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What are SMS Campaigns? Definition, Examples

Dec 18, 2023 - By Camilla Mackeviciute

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SMS marketing is returning into the fold as an effective way to reach customers.

Some years ago, most marketers shelved SMS marketing campaigns as something only valuable for particular audiences or industries.

However, as previously outlined in our SMS marketing statistics article, mobile messaging campaigns are incredibly effective across all industries and age brackets.

Think about your personal phone use. Starting from the first thing in the morning, Americans check their phones 144 times on average daily. 

That alone provides a strong incentive to create powerful text marketing campaigns, as you will always be able to reach your customers with promotional material.

Of course, you should always apply a well-built strategy for SMS marketing campaigns to maximize your ROI. So, let’s dive into the different types of SMS marketing campaigns, their benefits, and their associated costs!

What is an SMS Campaign?

SMS campaigns are like email marketing, just delivered as an SMS on your audience’s smartphone. A significant difference is that SMS messages are shorter, and no visual content is included. 

Besides that, everything else is mostly the same, except for the medium, a high-converting channel. To illustrate this fact, here are a few statistics on SMS marketing:

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

These statistics should motivate you to start an SMS marketing campaign. If you still need clarification, let’s examine the benefits in detail.

SMS Marketing Campaigns: Benefits and Costs

SMS marketing benefits are evident from the statistics above. It’s a highly responsive and receptive channel business. 

email_SMS_open_rates

The most common SMS uses include sending promotional offers, CPA marketing, providing essential updates, scheduling, etc. That’s the reason why SMS is making a comeback. But are SMS campaigns effective? Here are some of the specific benefits that you should leverage: 

  • Extraordinary open rates. One of the most significant advantages of text messaging campaigns is the 98% open rate compared to 33% for email campaigns;
  • Easy and instant. You can be sure your customers will receive your SMS when you press the send button. Not to mention that SMS advertisement requires little prep time;
  • Multifunctional. Marketing through SMS opens up a world of possibilities for all kinds of businesses: informing about new products, enticing with exclusive sales, sending updates, reminding about appointments, and much more;
  • Work well with other marketing channels. You can use SMS marketing and different mediums to offer an omnichannel experience to customers. Customers will be delighted with your multichannel marketing approach and quickly relate to your message;
  • Drives customers to take action. SMS campaigns have a better CTR and conversion rate than all their new-age counterparts. People are more likely to visit your company and take action on offers or promotions shared via SMS than through any other marketing service.
email_SMS_ctr

Now that you know all its benefits, let’s look at the cost of SMS marketing. They are generally two-fold. One is quite obvious – you’ll have to pay some rate for each SMS message. Additionally, you will likely have to rent keywords to maximize effectiveness. Renting keywords means having a shared number where customers can text a word (say, “COFFEE”) to get promotional offers, updates, or opt-in. Of course, vendors might have other costs for using their SMS marketing software.

SMS Campaign Examples 

Let me tell you a secret if you plan to use SMS or texting to engage with your audiences. Many companies delegate their SMS campaigns for dates or events like Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc. 

Generally, promotion and advertising during holidays offer great benefits as everyone’s on a spending spree. However, businesses shouldn’t just limit SMS marketing campaigns to holidays alone. Any opportunity is as good as any other for SMS marketing as it combines incredibly well with all other channels.

Here are a few messaging and texting ideas for starting with SMS marketing:

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.

sms_campaign_example
Image source: Micheal Stars

The straightforward message with a direct benefit (coupon code) will make your brand memorable. You can also set up a welcome landing page and add a link in the SMS to make them feel more special.

Key takeaways

  • Keep it simple; 
  • Provide value (or offer) upfront; 
  • Try personalizing with a first name (using data from your email list/orders).

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:

sms_campaign_example
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)?

sms_campaign_example
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:

sms_campaign_example
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:

sms_campaign_example
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.

How to Do an SMS Campaign?

Are you wondering how to launch an effective mobile marketing campaign? With the right tool, it’s as easy as it can be! These steps are to prove it:

Pick an SMS App

Choose a versatile tool that enables you to create, schedule, and automate SMS marketing campaigns, nurturing your leads. Search for a solution that seamlessly integrates with your email marketing efforts, all within a single, user-friendly platform.

Sender stands out as an excellent choice for achieving all these goals and more without straining your budget. It empowers you to manage customer data efficiently and facilitates sending personalized bulk text campaigns, ensuring instant and meaningful connections with your customers.

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

sender_sms_campaign

Create an SMS Campaign

Compared to other channel campaigns, creating a marketing SMS is as breezy as it comes – only text and no design are needed.

Yet, there are a few things you shouldn’t miss out on:

  • Campaign name;
  • Sender information;
  • Message content;
  • Personalization;
  • Recipient list;
  • Scheduling information;
  • A CTA (call-to-action).

Your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be only emails or texts. With Sender, it can be both! Learn more about omnichannel marketing, its definition, tips & examples.

Add Recipients

Subscribers can be imported via the subscription section or by opening a particular group and adding recipients within it. Start by opening the subscribers’ section and clicking the “Add subscribers” button:

add_subscribers

After you click the button, the import section appears. Choose how you want to import your contact list:

  • Via file (excel (xlsx., txt. or csv. format);
  • Import manually (Copy & paste);
  • Import from MailChimp;
  • Import from GetResponse.

Here’s how the list should look like after import:

import_subscribers

Review and Send

Before you hit send, double-check if your SMS campaign is as you want:

  1. Get in your reader’s shoes and see if your message is clear;
  2. Ensure that you’ve chosen the correct recipients and send-out schedule;
  3. Launch your SMS campaign only when you’re 100% confident it’ll get the right message across at the right time.

Track SMS Campaign

You can easily track SMS campaign results within your marketing tool. Every tool has its interface, though the basic steps are the same. Here’s how you can track your SMS campaign’s effectiveness within Sender: 

  1. Go to the SMS campaign report behind the View report button on the SMS campaign section:
sms_campaigns
  1. Click on the Overview tab.
sms_campaign_overview
  1. Look at the five important metrics on the screen: 
  • 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.

Explore SMS Marketing Examples Across Industries

SMS messaging is a great way to send promotional SMS to your audience. It can be the best as test marketing campaigns promise the highest open rates and CTR. 

One can use text message marketing in different ways across industries, but generally, they are used to promote some limited-time offer or urgent info. Here are a few examples of promotional SMS campaigns:

Real Estate

SMS marketing is generally used to promote newly acquired plots and buildings in real estate. However, there are other ways to use SMS marketing. One great way is to reserve a keyword for each property and write a short explanation with measurements and features to send automatically. Potential buyers can text the keyword if they are interested in the property. Here’s an SMS campaign example from a real estate firm: 

real_estate_promotional_sms
Image source: Sender

Restaurants

Restaurants and fast-food chains like Subway, Pizza Hut, and others have historically used SMS marketing effectively. SMS marketing for restaurants and takeaway joints involves sending periodic promotional offers to improve brand recall and ensure that the customers keep coming. 

Since they sell mostly small-ticket items (e.g., food), it’s easy for users to opt-in by offering a free item. Take the example of Domino’s promotional SMS below:

restaurant_promotional_sms
Image source: Domino’s Pizza

Retail

Retail SMS marketing can be utilized to drive shopping behaviors. The premise is simple – they get people to opt in and send bulk SMS campaigns for special offers and brand awareness. 

Since retail has a strong affluence on brand-based marketing, SMS messages can be used to expand the omnichannel strategy and maintain consumer attention to the brand, as Best Buy does with its ‘deals today’ SMS campaign:

Image source: Best Buy

Fundraising

A potential use case for SMS marketing is fundraising. Since SMS messages have such high engagement rates for very little investment, they are the perfect choice for raising funds for a cause. For example, check this campaign by the Humane Society of America:

Image source: Humane Society of America

Apart from fundraising, SMS campaigns can also increase charity event attendance by sending reminders.

Events

It has been shown that sending reminders about appointments and events can increase attendance.

Therefore, simply sending out reminders makes SMS marketing more effective.

event_promotional_sms
Image source: Sender.net tool

SMS Campaign Tips & Best Practices

Here are five SMS marketing strategy best practices to follow when sending text messages to your customers:

1. Time SMS Messages Effectively

Keep your customers’ time zones in mind when sending SMS marketing messages. You’ll have a better chance of increasing brand awareness if you ensure updates arrive on your users’ smartphones at the right moment. 

You can still use bulk SMS tactics but use software that can search contact lists to ensure you send batches of texts at appropriate times. Generally, a steady drip campaign over a long period is better than one in which you bombard customers with daily promotions and updates.

2. Provide Unsubscribe 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. Marketing automation tools like Sender make unsubscribing easy for both businesses and customers. 

Sender can automatically log new and canceled subscriptions, streamlining the overall workflow.

3. Maintain Consistent Text Volume

One of the most common mistakes businesses make when using SMS is failing to send messages regularly because they want to avoid spamming customers.

But people will forget why they signed up in the first place when you send very few messages. When they hear from you, it’ll seem unexpected and potentially unwelcome.

Consumers respond well to consistent messaging. Maintain a consistent and regular schedule to have successful SMS campaigns.

4. Ensure Clear CTAs

Streamline your message with a single, clear CTA (call-to-action). Give your target audience a specific action, whether it’s getting a special offer or free shipping.

5. Communicate Directly

By directly addressing unique customer needs or pain points, you show that you understand them, which can foster stronger relationships and trust.

Here are the questions you need to answer before crafting your personalized messages:

  • What problems do your customers face?
  • How does your product or offer solve their problems?
  • Why should your customers benefit from what you offer here and now?

Start with Powerful Text Message Campaigns

  • Send a welcome message, promotional SMS, or confirmation via SMS to engage your customers; 
  • Use an SMS automation tool to schedule SMS campaigns based on your goals; 
  • Always track essential metrics and follow best practices to succeed at SMS marketing.  

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

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