sms marketing represented by a man's hands poised over a cell phone

Best Practices for Creating Effective SMS Marketing Campaigns

Featured image by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash

While SMS marketing campaigns are effective at generating business, they only work if you tackle them in the right way. Putting together a haphazard SMS campaign is going to accomplish nothing other than blowing a hole in your bank account.

Thankfully, putting together an effective SMS marketing campaign isn’t too difficult. SMS marketing campaigns have been running for decades, and marketers have worked hard to come up with great ideas for boosting the success of SMS campaigns. On this page, we will share the best practices for creating effective SMS marketing campaigns. 


Don’t Send Unsolicited SMS Messages

Everybody who receives your SMS messages should have opted in to your marketing campaign. Never ever send messages unsolicited. In the best-case scenario, you annoy somebody and lose them as a customer. Worst-case scenario? Well, in some countries, it’s a crime to do this. 

Most SMS messaging services designed for marketing campaigns will have some sort of opt-in system. For example, you might need to require people to send a text message to subscribe to your marketing service or to agree to it when filling in a form on a website.

Remember, you also need to give people an “out.” Some people may sign up and then realize they don’t really want to receive any text messages from you. So make sure that every SMS message you send has some method for unsubscribing from the list. If somebody unsubscribes, respect their decision. You can automate this using apps like AutoForward.

The Right Time to Send SMS Marketing Campaigns

This is something that can depend on the business you are running. The right time for an SMS campaign from one company may be the wrong time for another. However, marketers have poured a lot of effort into working out what the best time to send messages is.

For SMS marketing, you will get the best response if the messages are sent from Thursday to Saturday. Messages are more likely to get opened when sent at lunchtime (between 12 pm and 1 pm) but have a higher conversion rate after 8 pm. Although you likely wouldn’t want to send SMS messages for a business-focused product at 8 pm. Most people who run businesses won’t check their phones then.

SMS messages sent at either the beginning or the end of the month tend to perform better. This is because people often have more money to spend.

Of course, you will need to test for your own business. These are just general guidelines. 

Let People Know Who You Are    

SMS is a fairly primitive form of digital marketing. The problem with sending an SMS message for a marketing campaign is that unless your phone number is already in the contact list for the recipient, they won’t have a clue who you are. Your SMS just looks like spam.

So make sure to include the name of your business in the message. If you don’t, nobody will pay attention.

And let them reply to the message. Then you can forward their contact information to your email address.

Keep Your Messages Short and to the Point

An SMS can contain a maximum of 160 characters. It isn’t a lot to work with. All messages should be short and to the point.

Don’t use glitzy language. Convey whatever you want to say in just a few words. Do not go over the 160-character limit. While the message will still send, phones handle the messages differently. Some will display the text as a single block of text, which is fine. Others will display multiple messages, which is annoying.

The largest companies in the world will hire professional copywriters to produce SMS messages for them. You can do the same, or try and formulate your own texts.

If you include links in your SMS, then use a link shortener. It can save you a ton of space. Most link shorteners even have a tracking system in place so you can see how effective your SMS marketing campaign is.

Include a CTA

Any SMS you send should have a clear point. There has to be a reason for sending this message. It may be to tell somebody about a new product. Or perhaps you want to share a discount code. It may be to send a personalized message offering a customer a happy birthday. But there has to be a point. You need an ultimate goal for sending that message.

When you have a goal for an SMS, you need a call to action (CTA). This is a short sentence or phrase that essentially tells the recipient what to do. For example, if you want somebody to use a voucher code, type “buy now.” If you are sharing information about a new product type “find out more.” If you are not explicit about what a person should be doing, they probably won’t do it.

Track Your SMS Marketing Campaign 

A good SMS marketing campaign changes based on customer response. You need to have some sort of tracking system in place. Look for the following:

  • What time/day has the best conversion rate
  • What type of message converts the best
  • Whether message frequency impacts response rate
  • Whether certain words trigger better responses

You may even want to engage in a bit of split testing. Half of your recipients get one version of a message, the other half get another version with slight changes. You work out which one converts best, and go down that route.

What to Avoid with SMS Marketing Campaigns

There isn’t a lot to avoid with SMS marketing campaigns. Your biggest concern will be sending out messages too frequently. Most companies will send two messages a month at the most. You may be able to get away with a message per week, but that’s about your limit. People get annoyed with too many messages.

Every message that you send needs to have a point, too. Don’t send a message just because. If the message isn’t delivering value, then it doesn’t need to be sent. This means it needs to offer more value than the previous message did.

For example, there is no sense in sending out a 10% discount voucher twice in one week, because people will already have a voucher in their inbox that they can use.

You may also want to avoid using slang in your marketing campaigns, even if it does cut down on the number of characters used. However, this does depend on your business.


Final Thoughts 

This is just an introduction to the best practices for creating effective SMS marketing campaigns. It can provide you with a reliable starting point. As you send out more SMS messages, you will start to come up with a system that better suits your business. Remember, SMS marketing should complement other marketing your business does. It shouldn’t be your only method for reaching customers.