What is SMS marketing: The fastest-growing owned channel explained

May 29, 2023 Julio Romero

Reading time about 7min


What is SMS marketing: The fastest-growing owned channel explained

Considering most people have and use a cellphone, SMS marketing as a means of communicating with your customers is a channel you can’t afford to ignore. Instead of hoping your messages reach your target audience, SMS can deliver your message straight into the palm of your customers hands, with an almost 100% chance of it being opened.

If you’ve been considering including SMS marketing into your marketing strategy this article will help you understand exactly what it is, its benefits, and what strategies you can use to maximize your chances of success .

Let’s get started!

What is SMS Marketing?

Short message service or SMS marketing uses text messages to share promotions and important updates directly to customers’ cell phones.

SMS messages are limited to 160 characters, so they’re ideal for sharing coupons, special offers, or short alerts.

Unlike email campaigns, SMS marketing requires customers to opt-in to receive promotional materials.

However, like email marketing, SMS is an owned channel. This means you decide who receives your SMS marketing messages, what you share, and when you send them.

Apart from SMS messages, you can also send your customers multimedia message service (MMS) messages. MMS are text messages sent that include embedded images or animations.

What is SMS Marketing important?

There are several reasons why SMS marketing is important and should be included in your marketing strategy.

Almost 60% of all consumers answered within 1-5 minutes of the text message coming through. That’s a really high statistic that you really shouldn’t ignore.

The same study found that:

  • Most customers don’t mind receiving texts about shipment tracking, order status/confirmation, and scheduling reminders/alerts.
  • Around 35% would enjoy being informed about special offers, promotions, and sales.
  • Most would like the ability to text businesses back about issues, tracking, and orders.

Benefits of SMS Marketing

Text message marketing has a number of benefits when compared to other marketing channels such as email. These include:

High open rates and engagement

You can expect your SMS marketing campaign to see impressive engagement. On average, SMS marketing campaigns have a 98% open rate. Of course, while this is impressive, it’s important to remember that many people open messages just to get rid of the notification.

That’s why metrics such as clicks and conversions are much more important.

Here again, text message marketing impresses, with an average click-through rate of 19.3% compared to email’s 4.2%.

Quick interaction

Unlike email marketing, which relies on customers to check their email inbox for new messages, SMS messaging is nearly instantaneous, with most people reading the messages within 5 minutes of receiving them.

This is especially useful if you have an action you want your customers to take immediately, such as confirming an appointment, which could be missed if sent via email. With text marketing, you can ensure your messages will be seen timeously.

Personalizes customer relationships

Since people communicate with each other via text messaging, their phones are never far away.

You can use SMS to build relationships with your customers through 1-1 messages with those that are highly engaged with your business.

For example, you can give these people a heads up about new products or upcoming promotions.

SMS Marketing Best Practices

Ensure your contacts have opted in

There are several rules you’ll need to keep in mind when planning your SMS marketing strategy. The most important of these is to get permission from your subscribers to send them SMS messages.

As mentioned, SMS marketing has an impressively high open rate, but if you’re sending text messages to people that don’t want them, that won’t help you. More importantly, most countries require that users opt-in to SMS marketing.

Send at the right time

Generally, people only check their email a few times per day. But as mentioned above, most people open text messages almost immediately.

While this is perfect for urgent messages, you don’t want to take advantage of this fact by messaging your subscribers at inconvenient or annoying times of day, such as when they’re sleeping.

Some countries have even passed laws that lay out when you can send text message marketing messages. For example, in France SMS marketing messages are forbidden on Sundays, holidays, or anytime after 10 PM.

Include your business name

Most SMS marketing platforms use a short code to send your bulk SMS messages. This means your contacts won’t know it is coming from you if you don’t let them know who is sending the message!

Round out your digital marketing strategy

Digital marketing has many facets, with SMS marketing one of them. It plays an important role, but SMS campaigns are best used in conjunction with social media, email marketing, and other forms of media to give a more complete message to your customers.

The Types of SMS Marketing Messages

There are two types of SMS marketing messages: promotional and transactional SMS messages.

Promotional Campaigns

Promotional campaigns include those sent to your subscribers to increase sales, promote a product, or build brand awareness. They can be one-off SMS campaigns or automated SMS workflows just like you can send both campaigns and flows in email marketing.

Transactional Messages

Transactional messages contain information your customers need, like order confirmation details or shipping information. Using transactional SMS messages to send order updates to your customers is a great way to keep them informed and build customer loyalty.

What is SMS Marketing Used For?

Short-Term Promotions

SMS marketing is useful if your business is running a sale or a discount for a short period of time.

In order to make sure that all your customers are aware of the reduced prices you are offering, you can take advantage of the immediacy of an SMS marketing message. Combine this with email marketing to ensure that everybody knows about the deal!

Event or Customer Order Updates

Should an event or a customer’s order status change, you’ll want your customers to be updated as things change. This not only builds trust but also customer loyalty toward your brand.

Use SMS to quickly keep your subscribers updated with relevant information.


If you run an appointment-based business, having a client forget to show up for their booking and needing to reschedule is a huge pain.

With SMS marketing, you can easily solve this problem by sending out automated text messages with the appointment details to your clients along with reminders closer to the time. This ensures that the process goes smoothly and they don’t miss anything critical.

SMS Marketing Strategies

If you want to generate more sales and create loyal customers with SMS marketing, you need a solid SMS marketing strategy. Below are some points to keep in mind when developing yours.

Keep KISS in mind

According to the KISS principle, things work best when they’re kept simple instead of over-complicated. This rule also applies to SMS marketing.

You want your customers to be able to take advantage of your offer as quickly as possible, so avoid or minimize unnecessary steps that can slow down the conversion process, such as sign-ups.

Add A Link

If you’ve created an engaging SMS marketing campaign, but haven’t included an action for your subscribers to take, you’ve wasted an opportunity to convert them.

A link is a clear indication of the action you want your subscribers to take and is especially useful for sending customers back to your eCommerce site. Ensure your link is short and clearly visible so your subscribers know where to click.

Be sure to consider your goals for this action. Do you want more traffic or engagement from subscribers? Depending on your choice, the type of link will change.

Use Personalization

Adding a personal touch to your business interactions is a great way to help make your customers feel special. This helps greatly with your customer loyalty.

Making it seem like the SMS message is meant for the person reading it is a great way to boost your sales, so take some time to ensure your templates let you include your subscriber’s names in the message. This adds a human touch to your business.

Be sure to segment your audiences to ensure that you’re sending your deals to the right people. You don’t want to waste your time marketing products to an uninterested audience.

Use The Right SMS Marketing Software

There are tons of SMS marketing platforms out there, but not all are created equal.Take your time to research the various solutions to ensure you find the right platform for your needs.

To maximize your chances of executing successful SMS marketing campaigns, you need a platform that tracks and measures the key metrics of your campaigns. You’ll also need to consider other factors such as:

  • Price:The cost of sending text messages varies between platforms. There are also other factors, such as geography, that also affect the price. Be sure to take a look at the pricing structure of the various solutions you are considering.
  • Usability:Running SMS marketing campaigns shouldn’t be complicated. Make sure the platform you use makes it easy for you to create and send out campaigns.

SMS Marketing vs. Email Marketing

While both forms of marketing have their pros and cons, SMS marketing does have a few advantages over email marketing.

While email is a tried and tested communication channel, SMS still remains the most popular way for people to communicate.

There are a few similarities between SMS marketing and email marketing. These include:

  • Segmentation of your subscribers
  • Scheduling campaigns
  • Automation
  • Embedding multimedia in messages
  • Personalizing messages

However, email marketing campaigns tend to have a much lower engagement rate than the average SMS campaign.

People tend to send more text messages than emails per day and are more likely to leave emails unread or delete them without opening.

It’s for these reasons that email marketing has an open rate of only 20% with a 6% average response rate, compared to the 98% open rate and 45% response rate of SMS marketing.

How to Get Started with SMS Marketing

While you’ll need to think strategically about how to approach SMS text message marketing and how to include it as part of your marketing efforts there are a couple of ways you can use SMS marketing right away to start seeing immediate results.

SMS Automations

Using the power of SMS automation you can help build a loyal customer base and increase your sales. Some key automations to consider include:

  • Abandoned cart SMS
  • Shipping notification SMS
  • Post-purchase upsell SMS
  • Browser abandonment SMS
  • Back in stock SMS

SMS Campaigns

The brands enjoying the most success with SMS marketing use it to complement their email campaigns to help boost your revenue. There are a variety of campaigns you can run, including:

  • Sales announcements
  • Product promotion
  • Coupons

Wrap Up

Now you should have a better understanding of SMS marketing and how to incorporate it into your marketing strategy. As mentioned above, SMS marketing has several advantages over other marketing channels such as email, so using it to complement the rest of your marketing efforts will help you better engage your customers, increasing sales as a result.

Remember that the best SMS marketing apps support a variety of SMS campaigns such as abandoned cart recovery, help you grow your SMS subscriber list, can send transactional messages, and offers deep segmentation.

If you’re interested in enhancing your SMS marketing strategies, feel free to book a demo or get in touch with TryWinBack, who are more than willing to guide and assist you on this journey

While you could try other options, Winback offers all of the above. Sign up for your free trial today.*

Topics: SMS Marketing