Alex Alabiso

According to Statista, global digital marketing spending by 2024 will amount to $646 billion. Startups can utilize numerous digital marketing channels, like content, social media, and affiliate marketing. However, there’s one type of digital marketing many small businesses miss out on — SMS marketing. Only 39% of marketers are employing SMS strategies — making this a space where brands have the opportunity to stand out from the competition. 

There are around 6.3 billion smartphone users worldwide. Imagine reaching out to 1% of these users; that’s 63 million people. Compared to email marketing, SMS seems to be more effective as it has a 98% open rate, and the response rate is 45%

Find out more about SMS marketing below.  

What is SMS marketing? 

Short message service (SMS) marketing is how your brand communicates with your customers via text messages. Your business can send an SMS about updates, promotions, news, and campaigns. For example, if you want to remind your customer about their abandoned cart, you can send them an automated text with a reminder. 

Benefits of SMS marketing to your business 

Aside from its excellent open rate, SMS has other advantages to offer. 

  • Working well with other marketing channels — SMS can support other marketing efforts in different mediums. For instance, SMS doesn’t have to compete with email marketing but can even help improve results from email campaigns. You can send texts to customers and urge them to sign up for email newsletters. 
  • Driving customer action — Text messages give a sense of urgency. Whenever someone receives an SMS, it feels like the matter is time-sensitive. Your business can take advantage of this by sending campaigns about limited offers you want your customers to partake in.  
  • Fast and easy — Compared to email marketing, SMS marketing is easier to execute. With texts, you don’t need to think about designs, which photos to use, or how to do HTML. You can create an SMS campaign that generates revenue quickly. Then, it’s ready to be sent out.  

How to create SMS campaigns 

Firstly, you’ll need an SMS marketing provider. You can’t send good SMS campaigns by simply using your phone. You need a platform to input your text copy and a list of subscriber phone numbers.  

SMS campaigns have a character count of up to 160, so it’s best to keep your messages short, engaging, and straightforward. Here’s an example of an SMS marketing campaign copy: 

“12.12 SALE! Get 50% off your entire order at [brand name]! Use [code] at checkout. Sale ends TONIGHT Dec 12th at 11:59 pm [link].”  

In importing phone numbers, you can add them under a mailing list. You can group phone numbers so that your SMS campaigns can be more targeted. When adding customers’ information to the platform, you don’t necessarily need their email addresses. Phone numbers will suffice to execute a successful campaign.  

Important Reminder: 

Before launching SMS campaigns, you should have your customer’s consent and opt-in. In the U.S., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is in place to ensure that businesses are compliant. Customers should have the freedom to opt-in and out of your campaign, so don’t forget to give them the option to unsubscribe.

SMS Marketing Campaigns Your Startup Can Try 



Because SMS marketing relies on marketers to have a bank of customer phone numbers, it is especially useful for engagement and retention campaigns — but that’s not the only use. Make sure you choose a strategy that fits your business best. Here are a few ideas to get you started.  

Collect customer testimonials 

A week after a customer has bought your product or service, send them an SMS asking for their feedback. You can say that you’re interested in hearing their experience and ask if they can answer some questions. Then, provide a link to a survey. Your business will improve its service or product quality by gathering customer testimonials.  

Incorporate drip marketing  

Drip marketing is a strategy in which a constant flow of marketing materials is sent to a customer over a certain period. In SMS marketing, you can send a series of automated messages to a customer every time a factor is triggered.  

For example, after a subscriber signs up, you can send a 5% off coupon. Then, after three weeks, you can send them a 10% off coupon, and so on. The offers become more attractive as long as the customer sticks around. With this strategy, you’re encouraging your audience to participate in your desired action.  

Send transactional texts 

You can build customer retention through SMS by informing subscribers about their orders. Customers like to be updated with the status of their orders, so what better way to notify them than through short real-time texts? You can send an SMS every time their order is confirmed, packed, and sent out. You can even add a shipment link for them to track their package.  

Send appointment reminders 

SMS appointment reminders are best for businesses in the restaurant, medical, repair, and beauty industries. If your business belongs in these sectors, you’ll know that clients can set up appointments with you and forget to show up.  

By sending texts beforehand, you can notify them of the upcoming arrangement. You can include the date, time, and location to avoid misunderstandings. It’s also best to allow them to reschedule the appointment via SMS. These kinds of efforts make clients feel like you’re thinking about them, increasing your chances of customer loyalty. 

Make SMS Your Marketing Channel of Choice 

With the rise of digital marketing, businesses tend to gravitate toward popular marketing channels like social media and email. However, not every startup takes advantage of SMS marketing. Text messaging has been around for many years and has proven to be an effective marketing platform.  

SMS marketing strategies have evolved to adapt to current technologies throughout the times. You can use SMS to support other marketing channels and strengthen your campaigns. By implementing a proper SMS marketing campaign that fits your business, you’ll be able to improve your customer retention and generate more revenue. 


Alex Alabiso built Semaphore's tech backbone and keeps it running smoothly. He has deep experience in tech and is passionate about helping startups. In his spare time, he grows hydroponic tomatoes and plays video games.