17 Powerful SMS Marketing Tips [2022 Update]


17 Powerful SMS Marketing Tips [2022 Update]

SMS is an incredibly reliable channel for getting customers’ attention and driving sales, but with these SMS marketing tips, you’ll be able to kick it up a notch.


1. Making Selling Easy By Understanding Why Your Customers Buy

If you’re looking to drive more sales from your bulk SMS marketing campaigns, it’s a good idea to understand the different types of customers who would be interested in your product or service.

We call these buyer personas.

They are a fictional representation of a real customer segment.

Here is an example of a buyer persona:


Below is another example:



These two buyer personas have different needs, desires and pain points which means that you can’t send them the same SMS otherwise, you lower your relevancy to either recipient, which results in unsubscribes or even complaints and, of course, fewer sales.

Understanding why that buyer persona buys from you helps with offer creation, easier conversions, higher spending and a longer customer cycle.

Relevancy is essential in SMS marketing.


2. Increasing Relevancy (And Sales) With Smart Segmenting

With SMS marketing, the ultimate goal is to increase your ROI, and there any many ways to do this, but the best way is to ensure that your SMS campaigns are tightly relevant to the person you are sending them to.

This is achieved through segmentation, which means placing your contacts into specific contact groups or folders.

For example, if you run a health club and have a contact group named “Weight Loss Subscribers”, then you’re not going to make the mistake of sending them an SMS campaign promoting weight gain supplements.

There are many ways to segment, but here are 5 to get you started.


1. Geographic Location

If you’re a nationwide or international company, then sending location-based SMS campaigns is incredibly effective, for example:

  • Schedule time-based SMS messages to hit different time zones
  • Send region-specific SMS promotions
  • Promote live webinars
  • Send an SMS that shows customers where the nearest store location is
  • Send location-specific content using the person’s location in the actual text message


2. Past Purchase Behaviour

Group items – if a male purchased a suite, you could add them to the suites group and promote ties, shirts, pants and complete suites.

Consumables these customers may need reminders for replacement, refilling or renewal.


3. Spending Patterns

Segmenting based on proven past behaviour is a sound strategy since people don’t change that much, so you can be confident that your campaigns will hit the mark.

One of these behaviours is a person’s spending patterns.

You could organise them into the following groups:

VIP Customers – this group tends to buy in the upper price range or purchase large quantities and typically have a high disposable income.

Discount shoppers – this group is more active when you have great deals.

Price Conscious – this group will purchase low-end items and may purchase less frequently, so an SMS campaign with specials on lower-priced items would be a good fit.


4. Purchase Frequency

Brand Loyalists – if you have customers who consistently buy your products, they are likely to be brand loyalists who love your products. Send an SMS once per month and perhaps reward them with a special offer only available.

‘Just In Time’ customers – these people only buy when they need to, so their purchase frequency is much lower. Send them a time-sensitive special offer to entice them back.

Hot customers – these people are (for now) “hot” and typically spend a lot more than the average customer during a short window and then suddenly fall away. Send this group of people a time-sensitive special offer to re-engage and elongate their spending cycle. As a general rule, the longer it has been since a customer purchased, the better the offer you’ll need to use.


5. Personal Interests

Another powerful way to get full engagement and prime purchasing behaviour is to send offers that are directly in line with the customer’s interests.

If you run a health club, there will be dozens of different reasons why a person would join, for example:

  • Build muscle
  • Lose weight
  • Get fitter
  • CrossFit
  • Improve overall health
  • Sports-specific training (running, rugby, powerlifting etc.)
  • Bodybuilding

Segmenting your SMS groups makes sense and makes your promotions easy to put together.


3. Get Your Timing Right

SMS is a high-speed marketing channel where recipients will read your message within the first 3 minutes, which means if you want to book out all of your tables for your restaurant, send out an SMS later in the afternoon. The best times to send SMS messages are during work hours.


4. When Done Right, SMS Is Not Spamming

SMS scares a lot of business owners because they associate it with SPAM, that is, receiving an unwanted offer from someone you do not know.

This is the definition of SPAMMING.

Professional bulk SMS marketing services follow 1 basic rule:

#1 Rule: Send highly-valuable, relevant offers to people who have given you explicit consent to receive SMS promotions and communications.


5. Generate A Flood Of Hungry Subscribers With An Trip Wire Offer

Email marketing circles say “the money is in the list”, and the same is even truer with SMS.

The more subscribers you have, the more money you make, so the goal is to get as many qualified people onto your lists as possible and a Trip Wire Offer is a great strategy to use here.


What is a Trip Wire Offer?

This is a strategic offer designed to convert visitors into buyers by using an offer that is difficult to refuse.

For example, the Dollar Shave Club has a $1 offer where you get sent a new razor every month for $1 per month – that is a tough offer to refuse, but you also can’t build a highly profitable business using a strategy like that, right?

If a guy is buying a shaver, they will likely be interested in creams, gels, and other products. This is where the real money is made, and has been incredibly profitable for the company.

Key metric: Increase subscriber numbers

Offer: $1 monthly razor

The Dollar Shave Club is fine with breaking even with their NBO because they know that a good percentage of those people will buy more products and become profitable long-term subscribers, dramatically increasing their overall sales revenues.


Using An Trip Wire Offer To Drive More Subscribers

Similarly, by adopting the mindset of aggressively acquiring new subscribers, you can send out weekly or monthly offers and drive some serious sales back to your business.

For example, a brand manager for a wine retailer in Sydney, Australia, outperformed their email marketing sales volume by 300% by adding SMS to their marketing strategy!

That’s 3 times more sales just by using SMS but keep in mind you still need to match the offer to the right customer segment group.


Different types of Offers


This is when you package a bunch of products or services into one deal. Typically this is matched to the specific audience they’re targeting.

  • Friendly payment terms: If you’re selling an expensive item, you will get a lot more customers by making it easy for them to buy. Offer extended payment terms, make the first 6 payments at 50%, make the first payment $1 etc., get creative.
  • Risk reversal guarantee: A risk-reversal offer is a strong guarantee that places all of the risks on the shoulder of the business, which removes friction from the buying process for the customer.
  • For example, a guarantee might be: “Get 100% of your money back if you’re not satisfied”, whereas a risk-reversal offer would be: “Get 200% of your money back if you’re not satisfied.”
  • Risk reversal takes courage, but the payoff is huge.
  • Results in advance: Pay 50% upfront and only pay the remainder when you’ve achieved your goal.
  • Pre-order discounts: Reduce the price only for people who pre-order.
  • Limited-time offer: Special off with a hard deadline.
  • Loss leader: If you’re selling a consumable, you would sell the first product at a cost or even less.


6. Tell Them Who You Are, Don’t Leave Them Guessing

In some social settings, it can be advantageous to leave your audience guessing, but it’s a terrible idea regarding SMS.

The last thing you want is to send out an SMS campaign and have your recipients have to guess who you are it creates a lot of friction, and for those who can’t figure out who you are, that’s a lost sale.

Always state your brand name in the SMS.

Also, depending on your relationship with your subscribers, it may make sense to personalise your SMS messages.

Most SMS providers will have a merge feature where you would input a short code (i.e. #first name#), and the system will automatically populate this field for you.

For example, by adding in this short-code #first name#, it will pull the first name of the recipient from the contact list into the SMS if there is no name it will use a fall-back term like “Hi there”.

Hi #first name#, Milligan’s has a 90% Off Special on knitted Santa jumpers go to www.santajumpers.com.au see you there!


7. Tell Them What To Do By Including A Call To Action

Always tell people what to do next.

If you have an online sale, tell them to go to the web address and include the link and other instructions.

Give them the address if you want them to go to your store or trade show event.


8. Have Mobile Friendly Website Pages

If you’re looking to push people through to a website, it’s best if that website looks good on mobile devices.

While you’ll still get people who will complete the desired outcome, many of them will drop off, increasing the overall campaign cost.

The main factors are:

  1. Page speed

When people are on their mobile phones, they expect pages to load quickly, in fact, Google found that 53% of users will abandon a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. That’s half of your traffic gone and potential sales. Want to know how fast your page loads? Head over to this site to find out.

  1. Readability

People should be able to read your text without having to zoom or dragon their screen around to see everything on your site.

  1. Clarity

Make sure everything is very simple and clear, so the visitor knows exactly what to do without thinking too much.


9. Be Polite And Include An Opt-Out In Every Message

An opt-out for SMS is vital because it’s a personal marketing channel.

The last thing you want is to treat your subscribers like they’re caged animals with no hope of ever being released from promotional campaigns.

An opt-out option on your text messages creates a sense of relief in the subscriber and shows that you’re a professional.


10. It’s Ok To Go Past 160 Characters

Most of your campaigns should be able to fit inside 160 characters, but there will be times when you will need to go beyond that text limit.

Let’s say you need to type out a message that requires 300 characters just type out your message, and when you send it out it’ll be stitched together into one long SMS message on the recipient’s side.


11. Don’t Text Too Often

Email and online SMS platforms share a lot, but message frequency is one major difference.

People are okay with receiving daily emails from trusted and valuable sources, but this will rarely be the case with SMS.

SMS requires a little more finesse since mobile users have a low tolerance for businesses constantly blasting their phones with SMS promotions. The only exception is if the person has joined your list, knowing you will text them frequently.

The typical frequency cap is 1 SMS per week, but our clients typically send one SMS per fortnight or even once monthly. I wouldn’t recommend texting less than that just in case someone forgets they subscribed to your list.

Either way, you want to ensure that you have something good to talk about every time you message them.

To send more, you’d need to state this clearly on the opt-in form before they subscribe.


12. Promote Your Offer

Just like with email, you need to promote your SMS offer to get subscribers, so take note of the places where potential or new customers are engaging with you and look to insert your SMS promotion into that channel.

Typical places to promote your SMS channel are:

  • Website
  • Email newsletters
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Direct mail
  • Sandwich board
  • Point of sale
  • Storefront
  • Banner ads
  • Relevant blog content
  • Packaging (e.g. pizza box)
  • Receipts
  • Pamphlets


13. Track Performance

A lot of marketers especially want to track everything, and that’s fine, but most business owners I talk to can’t be bothered with it, and when it comes to SMS, it’s ok if you don’t want to track.

But as your list grows, it becomes important because guesswork can cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in revenue if you’re unsure what makes your subscribers buy.

My advice is to keep it as simple as possible, the big trap you can fall into is spending half your day pouring over spreadsheets of data – don’t do this.

If you’re adding a link to your SMS message, add a tracking tag (like this one) and then shorten that link using this tool to see inside your Google analytics which traffic came from where.


14. Key Metrics to Track for SMS Marketing Success

Monitoring the following 10 metrics can provide valuable insights into the health and performance of your SMS marketing program:

  1. Subscriber Growth: Measure daily, weekly, monthly and annual gains in total subscribers.
  2. Unsubscribe Rate: Track daily, weekly, monthly and annual unsubscribes. Compare to subscriber growth to ensure more new subscribers than losses.
  3. Subscriber-to-Unsubscribe Ratio: Calculate the ratio of new subscribers to unsubscribes each month. Aim for at least a 2:1 ratio.
  4. Channel Attribution: Identify which marketing channels deliver the most and highest quality subscribers.
  5. List Size Fluctuations: Watch for growing, shrinking or stagnant overall list size trends.
  6. Lifetime Value: Estimate the revenue value of each subscriber to understand the monetary value of your list.
  7. Revenue Per Subscriber: Track any declines in average revenue per subscriber, which may indicate inactive subscribers.
  8. Conversion Rate: Calculate the percentage of subscribers who take action or make a purchase from SMS campaigns.
  9. Response Rate: Measure the percentage of subscribers who engage with SMS content.
  10. Subscriber Lifecycle: Monitor the average length of time subscribers remain active before unsubscribing. Work to extend this lifecycle.

Tracking these key performance indicators can help optimize an SMS marketing program for growth and profitability over time. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!


15. Reduce Unsubscribe Rates With These 3 Strategies

One of your main goals is to reduce unsubscribe rates which can be high if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Here are 3 great strategies to reduce unsubscribe rates:


1. Insider Information & Exclusive Offers

Offering insider information or offers not offered on any of your other marketing channels makes your subscribers a lot more “sticky”.

You: “Wow! Where did you get those shoes, they’re not available until next season!!”

Friend: “I’m a member of their VIP buyers club.”

How bad do you want to join that club? And if you can join, how reluctant are you to want to leave?


2. Make It Harder For People To Subscribe

This may seem to go against the rule of getting as many people onto your list as possible, but it’s not.

People don’t value what is free.

People value things that are hard to attain.

Having restrictions or hoops that people have to jump through instantly creates tension and curiosity around joining your SMS list.

This creates massive word of mouth, which in turn accelerates subscriber numbers.


3. Invite Only

This one takes patience but works like the above strategy because it creates instant exclusivity. Giving each new person only 3 invites to share (for example) means you can grow your subscriber numbers exponentially.


16. Use SMS To Boost Other Channels

Don’t use SMS in isolation use it to power up your other marketing channels.

For example, if you have an important newsletter, send everyone an SMS asking if they’d received it.

This instantly increases your email open rates.

The same is true for other channels, including:

  • Webinars
  • Product launches
  • Opening nights
  • Special events
  • Trade show traffic
  • Cart recovery

I recommend using this strategy sparingly throughout the year.


17. Be Aware Of SMS Marketing Policies

Like any advertising channel, you need to know what you can and cannot do.

The 3 main rules you must abide by are:

  1. Consent: You must ensure that every subscriber on your list has given you explicit consent to send them SMS promotions.
  2. Identification: Tell the subscriber who you are inside the message.
  3. Unsubscribe option: Having an opt-out option available.


2003 SPAM Act (SMS Marketing Australia)