How to Run Your First SMS Marketing Campaign

You may not know it, but your small business has a huge opportunity for success using SMS marketing.

Whether you're just starting out or have been around a while, this blog post will help you get started with the basics of running an effective SMS campaign that's perfect for any size company. From picking your goal to measuring results, we'll cover everything you need to make sure your first text marketing campaign is successful from start to finish!

SMS Marketing for 2021

SMS might have been around in the Philippines since the 1990's, but they're as useful and widespread as ever in 2021. Unlike email marketing which is seeing lower open rates, SMS still enjoys high open and read rates. Your subscribers are more likely to read your promos on a text message than the beautiful newsletters you push out on email.


Even with the rise of messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber, SMS is still one of the most-used and most reliable ways to communicate. Many find it a hassle to install apps on their phone, while SMS is built-in and doesn't cost a lot, as opposed to more expensive data plans.


The recent rise of privacy issues with networks such as Facebook also has people coming back to privacy and intimacy of simple text messages. Whatever the reason, many people still choose to avoid messenger platforms and stay with SMS.


Many businesses of today overlook SMS, thinking it ancient and outdated. Many prefer to focus on email marketing, conversational marketing with chatbots, and the like. But though SMS is an old technology, it's still very relevant even today in 2021.


With high open and read rates, including an SMS strategy in your marketing plans will fully round out your efforts and make sure you reach everyone.


But first things first. How do you run an SMS campaign?


Let's get started.

Step 1: Determine your marketing goals for SMS

Just like any other marketing channel, SMS has its own specific strengths and focus. SMS marketing is ideal for retailers because customers are often busy and it's easy to get a message through. It also works well when you want people to take a quick, time-sensitive action, such as taking part in an exclusive sale.


To make sure you're getting the most out of SMS in 2021, determine what kind of goals you have with this channel before going ahead with your plans. How can SMS campaigns help you meet your business goals? Are there specific plans you have where SMS can be extra helpful?


Remember to use the SMART approach when coming up with your SMS marketing goals: your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.


Here are some examples of goals for SMS marketing campaigns to get your brain started:


  • Gain 20% increase in this month's sales through coupons sent via SMS.
  • Minimize order re-delivery and returns by 25% through timely updates on order and delivery status sent via SMS.
  • Grow membership signups by 15% for the first quarter of the year.
  • Increase website and social media traffic by 20% through links sent via SMS.


A SMART goal will help you pinpoint what you need to do for your first campaign, as well as help you measure how successful your campaign is at the end. (More on that later.)

Step 2: Build your subscriber database

Chances are, you've got some past orders, members, customers or supporters on your customer list. Start there! Send them a polite and friendly message inviting them to be part of your subscriber list.


Be up front about what the list is for, and how often they can expect to receive text messages from your business.


Even if you don't have much to start with, you should also start advertising and talking about your SMS list. Here are a few options:


  • Talk about your new SMS list on social media and invite your followers to sign up. An additional incentive is always a good idea.
  • For new orders that come in, include a small card or brochure about your SMS list so your customer finds out about it. Make sure it's easy to join, through shortcodes or easy sign-up forms.
  • Any place where you need to collect information, such as survey forms, registration forms, or order forms, include a checkbox where people can mark if they're interested in learning about your promotions. You'd be surprised!
  • Have a physical shop? Set aside a place at the countertop to leave a number of calling card to sign up for your SMS list.


Don't feel pressured to have a huge list immediately through purchasing subscribers and similar activities. A smaller but engaged SMS list can be more beneficial for your brand than a huge list where people don't really care about your business.

Step 3: Send your SMS text messages

Now we get to the exciting part -- sending your marketing text messages. It's not just as simple as just typing in a message hitting send, however. You should be careful about what you include and even when you send it.


Here are a few tips on how to make sure your subscribers appreciate seeing your text message in their inbox:


  • Don't message after office hours. It might be tempting to catch them when they're not busy, but they won't enjoy being interrupted in their personal time.
  • Since SMS is a very personal medium (especially these days, when numbers are not handed out very easily), be respectful. Don't message more than you promised them, and make sure your message is something they will find useful.
  • For promotions that you send, make sure they're promotions that are targeted to them. As you get to know your SMS list, start catering your offers for the specific preferences that show up on your subscriber list.
  • If you can get some level of personalization into your subscriber list, all the better! Don't think just in terms of name (which is great if you're messaging them), but also products they are interested in, their basic demographics. This can help you target offers to them.
  • Always include opt-out instructions on your messages. Disgruntled subscribers won't do your list any good!


But sending your text messages isn't the end. There's more work to be done if you want to make sure your campaign is doing its job.

Step 4: Measure your SMS marketing campaign's success

No one wants to spend money on an advertising campaign without knowing how well it's working. The good news is there are a few key metrics you can track to know whether your SMS marketing strategy is actually going to be successful or not.


For each text sent, make sure you track the following key metrics:


  1. Actions. make sure there is a way for you to track how many of your subscribers actually acted upon your text message. It might be a link click, a purchase, a promotion redemption, or sign up. Knowing the rate at which your subscribers are taking action based on your messages will tell you important things about your list's behaviors and can even inform your interactions with specific subscribers in the future.
  2. Unsubscriptions. There will be people unsubscribing to your mailing list as part of any normal campaign. That's all right. But it's important for you to pinpoint which messages they have unsubscribed on, and the rate at which they are unsubscribing. Quickly pivoting your messaging by looking at this number can help you improve.
  3. Return on investment. Sending these SMS messages to your subscribers comes with a cost. You should track this cost against the actual revenue you get through actions made through your promotions so that you can determine if you need to switch things up or if your campaign is doing well.


By keeping a close eye on how your campaigns are doing, you can make sure you're sending the right messages to your subscribers and getting the best return on investment for each message.

SMS Marketing For All Business Sizes

You don't have to be a large business before you can get started on promoting your business through SMS. Smaller businesses can actually gain more from SMS marketing through building closer, more intimate relationships with customers.


All it takes is a little time, a few dollars and the right tools to get started.


  1. Set your goals
  2. Build your subscriber database
  3. Send your messages
  4. Examine your results


Take the hassle out of managing your first SMS campaign by running it with us using TextBuddy. With an SMS marketing platform like TextBuddy, you can manage subscribers, send personalized messages, and segment your customers and engage with them real-time.


Give us a call or drop us a note anytime you're ready to get started.

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