The Beginner’s Guide to SMS Marketing

Foley Marketing AdvisorsMobile Marketing, SMS Marketing

SMS marketing is one of the fastest, most targeted, and cost-effective ways to reach out to your customers. It can be an invaluable tool for small businesses that want to grow their customer base without breaking the bank. First, let’s go over what it means. SMS marketing stands for short message service marketing. In other words, it’s text message marketing. Businesses can create marketing campaigns and send them to customers’ mobile devices. And since we all know how glued we are to our phones you can see the beauty of sending marketing messages to the one place you know your audience is looking. If you’re new to SMS marketing or just looking for advice on how to get started with it, this blog post provides a beginner’s guide that will give you some helpful tips on how you can run a successful campaign.

Benefits to SMS Marketing: A Quick Rundown

According to a study by Retail Dive, SMS has eight times more engagement than email. Additionally, with the ability to segment your customer base, you can send targeted messages that are relevant to specific audiences, increasing your base engagement even more.

People prefer texting over talking on the phone. With over 65% of people preferring text messaging to talking on the phone, there’s a good chance they’ll be open to receiving texts from your company as well.

With SMS marketing, you can measure the results of your campaign and make changes accordingly. You have access to detailed reports that will show how many people opened or clicked through an SMS message which makes it easy for you to adjust future campaigns according to what works best with your customers.

How SMS Marketing Works: Key Concepts

SMS messages are concise, usually 160 characters or less. They’re designed to be read quickly on a small screen which is why they need to be as direct and brief as possible without sacrificing any important details. There’s no room for long paragraphs of text here.

There are two types of SMS messages: transactional and promotional. Transactional texts include notifications like delivery alerts, confirmation numbers, appointment reminders, or password resets while promotional ones promote sales or special offers directly to customers who opted-in to receive them. SMS marketing campaigns are promotional communications designed to help you build relationships with your customers by reaching out to them directly.

Opting-In and Keywords

Customers and prospects must opt-in using a keyword for you to send promotional messages to their phones. This is an important step in keeping your messages legal.

A keyword is a word or phrase that customers must enter to sign up for future SMS communications. Coming up with the right keywords can go a long way. You’ll want to tailor your keywords for each SMS campaign you are running. For instance, DOGS, CATS, BIRDS, etc. would be good keywords for a pet supply business. Customers can opt-in to the campaigns that are relevant to them.

Short Codes

Short codes for texting can serve many different purposes for businesses, in SMS marketing they’re used for sending and accepting texts from customers and prospects. To send and accept messages from your SMS marketing campaigns, you’ll need a short code which is a five-digit number that’s unique to each campaign or business account.

As CDYNE, one of the leading SMS service providers for businesses puts it, “an SMS short code is a unique 5-6 digit phone number that can send and receive SMS and MMS messages at high volumes in a short period of time.”

Short codes should be easy to remember so that you can use them confidently in catalogs, websites, and other advertisements.


When someone opt-ins to your SMS communications, they receive an auto-reply that your business has come up with. This message’s body should include text that provides the subscriber pertinent information such as the opt-out keyword, the type of messages they will receive, and the maximum number of texts they may expect.

The auto-reply might be the most important aspect of an SMS campaign. It has the potential to increase engagement and trust by putting your subscribers at ease knowing exactly what to expect from your SMS campaign. If you are clear with your subscribers, they will be much less likely to opt-out the next time you message them.

Finally, Be Mindful

SMS messages are one of the most intimate ways you will be communicating with customers and prospects. You never know what situation someone will be in when their phone buzzes. Keep your texts short, sweet, simple, and unintrusive.

It’s also important to keep in mind there is a lot of legislation surrounding SMS marketing. Compliance is crucial to avoid any legal problems down the road.

If you need help with any of your marketing strategies,
please contact Danielle Foley, Owner/Marketing Consultant
at or visit my website at Foley Marketing Advisors.

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