Congratulations! By starting your first SMS marketing campaign, you’re taking the next best step towards having more personal, authentic conversations to strengthen relationships, drive engagement, and inspire action at scale with your target audience. Let’s walk through exactly what goes into an SMS marketing campaign and how to plan your own SMS campaign with our EZ Texting Complete Guide to SMS Campaigns. In this guide, we’ll examine successful SMS marketing campaign ideas and provide clear examples, so you can feel ready to craft your text marketing strategies.

What Is an SMS Marketing Campaign?

An SMS marketing campaign is a text message or a series of text messages sent to large groups of contacts, like customers, volunteers, or organization members, aimed at accomplishing a specific marketing goal. When sending an SMS text message, you’re working with a limited number of characters. An SMS text message can be up to 160 characters and does not include a file attachment, such as an image. Remember, a character limit is not the same as a word count, as each word is made up of individual characters. Any text that includes a file attachment—whether an image or other type of file—is considered an MMS (which stands for Multimedia Messaging Service) message. To learn more about MMS text message marketing, check out our MMS Messaging for Marketers: The Easy Guide to Everything You Need to Know.

SMS texts are a great way to deliver concise messages and alerts and can help you achieve several marketing objectives and goals. As you think about objectives for your campaign, work to balance conveying your message successfully with creating a positive experience for your audience, whether they are customers, employees, or contributors.

Sample SMS Message

Here are some SMS campaign objectives to consider to help achieve your marketing goals:

  • Sell your products or services by extending special offers and coupons
  • Generate leads by creating time-sensitive or pricing-based offers
  • Build brand awareness by driving traffic to your social channels
  • Increase website traffic by promoting valuable content only available on your site

    How To Plan an SMS Campaign

    The fastest way to create interest in your SMS campaigns is by assigning SMART goals. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. SMART goals inherently allow you to organize your campaigns in a way that will enable you to track and measure results. Use this SMART worksheet, complete with sample goals, to organize your SMS marketing campaigns. You’ll see how each goal builds on the next by using the following downloadable SMART SMS Campaign Template.

    SMART breakdown

    4 Easy & Effective SMS Campaign Types That Work

    Now that you know a little more about how SMS marketing works and you’ve assigned SMART goals to your campaigns, you're ready to define the details of your plan. When you’re just starting, borrowing from existing examples is often the best place to start. Review your objectives and use some of the best approaches to inspire your next SMS texting campaign.


    Sample Message

    1. Growing Subscriber Lists with an SMS Keyword Campaign

    If you want to build customer lists, then a Keyword campaign is the right strategy. Use a Keyword like “SUBSCRIBE” on a short code like 858585. Then, integrate your Keyword into your other marketing efforts. You can put it on your in-store signage, include it in your email marketing, publish it on your site and social media posts, and even place it on your product packaging.


    Sample SMS Message

    2. Increasing Sales Using an SMS Promotion Campaign

    Once you have opted-in subscribers, use promotion campaigns to drive them toward a purchasee. Design your offer to capture their interest and always present a clear action for them to take. Make sure to segment your audience and keep your offer as relevant as possible.

    Example: You have a list of vacation shoppers, you might send them something like: “Last minute deals available now at the EZ Beach Resort! Book now (555) 123-4567.”


    Sample SMS Message

    3. Saving Time & Money with Scheduled Texts

    If your business relies on customers keeping their appointments, Scheduled Texts are a huge time saver and can drastically reduce your number of no-shows. Schedule reminders for specific times before your customers’ upcoming appointments. They’ll get a text message reminding them of their appointment details, like date, time, and location. You can even include information telling them what to bring or how to reschedule their appointment.


    Sample SMS Message

    4. Reaching an Audience with Recurring Message Campaigns

    Leverage the best time to send SMS messages to get the word out quickly about an event or limited-time offer. In-app, easily select the messaging days, campaign duration, and start date for a Recurring Message Campaign. You can even stop texts after a certain number of messages are sent or at a specific date and time.

    Engage Your Target Audience: Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services Case Study

    To build a successful campaign, you must know who your target audience is, and—more importantly—know what they want from your text marketing campaigns. Here's how one company did just that.

    Lee & Associates is North America's largest broker-owned commercial real estate services firm. They provide specialized commercial real estate services. Increasingly outdated modes of promotional communication, like "For Lease" signs, required leads to initiate conversations with the firm, frequently resulting in missed opportunities. Lee & Associates realized that implementing an SMS marketing campaign created more opportunities to streamline communications through unique Keywords and drive more targeted marketing efforts to new and returning homebuyers.

    quotation mark

    The data we get from our text messages is as valuable as the leads themselves since we now know the types of properties that interest our prospects and can target outbound marketing efforts accordingly.

    — Brad McCoy, Principal – Lee & Associates

    Build Text Marketing Assets

    It pays to be organized. Before you build your campaigns, start gathering all the necessary assets. This includes things like:

    • Digital or physical materials you will be using alongside your campaign — like in-store signage featuring your Keyword
    • The overall message tone and style guide that you will follow to keep your campaigns consistent and professional
    • A compliant list of your existing contacts (people who have opted in to receive communications from your business)

    Gathering these assets before a campaign starts can help you avoid making costly mistakes.

    Deploy Your SMS Campaign, Track Your Results, & Ramp It Up

    Now that you’ve done the hard work and you have everything ready, it’s time to deploy your SMS campaign to your customers and start tracking the results.

    Remember! Right from the start, make sure that you:

    • Check your platform's reporting tools to understand what is and isn’t working. This includes texts sent, messages received, click-through rates (CTRs), and trending engagement.
    • Look for response rates to determine how successful your campaign was (or wasn’t.)
    • Adjust your plan accordingly based on those results.

    By consistently reviewing your reporting data and applying your findings to your messaging, your campaigns will be optimized for conversions. It will also allow your campaign strategy to evolve continuously based on your SMS campaign results.

    EZT dashboard campaign performance view.

    Choosing the Right Tool for Your SMS Campaigns

    Choosing an SMS campaign platform that works for your business is vital to text marketing campaign success. With so many service providers available, it helps to know which specific features and functions you need.

    When making your decision, you can simplify the process by asking yourself these five questions during your review. Most SMS marketing tool providers should make finding the answers to these questions easy. Should this not be the case, be sure to reach out to a representative from any potential SMS marketing tool provider to get clarification.

    • Is the platform easy to understand and use?
    • What are the costs associated with SMS marketing?
    • Does the platform deliver the features you need for SMS campaign success?
    • How dependable is their message delivery?
    • What does their software offer that the other providers do not?

    Top 4 Best SMS Marketing Campaigns to Try Out

    To help you get a headstart on your first SMS campaign, here are a few ways to implement an SMS marketing campaign based on common business objectives:

    • Offer Personalized Deals to Subscribers: Leveraging your first-party data in SMS can make your texts much more valuable to your audience. First, monitor your clients’ product preferences. Then, offer a subscriber segment a discount for a preferred product to drive sales, while also demonstrating how you understand their needs.
    • Send Reminders & Show You Care: We are all too busy, right? Reminder texts are fantastic customer service and retention tools with several benefits for small businesses. Reminder texts are tailor-made for recurring services like salons, restaurants, (and tailors!). You can confirm appointment dates or help customers reschedule their appointments. Most importantly, you are taking care of the most important part of your business.
    • Sell Products & Drive Traffic: If you want to deepen the relationship with your customers, don’t be shy. SMS texts are the perfect way to announce a new product or service and push your customers to your social channel to see it.
    • Ask Your Customers What They Think: Between Google My Business (GMB) and Yelp, customer reviews have never been more important as a social signal or an organic driver of traffic to your website. SMS texts are perfect for reaching out to existing customers and asking them for their opinion or requesting a testimonial on your company’s Yelp or GMB page.

    Texting helps you treat customers and supporters like valued guests. Follow these SMS marketing best practices to learn more ways to optimize your outreach and get the most out of each text message, and check out these SMS marketing tips to continue refining your strategy.

    What Do Next Steps Look Like?

    If you ask ten business owners or marketers what the most challenging part of implementing new technology is, 8 out of 10 will answer the same way — “Starting!”

    Well, if you’re here in this article right now, congratulations! You’ve started! Now, if you are ready to take the next step to learn more about SMS marketing, we are ready to start with you.

    SMS Texting for Marketing & Sales

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