yourself

5. Segment your audience

You wouldn’t talk to a new visitor the same way you would a loyal customer. The same goes for text marketing. Segment your audience to make sure that each recipient gets relevant, valuable content.

New customers could get free shipping or a discount code, while repeat customers could get early access to new products/services or an invite to your rewards program.

You should use profile data to deliver birthday promotions, new customer discounts, or location-based text campaigns to give each customer a personalized experience and up conversions.

6. Write clear messages

Let’s get to the point: You have 160 characters to express yourself. Ensure your message is clear and concise while avoiding abbreviations and all caps.

Plus, don’t use open-ended messages. A typical example of an open-ended message is one that invites recipients to a sale but doesn’t say when the sale ends. The recipient has no idea if it is for a day or a month. By giving a particular date when a sale ends or putting an expiration date on a coupon, recipients are more likely to act because you have given them enough information and incentive.

7. Instill urgency

One of the plus points of SMS marketing is immediacy. You should use that to your advantage.

Include phrases like “expires soon,” “today only,” “last chance,” or “valid till” in your message copy to generate a sense of urgency and prompt recipients to act.

Instill urgency
Instill urgency

8. Make it exclusive

If you have ever posted the same copy across all social media channels, we forgive you.

But when it comes to your SMS marketing, exclusivity is a vital part of a successful strategy. When you text an offer to your recipients, make it exclusive. You can even emphasize that the deal is only available to VIP customers. It not only makes them feel like they are a part of something special, but it also reduces opt-outs.

9. Always offer value

To create an effective SMS marketing campaign, you need to collect phone numbers. Then, you need to keep your subscribers interested.

We cannot emphasize that it is integral to get creative and offer customers something of value. This applies when you first ask for your audiences’ phone numbers. It also applies when you are sending messages to someone who subscribed one year ago.

That means you need to keep your text marketing strategy fresh. You cannot resend the same texts week in, week out. Try hosting a giveaway, running a poll on what products/services customers want or expanding beyond promotions entirely.

If you have a health care business, you could provide expert advice on everything from diet plans to mental health tips. If you are a realtor, use SMS marketing to invite them to events to learn about the home-buying process.

When you gain access to someone’s inbox, your messages sit alongside texts from close friends and family. Therefore, it is important not to be spammy or devoid of value. Otherwise, you’ll risk harming your overall customer experience.

10. Add color with images

Forrester analyzed over 2,000 posts and nearly 12 million user interactions between social media users, along with the top 50 global brands. They found that most interactions with brands happen on Instagram.

What do this study’s results have to do with texting?

Images are engaging.

While marketers are scrambling to hand us the “most obvious statement of the year award,” it is surprising how few people make use of MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service).

Texts with images can generate a higher CTR (click-through rate). Studies revealed that MMS messages had a CTR 52% higher than messages with no image. If you desire to increase engagement with your text messages, then it might be time to add a photo to your messages.

Add color with images
Add color with images

Related topic: The Difference Between SMS and MMS

11. It’s all about the CTA (call to action)

In every SMS marketing tips article ever written, there is a reference to CTAs. We don’t want to include a generic tip, but it is true. You need to tell people what to do.

How you wrap up your text message will determine whether or not your audiences take that critical next step. In short, don’t leave them hanging.

Below are a few CTA winners:

  • “Show this text.” Asking your customers to show the text to earn a discount is a straightforward and effective way to have them engage in your promotion. For instance, “show this text for 30% off your dinner tonight.”

  • “Click here.” Sometimes you do not have enough space in your text message to include all the necessary information. Maybe you are running an event, and you want to include a link to a map or a video or a link to your website. In that case, a “Click here” button can provide a link to the necessary details.

  • “Text-to-win.” Many customers would be interested in having a chance of winning a prize or gift from your business. Asking them to text to enter a contest helps increase customers’ engagement. If you are not offering a sale or hosting an event, text-to-win campaigns are an efficient way to remind customers of your existence while increasing traffic and sales.

  • “Text-to-vote.” Engage recipients in mobile polling to find out how your business is doing in terms of product/service quality, prices, and more.

  • “Buy now.” This is the perfect CTA for targeted messages. If you know a customer often buys a specific product, you can send a message promoting that product/service with a “Buy now” button to make it much easier for them to buy.

12. Run a sweepstakes contest

This is a standard promotion tactic, in which you have customers sign themselves up for sweepstakes by texting a particular keyword. For example, customers text “BBQ” to enter for a chance to win a BBQ grill.

You can choose winners from everyone who opts-in, or give away a smaller prize to everyone who texts your keyword. You can even use it as a valuable opportunity for cross-promotions.

Consider a giveaway or contest every year to every quarter, attached to anniversaries, holidays, and special occasions. Keep in mind the following tips for contests and giveaways to generate the most leads:

  • Have a low bar to entry
  • Create urgency
  • Use a partner to cross-promote
  • Don’t forget a sweet prize

13. A/B test your text messages

Many digital marketing guides tell you that you should A/B test everything. However, what they fail to acknowledge is that not every marketing channel benefits from A/B testing equally.

One of the advantages of SMS marketing campaigns is that you are already working with a somewhat pre-qualified base: these people have said that they want to receive your text messages. Moreover, many of your SMS subscribers are existing customers. All of these things lead to high engagement with your texts.

That’s why when you A/B test your text messages (i.e., try out a new CTA or offer), the impact on conversion rates can make a more dramatic difference to your own bottom line than, say, A/B testing a Facebook ad.

Below is an A/B test example run by SimpleTexting. The text with an image had a 52% higher CTR.

A/B test your text messages
A/B test your text messages

14. Send at the right time

Choosing the right time is necessary for any marketing message. But for SMS marketing, it is critical. That is because people are more likely to have notifications turned on for text. And while many people put their phones on the “Do Not Disturb” mode at times they don’t want to be interrupted, you cannot count on this.

The last thing you’d want to do is wake your recipients up in the middle of the night with a marketing offer. Your recipients probably don’t want to receive messages that interrupt their dinner, either.

So, instead of sending a blast message to everyone at once, you should choose an appropriate time and send your texts out in stages by time zone.

In case you have an in-person business, a great option is to send messages right after an appointment. You are already on the customer’s mind, and you know they are up and about.

It is also good to do some testing to see what times can get the best response and the lowest opt-out rate.

15. Know your character count

Text messages max out at 160 characters. That is not a lot to work with when you have got to identify yourself and provide an opt-out option. You will need to know exactly what you want to say and not waste any characters.

Quickly get to the point, and use links to fill out the details of your message.

16. Choose a reliable SMS marketing platform

To fully implement SMS marketing, you should consider picking a trustworthy SMS marketing platform.

AVADA Commerce is a top-notch choice for your business. The platform lets you send a broadcast SMS marketing campaign to your opt-in list. Your text marketing campaign can involve promo codes, coupons, as well as transactional messages like order confirmation.

AVADA offers a built-in web form to help you convert email subscribers and web visitors to SMS subscribers. Plus, the platform has a number of ready-to-use SMS templates and workflows for new subscriber welcome, cart abandonment, order and shipping confirmation, special occasion offers, and so on. AVADA also supports MMS, so you’re able to send images and GIFs with your text messages.

Especially, the platform makes it easy to combine SMS marketing with other marketing channels, like email marketing. By creating automated workflows including SMS and email marketing, you can boost brand awareness and increase revenue.

AVADA Commerce helps you combine SMS marketing with email marketing
AVADA Commerce helps you combine SMS marketing with email marketing

AVADA support team is well-known for being friendly, knowledgeable, and professional, so you can rest assured when using the platform.


17. Let your customers talk back

Conversational commerce enables transactions to happen between businesses and customers via message interfaces, like SMS or other mobile messaging platforms.

Imagine it as a conversation with the fishmonger at your local market. You might ask them what is fresh, chat about what you want, and ask for prices. When you are done conversing, they hand over the fish, and then you pay for it. Conversational commerce is about allowing people to do that, just using messaging apps.

To make your SMS marketing efforts more interactive, you can send a text promotion with a free consultation CTA. From there, your team members could chat with the customer, answer their questions, and provide purchase suggestions.

Even if you do not have the resources to execute this, we suggest you respond to customers who reply to your message blasts. Given the personal nature, recipients often don’t realize that you have sent hundreds or thousands of texts at once, so they’ll respond with questions or even a thank you.

It is always best practice to acknowledge these incoming messages with a response.

18. Measure performance

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” said Peter Drucker. The same is true for your SMS marketing campaigns.

You can track and measure SMS by monitoring clicks on links in texts. If you do not sell online, you can still keep track of promotions/coupons redeemed in your own PoS system, or even use a spreadsheet to track campaign results. Not every text marketing campaign is going to involve a coupon or promotion, but if possible, it helps measure performance.

The bottom line

Now that you are all set to test out these efficient SMS marketing tips, it’s time to get started with your first campaign.

Have questions? Contact our team to learn more! Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!

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