17 SMS Marketing Campaign Ideas for Every Type of Business

Sean Lund-Brown

With so many people being on their phones, short message service (SMS) marketing can be an effective way to improve sales and encourage consumers to engage with your business right in the palm of their hands. Text-based campaigns cater toward short, personalized messages sent to the subscriber to encourage browsing on your website, taking advantage of exclusive sales, and various other call-to-action incentives.

If you’re looking to build the business-to-consumer (B2C) relationship via SMS marketing, our team at Smith.ai wants to help you create campaigns that will generate leads and encourage customers to subscribe to your SMS content. The following are 17 SMS marketing campaign ideas for every type of business, whether you run an online retail store or a local service business.

1. Send a welcome message when a person signs up for SMS notifications

When customers first sign up for SMS notifications, this is a great opportunity to send them a welcome message with a call-to-action (CTA). Welcome messages can help:

●     Briefly explain why the customer should continue subscribing to SMS notifications (e.g., they get access to exclusive discounts, sales alerts, and updates)

●     Direct customers to your company’s website to continue browsing your products by phone

●     Encourage a new sale if you also include a sign-up discount for new subscribers to use

Keep these messages short and confined to a standard template. Welcoming campaigns serve as the business’s introduction to start a new relationship with the consumer, so you don’t want to scare people off immediately with long-winded texts.

2. Send a thank you or order confirmation message after someone buys a product

Each time a customer purchases a product off your website or store and provides their phone number, send thema thank-you text. Doing so can improve the company’s image in front of the consumer and also boosts brand awareness.

With these types of messages, you can also include the following types of CTAs:

●     Order confirmation: Include a link to let the consumer review their order on your website. You can also attach tracking information for them to monitor their order’s delivery, which can build trust between the consumer and the business.

●     Customer survey: Ask the customer to fill out a survey that gives insight into their shopping experience and ease of service. You can learn more about what influenced a sale and other ways to improve your business.

●     Temporary discounts:Always take an opportunity to boost another sale by attaching a thank-you discount to your message. This message can encourage the customer to buy another item they were considering but didn’t include in their original order.

3. Give SMS subscribers exclusive discounts or alerts for flash sales

When creating SMS marketing campaigns, maintaining exclusivity is a valuable tool. Let your customers know that if they subscribe to your SMS messages, they’ll receive:

●     Exclusive discount codes

●     Flash sale alerts

●     First alerts when popular items go on sale

Running discount or flash sale campaigns can be a great method to encourage routine spending from your customer base, especially if you regularly sell new products each month. Being consistent about sending incentives to your SMS subscribers can also encourage them to seek out your business in case you’re running a sale, thus maintaining your relationship with them.

4. Nudge a customer to return to their abandoned cart and complete their order

With online shopping, a common consumer habit is to leave products in the shopping cart without completing the order—it happens. People are distracted by social media, texting, television, people near them, and life in general—so it can be easy for an online shopper to abandon their cart unexpectedly.

If they use their account to browse your store, you can track this behavior and send push messages via SMS to encourage them to complete their order. Be sure to include a link to their shopping cart to make the online buying process easier for the consumer.

5. Promote content or blogs on your company’s website

Maintaining a consistent blog or content feed on your website is one of the top SEO strategies in digital marketing. You can create content targeting top searched keywords by your consumer base to generate new leads, create brand awareness, and inform your reader base about the features and benefits of your product or service.

Then, you can create an SMS marketing campaign to promote new content added to your website. According to Tech Jury, SMS messages have a 98 percent open rate, and 60 percent of people who receive text messages read them within one to five minutes. With an eye-grabbing headline, you can encourage SMS readers to click the link to your website and potentially generate a new lead.

6. Create a campaign around national holidays to promote your products

Perhaps some of the easiest SMS marketing campaigns to create are those centered around national and seasonal holidays, including consumers’ birthdays.

These campaigns should cater to the theme of the holiday or season and keep the consumers’ interests in mind.Consider sending CTAs that:

●     Encourage people to buy gifts for others, such as for Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day

●     Make the consumer feel special about receiving the message, such as birthday-related messages and discounts

●     Are in line with consumer interests at the time, such as during tax season, summer vacation, or the start of the new year

People often search for discounts related to holidays throughout the year, so these dates can be great segues to converting leads to transactions.

7. Alert customers when their favorite products are restocked in your store

Use SMS messages as an immediate way to get the word out when you restock certain items or lines. Thisupdate can encourage people to stay subscribed to your SMS messages in case they receive alerts on other popular or favorite items, including seasonal items.

When sending out alerts for restocked products, consider including the following in your messages:

●     Free shipping codes or free shipping for qualified orders (e.g.,“Free shipping on orders over $50!”)

●     Whether the item is popular and is likely to sell out again after being restocked (e.g., “These items go out fast, so get yours today!”)

●     Reminder that SMS subscribers get the first alert on restocked items (e.g., “You get first access to these items because we tell you first!”)

You can also review user data and automate SMS messages to specific customers when products they’ve purchased in the past have been restocked.

8. Take an opportunity to upsell a product the customer might be interested in

If a customer purchased one product from your store, they potentially could buy another similar item if you show it to them. You can create an SMS marketing campaign based on the consumer’s shopping history and try to upsell related products that they are likely to purchase.

Some ideas for this type of campaign include:

●     Items within the same product series: If a customer purchased an item from a line of products, consider promoting other items in the same line. For example, if a person bought a shampoo product, they may likely purchase a conditioner from the same brand later.

●     Similar item suggestions: If your business sells various products within the same category, such as clothes or shoes, you can boost similar items to the customer’s preferred tastes based on their shopping history. For example, if a customer often buys light knit floral dresses, you can boost items that match this style.

●     Follow-up services: If your business is service-based, consider sending out messages for follow-up services that the consumer might be interested in. For example, if you run a spa and a customer came in for a manicure, consider promoting your pedicure services in an SMS message later. If you operate an auto mechanic company, you can promote maintenance check services, such as routine oil changes, tire replacement, and realignments.

9. Tell your customers about new product releases

Whenever your company develops a new product line, use SMS marketing as a method of promoting its launch. You can promote new product releases in several stages, such as the:

●     Pre-launch stage: Before you release a new product, create SMS messages to create hype around it. During this stage, you can allow subscribers to preorder the item, see exclusive updates on its features, and know the exact release date before anyone else.

●     Release stage: On the day of release, you can send out SMS messages to remind subscribers to purchase the product or exclusive discounts that other consumers don’t have access to use.

●     Post-launch stage: Maintain the hype for consumers who haven’t heard about the product launch by sending out SMS messages promoting it. This messaging can be great for people who subscribed to your SMS feed after the product launch date and are just getting to know your company. You can also send out push messages to those who bought the product to leave a review for other consumers to see.

10. Give weekly or monthly tips that only SMS subscribers receive

Weekly and monthly tips viaSMS can serve as bite-sized content for subscribers. The key to this type of marketing campaign is to create tips or project incentives that can encourage consumers to trust your business or engage with it.

For example, some tip ideas you might send out could involve:

●     DIY projects that involve using your products

●     Safety and maintenance tips, followed by incentives to seek out your business for professional serviceif larger issues occur

●     Tips on saving money, followed by discount codes for your products or services

Similar to content marketing, SMS tips can quickly touch on a reader’s interest and they may want to learn more about your company’s products or services. You can also use a tip as a preview for a larger content piece and link to your website for those who would like to continue reading.

11. Give personalized messages to customers to add a conversational appeal

Building the business-to-consumer (B2C) relationship is an important aspect of marketing because it allows the business to understand its audience better. It also allows you to build trust in where the consumer is spending their money. Oneway to nurture this relationship is to send personalized messages, which can include:

●     Video or voice messages directed to the consumer

●     Reminders for upcoming appointments or subscription services

●     Anniversary reminders, such as birthday reminders, subscription anniversaries, and annual service reminders based on their last purchase

If you would like organic feedback from the consumer beyond a survey, you can also use chat features through SMS to communicate directly with the consumer. Start by asking an open-ended question or about whether they would like assistance, then let the conversation flow.

At Smith.ai, we can answer your SMS texts for you and refer good leads to your company so that you only have to answer messages likely to lead to conversions.

12. Promote upcoming events for your company

Get the word out on new events your company is hosting or appearing at to encourage audience engagement and potential sales.

Event-focused SMS texts can include:

●     Event information: Be sure to include the date and location of the event, as well as any time ranges attendees should know about if they want to appear.

●     RSVP options: If only a select amount of people can attend the event, make sure to include RSVP links to allow subscribers to reserve their slot at your event right away. You can also mention on other promotional materials that guests should subscribe to your company’s SMS services to RSVP to the event, which then adds their contact to your consumer list.

●     Social media links: If you shared your event on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, link this information in the SMS message so that readers can learn more about the event.

●     Event reminders: If guests had to RSVP to the event, you can also send out an event reminder so that they won’t miss the important date. Be enthusiastic about the event to encourage guests to attend.

If your event also features a sweepstake or contest opportunity, be sure to include information on how subscribers can participate and potentially win the grand prize. For example, if they also need to subscribe to your company’s Facebook page and comment on a specific Facebook Live video to participate in the event’s contest, that can build social media engagement and have followers stay up to date on your company’s latest products and services.

13. Encourage your customers to leave a review or read reviews on your products

Online reviews can make or break a business’s reputation. Reviews can also help maintain a company’s relevancy, as consumers are likely to trust reviews that are closer to the current date.

Regarding word-of-mouth advertising, the Nielson Company reported that 92 percent of consumers say they are more inclined to trust recommendations from friends and family over other forms of advertisements, with the appeal behind word-of-mouth reviews being that someone actually tried the product or service.

Knowing reviews influence others’ decisions to purchase your product or service, you can use SMS text messages to:

●     Encourage people to buy a product or hire a service based on its top reviews

●     Request reviews from people who recently purchased a product so that others can be influenced to buy it

●     Notify subscribers when their reviews get featured, which might encourage them to review more of your products or services

Keep in mind that you may still receive negative reviews. However, a follow-up method to receiving negative reviews can involve sending personalized messages or customer service surveys to gauge how things could have been improved to satisfy the consumer.

14. Encourage engagement with your company’s social media platforms

If your company runs active social media accounts, consider launching regular SMS marketing campaigns to promote those accounts and improve your follower counts. With the ease of many people using their phones to access social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube, making the transition from text to the app is as simple as a screen tap.

Some things you may promote via SMS texts include:

●     Facebook Live videos: Does your business regularly host Facebook Live videos to engage with their audience? Notify your SMS subscribers to tune into your live videos so they won’t miss out on discount opportunities, sweepstakes results, and other relevant information.

●     Social media contests:Get more participation in your giveaway contests by using your social media accounts as the main platform to participate. You can request participants to follow, like, and comment on whichever platform hosts the contest and announce the winner in a post update.

●     Promotional videos: If you created a new video about your products, services, or company and posted it on your social media accounts, you can alert SMS subscribers about this latest update.

If your company is highly active on its social media platform, be careful not to spam updates through SMS messaging, as this can deter people from wanting to follow you if they keep receiving notifications about everything you post. Be selective and keep alerts to big notifications that will encourage subscribers to read more about your company.

15. Allow your customers an opportunity to preorder products or prepare for upcoming sales

If your company regularly releases new products every month, season, or year, another SMS marketing campaign you can launch involves preordering.

Preorders allow consumers to put down payments on upcoming merchandise, which relieves them from having to beat other customers to the market on product launch day. Preordering also allows businesses to gauge how much product they should prepare for the release date if they are still manufacturing items and whether it may be necessary to order an additional lot of products to be sold after the first stock.

With SMS preorder texts, remember to include:

●     How much the new product costs and how much they must pay to preorder the item if different

●     A link to the preorder form for consumers to make their reserve payment

●     The date consumers should expect to complete and receive their order

Need help collecting payments while handling your preorders? At Smith.ai, we handle payment collection for our clients so that they don’t have to stay on top of being paid and can instead focus on their other business affairs.

16. Alert your customers about new changes in your business and other news

Beyond products, there are various other changes that companies can promote through SMS texts. Feel free to let your customers know about:

●     New commercial locations you’re opening up (and grand opening sales!)

●     New services your company now offers

●     New menus or additional options for consumers to choose from

●     Charity work and fundraisers your company is sponsoring

●     Free shipping opportunities

Whenever your company has big news to share that can also benefit its customers, SMS is a direct approach to spreading information quickly.

17. Create interactive messages that encourage customers to engage with your business

Finally, don’t be afraid to get interactive with your customers. Allow subscribers to respond to open-ended questions, ask more about your services, or connect with your business.

Having an SMS campaign that allows subscribers to be directed to an appropriate agent and open a dialogue about your company and what it has to offer is part of the appeal behind SMS marketing campaigns. Consumers can feel like they can quickly text a business to get answers, which can then encourage them to buy the product they were interested in.

At Smith.ai, we can take over your SMS text answering service and provide chat transcripts to show you which tactics generated leads for your business. We screen leads and transfer leads likely to result in a sale.

Remember the following elements when creating SMS marketing campaigns

Now that you have some ideas to use when building SMS campaigns, don’t forget to incorporate these key elements so that each campaign is effective in attracting business to your company:

Be direct about what you’re offering

No one really wants to read an entire essay via text, so keep your messages short, sweet, and to-the-point about what you’re offering. It’s better to lead with your offer so that the reader immediately understands what the message is about and that it’s for your brand.

This approach doesn’t mean your messages have to sound as robotic as the automated service sending them out. Still, it does mean you should always understand your audience’s interests and what would be good incentives to pay attention to your message. Some tips include:

●     Keep messages under 160 characters.

●     Use short links instead of long-winded and spam-y links.

●     Separate sale codes from text to make them more eye-catching.

Nowadays, consumers can be inundated with advertisements, and especially with spam texts. By keeping youroffer direct and professional, readers are more likely to pay attention to your campaign and read your message.

Make sure your call-to-action is clear and enticing

Following the same sentiment as keeping your messages short and concise, they also need to be clear. When writing CTAs, make sure thereader understands exactly what they need to do to take advantage of your offer. Use active language over passive language to sound more authoritativeand engaging.

Some examples of clear CTAs include:

●     Use FREESHIPPING2021 to get free shipping on your order today!

●     Shop through our new Fall Collection items here.

●     Buy 2 skincare products, get 1 FREE.

Create a sense of urgency to encourage sales

A common habit for people is to read a text and respond later, which can sometimes lead a person to forget the message altogether. When building your campaign, keep a sense of urgency so that readers are less likely to put off your message for later.

For example, are you running a flash sale that’s only good for the next 24 hours? Be upfront about it, and let your readers know that there’s no time to waste, or they’ll miss their chance to get their favorite items at a discounted price.

Understand best timing practices for your business

Consistency is also key to running good SMS marketing campaigns, provided that you do not overwhelm your follower base. There are some factors you should observe when creating campaigns so that you can continue to improve your lead generation:

●     What time of day you should send your texts: Many people read texts in the morning as part of their start-of-the-day process, so sending alerts between 8 and 10 am can be a good time block for you. However, if you notice your followers tend to do moreshopping around lunch or evening times, adjust accordingly.

●     How many campaigns you should run per week or month: No one wants to be spammed by multiple text messages, so be mindful of how many texting campaigns you should send out. If you send too many, you might risk having people opt out of your SMS services. Sending 1 or 2 messages per month can be a good starting practice.

●     What day of the week you should send out messages: Observe shopping or website click patterns to determine which day of the week you should send out your SMS campaign. For example, if you’re running a flash sale, you might want to do it over the weekend to give people enough time to do so. However, if you notice high activity on your website on Wednesdays, take advantage of that, too.

Don’t be afraid to get creative, but be respectful

The appeal behind texting messages, as mentioned, is that it can feel like direct communication with the business. That being said, you can be a little more creative with your messages and invoke a friendly, easy-going vibe to readers, like a friend reminding them of good deals via text.

However, a business should always be aware of its audience. If you run an accounting business, for example, then your tone should reflect that through your messages and cater to a more mature audience interested in their finances—not the latest Gen Z lingo. Other practices you should keep in mind include:

●     Avoid using vulgar or inappropriate language.

●     If you do use cheeky slang, don’t overuse it. This moderation keeps people from feeling alienated orout of touch.

●     Always use proper grammar to avoid confusion.

Build on your brand through the campaign

Finally, remember that SMS marketing campaigns are meant to build on top of your brand. Include your brandname into your messages as naturally as possible so that readers understand who is messaging them and that your message is one they can trust and not assume is spam.

As you keep creating engagingcampaigns, subscribers are likely to remember your brand’s name more often andrefer back to you for your products or services.

Worried about SMS text responses? Let Smith.ai handle those messages for you

As you keep creating SMS marketing campaigns that cater to your target audiences, you might notice how much time it takes to respond to every lead you get. Let Smith.ai help you cutdown on wasted time by screening leads for you and offering other virtual reception services to increase your company’s productivity potential.

At Smith.ai, we take on tasks like call answering, appointment scheduling, and SMS text answering for you so that your employees can focus on performing important work tasks that move your company for you. Our company also offers 24/7 phone answering, which includes after-hour call services and website chat. We can provide receptionist services that cater to your clientele’s needs, whether that includes bilingual answering or customized greetings.

Want to learn more about our virtual receptionist services at Smith.ai? Get a free 30-minute consultation by calling (650) 727-6484 or booking an appointment on our Calendly. We also offer a 14-day, money-back guarantee so that you can see how well our services serve your company or get your money back — guaranteed. All other inquiries can be sent to hello@smith.ai.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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