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How to run a Text Message Marketing Campaign

If you haven’t yet heard about text message marketing, don’t feel bad because it is a more recent addition to the marketing scene. You should, however, take the time to learn about it as the open rates are off the charts. As a top digital marketing company, we have seen first hand the benefit of adding this tool to your marketing arsenal and today wanted to share our insights on how to run a Text Message Marketing campaign.

Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing for “short message service”, is a new method of contact that is still in its infancy. As such there will be the normal growing pains associated with a new technique. With that being said, we have developed a basic framework for getting started along with a few important best practices to follow for maximum marketing reach.

What are the benefits of this marketing type?

The biggest benefit of this marketing type is the open rate. According to a survey by Shift Communications, 82% of those surveyed read every text message they are sent while just over 16% only read messages from people they know. That is a very impressive open rate compared to other marketing mediums such as 25-30% open rate for emails.

While some posts have touted 95-98% open rate, there was a lack of evidence to back those numbers up.

Additionally, the click-thru-rates for messages are around 35% on average for those that include a URL. That CTR is again much higher than other mediums such as the 2-5% CTR of email. Plus, it is very cost effective.

The next biggest benefit is speed. Text messages are relatively instant, and people tend to open and act almost immediately. Finally, there is a lack of spam filters for texting compared to email. While there are strict regulations enforced by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), there aren’t junk or spam filters applied to messages delivered.

Getting started with text message marketing

  • Create a goal – Every good marketing plan starts with the end goal. What is your purpose for this campaign? Text marketing has a narrowed focus as you are working with a limited medium. Common goals are brand engagement and driving traffic to your website or brick-and-mortar business.
  • Define the target audience – Again, there is a slightly narrowed focus on the target audience compared to other mediums. You have prospects, existing customers, and former customers to work with. By defining the audience, you will then have a better focus on your messages.
  • Build a texting list – Text marketing, although new, has very specific rules that need to be followed. The Mobile Marketing Associate has created a set of Best Practices that should always be adhered to. Most importantly you absolutely must have permission from the recipients before you can send them marketing messages. That means taking the time to build an “Opt-in” list of people who want to receive your messages. Here is a good article on how to build a list.
  • Select a messaging tool – There are a variety of companies that provide text message marketing services. Reviews for some of the top options can be found here. You can also invest in your own software from companies such as Twilio, Avochato, or Thryv.
  • Craft messages – Messages should be simple and to the point, as you are only allotted 160 characters per text to work with. Messages need to be creative, relevant, and engaging. Examples of messages types include special promotions, contests, or time-based offers. The most important key is to provide value with every message rather than irrelevant information.
  • Test and refine messages – Take the time to test messages on a small group before blasting them out to your complete list. Messages should be refined with numerous variations to ensure you are putting your best text out there.
  • Schedule follow-up messages – Follow-up messages can and should be used but schedule them carefully. When people opt-in to your messages you are only allocated a specific number of messages over a period of time, so it is important to use them judiciously to get the most out of each contact.
  • Analyze and adjust – As with all marketing campaigns, analyzing the data and adjusting is a key to improve your ROI and other metrics. Use dedicated landing pages for links, cookies, and even surveys for customers that include questions about SMS contacts to determine how your campaign is performing. You can and should experiment with days and times to maximize open and response rates.

Best practices for text message marketing

  • Be clear – When people are opting in for your messages be very clear on exactly what subscribers can expect. That means the types of messages they will receive, frequency, and that message and data rates may apply.
  • Always get permission – Make sure people opt-in with your keyword to avoid damaging your brand and breaking any laws.
  • Frequency – Anything more than 2-4 texts per month is annoying which can cause people to opt-out.
  • Include opt-out instructions – When people sign-up always include how to cancel, such as texting STOP. This should also be included from time to time in your campaigns, so subscribers know they can opt out whenever they want.
  • Message during normal hours – Pay attention to time zones and send text messages during normal hours when people would be able to and want to act. Even if your business is an online store like Amazon, nobody wants a text offer at 11 p.m. when they are asleep.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that texting is a primary communication method for everyone from teens to grandparents, so it makes perfect sense to utilize it for marketing as well. This article provides a good starting point for how to run a text message marketing campaign and we feel that SMS marketing is an emerging tool everyone should consider.


Be sure to check back every week for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.


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