SMS marketing: The crawl walk run approach

6 September 2022

It’s no secret that sms marketing is quickly overtaking other digital marketing communication channels and traditional methods of advertising. It is now the leading marketing platform. Not only is it cheaper to send out a text message, but it’s far more likely to reach your target audience than any other channel. An sms marketing strategy when compared with email, billboards, leaflets, tv, and internet ads is 4 times more likely to get you noticed. With an open rate of 97% and a fast read rate within minutes, it’s not hard to see the attraction.

So why aren’t more companies incorporating sms marketing into their marketing strategy? Fear of the unknown perhaps? There are many myths surrounding sms campaigns that can easily be dispelled and there are brands who believe that targeted sms marketing is just for transactional engagement such as booking confirmations and appointment reminders. They worry about spamming or privacy laws. Well, for those of you who are sceptical, sit back and allow us to take you on a journey to sms marketing success. Sms marketing may seem vastly different from how you are currently marketing to your customers and could be a daunting prospect. The idea of the crawl walk run approach is that the integration can be bite-sized and comfortable to undertake. Once you get started, it will quickly become apparent whether an sms marketing program is the right thing for your business.


The key is in the preparation, so generating a customer database is important. What is the quality of your database? Is it up to date and are your subscribers really interested in your brand? To get your sms marketing program initiated, you will need to put your efforts into customer data collection. Without this careful preparation, your campaign will have nowhere to go.

To gather subscribers, consumers initially opt-in to receive your sms marketing messages, but they can also opt-out if they are not happy with your interaction. Text Anywhere has a wealth of experience in sms marketing and we have some top-quality hints and tips to help you to grow your database. Not only do we want to show you how to reach new subscribers, but also to be able to enhance your level of engagement with them. Some of our tips will also help you to keep your current subscriber list healthy and keep customers opting in. 

Encourage SMS take-up

You can drive opt-ins to sign up to receive your sms messages in many different ways:

  • Competitions – You can market these in many different ways, including in-store, on social media channels, on business cards and flyers, on products, etc. 
  • Website data capture – Adding a consent tick box to a form that already needs to be filled in, is a simple solution. These can often be found at the checkout point of an online sale, which is a really non-intrusive way to add them. At this point, you know that the customer already likes your brand.
  • Events – If you join events outside of your business, this could be the perfect opportunity to canvas new subscribers. 
  • Social media sites – Show your followers the additional benefits that they can experience once they join your sms marketing list. 
  • In-store – It is quite common to promote your sms campaigns at sales points in stores. Shortcodes are particularly useful here, rather than lengthy form filling as shoppers are usually short on time. 
  • Feedback cards – Some restaurants leave cards on tables requesting feedback via a shortcode or QR codes. The waiting staff can also be incentivised to encourage sms opt-ins by talking to their customers about the benefits of being an sms subscriber and adding their name to the card. The customer then adds the name of their waiter to their sign-up which in turn helps staff to receive a reward. This can also work in retail. 

As well as these simple methods you can also increase your sms database by using an effective cross-channel marketing strategy. If you already have a successful email marketing campaign and social media sites, you can incorporate these with your initial sms marketing program. The recipients will already be familiar with your brand and campaign, so it makes sense and gives continuity if you can tie them together.

Be present

Did you know that you can integrate your campaign with your help desk? Using sms marketing has been a welcome relief for customers who are tired of hanging on with call centres and choosing from multiple options in a vain attempt to get through to an actual person. The truth is that they would rather use two-way text messages than speak to a robot. Initial enquiries, issues, and complaints can all be responded to via your sms software and dealt with more promptly. In many cases, handling complaints this way can quickly diffuse customer unrest.

What about our email campaign?

Many marketers may worry that sms marketing may spell the end for email marketing, which they have enjoyed success with. Although statistics show that only 22% of consumers prefer to receive emails from companies, it’s not a number that should be ignored. You have learned over the years that reaching some of your customers via email has proven to be successful. Well luckily, you don’t have to choose. The two can work together for the best results. Sms marketing messages can deliver clear, concise, and quick messages at the click of a button for subscribers on the go. This is good because texts are often more urgent and time-critical. Whereas, email delivers more content for those who have time and the call-to-action does not need to be immediate, which is helpful to catch the deliberators. It covers all bases. The great thing is, that because texts are so cheap, there is no reason that you can’t use both within the same campaign. With good continuity, they will complement each other.

Your email marketing could help to get you started with your sms marketing. When building a database, you can entice your email subscribers to become text subscribers by adding to your marketing emails.


Once you have your customer data optimised, it’s time to take sms marketing to the next level. Firstly, you need to get to know consumer behaviour. What are your customer’s interests, wants, and needs? The best sms campaigns are those that are welcomed by your subscribers. After all, now that you encouraged them to opt in, they are going to be seeking quality content to prevent them from opting out.

We do have some handy statistics for sms marketing. Feedback on sms marketing indicates that recipients would prefer it to any other method of communication they are likely to receive from you. Statistics show that 77% of consumers opt-in to receive coupons or to hear about deals and sales. 66% said they had even redeemed a special offer via text within 7 days of receiving it! Perhaps that’s why 64% of consumers think that companies should contact them more often through SMS marketing messages.

It’s best to be sure that the sms messages you are sending out are going to strike the right cord and that you know your customers better than anyone. Their needs can also change over time, so it’s important to study customer habits and also to communicate effectively to find out what they want. Engage in sms polls or ask the question via your email marketing and social media sites.

Welcome subscribers

Once you start to grow your database with new subscribers, it’s a good time to introduce them properly to your brand. Make them feel welcome and valued, and let them know what you are all about. For this period of the consumer relationship, you need to develop a welcome series. This will comprise a series of texts that the new subscriber could typically expect to receive at the start of their journey with you. Unsurprisingly it kicks off with a welcome sms, thanking them for joining and letting them know what they can expect to receive in the future. This can then be followed up with important information about your brand to nurture the relationship and achieve customer loyalty.

Keep it clear and concise

Keep your copy clear and concise. For sms marketing messages you only have around 160 characters to work with and it’s best to get your message across within 3-4 lines, so you need to make them count. Your recipients want the gist of the message at first glance and are not interested in garbled texts. Long marketing texts are a turn-off for the reader and will defeat the object of quick marketing alerts.

Always remember to add an opt-out option to all of your texts.

Timed perfection 

There are good and bad times to send out SMS marketing messages. With the luxury of using automated SMS and bulk SMS, you can schedule your texts to arrive at convenient times to suit your audience. It may also be wise to separate recipients into demographic groups for scheduling too. For example, if you are a toy retailer planning to send out a bulk SMS to your target market – parents, it would be best to avoid school run times when parents are at their busiest. The optimum time to send out sms marketing texts is from 12 noon to 3 pm, but evenings might work better for those who are working long hours. In-store flash sales might work best on a Friday night or a Saturday morning to catch the weekend shoppers.  

Try not to overload your audience with sms marketing texts. Whilst they do want to hear from you and to benefit from your deals and alerts, there is a fine balance. To get the most out of your sms campaigns, send out your strongest content first, make your recipients really glad to hear from you so that they will stick around for more. Don’t over-schedule your messages, read your audience and try to gauge how often they would like to hear from you. Encourage customer feedback. Make sure you are hitting all the right notes with your scheduling. 

Track your campaign

Keep an eye on your campaign to ensure that your marketing strategy is hitting the right notes with your recipients. By using the latest in sms marketing technology, you will be able to track your performance along the way at any time. sms marketing data will tell you how each campaign performed individually so that you can monitor your successes and those that failed to hit the mark. You’ll know who received the texts, which links were clicked on, and even how many of your target consumers unsubscribed following your campaign. This will allow you to turn your campaign around quickly if things don’t exactly go according to plan. By using the right sms gateway, you can incorporate consumer activity data into the direction of your campaign.


Now it’s really time to step it up a gear and go for enhanced customer relationship management. By this, we mean that you can tailor your sms marketing to your target audience by integrating your in-depth customer knowledge. With a more targeted database, you can begin to create customised marketing campaigns driven by your customer needs.

Some of the best tools in sms marketing are:

1. Segmenting your audience

By separating your audience into categories based on their interests and demographics you can ensure that your messages are uniquely tailored for sms marketing. You must differentiate your customers so that you are not bombarding them with irrelevant information. For example, if you were a travel agent, it would be pointless to send a deal for an over 55’s holiday to all of your subscribers. With targeted messaging, you are much more likely to optimise your level of engagement. This works well when sending sms in bulk. Providing your database contains the right information, the messages will automatically be sent out to the right people and at the right time.

2. Personalisation

Personalising your sms program can enhance your marketing communications and get your sms noticed over your competitors. It is one of the most sophisticated advances in automated mobile messages that can turn casual observers into loyal customers. Personalisation can be about choosing the right content to send out to the right customer at the right time and it can also go beyond that. With the right sms platform, you will be able to include more specific details within your texts such as the recipient’s name, relevant dates and times, and also details of their interests or purchases. You can even personalise links that bring them to the website pages that will interest them and encourage them to do business with you. Your website may track your potential customers online allowing your sms gateway to issue abandoned cart reminders or ask browsers if they are still interested in a product they have been looking at. For example:

  • “Hi, Simon. We noticed you were eyeing up the Over-Head Sweat Hoodie in Khaki. Maybe a 10% discount off your next purchase will help you to make your mind up. Head to the checkout and use code: MAY22 to claim before midnight tonight!”

3. VIP and exclusives

As well as personalisation there are other ways to maintain a healthy database and keep your subscribers signed up for your sms messaging service. When considering whether to sign up to receive sms marketing messages, potential engagers will be wondering what’s in it for them. They will be looking for something extra to keep their interest. Sms marketing messages work best with VIP deals and exclusives that only your subscribers can benefit from. These developing customer expectations present a prime opportunity for retailers to send special offers to consumers across the buying lifecycle. It can also be the key to achieving customer lifetime value, meaning that you can appeal to your customers throughout the process of their relationship with your brand.

You can also use the platform to send your customers up-to-the-minute news about your brand, carefully selected insider information, new products, and back-in-stock alerts. These are all ways to add value to opting in.

4. Links

There is only space for 160 characters on each sms marketing message, but that doesn’t need to limit you. For all other information you want to send out to your subscribers, you can add links to the texts which will drive traffic to your website. Links are also useful for adding forms so that customers can self-serve, which will save you time and money. For example, when sending a reminder to renew insurance or asking a subscriber if they would like to try a new service when the customer responds with “YES”, automated sms can send out a link to an application form without you having to do a thing.

If you have a colourful campaign that comes across well on email, but is somewhat lacking in a short text, a link could be just what you need to direct your recipients to the heart of the action. It’s a much cheaper way to get your promotions and campaigns seen.

5. Calendar integration

In the same way, we receive booking confirmations and reminders to the calendars on our mobile devices, we can also get a call to action. For example, customers sign up to receive sms messages about sales or respond to texts asking them if they would like a sale slot. When this occurs it can also activate a diary entry and ping the customer with a reminder so that they don’t miss the sale.

6. Two-way conversation

Let your recipients know that they can contact you right back.  By using automated SMS, you can send out standard replies back to them. Two-way sms is a great way to nurture leads. Once you have a hook, the engager will be satisfied with an instant response.  It saves a lot of time for a business when customers or prospects can be automatically filtered into categories. For example, a pet insurance company might be using SMS marketing to offer a free quote plus cashback. They could engage in two-way sms by inviting the recipient to text “CAT” or, “DOG” to a designated SMS number. From this information, the automated SMS system can send out a link to the appropriate quote form.  The customer appreciates the quick interaction and is less likely to shop around.  

Start your journey today

At TextAnywhere we understand a thing or two about boosting your ROI with sms marketing messages, it’s what we do best. We offer sms landing pages and can help to build engaging campaigns that capitalise on the benefits of SMS while offering images, videos, and interactive elements. Here are some of our highlights and things that any good provider should offer: 

  • Studio two-way chat for conversational commerce. 
  • Advanced analytics on campaign performance using studio tracking open rates, conversions, and more. 
  • 99.9% uptime. 
  • Enterprise-level support for companies of all sizes via phone and email. 
  • Professional API to integrate with your software. 
  • Bulk segmented SMS campaigns that can be sent using our platform.  

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