Building an SMS Marketing Strategy

mobile marketing

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Mobile marketing is the future of marketing. While there are many traditional marketing strategies we still apply in our companies, mobile is starting to take over. More and more companies are thinking in a mobile-first mindset, a fact that proves just how important mobile marketing is.

And that’s where SMS messages come into the picture. Marketing directly to a customer via their smartphones is a great way to increase engagement and build loyal customers.

Think about it this way, we are all glued to our smartphones. That means when you send a marketing text message, your customers are much more likely to see it. In fact, 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes — a metric no other marketing tactic can provide.

To understand the world of SMS marketing, we’ll cover a number of topics throughout this article include:

  • How to get started with your very own SMS messaging strategy
  • Steps you can take to build the best subscriber list
  • Tactics you can implement to increase subscriber interaction and engagement

Your SMS Marketing Strategy

Getting Started with SMS Messaging

Often times getting started is the hardest part of implementing something new into your current marketing strategy. It can be intimidating to think of all the upfront work and little details needed to add something entirely new to your everyday workload — but SMS marketing is worth the effort.


Your company likely spends a lot of your time focused on email marketing, but when you really look at the data customers are using text more. By meeting your customers where they are at, you will find that text marketing offers an entirely new boost to your bottom line. Image courtesy of Listrak.

Let’s take a look at a few things you should consider when you’re in the early stages of developing your SMS marketing plan.

Know Your Main Objectives

First and foremost, you should identify your main objectives for this new marketing plan. Setting goals based on your overall objectives of the plan will help you know where to focus your efforts and measure success.

Taking the time to carve out objectives will also help your SMS marketing plan work towards and impact your overall goals as a company. You’ll also likely find that there are ways that your text message-based marketing can intertwine with other strategies you’ve already developed, such as email and social marketing.


Many companies do not have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy. By writing down your goals you have a plan in place and a way to measure performance and end results. Image courtesy of Smart Insights.

Here are a few things to ask yourself when identifying objectives and setting goals for your campaign.

 

  • What are you trying to accomplish with SMS marketing?
  • How will you measure the end results?
  • How does this benefit your customer and company relationship?

Always remember these objectives and goals — don’t simply set them and forget them. This is the best way to stay on track and measure the success of your SMS marketing efforts.

Determine Why These Messages Matter to Your Customers

You know why you’re making the effort to utilize SMS marketing, but why do your customers care? Although customers must opt-in to text message marketing, it can still be an interruption in their busy life. So what sets your company’s messages apart from the crowd?

Before you start blowing up their phones with marketing messages, take a step into their shoes and consider things, such as:

  • What will keep them engaged with your message?
  • Do you plan to provide special deals and discounts to text subscribers?
  • How often should you be reaching out to your customers?
  • What value will your messages provide your customer base?

Once you’ve started to outline these details, think about if your answers would persuade you to join a subscriber list. If not, you may want to keep digging deeper into what makes your SMS messaging campaign worth their time.

Outline Your Customer Segments

Segmenting your subscriber list will help you provide a more personalized experience. This will help engage customers and provide them with the content they want to receive. Gone are the days of simply creating one bulk message and sending it to every person on your list.


Customer segmentation allows you to build a more personalized experience for your customers. Segmenting your subscriber list will let you learn more about your customers and send them the content they want to see. Image courtesy of Smile.io.

In today’s world, you’ve got to take the time to understand your customers and serve them the right content to be heard. Here are a few different ways you can segment your list to provide your customers with a more personalized experience.

  • Shopping history
  • Demographics
  • Browsing behaviors
  • Likeliness to use a coupon
  • Geographical location

While these are just a few options, you can find tons of ways to splice your data to provide your customers with a positive experience.

Building Your SMS Subscriber List

Once you’ve taken the time to do the groundwork, it’s time to start building up your subscriber list. If you’ve never used SMS messaging, you’re starting from zero — but don’t let that scare you away. In fact, 75% of people want to receive texts from companies they’ve chosen to opt-in to.

Consumers want to receive text messages from companies they love and follow. When compared to other marketing efforts, SMS messages wins the popular vote by a landslide. Image courtesy of Finances Online.

It may seem like a long hard road ahead of you to grow your subscriber list, but it’s easier than you may think. Here are a few different ways that you can start to build a loyal SMS subscriber list.

  • Send emails to your current list about your new SMS option
  • Put a pop-up on your website encouraging people to subscribe
  • Have signage throughout your store to encourage in-store shoppers to subscribe
  • Run a contest to encourage new users to subscribe to your messages

The biggest thing to remember when building your subscriber list is to ensure they provide you with clear consent to message them. SMS messaging is a fully permission-based marketing tactic, meaning if you don’t follow the proper steps you could find yourself in a heap of trouble.

Using SMS Messaging to Market Your Company

Now that you’ve set the foundation and built a substantial subscriber list, it’s time to get down to business. You obviously want your text message marketing strategy to take off, but how do you accomplish that?

By utilizing a variety of different marketing tactics, you can rest assured that customers will continue to engage with your messages. While interactions and engagement vary based on your customer base, let’s take a look at some proven tactics that are sure to work in nearly any industry.

Incentive Customers

Let’s be honest, this one comes as no surprise. When you consider over 70% of people are looking to receive special offers via text messages, you can understand why it’s important to discuss. Incentives are a great way to not only build a subscriber list but also keep those subscribers around.


Keep your customers interested by sharing exclusive coupons and incentives for joining your SMS subscriber list. Remember, you need to give them a reason to keep your messages in their text inbox. Image courtesy of Listrak.

You should also keep in mind that although people willingly provide their email addresses, they are a bit more hesitant when it comes to their phone numbers. They need a strong incentive to provide you with this information, providing them with exclusive discounts and offers is a great way to do that.

But keep in mind, if someone does not find the content you’re sharing enticing enough, they may quickly unsubscribe from your messages.

Text Content Should be Short and Direct

Keeping your messages short is very important when it comes to SMS messages — you’ve only got 160 characters to work with. That means you need to get your point across as few words as possible. If you think your message needs to be longer or you need to provide more context around the information, send it in an email.

Think about the last time you received an email that looked like a novel — did you read it? Chances are good that the answer is no. That is especially true when it comes to marketing messages from companies.

Make sure to include the most important information in your message right away to ensure the important information is communicated. Customers are not going to take the time to read a 300+ word text message from you, so make it short, sweet, and direct.

Spend Extra Time on the CTA

A clear call to action is very important for SMS messaging. You need to spell out exactly what you want the customer to do next. If there is nowhere for them to go, you’ve wasted a chance at getting the customer to interact with your brand.

Are you looking for them to purchase a product? Include a shop now link. Do you want them to download a resource? Include a download now link.


This example is a great way to incorporate your SMS messages and email into one campaign. It also tells the customer exactly what the next step is — providing an email address to get a discount on their next purchase. Image courtesy of Listrak.

Depending on the ultimate goals for your campaign, you know what the next step you want someone to take is. Make sure you use the opportunity to spell it out for them and send them down the exact path you want — you’re the driver in this situation.

Once you’ve nailed down the CTA, you should be able to attribute those results to your end goal. It will help you improve your metrics and get a more comprehensive view of the success of your campaign.

Is SMS marketing right for your company?

At this point, you’ve got everything you need to implement an SMS marketing strategy for your company. Now it’s time for you to decide if SMS messages are the right move for your brand. But when you look at the stats, it’s hard to justify not moving into the mobile marketing world of SMS messaging.

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