What Is SMS Marketing? [The Marketer's Guide]

Nero Peña
Nero Peña

Updated · Feb 07, 2023


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Do you want to reach thousands of customers – all at once?

Try mobile SMS marketing!

It’s quick, easy, and proven to drive long-term business growth.

But what is SMS marketing? And why should you consider it in your campaign strategy?

Stick around – we’ll tell you all about it below.

What Is a Marketing Campaign?

First, let’s unpack one of the key components of a mass text message service.

That is, a marketing campaign.

Basically, it’s a long-term strategy in marketing management that has one specific goal. 

Usually, it’s to increase the sales of a product or service. One way to do this is by advertising in multiple media channels. That includes television, radio, magazines, social media, etc. 

Not all campaigns revolve around sales promotions, though.

They can be aimed towards enhancing a company’s brand image or credibility. In this case, several techniques can be utilized, such as:

  • branding 
  • influencer marketing
  • social marketing 

And more!

Now, let’s answer the big question:

What Is SMS Marketing?

Short Message Service (SMS) marketing is a strategy that uses permission-based mass text messaging for campaigns. With this, companies are able to send targeted campaigns to existing and potential customers – locally or internationally. 

So, it’s a lot like email marketing, but here, the content is sent only through texts.

But what is text marketing, exactly?

It’s the promos, offers, reminders, and updates you receive in your phone’s inbox almost everyday.

Remember that text you got from a local store announcing a sale? Or that e-coupon you won from your recent purchase. Yup, those are all marketing text messages.

Depending on your business strategy, these can come in various forms. 

They can be automated messages instantly delivered when a user takes action. They can also be one-on-one conversations between a representative and a customer. Or, they can be part of a mass SMS text messaging service for a marketing campaign.

But wait – what is an SMS marketing campaign?

In short, it’s a long-term project in mobile marketing. It involves a series of texts that are designed to fulfill a single goal. Whether it’s to sell a product or increase brand awareness, a campaign with various components has a unified purpose. 

While the content for each message is different, they all work towards the same mission.

Cool, right?

The question is, how do businesses construct, send, and monitor these marketing SMS messages?

There’s a meticulous process to crafting such campaigns.

To clarify:

How Does Text Marketing Work?

Texting is easy. It’s part of our daily lives!

But when businesses do it, it takes a little more work than simply typing the words and hitting that ‘send’ button.

So, how does text messaging work for marketing-related communication?

There are key factors that come into play. For instance:

Opt-In Methods

Before texting your customers, remember – SMS marketing is always permission-based. 

As such, it is covered by certain laws, like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This regulation protects users from getting unwanted messages from brands.

So, what is SMS permission?

It simply means that the recipients of your marketing texts must first opt-in to your contact list. Consent is key!

There are several TCPA-compliant ways to do this. For example:

  • Keywords - This is one of the most common methods to legally increase your recipient list. Users can simply text a keyword, and they’ll be automatically added to your contacts.
  • Webforms - Another way to get permission from users is to embed a webform on an online page. A willing recipient can fill this out with the necessary information, so they can be part of your mass text messaging campaign.
  • Keypads - Users can manually type their phone numbers to be instantly included in your contact list.

Any of these methods are effective in obtaining permission from your prospective clients.

But keep in mind – it’s a two-way street. Recipients should be free to opt out, too!

Opting Out

What is opting-out in SMS messaging?

It’s the user’s right to stop receiving messages from any campaign. It can be as simple as texting the keyword “STOP” to a shortcode. In the same vein, in email marketing users unsubscribe from a mailing list. 

Short Codes

Speaking of that, notice how brands send their promotional messages from shortened phone numbers? Those are called shortcodes. 

So, instead of using the standard 11-digit phone number, an SMS marketing platform can minimize it. Companies can use a five to six-digit code for sending their messages. 


Long numbers can be an eyesore. Plus, shortcodes are easier to remember. So, the next time a customer receives a text from that number, they’ll know it’s you!


An SMS campaign needs to have its own target audience. To get the proper demographics, businesses perform market segmentation. This increases the effectiveness of marketing texts.

Proper targeting and segmentation also ensure that you are sending tailored messages to the right recipients.

Message Type

To fully understand what is SMS marketing, let’s set the distinction between the types of messages you can send to your customers.

There are two kinds:

  • Campaign SMS – These are messages you would normally send in bulk. They come in the form of promotions, updates, alerts, coupons, tickets, surveys, polls, event invitations, and so on. These are a staple in mobile advertising!
  • Transactional SMS – Shipping notifications, order confirmations, and registrations are some forms of transactional messages. Also known as auto-responses, these texts get triggered when a user performs a specific action.

Text Marketing Platforms 

To guarantee success, companies use SMS marketing services. 

Platforms like TextMagic, EZ Texting, and Trumpia are some great examples. They provide the tools needed to properly execute SMS campaigns. That includes the ability to set opt-in methods, shortcodes, targeting, and even data reporting and analytics. 

For example, you don’t have to manually type in your contacts and send your texts one by one. These programs can automate the whole process of text message advertising.

That’s why it’s important to get the best text message marketing services for your business plan.

This way, you can maximize all the advantages of launching your SMS campaigns!

What Are the Benefits of SMS?


You’ve cracked the code of SMS text marketing and how to properly do it.

But one question remains.

What is text marketing good for?

A lot, actually. There’s a ton of perks that come with using this strategy for your marketing plan. 

So, here are some of them:

Massive Reach 

Did you know that there are now over 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world? And these are people whose daily routines involve constant text messaging. That’s a massive pool of potential customers! 

Also, text marketing services can now support a host of carrier networks in different countries. 

Direct Channel

Here’s another fact – an average mobile phone user checks their phone up to 63 times daily. And in the United States, Americans dedicate an average screen time of 5.4 hours to their smartphones everyday. With this, there’s a huge chance you can deliver your marketing messages directly to your target market – instantly!

High Open Rate 

This is one of the key benefits of text marketing. Compared to other digital marketing techniques like email newsletters, SMS offers have a much higher open rate.

Here’s why:

Nine in 10 people open their text messages. Texts get delivered like push notifications, which appear more urgent. Users are more compelled to open them, compared to emails where you constantly have to check your inbox for new messages.

And unlike email campaigns, texts have zero bounces. Even when a user’s mobile phone is turned off, they’ll still receive your text!


Using an SMS marketing software gives you the opportunity to:

  • Create tailored texts
  • Manage opt-ins and opt-outs
  • Do proper segmentation for your contact lists
  • Get shortcodes
  • Automate your SMS send-outs
  • Track your campaign performance

All in one place!

In terms of practicality, investing in this strategy won’t cost you a fortune either. A budget platform like TextMagic or SimpleTexting will only cost you anywhere between $0.02 – $0.04 per text. 

It’s both functional and cost-effective!

Multiple Use Cases

Also among the greatest benefits of text messaging for marketers is versatility. You can deliver almost any marketing, advertising, or brand management-related content via text! Businesses of all sizes can maximize SMS campaigns for:

  • sending offers 
  • coupons 
  • alerts
  • contests 
  • surveys 
  • reminders
  • events 
  • announcements

And so on.

User Engagement

You can shape better customer experiences with mobile SMS marketing.

Fun fact – 75% of people aged 44 and below like contacting businesses via text. That’s a great opportunity for brands to connect with clients!

Campaign Improvement

Most text message marketing software are now equipped with campaign tracking and monitoring features. After launching your campaigns, you can use its data analytics tools to spot trends and patterns. With this, you’ll be able to tailor your future messages better. It will also help you increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

After all, SMS campaigns aim for long-term goals!

Wrap Up

So, what is SMS marketing?

The power of text messaging to connect brands and customers.

It will give you the rare chance to reach your clients directly. Thousands of people at the same time.

Just be mindful of the legal practices, generate the proper messages, and use the right SMS marketing platforms.

Success is just one text away!


Is SMS marketing effective?

Absolutely. Text message marketing is one of the most effective strategies in business management. SMS promotions, alerts, updates, and reminders have a 98% open rate compared to email marketing. Aside from that, 75% of clients also prefer to receive SMS offers. And in terms of customer support, 60% of consumers actually prefer to contact representatives via text. These numbers don’t lie – this strategy is, indeed, effective.

When should I use SMS marketing?

There’s a great mix of use cases for SMS marketing, which makes it a highly versatile technique.  So, what is text marketing used for? You can maximize it for promoting your goods and services since text messages have a high open rate. Since it’s relatively cheap, using it for product marketing campaigns would be a smart investment.  It’s also great for improving customer experience. If you have an online shop, you can easily send transactional messages such as order confirmations, delivery updates, etc!

Is SMS marketing legal?

Yes – it’s regulated by laws such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. This prevents companies from sending messages to recipients without their consent. Users must first opt-in before they can receive marketing text messages. On top of that, they also have the right to opt out of the contact list if they don’t want to receive those texts anymore. If you want to understand what is SMS marketing in fuller detail, just read our guide above! We laid out everything you need to know.


Nero Peña

Nero Peña

Nero is an all-around wordsmith with a degree in Communication Arts— not the vicious emperor you might know in history books. He's an avid reader. A frisky writer. A tech enthusiast and occasional binge-watcher. He likes long walks on the beach. Enjoys deep thinking and shallow conversations. Hates ketchup. Panic! At The Disco.

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