14 Smart Ways To Engaging Customers With SMS

1. Personalise Messages Based on Customer Data

 You Know Your Customers

Think about all the data you’re already collecting – purchase histories, locations, ages, and interests. 

This provides incredibly useful insights that you can use to boost engagement and conversions.

For example, with segmented lists and personalisation tokens, you can tailor your SMS messages to feel directly relevant to each recipient:

  • Use their first name
  • Mention a recent purchase
  • Reference their city or interests

While you don’t necessarily want to keep every subscriber, you definitely want to keep the ones that have a high likelihood of purchasing and this helps keep these subscribers on your list. 

Don’t Overthink It

You don’t need impressive technology or data scientists to start personalising your SMS communications

Just look through what you’re already collecting on customers and start experimenting with your messaging.


2. Offer Exclusive Discounts and Promotions

 Make Your Subscribers Feel Special: Exclusivity is one of the best strategies you can use to make your customers feel special. 

Send them messages, updates, and offers that cannot be seen on your website or even email; this will keep your retention sky high and increase conversions.

Fear Of Missing Out: Rarely should you ever send out open-ended offers. Generally, your offers should have a definite start and end date.

Use Language Like “Just for You”: Simple phrases like “an exclusive thank-you discount just for loyal subscribers” or “this special code is only for VIP texters” go a long way.

When subscribers feel like they’re part of a privileged inner circle and are getting special treatment, they’ll look forward to your SMS communications. Who doesn’t want to feel appreciated?


3. Incorporate Social Proof

Customer Reviews Build Trust: Reviews and testimonials from real customers go a long way in building trust and credibility for your business and help overcome scepticism.

Share That Social Proof via SMS: Include quotes or the number of people who have bought a specific product, etc. 

Social Proof + Personalisation = High Engagement: Combine the trust-building power of customer reviews with the personalised relevance of SMS, and you’ve got a highly engaging 1-2 punch.

Make It Feel Exclusive: You can even frame the review as an exclusive “sneak peek” at what other customers are saying about that product.

Social proof makes your SMS offers and promotions much more compelling. Customers are more likely to convert when they see others vouching for your products.


4. Enable Two-Way Conversations

Messaging Should Feel Natural SMS is meant to mimic real back-and-forth texting between friends. There are times when you’ll want to send a broadcast (one-way) message, but if there will be times when using a conversational two-way, like following up on a purchase or asking for their opinion.

Ask Questions and Run Polls Get your subscribers replying and engaging by asking questions, running polls, or inviting them to share thoughts and opinions via text.


5. Send Valuable Non-Promotional Content

Don’t Always Be Selling: Your SMS communications shouldn’t just be a constant stream of promotions and offers. Occasionally, send them links to valuable resources like downloadables, invite them to closed-door events, or backstage access, etc.

Share Tips, Advice, and Inspiration: Mix it up by sending your subscribers valuable tips, how-to advice, inspirational messages, or even entertaining content related to your business.

Give Free Value First: By offering up value in advance, you’re filling up your goodwill bank, which you can convert into sales down the line.


6. Time Campaigns Around Special Events/Holidays

Holidays Are Engagement Opportunities: Holidays and special events create natural opportunities to connect with your SMS subscribers in a timely, relevant way.

Plan Themed Campaigns in Advance: Get ahead of major holidays by planning SMS campaigns with a relevant theme, messaging, and special offers to celebrate.

Or Capitalise on Live Events: You can also capitalise on more spontaneous events—a big game, viral moment, or current trend—by quickly spinning up a related SMS campaign.

Combine With Other Engagement Tactics: For maximum impact, combine your event/holiday SMS campaigns with other engaging tactics, such as personalisation, exclusivity, and social proof.

7. Integrate SMS Across the Customer Journey

SMS Doesn’t Live in a Silo: SMS shouldn’t just be another separate communication channel. It works best integrated throughout your entire customer experience.

Use It for Timely Follow-Ups: Send automated SMS reminders for abandoned carts, request feedback and reviews after purchases, and share loyalty program updates.

Move Conversations Seamlessly Across Channels: Allow conversations to flow between SMS and channels like live chat or social messaging. Make it easy for customers to pick up where they left off.

Connect the Dots for Better Engagement: When SMS is just one connected part of the overall experience, customers stay more continuously engaged with your brand.

Don’t treat SMS as a separate silo. Integrate it throughout your customer journeys for a seamless, consistently engaging omnichannel experience.


8. Use Clear Calls-to-Action

Don’t Bury the Lead: With SMS’s limited character count, you can’t afford to be vague or rambly. Get straight to the point.

Tell Them What to Do Next: Always include a clear, direct call to action that tells subscribers exactly what the next step is that you’d like them to take.

Use Active Language: Phrases like “Shop Now,” “Tap to Buy,” and “Text DEAL to Redeem” are action-oriented and motivate engagement.

Make It Obvious and Easy: The easier it is for your audience to understand and act on your SMS messages, the higher your engagement rates will be.

With SMS’s brevity, you have to cut right to the chase. Use clear CTAs written in active language to spell out exactly what action you want subscribers to take next.


9. Make It a Multi-Channel Experience

SMS Doesn’t Live in a Vacuum: Your customers are engaging with your brand across multiple channels – website, email, social media, etc. Don’t silo SMS.

Promote SMS Sign-Up Everywhere: Make it easy for customers to opt-in to your SMS communications no matter where they encounter your brand online or offline.

Integrate SMS With Other Channels: Allow conversations to seamlessly transition between SMS and other messaging channels, such as live chat or Facebook Messenger.

Create a Cohesive Experience: When SMS is just one connected part of your overall engagement strategy, you provide a smooth, continuous experience for customers.

Don’t treat SMS as a separate silo. Integrate and cross-promote it across all your customer touchpoints for a cohesive, omnichannel engagement experience.


10. Send Appointment/Reservation Reminders

Don’t Get Ghosted No-shows and last-minute cancellations are a constant headache, especially for businesses that take appointments or reservations.

SMS Reminders to the Rescue Sending automated SMS reminders leading up to a scheduled appointment or reservation dramatically reduces no-show rates.

It’s What Customers Prefer: Over 80% of customers prefer to receive reminders for their appointments via text message instead of phone calls or emails.

Save Time and Money Fewer no-shows mean less wasted time, higher staff productivity, and more revenue. SMS reminders more than pay for themselves.

Whether it’s a haircut, restaurant reservation, or any other scheduled service, using SMS for reminders ensures your customers actually show up.


11. Allow Purchase Follow-Ups and Payments via SMS

Make It Easy for Customers to Buy Reducing friction in the buying process leads to more conversions and sales. SMS can help eliminate multiple steps.

Send Payment Links Over Text Instead of having customers go through a clunky online checkout, allow them to simply click and pay right from an SMS payment link.

Provide a Seamless Post-Purchase Experience. SMS can also be used to share receipts, get feedback, and segue into loyalty program promotions, keeping customers engaged.

Offer Contactless Payments With increased demand for touch-free transactions, SMS payments provide a safe, contactless option that customers appreciate.

Leverage SMS not just for marketing but also for actual point-of-sale transactions and post-purchase follow-up to make the purchase process as seamless as possible.


12. Share Sneak Peeks and Early Access

Make Subscribers Feel Privileged Customers love getting special treatment and being “insiders.” Use SMS to give your audience that VIP feeling.

Share Exclusive Sneak Peeks Tease upcoming product launches, events, or company news via SMS before telling the general public. Build anticipation.

Offer Early Access: Provide SMS subscribers with early access to new product drops, presales, or exclusive windows to purchase limited items.

Reward Your Most Loyal Fans Sharing these “insider” privileges over SMS rewards your most engaged, SMS-subscribed customers for their loyalty.


13. Run SMS-Exclusive Contests and Promotions

Drive List Growth Offering an incentive, such as entering a contest or unlocking a special promotion, is a great way to grow your SMS subscriber list.

Only for SMS Subscribers
By making these contests and deals exclusive only to SMS subscribers, you encourage more customers to opt in.

Get Them Engaging To amplify reach, you can structure SMS contests that require engagement, such as sharing branded hashtags or user-generated content.

Keep It Simple Just be sure to keep entry instructions clear and simple since you have limited characters with SMS.


14. Provide Real-Time Customer Support

Customers Expect Quick Responses In today’s instant gratification world, customers demand fast resolution when they have questions or issues. SMS delivers.

Enable Two-Way Conversational Support With SMS, and you can have real back-and-forth conversations with customers to troubleshoot problems in real-time.

Faster Than Phone or Email SMS avoids frustrating phone trees and long email response times, ensuring customers get the help they need promptly.

Let Them Start the Conversation: Make it easy for customers to initiate a text conversation whenever they need assistance from your support team.

Don’t make customers wait for crucial support. Leverage SMS’s quick, conversational nature to provide the real-time assistance they expect.