SMS Campaigns: Complete Text Marketing Guide + Examples

Mar 26, 2024 - By Camilla Mackeviciute

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Americans check their phones a staggering 144 times daily! 

No wonder that text marketing has made a comeback. The little gadget that wakes you up and tucks you into bed is more than just a device; it’s a pocket-sized billboard, constantly in front of your audience. 

Gone are the days when SMS campaigns and texts were just a medium for niche markets. It witnessed a phenomenal rise recently, with over 86% of businesses using it as a marketing channel in 2023. 

So many businesses can’t be wrong. Even if they’re making a mistake, you can’t ignore that SMS has up to 98% open rate, significantly higher than email. So, why not start thinking about SMS campaigns? 

Let’s explore how text marketing can work for your business by looking at the benefits, costs, and successful examples. 

What is an SMS Campaign?

You must’ve sent your customers a text about your recent promotion recently. If not, you’re missing out on a big opportunity, and an SMS campaign helps you grab it. 

It’s about sending a short text for your customers to remember you and get all the information quickly. Imagine reaching out to them instantly, anywhere, anytime. Sounds pretty cool, right?

SMS campaigns are similar to email marketing campaigns but shorter, more direct, and do not contain visual content. Businesses use SMS ads and texting campaigns to share the latest offers, important updates, and alerts. 

Quick delivery to a medium where the audience is already engaged makes text messaging a high-converting medium. Here are a few statistics on SMS marketing to support this claim:

  • 85% of smartphone users prefer SMS to emails or calls;
  • 90% of customers read an SMS within 3 minutes of receiving them on their phones. 
  • SMS promises a 10.66% CTR rate, much higher compared to any other digital marketing channel; 

Benefits and Costs of SMS Marketing Campaign

The power of SMS or text marketing campaigns is clear from the statistics above – this channel keeps businesses connected with their audiences like no other. 


But what about the specific benefits and, most importantly, the costs of SMS marketing for a business? Let’s look at both one by one. 

Benefits of SMS Marketing Campaigns

From blasting out promo codes to sending timely updates or scheduling reminders, text messaging is increasingly becoming a go-to method for many businesses. But just how effective are SMS campaigns? Let’s dive into the perks you should be tapping into:

  • Incredible open rates. Text messaging blows emails out of the water with a whopping 98% open rate (compared to 33% for emails). Your messages are almost guaranteed to be seen; 
  • Quick and simple. Hit ‘send,’ and your message immediately hits your customer’s inbox. Plus, setting up an SMS blast is faster than setting up an email campaign; 
  • Versatile: Whether you need to send alerts about a new collection, special sales, or appointment reminders, SMS can help you reach out in multiple ways;
  • Complements other channels: Texts fit perfectly into multichannel marketing strategy, enhancing omnichannel customer engagement
  • Prompt actions: With higher click-through and conversion rates, texts are unbeatable at driving customer engagement and responses.

Costs Associated with SMS Marketing Campaigns

With the benefits clear, let’s break down the costs involved in SMS marketing. 

Typically, expenses fall into the following segments:

  • Per-message rates. Typically, you’ll pay a fee for each text sent; 
  • Keyword rentals. To make your campaigns pop, you might rent keywords (like “COFFEE”) so customers can interact with your offers or join your list; 
  • Platform expenses. There might be additional fees for using SMS marketing apps or tools.

These costs are part of the game, and considering great conversion and open rates, the return on investment can be huge when you tap into the full potential of SMS marketing.

How to Send an SMS Campaign?

Now, you know how beneficial it is to launch an SMS marketing campaign for your business. But how do you get started with it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Follow the steps below to launch your first SMS marketing campaign quickly: 

Choosing the Right SMS Marketing Platform

What’s the secret to killer SMS marketing campaigns? It’s all about trying different SMS marketing platforms and finding an easy-to-use solution. You want to be able to schedule, send, and automate your SMS campaigns while still keeping that personal touch with your audience. And hey, wouldn’t it be nice if it also played well with your email marketing?

Sender is a budget-friendly campaign texting service that supports SMS and email campaigns. It’s the perfect sidekick for your omnichannel marketing strategy. With Sender, you can manage your SMS and email list, plan your bulk text campaigns, and send personalized texts that hit just the right note. 


Creating an SMS Campaign

Once you’ve signed up for Sender, all you need to do is click on SMS campaigns, and you’re all good to go. To send SMS messages, you need to know: 

  • What should your campaign be called? (Campaign name)
  • Who’s sending it? (Sender info, i.e. your info)
  • What are you saying? (Message content)
  • Is it personalized? (Personalization tags)
  • Who’s it for? (Recipient list)
  • When’s it going out? (Scheduling details)
  • What do you want them to do? (Clear CTA)

To create your first campaign quickly, follow the instructions on the screen, add the required information, and proceed to the next step. 

Managing Recipients & Lists

One of the most important parts of text campaigns is the list of recipients. If your audience has opted-in to receive SMS updates, you can add them directly to Sender’s dashboard. 

Start by heading to the subscribers’ area and hit the “Add subscribers” button. Once you click, you’ll see different import options. Pick your preferred way to add to your list:

  • Through a file (think Excel or CSV);
  • By hand (just copy and paste);
  • Directly from MailChimp;
  • Straight from GetResponse.

Once your contacts are in, here’s what you’ll see:


You must assign all your contacts to a new or existing group. This helps segment and target your audience, which we’ll cover in the next step. 

Audience Targeting

Context and relevance are the most important parts of a successful marketing campaign. Targeting the right person with the right message at the right time brings the best results. 

Sender lets you categorize your subscribers into separate groups. You can also segment them based on their activity. You can set the groups while importing or create automated flows to nurture an email list based on their online behavior. 

Reviewing and Sending your SMS Campaign

Once you pick the audience, you can review everything before you hit that final send button. Make sure to: 

  1. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and check if your SMS text message is crystal clear;
  2. Double-check if your recipient list and timing are spot-on.

Only go live with your SMS campaign when you’re totally sure it’s going to communicate exactly what you intend, exactly when you intend it.

Tracking and Analyzing Your Campaign

You can easily track SMS campaign results from Sender’s dashboard. Go to the SMS campaign and check the performance report. Keep an eye on the following metrics: 

  • Sent (the amount of sent SMS campaigns);
  • Delivered (the amount of successfully delivered SMS campaigns);
  • Click rate (if there’s a used link);
  • Unsubscribed;
  • Failed deliveries.

This will help you understand whether your SMS campaign was a success with your audience. Use the insights to improve your next campaigns. 

Here’s a look into creating an SMS campaign with Sender:

Examples of Successful SMS Campaigns

By now, you must’ve figured it out — SMS or texting isn’t just for everyday chats; it’s a goldmine for engaging your audience. Many savvy businesses queue up their SMS blasts for big moments like Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Valentine’s Day as everyone’s on a spending spree. 

But here’s the thing – don’t get boxed in by the calendar. SMS advertising doesn’t need to wait for a special date. It’s a flexible channel that pairs well with any marketing mix, any time of the year. 

Want to get inspired? Here are some cool ideas to kick off your SMS marketing journey:

Welcome Message

A welcome SMS is a delightful surprise for your new customer or subscriber. In a world where everyone sends a welcome mail, you can stand out of the crowd by scheduling a welcome message for everyone who signs up or buys anything on your website. Here’s an example of a welcome message by Micheal Stars.

Image source: Micheal Stars

Michael Stars didn’t just send a message; it made a statement — that every new sign-up is special by sending a coupon code upfront. You can also send an SMS with a link to a special welcome page, making your new subscribers feel welcome.

Key takeaways

  • Keep it straightforward and sweet; 
  • Deliver value immediately; 
  • Add a personal touch, like using their first name; 

Promotional SMS 

Sending a promotional SMS can feel ‘spammy,’ but promo SMS campaigns are the best-performing ones primarily because everyone likes a special offer or coupon codes. Here’s an example of a promotional SMS by Avenue:

Image source: Avenue

The SMS offers a promo coupon code plus a direct checkout link — a great way to improve clickthrough rates. Some FOMO or urgency would have done wonders for this campaign, however. 

Key takeaways

  • Share a personal coupon code instead of a generic offer; 
  • Always add a CTA link to help recipients check out faster; 
  • Announce the reason for the promotion, like a New Year’s offer.

Confirmation SMS Campaigns 

Sending a confirmation email is good. But do you know what’s even better? Confirming the details via SMS. As most set up an appointment or schedule a call using mobile, isn’t sending an SMS better (and logical)?

Image source: UFC Gym

The SMS campaign is triggered every time someone books a slot for a workout at the gym. The confirmation is a reassurance and a quick note for anyone who loves all the information at their fingertips — time and place.

Key takeaways

  • Repeat the confirmation details;
  • Keep the text short;
  • Send personalized messages.

SMS messages can also be used to confirm a successful payment. Explore these 15 Payment Successful SMS message examples to elevate your ecommerce automation and leave a lasting impression.

Alerts SMS Notification

Alerts are better served in real-time. What’s more ‘current’ than sending an alert on smartphones? Take the following example by a cryptocurrency exchange, CoinDCX:

Image source: CoinDCX

The SMS alerts the user about an increase in the price of one of their holdings — something very relevant and vital to the user. You can set up an alert about order confirmation, shipping details, and more. You can even alert users of suspicious activity via SMS. 

Key takeaways

  • Share essential and relevant updates via SMS alerts; 
  • Make sure to share who you are (add an introduction within SMS, like your brand name);
  • Give them the following steps (as a link within SMS). 

Still unsure of what is an SMS notification? Find definitions & examples in our latest article.

Appointment Reminders

If you run an online business, coaching business, or any business requiring public interaction, you know how vital appointment and meeting reminders can be. You can send these reminders via SMS. Take the example of the following SMS by a wellness company, Thyrocare:

Image source: Thyrocare

The SMS informs the user about their upcoming appointment and confirms the details. The level of detail and the supporting link benefit users who appreciate the clarity. Such SMS campaigns are crucial to reinstate faith in your brand. 

Key takeaways

  • Share all important details about the appointment; 
  • Give a link/info on how to reschedule/track the appointment status; 
  • Provide customer support information whenever possible.

Explore SMS Marketing Across Industries

SMS marketing isn’t just about sending promotions; it’s about delivering messages that people want to open and read. 

With some of the best open rates and click-through rates around, SMS can be your secret weapon. And it’s not one-size-fits-all – every industry can tailor it to fit its unique needs, usually highlighting time-sensitive deals or must-know information. 

Let’s check out how different sectors are using SMS to their advantage:

SMS Marketing in Real Estate

Real estate companies use SMS marketing for more than just sharing updates about new properties. It’s a tool for lead generation and engagement. 

Imagine setting aside a unique keyword for each of your listings, accompanied by a brief yet informative description covering size and standout features. Interested buyers can simply text back the keyword to express their interest. Here’s how a savvy real estate firm can put these SMS marketing plans in action using a simple SMS:

Image source: Sender

SMS Marketing in Restaurants

From cozy local diners to bustling fast-food giants like Subway and Pizza Hut, the food industry has had great success with SMS marketing. It’s all about dishing out timely offers and mouthwatering deals to ensure your place stays top of mind and existing customers return for more.

Given the nature of the product, restaurants have the perfect recipe for enticing customers to sign up: offering a delicious freebie! Look at how Domino’s does it with their promotional texts:

Image source: Domino’s Pizza

SMS Marketing in Retail

In retail, where branding and memorability is everything, texts are a powerful extension of your omnichannel strategy, keeping your customers hooked and coming back for more. 

You can nudge shoppers in the right direction. How? Super simple. Encourage shoppers to opt in, then hit them with irresistible bulk SMS blasts showcasing special deals and boosting your brand’s presence.

Just look at Best Buy and their ‘deals today’ text campaign – it’s a great way to keep the brand front and center in consumers’ minds.

Image source: Best Buy

SMS Marketing for Fundraising

Do you think SMS marketing is just for sales and promotions? Think again. It’s a game-changer for fundraising, too. 

Thanks to their high engagement levels and low costs, text campaigns are ideal for drumming up support and donations for your cause. Take a leaf from the Humane Society of America’s book with their standout SMS fundraising efforts:

Image source: Humane Society of America

SMS Marketing for Events

Sending a reminder is a great way to use SMS for events. Reminders don’t just reach people; they engage them, ensuring your event stays front and center in their busy lives. A simple nudge about an upcoming event can significantly increase attendance numbers.

So, make your SMS marketing strategy even more powerful with targeted reminders. Want to craft messages that get noticed? Here’s a template to personalize your event reminders:

Image source: Sender.net tool

Best Practices for Effective SMS Campaigns

Entering your audience’s inbox without irritating them is like a balancing act on a high wire. How do you deliver value without crossing into nuisance territory? 

We’ve gathered five golden rules to keep your SMS campaigns flying high while keeping everyone’s comfort in check.

1. Time SMS Messages Effectively

Knowing your customers means more than understanding their needs; it’s about valuing their time, too. 

Keep your customers’ time zones in mind when sending SMS marketing messages. 

Sending your texts at just the right moment can skyrocket engagement. Think about when your audience is likely to read and interact, not just when they’re awake. 

Personalize your scheduled drip campaigns – a steady, thoughtful pace beats a flood of messages any day.

2. Provide Opt-out Options

Just as potential customers must be able to opt in to receive text messages, current SMS subscribers should also be able to opt-out anytime. 

Clear opt-out options are not just polite; they’re essential.

SMS campaign services like Sender make this as easy as pie, respecting your audience’s choices and maintaining trust. It can automatically log new and canceled subscriptions, streamlining the overall workflow.

3. Maintain Consistent Text Volume

The most common mistakes businesses make when using SMS involve either failing to send messages regularly or overdoing them to the extent of irritating subscribers. 

Too many texts can annoy them, and too few can make them forget you. Strike a balance and stick to it.

Find a rhythm that keeps you in your customers’ thoughts without becoming a pest. The right frequency keeps the conversation going without turning into background noise.

4. Ensure Clear Call-to-Actions

Every SMS should have a crystal-clear call-to-action. Cut to the chase. 

What’s your reader’s next step? What do you want them to do? Make it clear. A straightforward, easy-to-understand call-to-action removes the guesswork and boosts responses.

5. Communicate Directly

Speak directly to your customers’ needs and show you understand them. Keep it real and relevant—no fancy jargon, no empty promises.

Write your message to address real needs and concerns. Add a personal touch, turning your generic blast into a meaningful message. Here’s a roadmap: 

  • Your SMS should tell how you solve something in their life; 
  • Why is this time-sensitive?
  • What should they do next?

Key Takeaway: Start with Powerful Text Message Campaigns

You saw some of the best SMS marketing examples. You also found out the benefits of sending SMS messages to your audience. Now, it’s time to start with text marketing. Here’s what you should keep in mind when planning your first campaign: 

  • Automate welcome messages, promotional SMS, or confirmation SMS using a marketing automation solution; 
  • Try sending messages at different times to find when your audience is most active; 
  • Track KPIs and performance metrics to find your best SMS campaigns. 

Craving for more? Here are other important articles for SMS enthusiasts:

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