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27 SMS marketing best practices to set you up for success

Alia Paavola
minute read
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Globally, businesses are turning to SMS marketing because it drives results. When done correctly, SMS marketing reaches customers on their mobile devices with concise and compelling offers that boost engagement and revenue. But what SMS marketing best practices can brands use to ensure it’s an effective marketing channel for them?

This article explores best practices and tips for various components of SMS marketing, including creating a strategy, executing campaigns, and refining them.

Jump straight to tips for:

<h2 id="Creating">Creating your SMS marketing strategy</h2>

When establishing your SMS marketing strategy, keep these best practices in mind. 

  1. Clearly understand your target audience. Like any other marketing channel, you’ll want to understand your core buyer persona and SMS audience. This includes learning demographic data as well as their pain points. From there, you can create better messaging and SMS marketing campaigns.

  2. Define your SMS marketing goals. Before you begin any SMS marketing campaign, you must define your goals and initiatives. You’ll want to set goals for the campaign, such as growing revenue or increasing engagement, and understand what initiatives will help you reach that goal. For example, you could run a flash sale campaign to help you increase revenue.

  3. Align SMS with your brand’s overall marketing strategy. Your SMS campaigns must align with and support your team’s marketing strategy. Setting these overarching marketing goals will help your team add SMS marketing to supplement your goals.

  4. Comply with SMS marketing regulations. SMS marketing is regulated by laws such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation. You must comply with these regulations. To comply, companies must collect opt-ins to text customers, message customers only between 8am and 9pm, and always honor opt-outs. 

<h2 id="Building">Building and managing your subscriber list</h2>

Another critical component of SMS marketing is growing and managing your SMS subscriber list. This is a list of customers and phone numbers that opted into marketing texts from your business. Keep these best practices in mind while improving this list.

  1. Create enticing opt-in campaigns. Subscribing to text message marketing is entirely voluntary. As a result, businesses should consider adding enticing opt-in incentives to encourage more people to subscribe. These opt-in incentives should add value or present savings to your customers. Some common opt-in incentives are dollar-off discounts, percentage discounts, free shipping, or rewards points.

  2. Make the unsubscribe process easy and clear. To comply with texting regulations, brands must make it straightforward to unsubscribe. This includes adding language like reply STOP to unsubscribe in your SMS messages.

  3. Segment your subscriber list. You’ll want to deploy a standard email marketing best practice: segment your SMS subscriber list. This helps businesses send more targeted and relevant messages to each customer.

  4. Regularly clean and update your list. You’ll want to regularly clean and update your SMS list to help you improve metrics and keep in touch with the right customers. This includes quickly honoring opt-outs and creating lists for unengaged customers.

  5. Deploy re-engagement strategies for inactive subscribers. Don’t be afraid to deploy a re-engagement SMS campaign for inactive subscribers. This may encourage them to interact with your brand or make a purchase. You can always move customers to an unengaged segment if they don’t respond well to the re-engagement messages.

<h2 id="Crafting">Crafting effective SMS marketing campaigns</h2>

When creating effective promotional text messages, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Keep messages short. The standard text-only messages, known as short message service, are limited to 160 characters. Use this character limit wisely by keeping messages concise and straight to the point.

  2. Craft engaging content and offers. Although text messages are inherently short, they must still be entertaining. You can create engaging messages by offering exclusive SMS discounts, adding links, personalizing messaging, and sharing relevant information with customers.

  3. Determine SMS vs. MMS. Understand if you want to use SMS or MMS. SMS is text-only messages and can be great for things like order updates. Conversely, MMS lets you attach multimedia like PDFs and photos while allowing up to 1,600 characters.

  4. Use a proper call-to-action. Let customers know what action to take next from your text by using a CTA. Consider adding an SMS link next to your CTA for increased engagement.

  5. Understand optimal timing. The timing of your SMS marketing campaign matters. Learn the best days and times to send texts to your customers. Timing largely depends on your audience, campaign use case, and marketing goals.

  6. Optimize using A/B testing. You can create more effective marketing campaigns by A/B testing the content and timing of your messages. This can help you identify messaging that resonates better with customers and improve overall campaign performance. 

<h2 id="Personalizing">Personalizing and ensuring relevance</h2>

Successful SMS campaigns are personalized and relevant to your customers. Here are some tips to keep in mind to ensure you appropriately target your audience. 

  1. Take advantage of dynamic content insertion. Many SMS marketing platforms help you send personalized text messages at scale by using variables. This lets you add dynamic content to each message, such as customers’ first names.

  2. Utilize customer data to enhance relevance. You don’t want to mass text customers any promotional message. You want to ensure the text message contains relevant content. For example, you likely don’t want to send a text message promoting a new perfume for women to your male customers.

  3. Send targeted offers and promotions. Help personalize the experience for customers by sending targeted offers. For example, if a customer leaves items in their cart, send a text message offering them free shipping if they complete the purchase.

<h2 id="Improving">Improving deliverability and open rates</h2>

Text messages must be delivered and read for your SMS marketing campaign to be effective. Here are some tips to help improve deliverability and open rate.

  1. Choose a reliable SMS service provider. Pick an SMS marketing platform that’s reliable, secure, compliant, and compatible with your business. To help you determine the best fit, read customer reviews and understand what features and protections the SMS provider has in place. You also want a provider that takes SMS compliance seriously, as this can affect deliverability.
  2. Identify your brand. Many customers likely don’t have your business texting number saved. That’s why you need to introduce your brand in your text messages. This helps you improve the open rate because customers recognize who is sending the text.

  3. Avoid spammy language. Stay away from language that could be misinterpreted as spam. You want to avoid excessive capitalization, misspellings, poor punctuation, and grammatical errors.

  4. Manage frequency to prevent message fatigue. Pay attention to how often you send text messages to your customers. The more marketing messages you send, the more likely customers will experience message fatigue. It’s best to test frequency to find the optimal number of messages to send each month.

<h2 id="Measuring">Measuring and analyzing success</h2>

Similar to any marketing campaign, you want to track data and keep an eye on performance. Let’s look at some tips to help you measure and analyze SMS marketing results.

  1. Set key performance indicators. To properly measure results, you’ll want to determine KPIs to track before you send a campaign. You track these metrics to help you measure success and make informed decisions. Some KPIs to consider tracking include delivery rate, open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, and unsubscribe rate.

  2. Consistently measure. You want to be tracking your defined KPIs constantly. Measuring performance consistently can help you uncover trends to help improve campaigns.

  3. Use analytics to refine and optimize your strategy. Don’t just measure those metrics.  You’ll want to analyze the data by creating reports, graphs, and comparisons to uncover trends in your data. 

<h2 id="Integrating">Integrating with other marketing channels</h2>

You want to ensure your marketing efforts are cohesive and support each other. You can do this by integrating SMS with other marketing tools. Let’s look at some best practices to help you do this effectively. 

  1. Create a cohesive multi-channel marketing approach. Create an omnichannel marketing strategy for your customers to create a more seamless experience for your customers. Allow customers to interact with your business in the way that they prefer.

  2. Integrate SMS with email, social media, and other platforms. To help create a seamless approach, integrate SMS with your email, social media, and marketing platforms like HubSpot or Shopify. This can help you reach customers via text at the right time.

Read more: 17 SMS marketing tips to set you up for success 

Emerging trends and the future of SMS marketing

Regarding the future of SMS marketing, here are some emerging trends to know.

  • Rich media messaging. As technology advances, the ability for brands to send rich media via text message is becoming easier. Rich media helps brands better engage with subscribers. Rich media refers to adding images, videos, and GIFs to your messages.

  • AI-powered chatbots and replies. The reality is customers expect responses in near real-time. AI-powered chatbots are helping brands better meet these expectations and provide quicker SMS communication experiences.

  • Location-based SMS marketing and geotargeting. As previously mentioned, relevance is key to the success of a marketing message. As mobile phone technology improves, expect more location-based SMS marketing by brands. For example, if a subscribed SMS customer enters a specific location, a brand could trigger a text message offering them a discount if they stop in a store.

  • Privacy considerations and future regulations. As more brands enter the SMS marketing space, expect more regulations to protect customers from unsolicited messaging and spammers. Last year, a new requirement was implemented for brands to register their business texting number to ensure legitimacy. More regulations like this are expected.

Meet Textline, your reliable SMS marketing solution

Join the thousands of brands worldwide using Textline as their SMS marketing solution. Textline’s top-rated platform helps brands comply with texting regulations and register their phone numbers with the right parties to ensure deliverability. Plus, we’re built to scale as your business grows.

Textline equips your team with the right tools to execute, measure, and optimize SMS marketing campaigns. With mass texting, SMS automations, metrics, and variables, you can send personalized promotional messages at scale in just a few clicks.

Claim your 14-day free trial of Textline and see how our platform is helping brands break through the noise to drive sales and grow.

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