June 7, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing - Tips, Types and Strategies

Table of Contents

If you’re not sending text messages to your customers, you’re leaving money on the table.

  • 52% of customers purchased a product and 28% purchased a service after being influenced by brand messaging received via SMS or other messaging platforms. 
  • 57% of customers admit that they’ve intentionally waited for brand text messages, hoping for incentives—only to go a long time without hearing from a brand. As a result, 32% of these customers ended up purchasing from a competitor. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore SMS marketing, discuss its benefits, and explain how to get the most ROI from it. 

What is SMS marketing?

Short message service (SMS) marketing refers to the process of marketing a product or service through short messages sent directly to the prospect’s mobile device or smartphone. These messages can be: 

  • promotional offers
  • discount coupons
  • shipping notifications
  • cart abandonment messages.

Like email marketing, SMS marketing is an opt-in service. This means you must seek your customers’ permission before sending them messages. 

SMS marketing increases access to customers at the right time and the likelihood of being seen since they receive messages directly in their mobile inbox—no logging in, connecting to the internet, or signing in. 

Importance and benefits of SMS marketing

Here are some more benefits of SMS marketing for businesses:

1. Reach customers faster

Text messages are perfect for delivering time-sensitive information that can’t be communicated by email. In the US alone, people check their smartphones 144 times a day. Since text messages don’t need internet connectivity and are mostly displayed on the mobile banner, the likelihood of checking SMS increases. 

You can send a text message about a flash sale or a new product launch to reach a large number of customers immediately and drive them to your website or store.

2. Better open rates

Text messages are delivered directly to a recipient's mobile device and usually appear as notifications, unlike emails. This makes them easier to open and read. 

Moreover, 45% of consumers demonstrate a preference for sales and promotional messages from brands, which makes it a better channel to engage customers. 

3. Complement other marketing channels

SMS marketing complements other marketing strategies like blog or social media marketing. You can use text messages to drive traffic to your website or social media page or promote email campaigns to increase engagement. 

For example, after sending an email newsletter about a new product line, send a follow-up text with a discount code and a link to the product page on your website.

4. Build customer loyalty

You can establish a personal and direct connection with your customers. Sending personalized text messages with your customers’ names and purchase information fosters a sense of exclusivity and strengthens brand loyalty.

For example, send birthday or anniversary messages with special offers, offer loyalty program updates and rewards, or provide personalized recommendations based on past purchases.

Types of SMS marketing campaigns

There are various types of SMS marketing campaigns to achieve different goals and objectives:

1. Promotional SMS marketing campaigns

Promotional SMS campaigns are designed to generate buzz, drive sales, and increase brand visibility. These messages typically highlight special offers, discounts, promotions, or upcoming events. 

You can announce a flash sale, offer exclusive discounts to loyal customers, or showcase a new product launch. The goal is to entice recipients to take immediate action, such as making a purchase or visiting a website.

2. Transactional SMS marketing campaigns

Transactional SMS campaigns are focused on delivering essential and time-sensitive information to customers regarding their transactions or interactions with a business. 

Specific actions, such as order confirmations, shipping updates, appointment reminders, or account notifications, trigger these messages. Transactional SMS campaigns maintain transparency and trust throughout the customer journey.

3. Conversational SMS marketing campaigns

Conversational SMS campaigns prioritize building relationships and fostering two-way communication with customers. Unlike traditional one-way messaging, they encourage interaction and engagement by inviting recipients to respond and participate in a dialog with the brand. 

For example, Plivo CX Engage tracks customer behavior to create triggers and automatically sends personalized messages with discounts, surveys, etc, so customers feel tempted to engage. 

Whether it's asking for feedback, conducting surveys, offering customer support, or initiating personalized conversations, conversational SMS campaigns humanize the brand and create meaningful connections with customers, ultimately strengthening loyalty and retention.

Best practices to drive higher ROI from SMS marketing

1. Get consent with opt-in and opt-out messages.

You need to obtain consent from your customers to send marketing text messages. There are a couple of ways you can do this:

  • Ask for consent through opt-in forms to use their phone numbers for marketing. 
  • Run keyword campaigns to allow your customers to text a specific word or code to your number to opt-in for text messages.
  • Offer an SMS opt-in checkbox for customers to receive SMS updates or exclusive offers during the online checkout process.

Remember to leave them the option to unsubscribe via a link in each text message. An opt-out or unsubscribe link puts your customers in control of the text messages, as they can unsubscribe whenever they want.

Here’s an example of an SMS with an opt-out option:

Source: Fantastic Texts

2. Include your brand name upfront.

Your customers (most likely) won’t have your numbers saved in their contact lists. You must add your brand name at the beginning of the message. It infuses a sense of familiarity in the text and makes your customers more receptive to your messages.

Add your brand name at the beginning of your SMS so your customers know who it’s from. 

Here’s an example 

Source: Fantastic Texts

3. Add a CTA

The end goal of SMS marketing is to engage with customers and nudge them to take the desired action. That’s why you need to add a CTA to each message, such as “Shop now” or “Buy now,” so customers can make a purchase directly from a text message. 

Here’s an example of a message from an ecommerce brand. 

Source: Fantastic Texts

4. Keep messages concise, relevant, and engaging

Avoid jargon or filler content to keep your messages relevant to recipients. Long links and unnecessary information can eat up your 160-character limits. Use link shorteners to keep your messages concise.

Personalize messages with your customers’ names and orders whenever possible and focus on sharing value like product, cart, or shipping updates in your messages so they resonate more with your audience.

5. Adhere to privacy laws and regulations

Ensure compliance with privacy laws and regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. 

The TCPA outlines rules for obtaining customer consent before sending promotional messages via SMS.

To ensure SMS marketing compliance, businesses should:

  • Obtain opt-in consent 
  • Avoid misleading or deceptive content
  • Identify yourself and the purpose of your message
  • Respect do-not-call lists and time restrictions for sending messages
  • Provide opt-out options.

After checking all these pointers, you’re ready to get started with SMS marketing.  

Choosing the right SMS marketing platform

Features to consider when selecting an SMS marketing platform:

1. Campaign Management

You should be able to launch, manage, and monitor specific marketing campaigns within one platform. This gives you precise control over messaging and targeting. 

With Plivo CX Engage, you can deploy a campaign in 4 steps:

  • Select audience : Choose the right customers from the lists or segments and add them to your campaign. 
  • Choose the timings of sending SMS : Send your messages instantly or schedule them for the right time to maximize ROI.
  • Create messages (AI assist, templates): Craft hyper personalized messages with AI-generated suggestions or message templates. 
  • Analytics : Track key metrics to measure the ROI and effectiveness of your campaigns.

2. Audience Management 

An effective SMS marketing platform should let you manage and segment your customers based on their buying habits. Once you create segments, you can create triggers to send the right messages to the right customer at the right time. 

Source: Plivo CX Engage

3. Campaign Effectiveness Measurement

The SMS marketing platform should have robust analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of each campaign. Look for metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to optimize your strategies.

4. Journeys 

The SMS marketing tool should be able to identify key events to trigger messaging that meets the customer where they are in their journey. It helps you send time sensitive messages to the right customer at the right time.

5. Scheduling Flexibility

You’ll need to create and schedule messages in bulk, so look for a tool that provides scheduling capability. This tool separates the preparation phase from the actual sending time for better efficiency.

6. AI assistance 

You need AI to help you write and personalize your message copy. An AI copywriter can determine the goal, parameters, timing, and urgency of your message to craft a fitting message. For example, Plivo CX's Copywriter AI enables you to identify the objective of your copy and create several copy options for you to choose from. 

With Plivo, you can do more with less resources. You don’t need a team of copywriters as the AI assistant generates relevant messages through a few clicks. 

Source: Plivo CX Engage

7. Compliance Assurance

Look for an SMS marketing platform that is compliant with various regulations, including GDPR, SOC2, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS. This ensures that data security and privacy standards are met to safeguard customer information and maintain trust.


  • There is a free plan that allows 300 SMS a month.
  • Paid plans start from $19/month and allow brands to send 1500 texts a month.

All the product features are available in all plans.

The difference between each plan is the number of text messages brands can send.

SMS marketing strategies with examples

1. Send welcome messages to new subscribers

Craft short and sweet welcome messages and avoid adding salesy sentences to them. 

You can also add opt-out links in the welcome messages to allow them to leave whenever they want. Here’s an example of a welcome message:

Source: BigCommerce

2. Follow up on abandoned shopping carts.

According to the Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 70.19%. 

You can use abandoned cart messages to remind your customers that they can still buy the products they’ve left in the cart. Also, you can throw in some offers to nudge your customers to buy. 

You can get creative with these messages. Here are a few examples: 

Source: Fantastic Texts

The “Journeys” feature in Plivo CX Engage enables you to track your customers’ activity on the storefront and trigger a customer journey based on that. For example, if your customer added items to a cart and did not place the order for a day, you can send a coupon code to follow up on them and nudge them to buy.

3. Inform customers when products are back in stock

Your customers shouldn’t have to keep checking if their favorite products are back in stock. Through SMS marketing, you can send messages whenever you add a product back in stock. 

Source: Fantastic Texts

Add a link to the same product so the customer can buy immediately. 

4. Collect customer feedback

Ask customers to provide feedback on their experience via a link, form, or star rating. You can also offer discounts or special offers for customers who provide feedback. 

Monitor customer feedback and use it to improve customer experience. For example, if you receive a one-star rating, connect with your customers to dig deeper into the cause, and if you receive a 5-star rating, send a thank you text or email with a discount code.

Source: Fantastic Texts

5. Announce product releases

Don’t wait for your customers to check out your online or offline store. Send them information on new product releases directly through SMS. 

These can be new season launches or the new festive collection. Either way, share an SMS with a link so they can purchase it. 

Source: Fantastic Texts

Drive Greater Revenue with Plivo CX Engage

Source: Plivo CX Engage

Plivo CX Engage is an SMS marketing platform that lets you send personalized messages to your target audience. It provides an end-to-end experience where you:

  • Integrate your Shopify store into the platform 
  • Optionally, Import your existing contacts via CSV or API
  • Analyze their behavior and group them into segments 
  • Identify key events to trigger personalized messages at the right time through Journeys
  • Start creating and sharing messages 
  • Analyze metrics and KPIs 

Not only this, Plivo CX Engage comes with AI assistance that helps you compose SMS for your prospects and customers. It also shows a preview of how it will look on your recipient’s screen. 

Also, you don’t have to worry about data security, as Plivo CX Engage is GDPR, SOC2, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS compliant. 

It’s time to invest in high-ROI marketing strategies like SMS marketing with Plivo CX Engage. 

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