How SMS Marketing Works and How to Implement It

Reading time6 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

Do you know how SMS marketing works? What about the results it can offer? When it comes to increasing sales and visibility, SMS marketing campaigns may be a valuable asset and enhance the chances of success.

Around 5  billion people send and receive text messages worldwide. You can reach your target audience using this means of communication. However, it's necessary to plan your campaigns well to be effective.

What Is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing consists of a branch of marketing where Short Message Service (SMS) is used to send and receive messages to your customers, prospects, and any other target audience from a business. 

You may develop campaigns with different purposes, such as promoting an event, offering coupon discounts, getting more subscribers to your newsletter, and so on. The person will receive the message on their cell phone, and they can opt-out at any moment.

Delivery status and purchase confirmation are common types of SMS messages used by online stores to keep their clients informed. It's practical because it doesn't require an internet connection to access the messages, and it's quick to read.

How SMS Marketing Works

Understanding how SMS marketing works is very simple. To create a text message campaign, first, you need to define your goal, and who your target audience is. Then, you must select the best strategies, including the tone of voice of the messages, the calls to action you will use, and the benefits you will offer to the customers who subscribe to receive your SMS messages.

Establish the number of messages that will be sent, and create a schedule to organize when they must be sent. Timing is very important, mainly when it comes to text messages that are related to specific dates, such as holidays.

You can enable two-way messaging, so your audience can reply to the SMS texts. Pay attention to the answers to nurture a relationship with your customers. Keep track of key performance metrics like open rate, and click-through rate. You may implement changes during the campaign to enhance the results.

Sending SMS messages is very easy, all you need is a cell phone and your contact numbers. However, as it would take too much work to send one message by one,  you can use SMS marketing software

This type of platform enables you to send SMS messages in bulk online, segment your contact list, trigger messages based on customer actions, and gives you access to analytic reports too. 

3 Main Types of SMS Marketing Campaigns

Just as important as comprehending how SMS marketing works, is knowing the types of campaigns you can create. Each one has a different approach and function, therefore you should choose the type that suits your goals.  

1. Promotional

A promotional SMS marketing campaign has the purpose of promoting products or services. They can include coupon discounts or special offers to increase sales, compelling customers to buy from your store. 

2. Transactional

Transactional SMS messages intend to keep customers informed about specific actions, for example, shipping notifications, password resets, and appointment reminders. They are very useful and have a high open rate.

3. Conversational 

As the name suggests, conversational SMS marketing campaigns emulate human conversations. The customer texts the company and receives automated responses that have the objective of helping to solve their demands and promote interaction. 

SMS Marketing Benefits

Efficient Audience Reach

According to a BankMyCell report, 7.33 billion people own cell phones around the world, which means 90.90% of the world's population. With just a few clicks, most of them can access SMS messages, which is very popular, and a service that cell phone users are used to. 

It isn't necessary to have an internet connection, or a smartphone, even the simplest cell phone models can receive and answer SMS messages.   

High Open Rate

SMS open rate is around 98%. 90% of these messages are opened within 3 minutes after received. This alone is a compelling reason to adopt SMS marketing strategies. 


You have the opportunity to create personalized marketing campaigns, segmenting your target audience to address their demands and increase the chances of achieving your goals. It's possible to add the person's name in the message, a detail that makes the difference when the subject is customer experience. 

Tracking Capabilities

Another advantage of SMS marketing is you can measure the success of the strategies you implement. It's possible to track important metrics such as open rate, number of conversions, and number of subscribers. This way, you can identify what needs to be changed, and test different types of strategies.  


The cost of making SMS marketing campaigns is low when compared to paid advertising in different means of communication like TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. It doesn't require producing high-quality images, for instance. 

All it takes is good planning, and writing short compelling messages. Besides, using one of the best SMS marketing software has an interesting cost-benefit ratio, and you can have a high return on investment. 

6 SMS Marketing Best Practices

1. Get Permission First

One fundamental aspect of how SMS marketing works is sending text messages only to people who opt-in to receive them. There are many ways to get your customer's cell phone numbers and build your contact list, for example when they create an account at your website. 

However, this doesn't mean you have permission to send SMS messages to them. Ask them for permission before including them in your campaigns. You can insert an opt-in option when someone signs in to your website, for instance. 

Sending text messages without permission can have the opposite effect that you desire, and cause a bad impression. It's important to be cautious and prevent your messages from being marked as spam. 

2.  Send Welcome Message

Once someone opts in to receive your SMS messages, send a text welcoming them. You can even include a coupon discount to thank them and nurture their relationship with your brand. Personalize the message by writing the person's name. 

3. Add Instructions to Opt-Out

Just as someone should choose to receive your text messages, they must be able to stop receiving them any time they want to. Therefore, don't forget to include clear instructions about how to opt-out of your SMS marketing messages list. 

4. Identify Yourself

Every time you send an SMS message, identify yourself in the text. You can put the company's name at the beginning or in the end of the message, but make sure the recipient will know where the message comes from. After all, they may not have your phone number in their contact list. 

5. Be Direct

An SMS message has no more than 160 characters, therefore your message must be short and clear. Make sure the recipient can understand what you mean, and write a convincing call to action. Create a tone of voice for your brand, and keep it throughout the messages. 

6. Send SMS Messages at The Right Time

Schedule the messages to be sent in a proper time, according to each person's timezone, and avoid sending texts too early in the morning or late in the night. This can be pretty annoying and upset the recipient who may opt-out of your contact list. 

Create an SMS Marketing Campaign and Enjoy the Results

Now that you discovered how SMS marketing works, what about creating your campaign? Take advantage of all the benefits SMS messaging has to offer, and plan a campaign according to your goal.

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