Tips for SMS / Text Message marketing

Text Messaging is an effective way to reach customers.

More of our customers are using SMS / Text Message campaigns as part of their digital marketing. Examples include: Reminders, Offers and deals, Promotions, and Affiliate Programs.

Why Text Messages?

A well targeted and segmented email achieves a ~21% open rate. Compare that to a nearly 90+% open and response rate for Text Messages!

These aren’t just our customers’ experiences:

Text Messages are direct, short and immediate. Unlike emails which tend to be long and easy to ignore, it is difficult to ignore a Text Message.

So how do you effectively use Text Messaging as part of your digital marketing?

Tips for Effective Text Messaging Campaigns

Let’s look at some tips and recommendations for effective Text Messaging campaigns.

1. Get Permission and allow easy opt-out

To send a text message, you must have permission. You can obtain this permission when a new customer signs up or agrees to an offer.

For example, several of our customers provide an opt-in for customers when they attend a class or take part in a free service.


Any easy way to opt potential customers in is with an offer. For example, Subway offers coupons for discounts each week, but you have to opt-in to receive them.

And while, agreeing to receive Text Messages should be easy. So should opting-out.

The most common opt-out option for Text Messages is replying with “STOP”.

2. Segment your audience

The most effective campaigns use segmentation to categorize the audience into related groups.

For example, depending upon the data you have for your audience create segments by age, timezone, type of customer, etc. Then craft specific and targeted messages for each group.

Generally speaking, you’ll have much more success with Text Message campaigns that target millennials (people born between 1981 – 1996) than you will with emails.

We recommend segmenting your audience and then A/B testing different channels (email, text messaging, push). Each will deliver different results.

3. Personalize the message

It’s easy to find services that send 1,000s of Text Messages to a list of your customer’s mobile numbers.

But what makes Text Message marketing even more effective is when each message is personalized for the recipient.

For example, sending an event reminder personalized to each recipient.

4. Time your delivery

Once you craft the perfect Text Message, think about when it makes the most sense for your recipient to receive the message.

Similar to email, Mondays typically have a lower response rate. And unlike emails, you ideally want the message delivered at a point in time where the recipient can take action. So early morning and end of the work day, 4-7P aren’t typically very good times.

We recommend to our customers to schedule messages Tuesday – Thursday between the hours of 10A – 5P and scheduled for the timezone of the recipient.

5. Track open and click rates

Just as you would with an email campaign, track the open and click rates of your text messages.

Use data from opens, clicks and opt-outs to tune future messages. You can compare your performance against industry standard benchmarks to see how you perform against industry averages.

Typically anything less than a 50% open rate and a 15% click rate is considered underperforming.

6. SMS is powerful, but isn’t free

While not expensive, there is a per-message fee to send a Text Message. So it’s important you understand how to optimize your costs when you send thousands of text messages.

Text Messaging was originally pioneered by Nokia. The original Text Message specification restricted messages to a specific set of characters and a length of 160 characters.

Telecommunication companies still enforce these restrictions and charge a fee per message. Messages that exceed 160 characters or include non-standard characters, such as an emoji, can cause the message size to exceed 160 characters and increase the message cost.

Read more about how Text Message costs are calculated.

7. Include a Clear Call to Action

While you need to keep your message short, always include a call to action (CTA).

What is it you want the recipient of your Text Message to do? Is there a link to click, a coupon to use or an upcoming event they need to be aware of?

Ensuring you have a clear call to action also makes your Text Message valuable. Couple this with some urgency, such as a date upon which the message expires can also improve your click-through and open rates.

And it goes without saying, keep your message clear, short and to the point.

Below are some tips on great CTAs for your Text Messages:

  • Show this text, “show the text when you check-out at our store to get 15% off”.
  • Click here, “Click here to get your 20% off coupon”.
  • Reply to enter, “Reply with ‘black friday’ to claim your Black Friday discount”.
  • Text-to-Vote, “Text 1 for agree, text 2 for disagree. Your vote matters!”.
  • Buy now, “Text ‘buy’ to purchase and we’ll schedule your delivery.”

8. Think Omni-channel

Text Messaging is an important part of your marketing strategy, but it should not the only channel used to reach you customers.

Instead use a platform such as DailyStory to build an omni-channel marketing strategy across Text Messaging, Social Media, Email, Push Notifications, Ad Retargeting and more.

Reach your customers across all the channels they interact with.