Text Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Get Started

Want a way to reach your customers wherever they are? Here's how to do text marketing that's efficient and comfortable for your audience.

text marketing

There are 31.7 million small businesses in American these days.

And, frankly, it can sometimes feel like there are just as many ways to market them! From email and social media to SEO and snail mail, the list of options is endless.

Yet not all of them are made equal! And, if you want the best shot at standing out from the crowd without wasting your hard-earned ad budget, it’s essential to focus on the effective ones.

Enter text message marketing.

Sometimes called “SMS marketing”, this method of reaching out to people is nothing new. However, it’s seen a resurgence of popularity in recent years among both consumers and business owners alike! For good reason too.

According to techjury, not only does a whopping 75% of people actively want to receive offers this way, but text messages boast a mind-blowing 98% open rate and a CTR that’s almost 10% higher than any other digital marketing channel.

Clearly, if you use it properly, text messaging can work wonders.

Would you like to learn more about SMS marketing and how to leverage it to full effect? You’re in the right place! Read on for our quick-start guide on the topic.

What is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing (otherwise known as mass texting) is the simple practice of using SMS messages to promote your products/services, build your brand, and develop customer loyalty.

Think of it like email marketing…just with text messages! The only difference?

It works way better.

Businesses consistently report an increase in sales, engagement, and lead generation. It’s also a highly effective way to nurture existing leads, generate excitement, and trigger instant sales whenever you run a new promotion.

Does Text Marketing Work?

Now here’s the biggest question. Does text marketing really work?

Yes, it does. Better than you’ve been led to believe. The numbers prove it.

98% of text messages end up being opened. This is especially notable when compared to the open rate of emails, which is only about 22%.

But getting eyes on your text messages is only half the battle. You also have to get engagement from your customers. This is why text marketing is so effective: 95% of text messages are read and responded to within three minutes!

Finally, text marketing is what people want. 48% of consumers say that they prefer to receive brand updates via SMS. The convenience and brevity of a text message fit perfectly into busy lives.

What Do You Need to Effectively Do Text Message Marketing?

Three things:

  1. Customer contact details
  2. Permission
  3. SMS messaging software

Let’s face it, you won’t get very far with this strategy until you have a list of mobile numbers to send messages to! That’s not all though. It’s imperative (read: a legal requirement) that people opt-in to receive your texts. More on this later.

Finally, you’ll want to pay for some effective text message marketing software, like ours. From creating and automating your campaigns to tracking results, it’ll make your life a thousand times easier. Again, more details coming up.

What Makes For an Effective Text Message Marketing Campaign?

Like any form of advertising, there are certain “dos and don’ts” of text message marketing. Here are a few tips for maximizing the ROI of your campaigns:

1. Ensure They Opt-In

First and foremost, never text customers who haven’t explicitly “opted in”. If they’ve subscribed and provided their mobile number, drop them an initial text asking if they’re happy to opt-in with a quick “yes” or “no”. Only ever contact those who choose option number one!

2. Make Opting-Out Easy

Of course, anybody who opts in must be able to opt-out if/when they choose. This is usually a legal requirement, so be sure to make the process straightforward. Putting something like “Text STOP to end SMS updates” at the end of your messages is a common way to do this.

3. Reveal Yourself

Nobody wants to receive random SMS messages from unidentified numbers. Yet that’s exactly what you could appear as to new customers who haven’t saved your number to their phone! Make it obvious who you are from the outset.

4. Consider Timings Carefully

Text messages show up on peoples’ home screens and trigger noisy notifications as well. That’s why it’s crucial to be smart about when you deliver your marketing messages! Waking people up at 6am isn’t a good look for your brand. Always send them by time zones (instead of one mass message blast) to avoid trouble.

5. Keep Things Short

The best texts tend to be concise. They’re to the point and lack anything non-essential. And this isn’t just to stay within the 160-character limit (although it’s definitely a factor)! Anything too long might not get read by your customers. Keeping it short ensures your key point lands every time.

6. Remember Your Brand

Just because your texts are short doesn’t mean they should be cold, terse, or bland. Send messages with your brand voice in mind. If your business is known for being street-wise and informal, then that’s how your messages should come across too.

What Is Direct Text Message Marketing?

Direct text message marketing is a close cousin to the ordinary variety we’ve discussed so far. The “direct” part is what matters! Instead of advertising through a third party (such as Google or Facebook), you promote your business directly to your consumer (…via text) and provide a way for them to respond.

What Is Text Message Marketing Software?

Text messaging marketing software, like Text Spot, is basically the engine used by businesses to create, run, and manage their text campaigns. They simplify the entire process, allow you to automate everything from start to finish, and provide invaluable insights on how your campaigns are performing.

What Features Do You Need with Text Message Marketing Software?

These software programs offer a variety of features to streamline your text marketing endeavors. Here’s what you’d enjoy by signing up with Text Spot (heads up, we add new features every month!):

Scheduling Tools

Automation at its finest. Set up your texts to send at a certain date and voila, you’re good to go.

Mass Texting

Never limit yourself to single conversations. This feature lets you send and schedule as many texts as you like to different groups.

Private Numbers

Every account that signs up to Text Spot is given its very own private number.

Recurring Texts

More automation. Just in case your message doesn’t land the first time around, you can set an interval to resend it as often as you wish.

Contact List Importing

Already have a list of mobile numbers? Import them with ease.

Organizational Invites

Let an unlimited number of other people in your organization start running your campaigns.

2-Way Messaging

Coming soon, our leading text message technology will enable you to send and receive texts to enable direct, one-to-one conversations with your contacts.

MMS Marketing

Want to send images, gifs, and videos? Sign up to Text Spot and it won’t be long before you’re able to.

What Industries Benefit From Text Message Marketing?

The benefits of text message marketing apply to almost every business, regardless of industry. However, there are definitely some fields that reap the rewards more than most. Here are a few of them:


Early adopters of SMS marketing, the retail sector definitely makes the most of this technology. The discounts and coupon codes they deliver to customers drive sales and create awareness. Thanks to personalized messages, they’re able to separate themselves from the competition and build rapport with opted-in clients.

Restaurants, Hotels, and Bars

The hospitality industry’s a prime example of how to use mass messaging to good effect. For example, hotels will send last-minute messages to fill empty rooms and restaurants deliver them in the evening, right when people are a) getting hungry and b) making dinner plans. They welcome newfound revenue as a result.

Real Estate

Sticking with the R’s, SMS messages help real estate businesses boost conversion rates, increase efficiency (no more time-consuming voice messages), and reduce no-shows by sending reminders. As you can imagine, using SMS marketing for these purposes isn’t restricted to real estate. Everything from hair salons to GP surgeries could do something similar.

Uses for Text Marketing

Text marketing can be used for many different purposes. At its core, SMS marketing is a way to communicate with your subscribers. You can use it to advertise, gather data, and more.

Here are a few different types of messages you can send out.

  • Coupons: coupon codes or other sales can be sent and used quickly
  • Advertise Time-Sensitive Deals: fewer customers will miss the deals that only last 2 or 3 days
  • Event Marketing: remind customers of upcoming events, or link them to a Google calendar of events
  • Polls and Surveys: gather data from your customers in order to improve your strategy in the future
  • Sweepstakes: raffles and other contests can be run completely by text campaign, ensuring your most loyal customers benefit by signing up

What are Examples of Effective Text Message Marketing Campaigns?

One of the best examples of an effective text marketing campaign comes straight from the National Cancer Institute.

This innovative organization leveraged the accessibility of texting to create an ongoing SMS program that helped teens quit smoking! After signing up by texting “QUIT” to 47848, participants receive daily (auto-scheduled) texts with personalized support to help them ditch the habit.

Leverage the Power of Text Message Marketing

Ready to get started with SMS marketing and start feeling the business benefits?

TextSpot can help. Click here to sign up for free.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are texts sent in real time?

Depending on the text marketing service you are using, texts do not need be sent in real time. You can schedule texts and automate text sending text messages based on particular events.

Do I need a short code to do text marketing?

No you do not need a short code to do text marketing Short codes are more expensive for sending messages since there are fewer available. Your typical 10 digit phone number is much more cost effective.


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