SMS Marketing: Best Practices for Engaging and Converting Customers

SMS marketing is a powerful tool for any type of business that wants to reach its customers directly.

Facebook can block your account; Google can change its algorithm overnight. But once you create your own list of SMS recipients, no change to an algorithm or social network can delete it.

Let’s learn some best practices for engaging and converting customers through SMS marketing.

Understanding the Benefits of SMS Marketing

SMS marketing uses text messages to contact potential or existing customers to promote a product and increase brand awareness. A variety of messages can be used, including promotional offers and event invitations.

SMS marketing is popular because it allows businesses to communicate with their customers in a personal and targeted manner. The average person opens and reads SMS messages within a few minutes, so they can trigger immediate actions, such as visiting an online store.

Building a Quality SMS Subscriber List

The subscriber list is an essential part of your marketing strategy, and if it’s not right, it doesn’t matter how good your offers are or how meaningful your content is. You won’t get your intended results.

Here are a few tips to build your SMS subscriber list:

  • Add a registration form to your website: Experiment with embedding a registration form in blog posts or even directly on your website’s homepage. Provide some product-related guides to your new subscribers as free content. 
  • Convert existing email subscribers: SMS marketing may be part of a larger marketing strategy consisting of several channels, e.g., email marketing, social media, or Google ads. Let your email subscribers know that they can also receive SMS marketing messages. Offer something different as a bonus by email to stimulate them to sign up for your SMS program.
  • Use social media: Encourage your social media followers to subscribe to your SMS list. Promote your campaign through feed posts, stories, and adding your SMS shortcode to the company description or bio.

Remember that running your SMS marketing campaign must be in accordance with your local laws. It’s important to obtain consent from the potential recipients.

Crafting Compelling SMS Messages

Using text messaging is an effective technique for connecting with your customers. Still, there are specific rules to follow if you want to maintain their attention.

Here are some tips to craft a compelling SMS message:

  • Collect relevant and useful data through comprehensive research on your target audience. Next, apply a multi-segment marketing strategy to create personalized content that appeals to them.
  • Break the ice! If appropriate, address your audience informally instead of relying on industry jargon. Also, a sender name, a call to action, and shortened links should be included.
  • You can engage your customers with a quick promotion limited to the end of the day or an event they’re currently attending. That way, you’ll evoke a sense of urgency.
  • There is a limitation of 160 characters, so if you want to say more, consider splitting the message into multiple SMSs. The SMS message is designed to be quick to read and concise; there is no room for lengthy details.
  • Make sure to add a personalized opt-out link that allows the recipient to unsubscribe at any time without the help of customer service.

SMS Marketing Real-Life Examples

To get a better idea of what a properly structured and engaging SMS looks like, here are two great examples:


In the United States, Wag! provides customers with pet-sitting and dog-walking services.  They offered a discount for SMS recipients during an upcoming local holiday when many Americans are away.

And here’s the  message: “Hey Alia, Wag! here. Are you traveling for Labor Day weekend? While you’re away, your pets can play! Use promo: DOGDAYS10 for $10 off an Overnight service /link/.” 

In the message, the company refers to its customer by name and includes a link to the offer. In addition, the message comes at an opportune time when the customer may really need such a service.

West Elm

West Elm is a UK-based company specializing in home design. Their SMS marketing efforts focus on sharing the latest style tips, guides, alerts, and exclusive massive offers. 

Here is how they remind their customers of an appointment coming soon: “Your West Elm furniture appointment is today! Track in real-time at /link/. Reply STOP to stop msgs.” 

It’s short and clear. The message is unobtrusive yet still valuable, as it contains only the necessary information: a link for real-time tracking  and an unsubscribe option.

Timing and Frequency for Maximum Impact

Marketing messages need to be delivered at the right time.

It is generally accepted that the time between 10 am and 8 pm is good for interaction between businesses and customers. Of course, the choice of time also depends on the industry itself.

SMS might be an attractive form of communication, but it cannot be used too often. Most businesses start with 3–4 messages a month and, depending on the results, either decrease or increase this number.

Show transparency and reliability by informing your customers how often you plan to send messages. You can also ask for their preferences. That way, you’ll avoid the risk of spamming your audience.

Tracking and Analyzing Campaign Performance

Sending the SMS is only the first step, and you should also gauge its effectiveness. What indicators should you take into account? Here’s what to measure:

  • Delivery rates: When choosing an SMS communication provider, check their technical capabilities. Capacity and message delivery depend on the quality of the connection with GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) operators.
  • Open rates: This rate indicates how often someone opens a marketing text message.
  • Click-through rates: This rate measures the percentage of people who clicked on a link in an SMS.
  • Opt-out rate: This is the percentage of people who clicked on the unsubscribe link divided by the total number of contacts in the database. The frequency of opting out is an indication of how well the message sent matched a target group’s expectations.
  • Conversions: This is the percentage of SMS subscribers who converted to paying customers.

If you add links to SMS, be sure to include UTM parameters that allow you to accurately track user actions in Google Analytics.

About the Author  

Velislava Georgieva is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Inbound Blogging, specializing in Content Marketing and Outreach Strategies. Besides her passion for digital marketing, she likes yoga, fitness, and hiking. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.