Best Practices for SMS Notifications

Jul 21, 2021
Best Practices for SMS Notifications

Our customers use our cloud communications platform to send out billions of SMS messages every year. In keeping them happy and productive, we’ve learned a few things about best practices for sending SMS notifications. Whether you’re one of our customers or you haven’t tried Plivo yet (what are you waiting for?) here are some tips that can help your business use messaging more effectively.

Do you need convincing that SMS is the best communications channel for sending notifications to customers? According to Techjury, SMS messages have a 98% open rate, and 60% of people read text messages within 5 minutes after receiving them. And since almost 4 billion people worldwide own smartphones, you can send SMS messages to just about anyone — and do it cost-effectively. Alternatives like email, postal mail, and voice calling cost more and lack the reach, ease of use, and immediacy of SMS.

Maybe you already use SMS for some use cases — reminders or delivery alerts, maybe. You can leverage your investment in SMS messaging by doing more with it: offering event notifications or collecting customer feedback, for instance.

We’ve written a guide that talks about more possible use cases, and offers best practices for using SMS. You should download it to get all the details, but to stimulate your imagination, here’s a preview of what you’ll find.

Get permission

First, before you start sending messages willy-nilly, make sure you have permission to contact recipients. Thanks to privacy regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA, businesses need consumers to opt into being contacted. Organizations that fail to get permission may be subject to heavy fines.


Think about the optimal time to send your messages. Aim for times when your customers are likely to read them and take advantage of what you have to say. For example, if you’re a restaurant offering a lunchtime discount, think about scheduling your texts for the midmorning, so that your offers will be on your customers’ minds when they’re making lunch plans.


Personalizing your messages lets you build deeper relationships with customers and treat them as unique individuals. Use your subscribers’ names, and keep the customer benefit at the front and center of the message.

Measure your results

Don’t just send out messages and hope for the best. You should have a plan to track and measure your efforts in place before you send your first message. Consider not only open and response rates, but also things like list growth rate, acquisition cost per recipient, and return on investment.


Use a single platform to manage all your communication channels. A single platform takes less training, speeds up your time to market, and takes fewer resources and less time to maintain.

Prioritize deliverability

To be effective, SMS messaging should be timely — received as quickly as they’re sent —  and reliable — there’s no point in sending out messages that people can’t receive. But if your SMS messages can’t make it through, have a backup plan. Voice messaging offers an alternative to SMS for when your message absolutely, positively has to be there right away.

Get the guide

We go into more depth on these and other points in our best practices guide. Download it for free, or sign up for a free Plivo trial account and see how we let businesses take advantage of SMS messaging.

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