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How To Run An Effective SMS Marketing Campaign

SMS has become a popular marketing platform for businesses in recent years and for good reason. Its affordable cost and high ROI make it an irresistible marketing strategy. But marketers should be aware that SMS is not a DIY marketing plan.

There are lots of ways to do a texting campaign right and lots of ways to do it wrong, too. To make sure you get the most out of yours and end up in the first category, here are some best practices to make SMS work for your business:

Make Exclusive Offers For SMS Customers

Today, businesses have many points of contact with their customers. Social media, foot traffic, television and radio ads, email newsletters, coupons, pop-up ads and more. With all of these different ways to access your sales and promotions, why would they want to sign up for your SMS as well?

That’s where exclusivity comes in. If customers know that they can get access to sales, notices, VIP passes and other goodies only through your SMS loyalty program, then they’re more likely not only to sign up but to respond to your promotions.


Clients’ histories with your business are the building blocks of a great SMS marketing campaign. The more relevant your messages are to the customer, the higher response rates your messages will get which means higher ROI, which means profits. It all starts here.

By analyzing the data you have available on your clients - their geographic location, shopping habits and purchase history - you can aim your texts to them accurately instead of launching a blanket “hit or miss” campaign. A client who shops at your grocery store every Monday may appreciate a “Monday special” of 5% off purchases or a free coffee at your market’s cafe.

When you reach out to customers with something that shows you’re paying attention to them and know what they like and what they need, you’ll not only create more loyal customers, you’ll create a more successful SMS campaign.

Offer Useful Services

There are a lot of ways that SMS can be helpful to clients:

  • Advice and tips. Have you just sold your customer a new iPhone? Tips on how to improve battery life or how to use the various features might be welcome. How about someone who just bought some anti-aging products? They might like to know the best tips on how to eliminate crow’s feet. What information can you offer your clients that will answer the questions implicated by the products they bought?
  • Appointment reminders. Who doesn’t like help remembering all the things on their busy schedule? Support your customer by reminding them about an upcoming appointment by texting. Relying on timely email reminders can be a mistake: customers have overflowing email inboxes and email campaigns show less than 30% open rates.

The day before the appointment is usually the best time to send them SMS reminder - not too far in advance that they’ll forget again, but so last minute that they don’t have time to make it.

  • Delivery status. Customers want to know what’s happening with their purchase orders arriving by delivery. Keep them updated with SMS messages to avoid fielding phone calls or emails which cost your company time and manpower.

Time It

One thing that’s easiest for marketers to get wrong about SMS is the timing. Texting is immediate. It won’t take hours or days for a customer to check your text. In fact, they’re 90% likely to open it within a mere 3 minutes. With this in mind, it’s best to send messages that are SMS-timely.

A restaurant wanting to promote dinner to their customers should send the message at the end of the work day when clients are making dinner plans and might be most temped to take advantage of a last-minute promotion at one of their favorite restaurants.

Retailers should also avoid sending a promotional message too early. If your event is on Saturday, don’t send a message on Monday, send it on Friday or even Saturday morning. SMS messages are opened and read at record speed, but that also means they’re easily forgotten. Send messages when you’re ready to receive your customers, and not before.

One thing to be extra careful about is not crossing the line into inappropriate by sending customers messages very late at night or very early in the morning. Generally, if you stick to working hours, you can avoid overstepping the timing boundaries.

By keeping these ideas in mind while creating your SMS marketing plan, you’ll get better results with your business and your customers.

SMS marketing campaigns can be a great addition to your mobile marketing strategy. Download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Mobile Marketing and learn how to market to the customers who are glued to their mobile devices.

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