Beginner’s Guide On SMS Marketing for Small Businesses

The marketing becomes more complicated since the numbers of brands keep approaching the audience.

 As for customers, they have too many options and brands sharing their products and services on every possible platform.

For small businesses, it’s not easy to target the audience. So, you can’t wait for the audience to reach you, here you need to be proactive. 

Naturally, you can’t go knocking on doors. But you can do the next possible thing i.e. Text them. 

text marketing guide for small business

People are getting more and more dependent on their phones. And SMS is the closest channel that can connect you with the customer directly.

But you can get the benefits from the campaign when you do it correctly. Are you new to this? Here is the beginner guide covering all the important points for you. 


What To Know About SMS Marketing?

SMS is different as compared to a text sent from Facebook, iPhone, or messenger.

SMS marketing is permission-based and it’s a short message service for sending important as well as urgent text on the customer’s phone directly. 

The Rules OF SMS Marketing 

SMS marketing is important and beneficial for small businesses. However, you also need to understand its rules which play a vital part in how effective it works. 

  • Make Sure They Opted In 

The first and most important rule is that your customer opted in for receiving the text. 

SMS marketing is permission-based, and it should be used that way. 

First, ask for permission and since some of the countries have rules where you have to ask for opt-in, otherwise you are breaking the law. 

SMS has an extremely open rate but it should not be forced. 

  • Importance Of Timing 

SMS is different from sending Emails. People check the email once or twice. Some of the people have days fixed for checking the emails.

But with SMS, people check the messages within three minutes. That makes the channel good for urgent messages. 

SMS holds important power and it should not be overused or abused. And for small businesses, you should not be sending messages at odd timings.

Countries like France have rules for when SMS can be sent, in this country, the message should be not on Sundays, holidays, or not exceed after 10 Pm. 

  • Complementing Other Marketing Strategy 

SMS marketing can help when you use it with other marketing strategies. 

You can use marketing for interacting with the customers. SMS goes well with email marketing, it compliments and you can use the campaign for boosting awareness. 

  • Company’s Name In the text 

The rule applies when you are sending bulk messages. When you send a message in bulk, some provide through a shortcode. 

Now, shortcodes don’t show the name of the company and who sent the send. That’s why it’s important to put your business name first. 

How SMS Marketing Works?

SMS marketing uses Shortcodes to send messages on the customer’s phone number. The codes consist of 5 to 6 digits. 

Shortcodes can be associated with one sender. However multiple senders are also possible to use. 

Many countries like the US, have rules that do not alter the sender’s information. That means your business name should be on top. 

Well, there are mainly two types of messages you can send. I.e. 


Image source: voicesage 

Campaigns are classic and it includes one to many or bulk messages.  

This type of SMS is used for communicating with customers to make them aware of promotions. It includes sales, coupons, discounts, etc. 

Or, general information can be sent by using campaigns like updates, weather alerts, and event details. 


Image source: sendpluse

Such messages are one to one and usually tagged by behavior or events. It could be confirmation about orders or shipping notifications. 

transactions SMS are relevant and informed the individuals on time. 

Why SMS Marketing Is Crucial For Small Businesses?

Chances of people not seeing your emails can be possible. But no one ignores the message. 

Getting your message seen by the audience is higher with SMS marketing. And that’s the reason why the campaign is highly recommended. 

Other than that, here are a few more important reasons why ist for small businesses. 

It Generates More Engagement, Leads, And Customer 

SMS marketing helps to boost customer engagement. It does not just improve communication but you get an easier way to make your customer aware of your brand and other important information. 

SMS are easier to check and when you offer CTA, the customers know where to go and what to do. 

Also, the text is urgent. Naturally, it boosts the speed and people take the actions much quicker than any other channel. 

Pro Tip: Send you SMS on time when they are available, never SMS on busy hours. 

You Get A Opportunity To Connect 

According to the marketing data, 31% of the audience answered the surveys when it was on their smartphone. 

It goes much quicker in sending feedback, asking for queries, and overall it shortens the time of connecting. 

Customers also can get in touch with the brand. As for the business, the SMS campaign is helpful to know about your potential customers including their preferences, likes, and dislikes. 

Shortcodes Are Helpful & Easier For Customer 

Shortcodes are faster, shorter, and easier for the customers. Instead of filling long and complicated opt-in forms, shortcodes take less time to get the services started. 

Image source: cartsgurublog

SMS marketing depends on using shortcodes. Here, it requires only 5 digits for getting the alerts and signing up for the services. 

Not just the shortcodes are hassle-free, but opt-in shortcodes come in handy too. It increases the chance of customers taking participation and joining the surveys or contests. 

SMS Fits With Most Of The Marketing Campaigns 

To drive the best for your marketing companion, what tools would you like you to use?

Well SMS fits in most of the requirements of the champion. It can be useful for supporting campaigns related to email, social media, etc. 

Also, it boosts awareness, fast actions without taking too much time. 

As per the survey, SMS marketing can boost 20 to 30 % open rates in your email marketing

SMS Is Based On Here & Now 

One of the biggest benefits of using SMS marketing is its speed. 

When most of the campaigns take time to show the results. SMS marketing delivers intent text and the maximum time you can wait is less than 15 minutes to see the results. 

There are no other options that can deliver such fast results. However, using SMS marketing requires lots of important points to remember. 

Abusing the power and trust can lead to instant failure too. 

Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Use SMS Marketing?

In today’s market, small business needs more than techniques, it requires assurance of getting fast results and effect on its overall effect on the conversion. 

SMS marketing turned out much easier, affordable, and suitable for small businesses. However, it should be planned and applied properly to maximize the benefit. 

benefits of sms marketing

Its Effective Channel 

SMS marketing is highly effective as people are not using the phone for clicking photos, socializing, etc. 

It’s also used for purchasing the products and using their favorite brands to engage with. 

According to Adobe Digital insight, smartphones generated more than 31% of purchases during the holiday season. 

It’s Simple To Set Up 

 Setting up a campaign for social media platforms like Facebook and Google Adwords is more time taking. As compared to other options, SMS marketing, it’s faster and easy to set up. 

The time recorded to set up the SMS campaign was 10 minutes. The reason behind the lesser time-consuming process is its 160 character limitation. 

It Offers More Engagement 

According to MailChimp, email marketing has a 21.33% opening rate. Whereas the SMS campaign has a 98% open rate. 

The difference is huge and using it correctly can help small businesses to connect with their audience more than ever. 

The three minutes of delivery in the message, there are 90 % of people checking it. It almost gives the guarantee of getting the reader. 

The people always have their phone with them and they check more than 50 times a day.

With this, the SMS becomes the affordable and quirkiest tool that can help in reaching your audience. 

Its Relatively Affordable 

For a small business, the SMS campaign is affordable. It doesn’t need too much investment and offers the results guaranteed. 

SMS can be used for promoting exclusive sales, discounts offered to the right audience along with boosting the engagement and conversion rate. 

Compared to most of the campaign, the SMS campaign is clear and attracts the audience more. It also turned out as the best opt-in number for improving sales. 

Its Generate Fast Feedback 

According to research, Most of the customers respond faster and take part in the survey if a smartphone is used.  

The device is handy and people take it with them no matter where they are. It’s a part of people’s schedules and they highly relied on that. 

Small businesses can use SMS for receiving faster and better results without waiting for too long. The feedback is much faster generated and

The minimum time it can take is five minutes or even lesser than that. 

Taking surveys through SMS can help in getting a faster response and small businesses can use it for understanding the preference of their targeted audience. 

It Maximizes Loyalty 

SMS campaigns can seize the maximum benefit if you follow the guidelines properly.  

The number of people using smartphones is proof that small businesses should use SMS marketing. But you can also make it efficient by adding a loyalty program. 

People are more bent when they get a loyalty program and its benefits. They prefer using it and you can also get the maximum brand loyalty

Its Boost ROI

No matter what kind of strategies and marketing you are using, Business needs to focus on ROI. 

Knowing how much difference you are making and the return of investment without losing money is crucial apart.  

When you craft an SMS properly and follow the rules, you can easily generate a better ROI with it. SMS marketing can boost the people taking part in the contest, surveys, and other plans. 

But it also affects positively on conversation, sales, and re-engaging the old customers. 

points to boost roi in sms marketing

It Boosts Relationship With Customers 

For a small business, it’s important to focus on the relationship with customers. The stronger relations you have, the better results you will get in sales and brand loyalty. 

SMS is personal and more trustworthy as you send the text in their numbers. It shows the trust of your customers in you. It should be the priority to keep the trust of your customer. 

Also how frequently you should send the text depends on the nature of your purpose. It’s recommended not to do it more often but you can pick your days and time according to you. 

However, to build the relationship, SMS marketing can also include feedback so you can boost understanding and learn about your clients or customers. 

It’s Offer Fast Delivery 

It takes hardy friction of minutes to deliver your message to the audience. The average time noted for delivering the text is 10 seconds which is lesser and after comparing the open rate, more beneficial too. 

Also, people check their message at dawn. Comparing the SMS to email, you are getting much better results and delivery.

It’s Ahead Of The Time 

Small businesses should consider using SMS marketing for multiple reasons. But it’s important to remember that SMS marketing is much more advanced and gives you closure connecting with your customer. 

Other channels however serve the purpose too but SMS is much easier, and it can enhance the effect of other channels you are using. 

How To Write Effective & Powerful Messages For SMS Campaign?

You have only 160 characters to impress, encourage, and get the benefit from it. 

It surely puts lots of pressure when it comes to writing a message that can deliver your purpose without crossing the all ‘not – to – do’ list. 

Looking at a blank screen and thinking about what to write so you can get an effective and powerful message can make you feel anxious. 

Also, there is a two-way option, whether you can choose the informal and relaxed tone or you can stick to professional words. But in both options, there are few drawbacks too. 

To make the process easy for yourself, here are a few points to focus on when you are writing the message for the SMS campaign. 

Choose Formal Or Informal 

The option between informal and formal is confusing. What if you come out too friendly when you choose informally? Or too cold if you choose a formal tone?

The key point to remember is – no matter how informal tone you use, in the end, you are a business. It’s important to make sure that you don’t sound too much un- business vibes. 

Image source: zipwhip 

Not taking your channel seriously makes you feel disconnected from your audience. 

Choose the voice for your brand and make sure it comes loud and crystal clear through your messages. Also, focus on not making it too different. Add some personality but also focus on keeping it informal to read. 

Here are some points to follow – 

  • Use punctuations, exclamation points, question marks, etc.
  • Make sure not to add slang or abbreviations. 
  • Pay attention to your brand’s voice. 
  • Don’t overuse the emoticons. 
  • Don’t use caps lock for writing a complete message 
  • Focus on placing punctuation. 
  • Keep It Personalized 

The message is personalized itself. It should be used that way. 

When writing the message, use the name of your audience and add a greeting in the beginning. 

Also, you can use the broadening of demographics, the audience’s problems, age, and general information. 

tips to keep text messages personalized

Make sure the message is for the customer. It’s urgent and it should be delivered through text message instead of email or any other channel. 

Craft It Short & Crispy 

You cannot go more than 160. There is a reason why messages have this limitation. 

When you write more, the message gets a break and it can be any place, not just it gives an unprofessional vibe but also makes the message meaningless. 

Maybe you end up sending more than one message and the chances of your customer not seeing the first one increase too. 

Sticking to the character limit is the best way to keep the message short, crips, and professional without trying. 

Never Use Shortcuts Like Text – Speak 

Shortcuts are used when you talk to a friend, not for the business. 

Don’t use words like ‘ W8’, ‘U’. ‘Ur’ instead of ‘ wait’. ‘ you’ and ‘ your’. It makes your text look unprofessional and hard to read. 

It gives the spammy vibe to your message and shortcuts are not when you are sending important text no matter how hard you want to save your time. 

Use Leads 

The text has word limitations, and you don’t want to bury your lead and make it hard to find. 

Your lead should in the first sentence and frame it as you want. It will also help you in writing the message easily. 

For the readers, they will know what the message is all about since the lead is mentioned in the first line. 

Don’t Forget CTA 

CTA is most important and should not be missed when you are sending the message. 

Use either hyperlink instead of using the characters and wasting the space. Also, it’s easier for the audience to click and know where to go, what to do, and how to take action.

effective cta add in sms

Pro Tip: Don’t add ‘ Visit our page”, add URL, so it would be easier for the customer to click on it and get the page on their screen. 

Include The Opt-Out 

Opt out is a short way or code to send when customers don’t want to receive the text from the business. 

It saves you from future hassle, and also you are not breaking laws. Opt out is a good way to make sure you always offer an option to stop getting the message. 

You can add a virtual number, link, or keyword to unsubscribe from the services.

Best SMS Marketing Examples To Know So You Get It Right 

SMS marketing proved to be the easiest, quickest, and direct way of communicating. 

For the brand, it’s important to engage with their audience on a personal level. SMS marketing is a top-performing channel for all kinds of industries. 

Let’s check the brands who nailed the marketing and also you can use it. 

Adding Call To Action 

The best marketing you can consider is those from where you can drive action. 

And if you consider yourself as a consumer, no one wants to follow the interaction with lots of steps and clicks. 

Jules & Roc‘s Former James Street staple proved the right way of using CTA for driving the action. 

Image source: vision6

They kept the messages linked to their websites. Also, they focused on making the steps easy for buying the outfits.

Welcome Message For Customer 

When someone registers for signing up, they receive the first message which is called the welcome message. 

It goes like this – Thanks for signing up 

The message is for greeting the customers along with sharing what else they will be going to get. The welcome message should be warm along with professionalism. 

You can take an example from Larry Kim who shared the welcome text like –

Image source:mobilemonkey

The SMS welcome should be the kind of content that they will get. And how often they will receive it and where they can subscribe. 

Making The Conversation 

SMS marketing is an ideal option to try it for connecting with people on a personal level. 

It’s easy to get feedback along with customer research, competition entry, and promotion. 

However, there are lots of people who don’t know how to use the opportunity.

The Pizza Capers showed the perfect for the newsletter, signing up for future promotions, etc. 

They made the ‘ YUM13’ for automating the message. 

Image source: vision6

You can use SMS marketing and turn it into a two-way conversation. 

Managing your SMS along with keeping the metrics is important. But what’s more important is to understand the legal terms and rules. 

According to the Spam Act 2003. There are basic elements you should consider – 

  • Prior consent from customers. 
  • An easy opt-out option 
  • Identification of the business 

Image source: vision6

The Fox Hotel followed the requirements in legal and covered all points.

Tips For Boosting The SMS Marketing Campaigns 

SMS marketing is important and for small businesses, it’s profitable. 

However, using the campaign correctly is crucial. To know how to make it powerful, here are a few tips to know. 

Send Exclusive Deals & Offers 

Businesses use promotion and sales to get more engaging and cost-efficient. 

Waiting for people to talk on the website and proactively through different channels. It’s not just the connecting but also engaging is important too. 

Adding the deals and offers to make SMS marketing more effective. It also makes people try and reach the website faster.  

Pro Tip: Add links to your text, so they know where they should go exactly. 

 Add Keywords In Opt-Ins 

SMS keywords can help you in getting more subscribers. 

Also adding it in opt-ins is powerful and it can help you in re-engaging your audience. Also when the customer leaves the website, you can use it for getting back to the platform again. 

Use Sweepstakes Contest 

Image source: zipwhip

You can ask the customer to sign you up by using just one word. This standard tactic for promotion. You can get the winner selected based on who opt-in. 

Also, you can offer a small prize for every person who participated in the opt-in.

This can be ideal for doing cross-promotion as well. Doing short term content helps to input more subscribers. 

However it works but not forever, You can run such contests on special days, holidays or occasions. 

Also, keep these tips to run it’s Successful : 

  • Set the attractive prize
  • Keep the entry bar low
  • Make sure to create urgency 
  • Use the cross-promotion 

Go Live To Get More Leads

You can use the website for getting more people subscribed to text message marketing. Just go live. 

Live chats are shown as the best option for increasing the conversion, boosting loyalty, and order values. 

The records say you can convert 10X more when you are living. 

Use Text For Reminders 

Image source: optinmonster

67% of people prefer receiving a text from the business for reminders instead of phone calls or email. Well, SMS is convenient in both ways. 

The text can be used for reminders like :

  • Billing Reminders
  • Appointment Reminders
  • Booking Confirmation 

Get Feedbacks 

Offer feedback, surveys, and polls. These options will help understand more about your customers and what you can do more for them. 

It’s a good point to make feedback like important things fun and also information. 

Pretty Common SMS Marketing Mistakes That Ruining The Results 

For communication, text messaging is one of the most used and widespread channels.

SMS marketing has pretty benefits for helping you in promoting products to re-engaging the audience back to your products. 

But some common mistakes are also experienced by most of the business. Such mistakes are not just ruining the result but also affecting the overall effort your putting in. 

1. Sending Message Without Permission 

Nobody wants to receive text messages and promotional SMS when they never signed up for it in the first place. 

Before you send the text to your customers, it’s important to ask permission. Not just you are violating the policy but also losing the trust of your customers.

Sending unsolicited messages can make your customer feel frustrated and they might end up cutting ties with your business forever. 

Solution – Use Opt-In Form To Get Permission 

To get permission, you can request for signing up for the opt-in form. Send them a text message asking for continuing receiving the updates, promotion, new releases, and other information through the form. Or you can add a shortcode to begin the services. 

Pro Tip: Add offers or discounts to those who sign up for the text message services

2. Not Focusing On Groundwork 

Sending messages to a new subscriber along with holding their attention is two important things. 

But the most common mistake business do is not doing the groundwork for communicating in the future. 

Leaving your customers without giving them proper direction about what and where to contact. Or how to stay in touch can make your customers feel angry and frustrated. 

Solution – Send Opt-In after a welcome text. 

Send a welcome text to your customer explaining how and where you both can stay in touch. Also, add information like what kind of details they will get through text messages. And then send the opt-out.

Pro Tip: Use keywords for making the process clear and how the customers can switch to different preferences. 

3. Same Messages For Email & Text 

Lots of businesses make these mistakes to save their time and effort, they use the same message for their text and emails.  

The key point that you must remember is – every platform has its tailored type of message. 

Sending the same messages in email and text will not just damage your effort but also it will fail in serving the purpose. 

Solution – Use text messages for time-sensitive and urgent matters 

Sms comes with word limits. You can’t type more than 160 characters. Thus, it makes Text a perfect channel when it comes to sending important information that is too urgent or time-sensitive. 

Email whereas don’t have a word limit like Text, you can use it for sending long messages with links, images, and attachments. 

4. Using Spammy & Long Messages 

Image source: sendgrid

The purpose of Text with limited characters is to send sweet, short, and crips messages. 

Sending too long messages to break the time of delivery and it can distort the intention of your message. 

Sms can be informal and it can be quickly checked through the screen of the phone. Also when you are crafting the message for the text, it should not add intro, subject lines or signatures, etc. 

Solution – Keep it direct and personable 

The text messages are a personal channel, it should be used that way. Keep the message specific to your customers like adding their names etc. 

Make it look like the message written for them only. Write a message that shows clear information. 

Pro tip: Add humor in your text. People will have a good laugh and they will like to check more of your text. 

5. Sending Text Anytime – Literally 

Timing is the utmost important thing no matter what you do. It goes with sending messages to your customers. 

No matter if you are texting to your local audience or global base, if you are sending the text at the wrong time it will not affect you well. 

SMS is for encouraging the customers to take urgent actions. So for doing that you need to choose to write time. 

Sending messages anytime bothers the customers and that’s why lots of customers don’t intend to subscribe to the text subscription. 

Solution – Respect time zones and customer’s schedule 

Use an API provider that can help you in scheduling your text according to the time zone of the customers. So you won’t be texting someone at 2 AM. 

Pay attention to busy hours and dont send text on those hours. Also, text messages are for taking fast and urgent actions. Sending it at the wrong time can disturb others. 

Pro Tip: to remember it clearly, follow the general rule i,e, don’t text before 9 am or after 9 pm. 

6. Not Having Enough Of Call To Action  

CTA is the most important tool to get capitalization on SMS marketing. However, lots of businesses fail to do so. 

Not having a proper Call to action, or less or not even one is the reason why you are not getting the benefit that you suppose to have in text message marketing. 

CTA helps in pushing your customers to take fast actions for completing the task, subscribing, emailing, taking part in the contest, using sales, etc. 

Well, SMS is used for communicating urgent matters, CTA must have to increase the effectiveness of the overall result. 

Solution – Add single CTA 

SMS is a powerful channel that drives short term action. Use it for taking the best advantage.

Instead of adding too many CTA, go with a singular one.

However make sure it’s powerful, fast, and easy to recognize. Use keywords for highlighting CTA. 

7. Not Considering Your Customer

SMS is like talking to a friend or something more personal urgent. Your customers can be in a situation where they don’t have too much time checking their phone, but they still check when the phone buzzes to know if the message is important.

Guess the feeling when they see another company sending them updates about their products. It’s frustrating, time-wasting, and breaks the focus. 

Solution – Text when It’s urgent 

Before you decide to send the text, wait and see if it’s that important and valuable. Or send some promotions or advertising text to the customer. 

Respect the time that your customer is taking from their busy schedule to check your message. Is your message worthy? 

When you pay attention to such details, your customer also takes your text seriously. 

8. No Limit On Messages 

SMS has a more than 95% open rate. For business, the rate is tempting, and that’s why business can’t stop sending more and more text. 

Bombarding your texts can also lead the customers to unsubscribe or worse block the number for good.

Solution – Limit the numbers, fix to once or twice per week 

SMS should be less, only when it’s urgent and no other channel can do it for you. Send the message when it’s relevant to your customer and need action faster. 

To keep it important, fix the message to once or twice per week. It won’t make your customer feel frustrated and it also makes them look forward to receiving one from you. 

9. Sticking To One Channel 

SMS marketing is not a replacement, especially not email marketing. Lots of businesses use SMS instead of emailing, forgetting that there are two different purposes of both channels. 

The email and message should go hand in hand. They should complement each other not replace it. 

Solution – Use SMS for enhancing email market 

Sms and email are two important communicating channels. Where SMS are a bit more personal and metal is professional, they both are checked by customers daily. 

You can use SMS for texting customers about the important email waiting to open in their inbox or remind them to take action faster. 

Combine both channels to get the best results from it. 

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs) about Text Marketing for Small Business

Will Text Marketing work for small businesses?

Text Marketing showed the far best engagement than any other option.

There are chances of emails going ignored or unread for days, people can avoid phone calls but the text is checked as soon as it gets delivered.

 So for small businesses, text marketing shows the best engagement and it can be used for conversion, sales, and promotion too. 

How to start Sms Marketing?

Choose the option from which you want to send the message. Get the contact numbers and text the message you want to send.

Schedule the date and time when you want to send the SMS. It’s all set to do the SMS marketing 

Why is SMS Marketing effective?

The reason behind SMS marketing becoming so effective for business is its open rate that goes 98%. Also, it takes 90 seconds to respond where email marketing has a 20% opening rate with 90 minutes to respond.

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