How To Build A Successful SMS Marketing Campaign

Feb 27, 2023 11 Min Read

Photo by Maxim Ilyahov @ unsplash

SMS marketing may be old school, but technology makes it more versatile and valuable today.

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. As such, businesses of all sizes and industries have these two goals in common—to expand their customer base and generate quality leads. 

Numerous marketing methods can help you achieve these core business objectives. Most businesses focus their efforts on modern digital marketing methods, but there are old-school marketing methods that remain relevant, and they can amplify your overall strategy. One of which is short message service (SMS) marketing. 

You can learn more about SMS marketing and its benefits in this comprehensive guide. This article also shares the steps for leveraging SMS marketing

What Is An SMS Campaign?

Also known as text marketing, an SMS campaign is a marketing method that allows you to interact with your customers and send promotional messages via text. Generally, it has a lot in common with email marketing. The difference is the marketing channel; SMS marketing is also more personal than email marketing. 

black iphone 4 on gray textile

Businesses can use SMS marketing to share promotions and discounts, time-sensitive updates and reminders and order confirmation and delivery updates for e-commerce stores. Like email marketing, SMS campaigns can be automated through intuitive text messaging software like what SMS service providers such as Drop Cowboy utilise.

Explore this: 6 Common Marketing Myths to Avoid

Why Should You Try SMS Marketing?

With numerous marketing methods available, you may be wondering why you should use your resources on SMS marketing. Here are the benefits of using SMS marketing for your business. 

(1) It Has High Open And Engagement Rates

SMS marketing has a high open rate, reaching almost 100%. By contrast, that of email marketing is only around 20% of email. In addition, over 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of receipt, and the click-through rate (CTR) can reach up to 45%. In comparison, the average CTR of email marketing is 6%. 

person using macbook pro on black table

Moreover, the engagement rates of SMS campaigns are three to seven times higher than that of email marketing. Furthermore, a user tends to respond faster through SMS, with the response typically taking only 90 seconds. A user’s average response to emails is two hours. 

No other marketing channel can brag about such high pen and engagement rates. 

(2) It Is Easy To Write

Marketers know how painstaking it is to craft a good email—from drafting an appealing email subject line for a better open rate, verifying email address to creating the perfect copy that gets them to read and click through.

This is not an issue with SMS marketing because you’re just writing a couple of lines. Adding a bit of emoji is all you need to make your message look enticing. 

(3) It Is Trackable

Some marketers may steer clear away from SMS marketing because they believe it can’t be tracked. However, anything is trackable with the right software in this modern age. 

With the right service provider for SMS marketing like Drop Cowboy, you can get extensive reporting and analytics functions to measure and audit your efforts. You can easily monitor the number of messages sent, response rate and more. 

Learn more about the Drop Cowboy solution by watching this YouTube video: 

(4) It Is Cost Effective

SMS is one of the cheapest forms of marketing you can take full advantage of. Yes, you need to pay for SMS marketing software. But even then, this text marketing software can help streamline efforts, so it pays for itself in the long term. 

green plant in clear glass cup

In addition, the text is easy to produce since you don’t need to write a long copy. This feature makes it cost-effective to produce and distribute. 

(5) It Amplifies And Supports Other Marketing Channels

Aside from being great on its own, SMS marketing can support and enhance other popular channels among consumers, such as email and social media. For instance, you can send text messages to remind customers to read an email sent hours or days before. 

Read more: 10 Ways AI Is Shaping Marketing

How Can You Create A Winning SMS Campaign?

Now that you have enough reasons to try SMS marketing, here’s a step-by-step guide on creating a winning SMS campaign. 

I. Set Goals

As with any marketing campaign, setting goals for your SMS marketing is the first step toward a successful campaign. Generally, an SMS campaign created with your current company goals in mind provides the most effective results. Your SMS campaign can impact most parts of your business, so it’s essential to communicate your campaign goals clearly throughout the company.

man wearing gray polo shirt beside dry-erase board

When setting goals for your SMS campaign, make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. This increases the chances of reaching them. 

II. Define Your Target Audience

Like setting goals, defining your target audience is a non-negotiable component of any marketing campaign. The success of your SMS campaign depends on how well you understand your audience and how to attract their attention. 

You need to conduct research into your audience to learn the following:

  • Demographics
  • Mobile devices used
  • Frequency of using their mobile device
  • Activities they do on their mobile phones
  • Exact time they use their phone
  • Time spent on devices
person writing on white paper

You can properly classify users by defining and understanding who they are. With proper segmentation, you can determine which messages can significantly impact a specific group. 

This may interest you: 5 Marketing Strategies To Help You Sell To Gen X

III. Build A List Of Subscribers

Your SMS subscriber list is essential to your SMS marketing. After all, you don’t want to make up any number and hope that the right people receive your text message. 

If you don’t have one, you need to design for an opt-in to create a list of subscribers. Generally, there are several methods for people to opt in:

  • Email

Unless you’re a startup, you should already have a good list of email subscribers. Use that to your advantage and send subscribers an email directing them to a landing page requesting their phone numbers. 

blue and white logo guessing game
  • Checkout Page

Typically, checkout pages of online stores collect personal information for shipping and delivery. You can use this chance to ask for users’ phone numbers. 

  • Website Pop-Ups

Website pop-ups are a more common method used to grow a subscriber list. Adding pop-ups with enticing offers on your website can ensure a higher opt-in rate. 

Regardless of your chosen method, you must stay compliant and ask permission. Over the past years, laws and regulations have limited businesses and brands from using technology to communicate with shoppers.  

person using phone and laptop

As such, always include a disclaimer wherever you display and promote your SMS opt-in strategy. You must be transparent about using a user’s phone number for your promotional and marketing efforts. 

IV. Invest In An SMS Marketing Solution

Running an SMS campaign without the right solution can be time-consuming and inefficient. Thus, you want to invest in good software to help streamline and refine your SMS marketing plans. 

Supplementary reading: How To Leverage The Changing Digital Marketing Landscape

With the right software, you can manage messages at scale, track compliance data and requirements, and automate message sending. As a result, you can implement your campaign faster while reducing your team’s responsibilities. 

As mentioned before, some SMS marketing tools provide reporting data to provide deeper insights about your audience and overall SMS strategies. You can use the results as a guide to quickly adjust your SMS campaign so as to ensure the highest return on investment possible. 

white printing paper with Marketing Strategy text

When looking for the right SMS solution, check online reviews and testimonials about the provider. Look for the necessary features you need to implement an effective SMS campaign. 

V. Craft A Compelling Message

To increase lead generation and conversion, you need to craft a compelling message that drives customer action. Below are valuable tips to help you create a message that entices an audience and pushes them to the bottom of your sales funnel

  • Begin With Relevant Info

From its name, SMS only has limited characters, around 160 characters. As such, you don’t want to waste it on introducing yourself and your business. 

In addition, once a customer realises that the text message is a sales pitch, they often ignore or delete it immediately. Instead, you should start with something relevant, like a thought-provoking question or statement that nudges their pain point. 

  • Personalise

Personalising your messaging results in higher engagement. It also boosts the overall experience, providing a 20% satisfaction rate and a 15% boost in lead conversions. 

Auxiliary reading: Connecting With Customers: Keep It Short And Simple

Generally, the text is already personal since it directly drops into a customer’s inbox. But you can still level up on text personalisation. 

For instance, you can add your user’s name to your text messages using innovative technology like artificial intelligence and data science. Since you segmented your customers, you can also personalise messages based on a specific group. 

  • Be Conversational

With SMS, you have the chance to make personal connections with customers. Although you need to sound professional, you should also sound friendly, fun, and conversational, as if a customer is talking to a friend. You can include emojis when necessary. 

  • Add An Image

Power up your SMS marketing efforts using multimedia message service (MMS) as part of your strategy. Using MMS allows you to send multimedia types, including images and graphics. Since the content of your message plays a role in generating and converting leads, adding images can significantly impact your CTR. 

MacBook Air on table

Humans are visual beings and respond well to images. Including a photo, as long as it’s relevant to the message, can make your SMS more engaging. 

  • Add Value

Regardless of what your message is all about, you want to make sure that it adds value to your consumers. That said, promotions, coupons, sneak peeks and discounts are the ultimate crowd-pleasers. Your SMS subscribers would be happy to receive them. 

In addition to promotional offers, providing helpful information, such as brand updates and announcements, can create a level of surprise and anticipation. 

Essentially, you should ask yourself how you can add value without being intrusive so that your message is commensurate with what a customer may get from their friends or close circle. 

VI. Master Timing

Once you have crafted the perfect message, you need to consider the timing. The correct timing ensures that your consumers are more receptive. They can then read and evaluate your message from a place of convenience and happiness. 

The response rate for SMS can differ on the time of day you send the message. Ideally, you want to send a message during active hours between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Never text your customers earlier than 6:00 AM or after 9:00 PM, which can disturb them and cause them to opt out of your messaging list. 

VII. Do Not Spam

Aside from timing, you need to plan for frequency. Since text messages are more immediate than emails, you should minimise how often you send them to customers. Spamming your customers can be pretty annoying and create a negative impression on your brand. 

closed red wooden door

As such, you want to reserve this channel for your most compelling and exciting messages. This way, consumers are always happy to hear from you and not annoyed. 

VIII. Make It Easy To Unsubscribe

You’ve worked hard for people to opt into your SMS campaign, so it’s understandable if you feel frustrated if someone wants to opt-out. While you may hate it when anyone unsubscribes, it actually comes with several benefits. 

For one, it allows your SMS list to be clear of people not interested in your offer. With your list organised and clean, you can maintain a higher CTR since the share of interested and active users among your list grows. Plus, adding an opt-out method is a legal requirement for all marketing communications, especially for an intrusive channel like SMS. 


Thus, you want to provide an easy way to unsubscribe. You can add an unsubscribe link for every message you send. You can also tell subscribers to reply to your message with ‘STOP’ to unsubscribe easily. 

IX. Test And Track

Testing makes any marketing campaign perfect. As such, it should be a part of your overall SMS marketing strategy. 

With testing methods like A/B testing, you can ensure that your messages and marketing campaign are well-received by your targeted audience on their specific devices. You can then easily tweak any inconsistencies or errors. 

Once you send out your SMS messages, tracking your campaign allows you to see valuable metrics and trends, revealing the strengths and weaknesses of your campaigns. With robust tracking and analytics, you can set data-driven changes and optimise your campaigns further.


SMS marketing may be old school, but technology makes it more versatile and valuable today. It comes with numerous benefits, from saving costs to complementing other marketing channels you’re already using. There’s also statistical evidence indicating that it actually works and is a highly effective marketing method. 

It makes sense to include it in your marketing efforts. Whether you need to generate new leads or keep existing customers excited, following the above tips allows you to create a successful SMS marketing campaign that ultimately grows your business.

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Piper Morgan is a marketing specialist who also moonlights as a content writer. She shares her knowledge about marketing, including the latest trends, through guest posts and blog articles. She is also a proud pug mom.


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