SMS Marketing Best Practices: How and When to Use SMS Marketing

As a member of Gen Z, my phone is a constant companion. Whether I’m checking the weather or scrolling through Instagram, it’s always within reach. I even keep my text message notifications on and I know I’m not alone. Studies show that 90% of SMS are opened within the first three minutes.  (Source).

As phones continue to play a larger role in our daily lives, SMS marketing is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tactic that allows businesses to conveniently reach consumers. To learn how to create SMS campaigns that increase sales and grow your business, check out the best practices below!


SMS Marketing Tips and Tricks


Keep the character count low. Have you ever opened a long message from a friend or family member and immediately closed it in annoyance? Now imagine that from a brand. Not ideal, right? Keep your SMS messages short and sweet at 160 character max. This will also keep your SMS from getting broken up into several messages. 

Pro Tip: Many SMS platforms have a feature to shorten links, saving you characters! 


Be selective with “text speak.” Text speak, such as “2day” or “lmk” can become a hindrance in your SMS marketing, as not all consumers may understand them. To ensure your main focus and desired actions are clear, create concise and straightforward messages that are not open to multiple interpretations.


Use Emojis! Even though you want to get your message across clearly, don’t be afraid to include emojis or even gifs! Emojis are widely used and widely liked. In fact, 92% of the population uses them. (Source) A few successful emojis in SMS marketing are the green checkbox ( ✅), the party popper (🎉), and the bell (🔔). Including these at the beginning of your SMS can increase open rates and overall engagement. 

Pro Tip: Don’t use emojis to replace words. Some users may not have the messaging capability to receive the emoji. Instead, use them to enhance the message!


Introduce Yourself. If it is your first time sending an SMS, make sure to include the sender’s name and company in the first SMS. Not only will this personalize your messages, but it will help your business’s SMS credibility within your carrier service. 


Ensure you have an Opt-Out message. Giving users the opportunity to opt out of receiving further messages will again help your credibility with your carrier and ensure that you are not messaging anyone who does not want to receive marketing from you, keeping your list clean! A simple “Text STOP to opt-out” will do. 


Include a Call-To-Action. Each SMS you send should have a call-to-action (CTA) attached. Unlike other marketing tactics, CTA’s in SMS don’t have to just be a link or a button. For example, include a keyword for the user to respond with to prompt another text response! For example, send an SMS prompting users to respond with the phrase “TELL ME MORE” to receive another SMS that explains the specific benefits of your product. This personalizes each SMS further and gives users a chance to interact with your business, improving brand trust.


Receive explicit permission to send messages. Similar to email compliance, it is important to receive explicit permission to send users SMS messages. This will keep your list healthy and ensure that the people you are sending to are people who actually want to receive messages from your business. In addition, with the movement away from third-party cookies, SMS messaging is an easy way to gather and utilize information directly given to you by users. 

Pro-Tip: Attentive and SalesMSG are highly effective and simple SMS platforms to use!


When should you use an SMS campaign? SMS is a powerful marketing tactic that generates real results. See below for the best use cases for launching an SMS campaign.

  • Promotional Campaign
    • SMS is a great way to send quick information about a promotion or sale. In fact, 48% of customers prefer receiving special offers via text message. (Source). Briefly include what the sale is, the discount code if necessary, and a link to shop!
  • Prospecting Campaign
    • Looking for potential leads to sign-up for a meeting, or check something out on your website?  Sending an SMS in tandem with an email can provide a different channel of communication for your prospect. Many SMS platforms can be easily integrated into Hubspot as well, streamlining the process of automating emails and SMS within the same campaign workflow.

Pro Tip:  Our Hubspot capabilities make it easier than ever for your business to implement everything from content marketing, including SMS, to client management. Check it out!

  • Confirmation Messages
    • Confirmation messages are a quick and easy way to gather customer information and update them on their order. When checking out, include a field for customers to input their phone numbers for updates on their orders. Send a confirmation SMS, and take note of their purchase to retarget them later! 
  • Special Offers
    • To not only grow your SMS list but to increase brand loyalty, launch a discount or special offer that is exclusive to just your SMS lists! Send a message with a discount code exclusive to them, or send a message letting them know that a sale is kicking off a day early for SMS members. This builds brand loyalty and opens the door for gaining new SMS users. 


All-in-all, SMS marketing is an effective way to grow brand awareness and increase conversions, but there are ways to do it best. Use the tips above to update your existing SMS marketing campaigns or launch one altogether! 

Looking for support?  Reach out to a TribalVision representative today to help create or elevate your SMS campaigns!