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Planning Your SMS Marketing Campaign: Back to Basics

sms marketing back to basics

SMS messaging is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing available. Like any marketing, though, it is vital to plan your campaign effectively to ensure maximum success. So let’s look at a few basic principles that will help you make the most of your online SMS marketing.


When we talk about SMS marketing, we are talking about sending a ‘one-to-many’ message with the aim of prompting recipients to perform a particular action. You might be hoping to send potential customers the current sale offers on your web shop; obtain donations to a charity, perhaps by return SMS; or prompt clients to call or visit your office, to name just three options.

Today, SMS marketing remains one of the most cost-effective marketing investments. Using no more than 160 characters will save time and effort when crafting your message, and the plain black and white format ensures there is no requirement for costly graphic designers or web developers.

By applying a little marketing common sense, it is perfectly possible to execute a successful campaign with even the most limited of budgets.

Who are your customers?

Hopefully, your business will already have a sound idea of who your current customers are as well as the demographics of potential future clients towards whom you would like to focus your marketing efforts.

In planning your SMS marketing campaign, it is wise to consider how you can best utilise your resources to target these particular groups, and sub-groups, of users.

Consider the age of your target groups, their location, disposable income, and family situation. Doing this enables you to fine tune your campaign messaging list and aim your marketing where it is likely to have the strongest impact.

What does your text have to offer?

No matter how careful your targeting, your campaign will fall at the first hurdle if you are not selling something that the recipients of your messages genuinely want to buy.

Sometimes, an uncomplicated and timely reminder that your product or shop exists is enough to have customers beating a track to your doors. Often, though, in a climate of confused and often overwhelming marketing messages, you need to employ other methods to ensure that your proposition cuts through the noise.

One often useful trick of the SMS marketing trade is to offer customers a special offer or discount as part of your text message. You could give a small percentage off your usual price to shoppers who show the text message during the checkout process. Alternatively, online businesses might include personalised offer codes in each customer’s message.

Of course, offering exclusive discounts comes at a cost to your business. However, you can comfortably set your special offers at a level which ensures that you recover the expense through increasing customer numbers as a result of your marketing campaign.

Strike while the iron's hot!

Timing is everything in marketing, and a key advantage of online SMS providers is the ability to pre-schedule messaging to be delivered at the perfect moment.

It takes little imagination to realise that sending a text advertising a nightclub at nine o’clock on a Monday morning will not be effective. Similarly, delivering a message advertising your corner shop to customers is unlikely to be effective if it arrives five minutes after you close.

The key to getting the timing of your message right is to understand how your audience uses the service you offer, and when they are likely to be making purchase decisions.

If you are a supermarket and you do the majority of your trade on Saturday mornings, then perhaps early that day is the right time to deliver your message; since you are likely to catch customers who are making a decision at that moment between you and your competitors.

Equally, a cinema may decide that Thursday afternoon at five o’clock is the right time for their marketing, to get through to potential visitors when they are leaving work and deciding how to spend their evening.

Getting to know your customers’ habits and lifestyles, through research and targeting, is vital to perfecting the timing of your marketing message.

The message itself.

Like it or not, SMS messaging is an abbreviated form of communication; a language of its own, composed of no more than 160 characters (or 456 when using fastsms).

More often than not, your marketing content will not be able to utilise the full size of the message, since space is needed to accommodate sender and unsubscribe information. You may have as few as 130 letters, numbers and spaces in which to craft your proposal and get the message across to your audience.

This limited space does not require you to turn your message into a mix of symbols and abbreviations which only Kevin the teenager will appreciate. Entertaining this style of writing would severely limit the number of people able to understand your message, decreasing its effectiveness and costing you hard earned money.

A superior strategy is to take a few extra minutes developing your text to ensure that only the key points of your marketing message – the things the customer cannot do without – are included.

Remember, as well, that SMS messaging is a remarkably intimate and personal method of communication. For many, their mobile phone is an extension of their body, and SMS marketing gives you the ability to deliver a marketing message directly to their device.

Always strive to ensure that your messages are personalised – use the recipient’s name where possible – and carry genuine value and interest for your audience. Doing this makes it more likely that customers will appreciate the texts they receive from your business, and much less likely that they will regard them as ‘spam’ or even notice them as marketing at all.

So there you have it. By following these simple hints and tips you will be well on the road to delivering a successful SMS marketing campaign. Best of luck, and don’t hesitate to contact our customer support team if you need any additional pointers.

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