How Does Text Message Marketing Work and How to do it Right

🕒 6 min.

Text message marketing gets a 209% higher response rate than phone calls, email, or Facebook messages.

If you’re here because you’re considering experimenting with text message marketing at your company, you’re going to want to keep reading.

Texts are the most direct way to your audience’s smartphone, and with the average American checking their phone 47 times per day, your message is going to get seen.

In this article, I’ll walk you through:

  • What is Text Message Marketing?
  • Is Text Message Marketing Legal?
  • How to Build Your Text Message Marketing Subscriber List
  • Best Practices to Use in Your Text Message Marketing

By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of the benefits that text could have on your business.

Let’s jump in.

What is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing, or SMS marketing, is when you communicate with your customers and users via text message.

There are a variety of ways you can bring text messaging into your marketing strategy, but some common use cases include:

You should know that text message marketing isn’t going to replace the rest of your marketing strategy and become the only way you communicate with customers.

As you can imagine, sending bulk SMS campaigns can be disruptive and overdoing it will annoy your customers, leading to mass unsubscribes.

Focus on using text message marketing when it’s going to have the most impact, like in the cases mentioned above.

Is Text Message Marketing Legal?

Like there is for email, there are rules around who, and why you can send text messages to people.

Before you launch any campaigns, make sure you’re compliant with your local regulations and compliant with regulations in your customers’ jurisdictions as well.

In the USA, these laws include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, CAN-SPAM, and the CTIA. If you’re in the EU or dealing with customers in the EU, this will include the GDPR. If you’re unsure about the legality of your campaigns, talk to a legal professional.

With that said, as long as your campaigns are set up correctly and you’re handling user data in compliance with the law, you’re ready to start building your subscriber list and launching your campaigns.

How to Build Your Text Message Marketing Subscriber List

So, how does text message marketing work in practice? First, you need to opt-in your subscribers. Next, you need a system to build and send your campaigns how and when you want to.

Step 1: Get Your Opt-Ins

There are two main ways to opt-in your subscribers. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Run a Keyword Campaign

Ever seen an advert saying something like: “Text “WIN” to 123456 for a chance to win a prize”?

That’s a keyword campaign, and the number you’re texting is a short code.

It’s an easy way to opt-in new text message subscribers, as you guarantee that someone wants to be on your list.

The keyword and shortcode you use can be tied to specific campaigns in your text message marketing platform, so you can easily segment subscribers into defined lists like you can with your email marketing platform.

2. Build It Into Your Forms

As well as shortcodes, you can collect your subscribers’ phone numbers via a traditional form.

Treat it like you would when you collect email subscribers.

Explicitly ask permission to use their phone number for marketing purposes, and if they opt-in, you’re good to go.

In practice, this could look like the form below.

An ecommerce store requires a phone number for delivery purposes, but the customer also agrees that they can be contacted about their order by phone or text.

Form asking for Phone number in case they have to contact him

The ecommerce brand can then send delivery updates or a text two weeks after the order is delivered, asking the customer to leave a review.

Step 2: Sending Your Text Message Campaigns

To send text message marketing campaigns, you’ll need a platform that supports bulk message sending, and provides customization options that allow

1. Choosing a Platform

You can’t text every subscriber from your own phone, so you’ll need a platform that enables bulk sending.

There is a range of platforms that enable that, like Instasent.

Instasent Panel

Our platform enables you to design SMS campaigns, schedule them, and analyze your results.

When choosing your platform, look for features like:

  • Ability to schedule texts
  • Ability to integrate with your website
  • Country coverage

Best Practices to Use in Your Text Message Marketing

1. Build Trust By Making it Clear Who Sent It

Make sure to include your brand name as the sender name, or include it in your text body.

Personalized Text Marketing example

If you send a message with useful information but don’t make it clear that it’s from your company, your recipients might get confused.

They’ll end up ignoring or deleting the message as they won’t trust it.

2. Improve Open and Click-Through Rates by Providing Value

If you don’t provide enough value, your audience will ignore your texts, and one day, unsubscribe to your updates.

Every text message you send should help your customer do something and provide value.

In ecommerce, this means saving your usual nurturing campaigns for email, and only using text when you have something you’re sure your audience wants to hear about, such as sending them a unique discount code.

For a software company, you might send your customers a note that their free trial is coming to an end and they need to add their billing details to keep things running.

It’s also worth considering if your customers want to hear from you over text at all. It’s not right for all businesses, so make sure you define your use case, and test the channel before fully committing.

Wrapping Up

Text message marketing is a brilliant way to engage with your audience and customers in a direct and real-time way.

The open rates that put other digital marketing channels to shame, and it’s just as easy to set up and use in your business as any other channel.

You’ll need a system to opt-in your subscribers and build your list, which is relatively simple – you can build it into your website, or use shortcodes to build your list.

Once you’ve selected a text message marketing platform, like Instasent, the next step is simple – start your campaigns and start seeing ROI.

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