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The Essentials of Text Message Marketing for Small Business

A phone displaying text messages showcasing the essentials of text message marketing for small business.

SMS marketing is slowly breaking away from its reputation of being inaccessible to small business owners. Indeed, the availability of SMS-capable marketing software has made it a useful channel not only for commerce behemoths but also for SMEs with limited budgets.

If you use it correctly, text messaging can quickly be your most cost-effective platform for boosting sales and conversions.

1. Why use SMS for small business marketing?

Every marketer knows that text messages are read within 3 minutes of receiving them. But, did you also know that SMS enjoys open rates over 90%? Not only is that exceptionally higher than email’s 6-20%, but also practically perfect – something you don’t get on any other platform.


The success of SMS as a marketing medium is due to several factors. For one, text messages reach recipients immediately, even when they’re not connected to the internet and also if they’re not on smartphones.

Additionally, SMS inboxes aren’t equipped with spam filters. But perhaps the most crucial benefit of text messaging is its form. Because they are brief (a single message is only 160 characters), they are consumed quickly, and recipients can react immediately.

2. How to Get Started With Text Message Marketing for Small Business

Here are some of the most important things you need to launch a text message marketing campaign for your small business:


Technically, you can start marketing over SMS as long as you have a phone and a line. But, for efficiency, effectiveness, and ability to track performance, invest in a powerful SMS platform that you can integrate into your entire business operations.


Just like in email, you can’t reach people who have not explicitly subscribed to your SMS service. That means you’ll need your audiences to opt-in, even if they had already given you their mobile numbers or even if you have previously reached them via email.

Opt-in Forms

Prepare your opt-in forms to describe the purpose of your SMS campaign. Also, show your audiences have to gain by subscribing. You should also give them an idea of how often to expect to hear from your business, as well as any rates they may have to cover. Lastly, link to your Terms & Conditions as well as your Privacy Policy.

Ask for subscribers' birth dates and phone number when they sign up


Your first SMS message to a new subscriber should always be a confirmation that they have opted in. You should also take this opportunity to reiterate the benefits of their decision to subscribe. Lastly, give them an option to unsubscribe in case they’re no longer interested.

All these preparations for an SMS marketing campaign – the opt-in forms and confirmation messages – need not be complicated. Just make sure you select a platform in which these features are already integrated.

3. How to Make the Most of Text Message Marketing

Any way you approach it, SMS marketing should improve engagement and ultimately boost your sales. But, there are things you can do to make the most out of this medium.

Know the best time to reach your subscribers.

Schedule your messages to send between 10 AM and 2 PM or 7 PM and 9 PM, since these are the times the average 9-5 worker is better able to attend to marketing messages.

Reach out according to the customer journey.

Time your business texts according to where the recipient is on the customer journey. Make each message relevant to their exact position in the sales process. Often, a relevant and well-timed SMS is all it takes to boost sales.


Consider your business cycle.

Text message marketing is perfect for driving immediate sales. So, think of ways it can work in harmony with your business cycle. Take advantage of SMS tactics like time-sensitive offers to stimulate sales during lulls.

Incorporate into an omnichannel campaign.

While SMS marketing is undeniably powerful on its own, it works best when it’s part of an overarching campaign that utilizes a variety of channels, including email and social media. Give text messaging its own role, and it’ll surely contribute to improved revenues as well as better relationships with your customers.


Set up scheduled texts and automated workflows.

Scheduled texts work best to encourage repeat buys (e.g., monthly appointment reminders, annual equipment servicing, etc.). At the same time, automated workflows can help reach specially targeted subscribers with the relevant messages at precisely the right time, without any extra effort from you. That makes them more likely to purchase or perform a desired action.


4. How to Determine if Your SMS Campaign is Working

Apart from higher engagement rates, one of the most significant advantages of text message marketing is its measurability. Similar to email, SMS marketing allows you to easily track your campaign’s performance so you can easily optimize for better results. Among the most important metrics you should monitor are:

  • List Size – The number of subscribers you have is a clear indicator of positive interest in your brand. With a good enough tool, you’ll also be able to see how many are actually active.
  • Growth Rate – Measure how fast your list grows periodically (weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly) and on a per-campaign basis.
  • Attrition Rate – Opt-outs are normal in any digital marketing campaign. But, if attrition is too high, you need to reevaluate your content as well as your value proposition.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR) – A high click-through rate shows that the content you provide through your SMS campaign is relevant and interesting to your subscribers.
  • Response Rate – Not all text messages for marketing purposes requires a click. (e.g., coupon codes). No matter what response you’re looking for, make sure it’s measurable, so you know how your campaigns are performing.Of course, a large part of determining the success of a campaign is whether it was worth the money you spent on it. Here are the top metrics to track on that front:
  • Cost per Acquisition – Measure the total cost of your campaign and divide that number by the number of subscribers acquired by that campaign. To guarantee profit, make sure that this cost is lower than the average profit you get per subscriber.
  • Return on Investment (ROI) – Measure the total profit you received from your SMS campaign and divide it by the amount you spent on your entire campaign. Always make sure that your ROI is positive.


Text message marketing for small businesses might seem unattainable, but not when you have access to the right platform. Through specialized software, you can gain the benefits of this medium and even incorporate it into a more extensive, omnichannel campaign. With SMS, you’ll enjoy better engagement and, consequently, higher revenues. Plus, you’ll be able to achieve all that in a measurable and cost-effective way.

This article originally appeared in the Omnisend blog and has been published here with permission.

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