How To Start SMS Marketing: Get Results With These Easy Steps

SMS celebrated its 20th anniversary in the year 2012. In the 90’s not everyone had any idea how to start SMS marketing! Very few understood the real potential of SMS marketing.

Fast forward to the current times, SMS marketing has become one of the famous forms of marketing today.

Today, many marketers are turning to SMS marketing. SMS marketing offers benefits that make it one of the most effective marketing tool. You should first understand what are the benefits of SMS marketing so that you can leverage them and get better results.

But, are you making enough out of it? Are the strategies of your SMS campaigns fully effective?

SMS Marketing Easy Steps

In this post you will know:

How to start SMS marketing?

What are the necessary steps that you need to follow?


You will know what you need to ensure before starting your SMS campaign.

According to SAP, 70% employees believe that companies or organizations should consider SMS for internal communication.

According to Frost & Sullivan, 98% of SMSes are read or opened ultimately.

Text messages will always reach users’ inbox as there is no separate spam folder on mobile phones.

SMS marketing can be more complicated than the other marketing processes if not done right!

Let’s start with the basics.

Step 1: The basics

Pew Research Survey (2015) found out that 97% smartphone users use text messages for communication. Further, they also cleared that the most used feature of a smartphone is texting, not voice calls!

Although it’s a bit older study, you can still find people around busy texting. You know well that people know enough about texting.

But you must be still wondering How to start SMS marketing, especially now when you have realized that almost everyone knows enough about SMS? And How to send advertising SMS?

Think of it from a different perspective.

You don’t need to teach anyone how to respond or reply back. It means you have one less thing to worry about.

The following are the essential ingredients for your SMS marketing:

Solid infrastructure: You need a powerful yet simple tool, which can deliver personalized SMS to all your users and can get you back meaningful report results.

Target audience: Before you start SMS marketing, you need to be sure who you want to target. Create a list of targeted audience and verify it. Most importantly, your list of potential customers should have valid phone numbers and should match the buyer’s persona.

Strategy: Before you start SMS marketing, you need a logical plan. Your objective and strategy should be very clear. Make sure you implement them consistently and efficiently.

Measure the results: It is essential to know where your campaigns are going. Are they useful or are they failing to serve the purpose? You need to measure the success of your SMS campaign with the right metrics.

When your basics are healthy, you can rest assured that your text messages will add value to your services.

Step 2: Finding the SMS marketing platform

Before you start SMS marketing campaigns, you need to lay the framework. You will find some services that are designed to help your SMS campaign get off the floor. Some SMS marketing platforms are exceedingly helpful.

Usually, SMS marketing platforms help in reaching out to your users with promotions, coupons, auto-responses text, and more. But these are the common features.

Take a look at the example given below.

A promotional SMS with coupons and discounts

The above image is a typical example of a promotional SMS.

But, the big question is how to choose the right platform when you are all set to start SMS marketing?

You will have to consider the below crucial factors before choosing an ideal SMS marketing platform. They are delivery rate and delivery time.

Your text messages must reach your subscribers on time. Otherwise, it will not serve the purpose. Similarly, you will also have to ensure that they get delivered to the subscribers.

Measure the success rate of your SMS marketing campaigns by keeping a constant eye on the SMS marketing success metrics. Before starting your SMS marketing campaigns, know what are the SMS marketing success metrics. It will help you know that you are on the right track.

Additionally, you will be able to create promotions, conduct polls, and send messages with a good SMS marketing platform. It ensures that your SMS campaign run smoothly without you having to understand the how-tos.

Giving away discounts and offers to people via SMS is an excellent way of database building. It is also a low-cost method of database building.

Step 3: Understand your audience.

You should understand who the users are; you see potential customers in? They are not just phone numbers, and that is for sure!

Your plan should include leveraging at least few essential data points. When you have the unique data points of every customer, you will be able to design the text messages in a more impactful and relevant manner.

If you have a complete list of mobile phone numbers, it is good. However, if not, then you should start collecting them.

There are tools like Way2Enrich, that can help you build your database with more personalized content. Here are some examples:

Using the first name: It is an ideal way to make your message personalized.

Using the last name: to make your text messages more personalized.

Including the email id: for cross-referencing with the other lists that you are managing.

Using the location: when you are offering different things according to different places.

Having a database lets you have the power of creating appropriate categories (for example shopping preferences, city, gender, age).

Naturally, databases that you bought from a third party usually contains some categories, but the categories may fail to fulfill your requirements.

Therefore, you should check the demographics, as they will have some positive impact on your target group. Further, you can well imagine what you can do with more data points with customized messages! You can use these to evoke responses from your audience.

Step 4: Make it actionable.

You just cannot convince your subscribers that your offer is good unless you don’t give them any particular advantage or value. Again, offers can be forgotten or missed if you do not include any proper call-to-action.

The following are crucial elements that you need to remember.

Defining the validity of the offer: Make your offers look urgent. People tend to give priority to offers that are time-limited. If your campaigns contain promotion of products that are complex and your subscribers need time to re-think, then you can extend the time limit (example 2 weeks or more).

Given below is an example:

A promotional SMS with coupons and discounts

Underline the exclusivity of your message: Compared to offers that you directed at a specific group of subscribers, mass offers proves to be less valuable usually. The reason is simple: when you send a personalized message to your subscribers, it will encourage them to engage. Telling your subscribers that they are exclusive and exceptional will help in building a long-term relationship.

A time limited personalized promotional SMS

Given below is an example.

The reader will feel important as the message addresses the recipient. It will make the reader feel important, and he/she will at least think about the offer.

Understand the right time and the right dialogue: Send SMS in a proper amount, and at specific times, otherwise, your subscribers will treat your message as intrusive. If you send messages at early hours or very late hours, the chances of you getting a positive response will be too low. Understand your subscribers and use the demographics to find out the ideal time to send them text messages. It will ensure that your subscribers have read your message.

Step 5: Measure the effectiveness of your SMS campaign.

The results will decide if your SMS campaigns are working or not.

You can measure the effectiveness of your SMS campaigns in four ways.

Let’s find out:

The code at checkout:

When you check the coupon code when any subscriber makes a purchase, you will get an accurate picture of the effectiveness of your campaign.

The coupon code is also sometimes known as the accept codes that you can send the subscribers via SMS.

You can define exactly the average value of shopping per coupon and the percentage of replies or sales.

If you find subscribers are not responding, you should start analyzing why the subscribers downloaded the coupon did not buy anything?

There can be three main reasons: Either the offer validity was short, targeting was not right, or call-to-action was not strong enough.

Therefore, you need to ensure first that you target the right audience with relevant products. Simultaneously, make sure the call-to-action is convincing. When you ensure the said factors, your subscribers will engage more with your SMS campaigns.

Further, you will also have to sum up the value of count purchase made with the code.

Analyzing users and reports:

Analyzing users and reports are the ideal way to understand the effectiveness of your campaigns. You can get that from the interaction between subscribers and your messages. It will further help you in preparing next SMS campaigns to a suitable group.

When you understand the number of responses from users, you will be able to optimize the campaigns in future. Furthermore, it will also help you in targeting groups more accurately.

The return on investment:

Analyzing sales numbers or comparing average revenue is significant to determine the sales trend and effectiveness of your SMS campaign. You will be able to calculate the return on Investment.

Keep in mind that various other elements can influence the overall sales level (example: an introduction of a new range of products, seasonal sales or promotion through other channels). When you see a promising or an increasing sales figure, you will know how your campaign has helped in increasing the revenue and in turn the ROI.

Checking the effectiveness of an SMS campaign is vital for some reasons. Primarily, it will help you to get a precise picture of the results of your actions; after you send out your first bulk SMS.

You must not end the monitoring of effectiveness at this level. You need to go deeper and optimize further actions. Additionally, you should also be more accurate while targeting selected groups for the future campaigns too.

What did we learn?

A quick fact:                                          

Matti Makkonen, also known as the ‘reluctant father of SMS’ didn’t make a penny despite being the inventor of SMS!

It’s a good feeling to invent something, but you would agree that the feeling gets better when that invention gets you something in return.

SMS is not just a tool that can be used only to exchange New Year wishes; it can be a handy marketing tool.

SMS marketing can help you make profits and climb up the ladder of success, provided you do it right. When you do your SMS marketing campaigns right, you can leverage the benefits of it.

If you are still wondering how to send advertising text messages or start SMS marketing? Go through the steps, and it will guide you.

Always keep in mind that your text messages must provide exclusivity, timeliness, and sense of value.

Take your time while crafting the perfect messages for your subscribers. It will take time as well as some level of experimentation to get it right. Be patient and keep on experimenting.

The idea is to be brief, focused and to put it concisely!

The steps discussed above will certainly help you start SMS marketing and get better results.

What do you think of the steps discussed here?

Let me know.

Also, read: Knock Out these SMS Marketing Myths for Remarkable Results

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Anirban Dey

Anirban switched his career from the pharma industry to digital marketing, banking on his ability to find marketing insights from everything around him. Currently, he writes in-depth articles on digital marketing and content marketing for Way2Online, passing on his knowledge and expertise to marketers. He likes to spend his leisure surrounded by comics, movies, and novels.


  1. k prabhakar-Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Well written, I was in pharma for 30 yrs plus and now engaged in increasing foot falls for an charitable hospital at Bengaluru Way2online doesnot have pincodewise mobile database. Can you guide me in obtaining good database

    • September 11, 2018 at 5:44 am

      Can you please share your details to our mail “”
      so our team can look into it and get back to you regarding your query.

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