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10-Point Checklist for a Successful SMS Marketing Campaign

May 23, 2024

What are SMS Campaigns? 

Simply put, SMS campaigns are targeted marketing initiatives that utilize text messages to reach and engage with customers. Whether it's promoting a new product, offering exclusive deals, or providing timely updates, SMS campaigns offer a direct line of communication between businesses and their audience.

One of their most compelling aspects is their exceptional open rates. Unlike email marketing, where messages can easily get lost in overflowing inboxes or relegated to the dreaded spam folder, text messages are almost always opened and read promptly. Studies have shown that SMS boasts an astonishing open rate of over 98%, with the majority of messages being read within minutes of delivery. 

SMS campaigns boast impressive engagement rates. With consumers spending increasing amounts of time on their smartphones, tapping into this platform for marketing purposes is a no-brainer. Whether it's clicking on a link, redeeming a coupon code, or participating in a survey, SMS campaigns have proven to be highly effective at driving meaningful interactions and conversions.

Crafting Your SMS Marketing Campaign

Crafting a successful SMS marketing campaign requires careful planning, thoughtful strategy, and a deep understanding of your target audience. In this blog, we'll explore the art of designing impactful SMS marketing strategies that captivate, convert, and compel action. Whether you're a seasoned marketer looking to enhance your existing campaigns or a newcomer eager to tap into the potential of SMS, this resource will provide you with the insights and inspiration you need to succeed. 

Before you dive headlong into text marketing, we have compiled a 10-point checklist to help you create successful SMS marketing campaigns:

  1. Set goals and KPIs
  2. Create an offer
  3. Make CTAs clear
  4. Segment your audience
  5. Test, monitor and take action
  6. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
  7. Manage subscriber replies
  8. Be data-driven
  9. Align your SMS marketing with your overall online marketing strategy
  10. Partner with the right SMS marketing platform

Make sure customers sign up for your texts! Read The Complete SMS Compliance Guide before you begin.


1. Set Goals & KPIs

SMART goal setting is widely used for successful campaigns, and for good reason. While it seems everyone knows how to set and achieve SMART goals, it’s helpful to be reminded of these metrics’ value.

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

  • Specific: “Increase sales,” “get more signups,” and “improve brand awareness” are just wishes. There’s no clarity on what exactly “increase,” “more,” or “improve” actually mean. However, “increase sales by 15%”, “get 500 more new signups,” or “improve brand awareness by reaching 2,000 more users” add a clear goal framework.
  • Measurable: How do you know your campaigns are successful if you don’t track your results? Using tools like coupon codes and website analytics help assess your marketing reach. 
  • Achievable: “Get 1,000 repeat purchases” is a specific goal, but it might be unrealistic if you only send your message to 1,000 subscribers. Determining your average conversion rate helps you understand how many impressions or offers you need to generate to reach your desired number.
  • Relevant: Your goal should align with your overall business goals. There’s no point in increasing email signups if you’re not investing resources to generate and distribute quality email content.
  • Timely: Don’t start a campaign without an end date in your mind. You can always extend or re-run your campaign length if you are unsatisfied with the results, but setting an initial duration helps designate resources and set reasonable expectations.

2. Create an Offer 

Once your goal is set and you have the resources to achieve it, creating an attractive marketing offer is the next step in enticing customers to convert. 

You shouldn’t make the same offer across all your communication channels. For example, suppose you post the same promotional message on social media, email and SMS. In that case you’re not taking advantage of each channel's unique attributes and you risk alienating potential customers.

3. Make Your CTAs Clear

What do you want your customers to do? Creating a concise, easy-to-understand call-to-action helps customers know how to proceed. Examples of clear CTAs include:

  • Buy Now
  • Sign Up
  • Order Here
  • Subscribe
  • Try for Free

Pro tip: Ensure that CTA buttons are strategically placed and easy to click on desktop and mobile screens.

4. Segment Your Audience

No matter your niche, it’s unlikely that all your customers match the same profile. For example, your customers probably belong to different age/gender groups, are unique in their preferences or live in different locations. 

Segmenting your audience allows you to create personalized offers that customers can relate to in their journey. For example, if you send the same mass text to 2000 people, you might have less engagement than if you sent a targeted message to only 500. 

Sending irrelevant or generic SMS messages to your audience can hurt your ROI and push customers away. 

5. Test, Monitor and Take Action

Once your campaign has launched, you can start tracking analytics to see how your message performs. You should analyze the metrics of open rates, click-through rates (if your message includes a link), and unsubscribes. Subscriber engagement will show whether your offer “landed” with your target audience.

6. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

If you plan on linking to your website via text message, make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Remember, what works on desktops doesn’t always work on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets.

Issues like unreadable text size, non-clickable buttons, and slow-loading pages can kill a campaign within seconds. So before launching your campaign, make sure the mobile version works perfectly and won’t affect the user experience negatively. 

7. Manage Subscriber Replies

Your campaign may include asking for short replies or feedback from your subscribers. It’s a great way to engage them and ask for a small action that could lead to a more significant final step. 

For example, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product (or tell your friend about it)?”

8. Be Data-Driven

Don’t start any campaign without having unbiased and dependable statistics. Just like using SMART goals, use data to interpret results rather than guesses or hunches. Analyzing campaign results and running A/B tests help improve future campaigns and user engagement.

9. Align your Messaging With Your Overall Marketing Strategy

While you shouldn’t promote the same offer across all your marketing channels, your tone of voice, value proposition and brand image should be the same.

Every campaign you launch should create continuity while supporting your marketing vision. 

10. Partner With the Right SMS Messaging Platform

An SMS marketing platform might sound like just a tool that delivers your message to your subscribers. But that’s only the technical aspect.

For example, Textedly allows you to add pictures and links to your SMS campaigns, employ two-way conversations and track analytics with a user dashboard. It also allows you to segment your subscribers and schedule your marketing messages whenever you want.


SMS Marketing Campaign Ideas That Captivate

With SMS marketing, the challenge lies not only in grabbing attention but also in captivating it. Crafting SMS campaigns that resonate with your audience and leave a lasting impression requires creativity, strategy, and a deep understanding of consumer behavior. Below is a selection of SMS marketing campaign ideas that go beyond the ordinary, sparking curiosity, excitement, and engagement. 

Exclusive Offers

Exclusive offers wield a powerful allure in the world of marketing, and for good reason. By providing customers with access to special deals, discounts, or promotions that are available only to a select group, businesses can create a sense of exclusivity and urgency. When customers know they're getting access to something that's not available to everyone, it triggers a psychological response that compels them to act quickly. Whether it's a limited-time discount or a VIP-only sale, the fear of missing out drives customers to make purchases they might otherwise delay or overlook.

Time-Sensitive Promotions 

Time-sensitive promotions, characterized by their limited duration and urgency-inducing nature, are a cornerstone of marketing strategies across industries. Their effectiveness lies in their ability to create a sense of urgency and scarcity, prompting customers to take immediate action.Personalized Recommendations

Personalized recommendations are a game-changer in the realm of marketing. By tailoring product suggestions and content based on individual preferences, behaviors, and past interactions, businesses can create a more personalized and relevant experience for each customer. These custom experiences have the power to drive higher engagement and conversion rates. 

Measuring the Success of Your SMS Marketing Campaigns

In the dynamic landscape of digital marketing, success isn't just about launching campaigns; it's about understanding how they perform and leveraging insights to drive continuous improvement. 

From open rates and click-through rates to conversion metrics and customer engagement, analyzing the performance of SMS campaigns provides invaluable insights into what's working, what's not, and where adjustments are needed to maximize ROI. Below are some ways to monitor the health and success of your campaigns.

1. Track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

To evaluate the success of SMS campaigns, it's crucial to monitor key performance indicators such as: 

  • Delivery Rate
  • Open Rate
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  • Conversion Rate
  • Opt-Out Rate
  • Response Rate
  • Cost Per Conversion (CPC)
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Increase
  • Lead Generation

These metrics offer insights into the effectiveness of your messaging, the engagement level of your audience, the cost-effectiveness of your campaign, and its impact on long-term customer value and lead acquisition. By tracking these KPIs, businesses can fine-tune their strategies for better ROI and campaign performance.

2. Perform A/B Tests  

A/B testing, or split testing, is a critical strategy for enhancing SMS campaigns through a systematic comparison of two message versions (A and B) to determine which performs better on specific KPIs. 

First, decide on what you want to test—whether it’s message content, timing, or CTAs. Develop two versions, splitting your audience into two equal groups to ensure valid results. Then, run the two versions at the same time and analyze the outcomes using your KPIs. What you learn from these tests can then inform your future campaigns.

3. Understand Your Customer Feedback 

Engaging with customer feedback is essential for refining and adjusting marketing campaigns to better meet the needs and preferences of your audience. By leveraging insights from customer feedback, you can identify areas for improvement, strengthen customer relationships, and drive continuous optimization of your marketing efforts. 

DO’s and DON’Ts of Successful SMS Marketing Campaigns

Finally, here are some helpful DO’s and DON’Ts to remember before you start your SMS campaigns.

DO Make Your Messages Personal

The content of your messages is crucial. However, more is needed to engage your audience. For example, addressing people by name and offering them something they need or will want makes your audience feel that you genuinely care about them.

DON’T Spam Your Audience

Are you engaging your audience or enraging your audience? A common mistake made by many businesses new to SMS campaigns is spamming their customers, thinking that the more messages they send, the larger their open rate will be.

If you want to get the most out of your SMS marketing campaign, refrain from overwhelming your audience. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would feel if you constantly received messages from the same sender. Pretty annoyed, right?

The fact is that people will ignore your messages if there are too many of them. That is why the first step in achieving great SMS open rates is to carefully decide the proper amount of texts you will send and make sure they are truly relevant.

DO Create Engaging Messages

If your message is boring or irrelevant, most people won’t even bother to read it – or worse yet, unsubscribe from your texts. 

Ensure your content is brief and to the point, and include information that’s engaging and relevant to their current situation. 

Many businesses use text messaging to provide customer service and delivery status notifications. But what about weekly news and tips written in a way that highlights the unique selling point of your products and services? Or contests and loyalty programs? 

DON’T Text at the Wrong Time

In SMS marketing, timing is everything. Among all communication channels that deliver messages in real-time, SMS is the most immediate. The number of mobile phone users exceeds the number of internet users, enabling business text messaging to beat both social media and email marketing. 

However, the fact that you can engage a prospect at any given moment doesn’t mean you should. Some texting times are more effective than others.

Read more on the Best Time to Send Business Text Messages to learn which days and times customers are most receptive!

DO Be Consistent

Consistency is key. If a customer has entrusted you with their phone number, they expect something valuable in return. Therefore, establish a predictable text cadence with your customers, so they know what to expect and don’t feel annoyed or underwhelmed with your communications.

DON’T Skimp on Tools

Text message marketing is one of the easiest strategies to employ, especially with the help of automation tools.

A reliable texting service for business includes more than a phonebook and a mass group texting feature. We’ve seen how time-sensitive SMS marketing is, which also requires scheduling and automation. Features like automatic replies, two-way messaging, free incoming texts, multimedia messaging services (MMS), and analytics make digital marketing campaigns almost foolproof.


Run Successful SMS Marketing Campaigns With Textedly

As we’ve discussed, SMS marketing has increased effective communications and engagement between organizations and their customers. 

Now that you’ve got some tips and marketing best practices under your belt, you may be excited to start your first SMS marketing campaigns. But what text messaging platform should you choose to get the most bang for your buck?

Textedly is the trusted choice of world-class businesses and organizations, powering millions of text messages daily. Built with powerful features, Textedly enables you to send text messages at scale with just a few clicks.

SMS marketing has never been easier with Textedly.  Sign up for a free Textedly trial today!