How to use SMS marketing properly

How to use SMS marketing properly

How to use SMS marketing properly


7 tips to planning and implementing a successful SMS marketing campaign

There are many blogs and articles out there that will list lots of reasons why you should use SMS marketing (some are bulleted below), but rarely do you find examples to go with each tip/instruction.

In this blog you will get both.

Let’s get this very clear quickly: SMS campaigns can be hard to get right. Whilst spam emails are something customers are used to ignoring, they aren’t quite as used to it with SMS.

If you start spamming your SMS database you will see the numbers and responses drop quickly.

This means that you want to find the right balance between the content of your message, the time that you send it and why you are sending it.

If you can successfully coordinate these three things, you will have a successful SMS campaign.

Some stats and dynamics to get you started.

If you carry on reading this article and only think about the barriers to using SMS marketing, then consider these top-line stats:

  • Nearly 100% of devices on the market are SMS enabled. Only 65% are app or email-enabled smart phones.
  • 90% of SMSs are read within 3 minutes. Compare that to email, which is 15%.
  • SMS campaigns can receive a 45% response rate. Emails typically get only a 6% response rate.
  • NEW Virtual SMS marketing service reduces cost per lead to only £7.18 (from over £20 on other mediums) by bringing the campaign to life.

There is definitely a place for SMS in your marketing mix to make a difference. Hopefully this article will give you some inspiration and some scenarios that will help you plan your campaigns.

Tip 1: Understand how you make people feel.

Marketers often overlook this. By choosing SMS as a medium to communicate with people you are stepping into the realms of being personal and a close acquaintance.

Don’t write your message as a faceless brand. If a sales representative has been diligent enough to gather a prospect’s contact details, be diligent enough to segment the list and make the message appear that it comes direct from your sales rep (their name, signature etc.). This will have a massive impact on responses.


Faceless brand:

BigAutos are offering £500 off any model when taking a test drive before the end of the weekend. Book your test drive here: [URL]


Hi [Caroline], it’s Delia from BigAutos. You might like to know we’re offering £500 off any test drive this weekend. Book here [URL] or just text me back

Tip 2: Timing is everything (apart from how you make people feel).

Have you got something to say to your database on a Saturday?
Email marketing on Saturdays is typically dire but SMSs can have their best days on Saturdays.

When people are researching and buying big-ticket items (e.g. cars, white goods, houses etc.) you will notice they ‘shop around’ (or research) in the evening, sitting down with the TV on in the background – so experiment on timing.

A related note about ‘timing’ is to give a deadline to your offer and see responses increase.

(See ‘Delia’ example above for use of a deadline and communicating things at the weekend.)

Tip 3: Use triggers to identify high-risk customers.

We love this tactic. If someone hasn’t opened your last 4 emails, if they didn’t show for an appointment or haven’t bought something for 6 months, send them a well-constructed message to get them back onboard.


[Caroline], we’ve not seen you in a while and wondered if you’d like a £20 discount off your next order of [Caroline’s last order]? Use Caroline20 at checkout

Tip 4: Keep it simple.

This is a very important tip. Most SMS carriers have a limit on length; but most of all, the faster you can get to the meat of your message, the better.

Take a hint from Tim Ferris:

“Short, sweet and to the point. Clear writing, and therefore clear commands, comes from clear thinking. Think simple.”

The smart work here is to take the time to go back through the message and delete anything that is not needed.

Let’s take the last example:

Hi [Caroline] we’ve not seen you in a while and wondered if you’d like a £20 discount off your next order of [Caroline’s last order]? Use Caroline20 at checkout

Would you delete “we’ve not seen you in a while and wondered”?

Tip 5: Keep things tidy.

The 4 key components of a successful SMS are:

  1. A quick hello
  2. Give the message context
  3. Give a strong call to action
  4. URL Link

Leading from ‘Tip 4’: keep it simple. Use a URL shortener to keep your message short (and to save on characters). You can try these for free or

Tip 6: Keep it personal.

The tone, language and frequency of your message are key to this personal medium of communicating. The language you use on social media should also be reflected on your SMS campaigns or you run the risk of being perceived as inconsistent or confusing the recipient.

Have you thought about using SMS marketing post-purchase? You have the opportunity to get deeply personal.


Hi [Caroline] I hope you like your [new car model]. Do you know anyone who’d like a new car? There’s a great bonus for you both. Speak soon [Dave BigAutos]

At this point the obvious thing to do is ask for a review or tick the box of some CSI exercise. We would do this after further delighting them and making sure they are a true advocate of your services and products.

Tip 7: Bring things to life.

We would advocate using text and video daily on social media. We would advocate email and video weekly. So, how much is too much SMSing?

The answer is simple: at least monthly (used with the other tips above). However, if you have a brochure or special promotion, or even run a magazine, use a Virtual SMS to bring things to life on a quarterly basis.

It’s a great way to bring your campaign to life and get your products in front of your customers very quickly.

Bonus Tip.

We perform integrated campaigns for many different businesses and find that combining offline and online promotions provides greater responses.


On your press advertisement, drive people to a specific landing page. Duplicate the same offer on your Facebook page on the same week. 24 hours after the papers drop on doormats, send out an SMS promoting the same landing page. Responses have been seen to increase by over 32% due to the high visibility on multiple platforms.

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