What is SMS Marketing and How Can It Help Brands?

Many digital marketers are unsure if SMS marketing brings them value, but it could end up being one of the most valuable marketing channels you have.

What is SMS Marketing and How Can It Help Brands?

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As more and more people spend time on their phones over desktop computers, the rise of mobile marketing has led to new and emerging trends in digital marketing tactics. 

Reaching customers where they are online has always been important for creating the types of connections that are needed to get return revenue and loyal customer bases. 

SMS marketing is the next evolution of that process. 

But what is SMS marketing? How does it help you reach customers and improve the ROI you have in your marketing initiatives? 

In this article, we’ll go through these questions and help you understand its benefits, the different types available for brands, and some tips and best practices to implement in your own strategies.

    What is SMS Marketing?

    To begin, let’s break down the term. 

    “SMS” stands for “short message service”, known more colloquially as text messaging. 

    SMS marketing is the process of sending text messages to customers to communicate and interact with them on a personal, one-on-one level. 

    You can use it to send: 

    • Welcome Messages.
    • Campaign Updates.
    • New Promotions.
    • Brand News and Updates.
    • New Product Arrivals.
    • Flash Sales Information.
    • Seasonal Sales Information.
    • Customer Feedback Surveys.
    • Payment Reminders.
    • Payment Links.
    • Product Tracking.
    • Account Notices.
    • Service Updates.
    • Review Requests.

    SMS marketing is an owned channel, meaning you have complete control over the rules and content that you share over text with customers. 

    That gives you complete ownership from the start to the end of your strategy, meaning it can be incredibly beneficial to your brand.

    Benefits of SMS Marketing

    SMS marketing can have important benefits for organizations in any industry and is a worthwhile channel to explore, no matter what your business is.

    As an owned channel, you can control the format, style, content, and approach you take, unlike other channels like social media. 

    Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits you can receive from it.

    Fast and Efficient

    SMS marketing gets your message directly in front of your customers at a moment’s notice. 

    Your customers don’t need to log into their email accounts or visit a social media platform at the right time to get your messages as they are delivered right to their phones. 

    They are also efficient to make, as they only have a few characters and can be created and sent out to audiences quickly.

    High Open Rates

    Unlike other owned channels like email marketing, SMS marketing has incredibly high open rates. 

    Nearly every SMS message you send will be opened and read by your audiences, making them incredibly valuable marketing tools

    However, overusing this form of marketing can be irritating to audiences, so make sure to monitor the number of SMS messages you send and what types of content you include in your messaging.

    More Responses

    To go along with the higher open rates than other types of message marketing, SMS marketing also generates more responses from customers. 

    The links that you send via SMS messaging are much more likely to be clicked on than links that come in other formats, like emails.

    Personal Relationships

    While it might seem like text message marketing is invasive, the truth is that customers want to get messages in the SMS format. 

    Today’s customers prefer avoiding phone calls and want to quickly accomplish their goals with your brand. 

    SMS marketing creates stronger, more personal relationships as it is a one-on-one communication format. 

    Customers appreciate this non-intrusive format over phone calls and voicemails.


    One of the major benefits of SMS marketing from the brand’s perspective is the cost-effectiveness that comes with it. 

    Other forms of marketing like social media, paid ads, and even print marketing like flyers and letters cost much more money than SMS messaging does. 

    SMS marketing strategies don’t cost much more than the price of software and are much more likely to be read than the more expensive formats.

    3 Types of SMS Marketing

    There are a few different types of SMS marketing that you can use in your mobile marketing strategies. 

    Not every brand will need to use all types of it, but understanding the different approaches can help you narrow down what will be most effective for your brand’s goals. 

    There are three major types:

    1. Promotional SMS Marketing

    Promotional SMS marketing strategies are used to build awareness with audiences, increase sales, and promote new products and deals. 

    You can also use promotional SMS marketing to share brand information, offer special sales or limited-time offers, tell audiences about upcoming events, and even link to blogs or videos explaining how to use products. 

    Promotional SMS marketing often requires audiences to opt-in to receive promotional text messages, usually in a welcome message after a customer has given their business phone number to the brand while filling out an online form.

    2. Transactional SMS Marketing

    Another type is transactional SMS marketing. 

    This type of marketing gives audiences the type of information that they need, like product delivery and shipping updates or confirmation details. 

    This helps keep customers connected with your brand as they wait for things to arrive and keeps them updated on key information. 

    Transactional SMS marketing can also include things like account balance information, upcoming payments, bill due reminders, and other transactional information that is important to directly communicate with your customers.

    3. Customer Service SMS Marketing

    The final type is customer service SMS marketing. 

    This type of marketing is used to help customers have a better overall experience with the brand by providing them with a direct channel to express concerns, ask questions, or otherwise deal with the customer service side of your business. 

    Your customer service SMS marketing can also be used to send surveys to customers after they interact with your brand or request a review from customers to see if they want to positively promote your business on social media or Google.

    5 SMS Marketing Tips and Best Practices

    Now that you know what SMS marketing is and how it can benefit your organization, let’s take a look at some of the best practices, tips, and tactics you can consider while building out your strategies. 

    There are definitely ways that SMS marketing can become invasive and irritating to customers, so planning your steps carefully and using these best practices can help you avoid losing the attention of your audiences.

    1. Offer a Clear Opt-In and Opt-Out

    Just as with other forms of marketing, you need to make sure that you are working ethically and legally with your SMS marketing. 

    Make sure you are getting your contacts from reputable sources like your own website and not from purchased lists. 

    You also want to have a clear way for audiences to opt out of your SMS messages, communicated in the first message you send out to a new contact.

    2. Identify Who You Are

    You never want to send a message without context. 

    Make sure you identify yourself and your business when you reach out to customers so they don’t have to wonder who is messaging them and what the intention of the message is.

    3. Send the Right Amount of Messages at the Right Time

    SMS marketing can be incredibly effective, but only if you know when to send the right messages. 

    You don’t want to send messages during the middle of the night or early in the morning, so timing is key for SMS marketing success. 

    You’ll also want to monitor the number of messages you send so you don’t become irritating and annoying to your customers.

    4. Only Send Valuable Information

    One mistake that some brands make is treating SMS marketing just like their email marketing. 

    SMS marketing has strict character limits, so you don’t want to have long-winded paragraphs that customers won’t read. 

    Short, concise sentences are key to success, and the information needs to be valuable to those reading it.

    5. Utilize Software for SMS Marketing

    There is no way to effectively send out individual SMS messages to everyone on your contact list.

    Having software will help you create an effective SMS marketing strategy and can help you build your SMS messages in bulk, time them effectively, and create automated workflows for alerts.

    Wrap Up

    Once you can answer the question, “what is SMS marketing,” you can start to see the benefits it can bring to your organization. 

    SMS marketing helps you connect with audiences where they are: their mobile devices. 

    When it is done right, you can get higher rates of engagement, build more personal relationships with customers, and increase your marketing ROI.

    In order to truly see the results of different mobile marketing strategies, you need to understand what your SEO is on mobile. 

    To learn more, check out our blog on mobile SEO. 

    There you’ll learn what mobile SEO means, why it’s important for your business, and how you can go about improving this strategy to achieve better results and rankings!


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