7 Tips to Leverage the Power of SMS Marketing

Have an SMS Marketing Team

Creating meaningful SMS messages that create action is tough. When you send out SMS messages for your campaign, you aren’t just texting any friend or family member. Your messages need to be hand-crafted, purposeful, and most importantly they need to cause a sense of urgency for the recipient to do something. Whether you are trying to recruit volunteers, secure donations, or get people to the polls, your message needs to be quick and to the point, while also being informative enough.

Your campaign team should ideally consist of a marketing team that helps with signage, ads, SMS marketing, digital designers, social media managers, ROI specialists, and more.

An idea for you if having a whole SMS marketing team isn’t in the budget, is to hire interns. Interns with a degree in marketing, communications, or other related fields would be a great and budget-friendly asset to your team. They get the experience that they need during or right after college, and you get the designated team that you need to create great SMS marketing campaigns.


CRM is a Customer Relationship Management app that is used by companies in order to measure how well your SMS campaign is doing. Your CRM will include a dashboard, this dashboard essentially displays the relationship between your campaign and voters to which you have already connected with. Think of CRM as your one-stop shop, your all-in-one tool that does customer management, tracks customers’ likes/dislikes, and more. You can see everything from their demographics to what is happening on their social media accounts, and you can even utilize location-based advertising with CRM, this way you don’t miss a beat.

So how is this helpful for your SMS marketing campaign? Glad you asked. This allows you to send the right messages to the right customers (or voters in our case). For example, perhaps there’s a voter, we will call her Susan. Now Susan, she really likes your campaign, but she is on the fence because last year she voted for the opposing candidate. Your SMS marketing team needs to know this information, and it can be found within your CRM. This is important because you don’t want to send Susan a message thanking her for her support, or requesting donations (just yet at least). Instead, you want to send what we will call “closer messages.” Think of these as messages that are meant to push Susan to your team, and lead her astray from the opposing candidate she previously supported. Once you have Susan’s full support, and it is documented in your CRM, then it is time to whip out some other texts like those donation messages.

Be Concise

Having an SMS that is informative yet short and to the point is key. Plus, when you send out texts, there is often a word count to how much you can actually include in the text. A really good practice for writing SMS or any kind of ad copy is to do it in the following steps:

  • Write out what you want to say. In this step, don’t worry about wordiness or word count, just try to get your point across as best as you can.
  • Now take that same sentence that you just created, and break it down even further. Are there any unnecessary words that you can take out? Can you be clearer and more concise? In this step, you should be trying to remove at least 5-10 words depending on the original length.
  • In this step, you want to make sure you are under your word count max. Start by counting your current word count, if it is under that is great, can you take out even more? If it is not under, try reading it out loud a few times over. See how you can reword sentences and how you can eliminate any other words.
  • You are ready to send it! This process is kind of like working with an inverted triangle. At the top, you have all the meat and details, and your goal is to get down to the bottom where the message is nice and concise.

Always Include a CTA

We touched a bit on the importance of having actionable messages in tip #1, but how do you do that? Being actionable means that you have a CTA or Call To Action. Most of us learn about CTAs in our high school English classes. At some point, you were probably given an essay to do and it had to include a CTA in your conclusion, or something that you wanted the reader to do. It might have been to become a vegetarian, volunteer at a local charity, donate, save the polar bears, etc.

Some actionable items that you can ask voters to do include:

  • Include a “click here” link in your texts. Due to the word count of SMS, you might not be able to include a lengthy link. Instead, include a hyperlink that links them to your website, a poll, donation page, etc. that corresponds to the message you are sending.
  • Request for voters to participate in a “text to vote” survey or to respond with a certain word like “survey” to receive a poll to take.
  • “Follow us on social media.” It is always a good idea to be active on social media platforms and to share your handles and usernames via SMS.
  • “Share with your family and friends.” Word of mouth is always a great and free marketing tool. People value other people’s words. Have you ever complimented someone’s shirt, shoes, nails, hair, etc., and then they told you where they got that item or service from? Perhaps later on you even went on to look up the store or business to see if you could find the same item or book an appointment with them. This is just one example of how powerful word-of-mouth advertising is, and you can tell voters to share about you when you use SMS marketing.

The key is to be assumptive. Assume that they are going to do what you ask of them. Don’t say, “Would you like to participate in our 5 question survey?” Instead say, “Click the link to participate in our 5 question survey!” See the difference? One is a request, the other is not a request.

Timing is Everything

SMS is all about immediacy. It takes people an average of three minutes to open messages. Clients’ responses to sales, promotions, and events promoted on SMS are most effective when they’re last-minute impulses. If you have a store opening event on Friday night, send the message Friday afternoon. If you have a dinner promotion at your restaurant, send it at the end of the workday, not in the morning.
Be careful not to tread on thin ice by sending messages out too early in the morning or too late at night. Acceptable hours are between 8am and 9pm.

Take SMS timing one step further by finding out the best time to send a message to a specific individual based on their past interactions with your texts. This ultra-targeting goes beyond region and demographics and customizes your marketing to optimize results.

Link Social Media to SMS

Make sure on your social media platforms you include a phone number where voters can text to sign up for campaign updates and promotional messages. You can even do this by including a link in your bio that connects to a form that people can fill out so that their number can be added to your CRM platform, and the best way to get customers to opt-in is to give them the chance to do this at every point of contact:

Social Media. Add a “Mobile Number” field to your Facebook page sign up and an “Opt-in” button for them to sign on to your SMS campaign.
Website. Make sure SMS opt-in is a prominent feature on your website.
Newsletter. Make SMS opt-in visible on your newsletter.
Point-of-sale. Make sure employees are asking if customers want to opt-in for SMS texts for promotions and sales.
Snail mail. When you send coupons or promotional mail through the post, make sure instructions for SMS opt-in are printed on it.
SMS. You can also send a text asking if they wish to opt in: “Get access to 6 (Company Name) texts per month for SMS-only discounts. Text 1234 to Opt-in.”

Remember the Loyal Voters

Your best clients are the ones who are loyal, who buy consistently from you, who give you feedback, and who promote your brand to their friends and family. A smart strategy is to identify this circle of customers (influencers) and dedicate extra time and resources to them. They know and love your brand, so use their knowledge to your advantage, and send them more in-depth polling questions than you send to your bulk clients. Also, they’re your company’s VIP, so treat them as such. Reward their dedication with special offers and extra benefits.

Want to read more? Take a look at these case studies on how big brands have used SMS campaigns successfully to promote sales and increase customer satisfaction.

No matter what kind of company you own, you can maximize the benefits of your SMS campaign by dedicating time to crafting effective messages, analyzing your customer demographics, investing in an SMS-specific sales marketing team, and promoting your SMS campaign throughout your company’s media.