Text Message Marketing Defined

Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing, is a form of digital marketing that involves sending promotional messages, alerts, or updates to a group of recipients via text messages. It is a direct and immediate communication channel that businesses use to reach their customers, prospects, or subscribers.

In text message marketing, businesses send short and concise messages containing relevant information, such as special offers, discounts, product announcements, event invitations, appointment reminders, or transactional notifications. These messages are usually limited to a certain number of characters (often 160 characters per message) due to SMS limitations.

How to Use it in a Sentence

Our mobile app increased customer engagement and sales through text message marketing by sending exclusive discounts and promotions directly to our subscribers' phones.

Common Text Message Marketing FAQs

Text message marketing works by businesses collecting phone numbers from interested individuals and obtaining their consent to receive text messages. Then, businesses create short and concise messages containing relevant information, such as special offers, discounts, product announcements, or reminders, and send them to the recipient's mobile phones.

Often, businesses will employ the use of messaging platforms that support SMS marketing to deliver fast, relevant, and high-impact text message engagement.

Whether SMS marketing is worth it depends on various factors, including the nature of your business and your target audience.

If your target audience is highly engaged with mobile devices and receptive to receiving text messages, SMS marketing can be a valuable channel to reach and engage with them directly. Text message marketing is also effective for businesses that frequently share time-sensitive information, such as limited-time offers, flash sales, or event updates.

SMS marketing involves recipients opting in to receive messages, meaning you're communicating with an audience that has already expressed interest. This opt-in engagement often leads to higher response rates.

Make sure to evaluate the costs of text message marketing against the potential return on investment (ROI). Text message marketing can be cost-effective compared to other channels, but it's crucial to consider your conversion rates and customer lifetime value.

Before implementing SMS marketing, conduct research and analyze the preferences and behaviors of your target audience. If you find that your customers are receptive to SMS communications and it aligns with your marketing objectives, SMS marketing can be a valuable addition to your overall marketing strategy. As with any marketing approach, success lies in understanding your audience and providing value through meaningful and engaging messages.

Integrating SMS marketing with other channels like push notifications, web messaging, email, and in-app messaging can create a powerful multi-channel strategy that maximizes your reach and engagement. Use these best practices to keep your omnichannel messaging strategy successful:

  • Consistent Branding and Messaging: Maintain a consistent brand identity and messaging tone across all channels to create a seamless and recognizable experience for your audience.

  • Cross-Promotion: Promote your SMS campaign through various channels, such as email and social media, to encourage users to opt-in for SMS updates and expand your reach.

  • Segmentation and Personalization: Use data from different channels to segment your audience and personalize messages, ensuring that each communication feels relevant and tailored to the recipient.

  • Event and Behavior Triggering: Set up triggers based on user actions that initiate messages across channels. For instance, send an SMS reminder, a push notification, and an email when a user abandons their cart.

  • Complementary Messaging: Coordinate your messages across channels to complement each other. Start with an SMS teaser, follow up with detailed email content, and conclude with a push notification on the day of the event or sale.

  • Preference Management: Respect user preferences by allowing them to choose their preferred communication channels and frequency for updates, enhancing their engagement experience.

  • Customer Journeys: Map out multi-channel customer journeys, guiding users through a sequence of interactions across SMS, email, push notifications, and in-app messaging.

  • Location-Based Targeting: Utilize SMS and push notifications for location-specific offers or alerts, engaging users when they are near your physical stores or relevant locations.

  • Time Optimization: Optimize message timing based on time zones and user behavior. For example, send an SMS announcement before a flash sale and a push notification when it starts.

  • Re-Engagement and Retargeting: Revive inactive users with re-engagement SMS messages and follow up with personalized push notifications and emails for users who abandoned their carts.

  • Transactional Messaging: Use SMS for vital transactional messages like order confirmations and shipping updates, ensuring timely information delivery and enhancing customer satisfaction.

  • Feedback and Surveys: Gather feedback through SMS and follow up with more detailed surveys through email or in-app messaging to understand customer satisfaction and make improvements.

  • Analytics and Attribution: Monitor SMS campaign performance and its impact on other channels by measuring engagement metrics, conversion rates, and customer interactions.

  • Testing and Optimization: Continuously test different channel combinations, messaging strategies, and timing to find the most effective mix, using A/B testing to refine your approach.

SMS marketing offers numerous benefits, but like any marketing strategy, it also comes with its set of challenges. Here are some of the common challenges associated with SMS marketing:

  • Consent and Compliance: Obtaining proper consent from recipients before sending marketing messages is essential to comply with data protection regulations like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States and similar laws in other countries. Ensuring compliance with these regulations can be challenging.

  • Message Content Limitations: SMS messages have a character limit (often 160 characters), which can make it challenging to convey complex or detailed information. Crafting concise and impactful messages requires careful wording and editing.

  • Message Overload: Sending too many messages or irrelevant content can lead to message fatigue and possible unsubscribes. It's crucial to strike the right balance and only send messages that provide value and are relevant to the recipients.

  • Deliverability Issues: SMS messages may face deliverability challenges, particularly if recipients are in areas with poor network coverage or if the mobile carrier's filters block certain messages.

  • Timing and Time Zones: Sending messages at the wrong time or across different time zones can result in low engagement or disturb recipients during inconvenient hours.

Overcoming these challenges requires careful planning, adherence to regulations, thoughtful content creation, and continuous monitoring and analysis of campaign performance. SMS marketing can be highly effective when executed well, but it requires a strategic approach and consideration of the unique challenges associated with this communication channel. This attention to detail can often only be achieved through the use of a dedicated SMS provider like OneSignal.

Yes, customers are generally required to opt-in and provide consent before receiving text message marketing. Obtaining explicit consent is a crucial aspect of SMS marketing to ensure compliance with regulations like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States. Businesses should never send marketing messages to recipients who have not explicitly opted in.

A qualified SMS provider can help you navigate the consent process and manage your subscriber list to ensure compliance.

Yes! Along with push notifications, email, and in-app messaging, OneSignal also provides a robust SMS marketing platform to marketers looking for an omnichannel solution. OneSignal supports text message marketing across iOS and Android devices, with personalization capabilities designed to scale with you as you grow.