Jun 11, 2023

SMS Marketing: Definition, Benefits, and Ideas

SMS Marketing: Definition, Benefits, and Ideas

Nowadays, businesses take advantage of different channels to connect with their audience. Besides collecting people’s email addresses — which is a popular way of reaching them — more brands have started incorporating SMS marketing.  

You’ve probably heard of SMS marketing and are wondering how it may help. Does it improve engagement? Is it a good option for those on a budget? Can it foster brand loyalty? Find out in today’s guide.

What Is SMS Marketing? And What Are Its Uses?

SMS marketing or short message service marketing is the practice of sending promotional text messages to your current and potential customers.

These text messages can include important announcements about your latest offers, reminders to complete their purchase (for those who abandon their shopping carts), links to gather feedback, and so much more.

Here are some SMS marketing stats you should know, according to G2:

  • 60% of customers mention that they read a text message within five minutes of receiving it.
  • While 54% of customers receive promotional text messages, only 11% of businesses actually send them.
  • 75% of customers check their mobile phones within 30 minutes of waking up.
  • Click-through rates from SMS marketing can be 10-15% higher than email marketing.
  • 33% of those who receive a text message, respond to CTAs (calls-to-action). What’s interesting is that 47% end up making a purchase.

At UpViral, we provide our users with the ability to collect phone numbers from their giveaway/referral campaigns. Later in this article, we’ll show you how to increase their likelihood of opting in.

Which Industry Is Best for SMS Marketing?

The good news is that most industries can utilize an SMS marketing strategy, such as:

  • Travel and tourism
  • Retail stores (supermarkets, bookstores, sporting goods stores, etc.)
  • Ecommerce
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Healthcare
  • Real estate
  • Finance

The Benefits of SMS Marketing

From convenience to personalization and cost-effectiveness, there are many reasons your business should consider sending text messages as part of your communication strategy.

Quick and easy

Unless your recipient has provided you with the wrong number (i.e. they made a typo) or has a poor signal, marketing text messages are sent immediately to their SMS inbox. If they want to respond, they can do so right away.

Personalized communication

As with email marketing, SMS marketing can be tailored to your audience based on their personal information, buying history, and how engaged they are. For example, you can send them a “Happy Birthday” SMS on their special day to make them feel valued!

More likely to be read

Did you know that SMS campaigns have higher open rates than email marketing? Previous stats show an SMS open rate of 98% as opposed to 20% for email marketing. A good reason is that recipients are instantly notified.


If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to social media advertisements, SMS marketing is a smart choice. Each text message will cost you only $.01 to $.05. Moreover, it has the potential to drive sales as long as you follow best practices, such as sending your messages at the right times and including clear calls to action.

SMS Marketing Strategies and Best Practices

Now that you’re familiar with the advantages of SMS marketing, the next step is having a game plan that allows you to maximize this means of communication.

In addition to following the best practices below, we recommend finding the best SMS marketing platform based on your budget, number of contacts, other features you need, and available support.

Incentivize them to join your SMS marketing list.

Giveaways are perfect for encouraging your prospects to sign-up. Businesses usually run these competitions to grow their email list, but why not do it differently by also growing your SMS contact list?

Here’s an example:

Daniela, a digital marketer, ran an UpViral campaign for her e-commerce client Exact Clothing. It was a summer giveaway where shoppers could get a chance to win vouchers worth 1,000 ZAR.

People had to enter their names and email addresses to participate. However, notice that the third field requires them to also enter their cellphone number. See the screenshot below:

According to Daniela, she added this extra field which would allow Exact Clothing to text or call their prospects’ numbers during future promotional campaigns.

Get creative with QR codes.

QR (quick response) codes are very useful for generating leads. You can use them to promote an UpViral giveaway to as many people as possible, especially if you run a retail business, and instantly collect SMS subscribers.

For the second option, here’s an idea:

Put up a physical ad with the QR code and message that says something like, “20% off your next purchase when you join our mobile club.” After scanning the QR code, they’ll be redirected to their mobile messaging app with a pre-populated message to join your campaign. Once they hit send, they’re already subscribed to your SMS marketing list!

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

There are no limits to what you can do to keep your recipients engaged, excited, in the loop, and boost their readiness to buy from you. Not sure what to send them? Check out these ideas:  

Welcome message

Each time someone joins your SMS marketing list, send them a few messages to help them feel welcome. Introduce yourself a bit and include a “welcome offer” to enjoy a discount off their first purchase.

Order confirmation

Use SMS marketing to update their order status with a quick text. Acknowledge their order, send them a tracking link, and consider giving them an extra treat — % off their next order.


Need reviews to build your social proof? Send a simple text asking for their opinions. The best time to do this is after a recent purchase. Moreover, you can ask for a more in-depth survey long after they’ve joined your SMS list.

Time-limited sales

Doing a flash sale? Make your copy short but strong. For example: [Your brand name]: Cyber Monday Flash Sale starts now! Enjoy 70% off sale with code [FLASH70] at checkout. [link to the sales page]

Back in stock

These text alerts are extremely helpful for recovering potential revenue from customers who love certain products. Try incorporating a “free shipping with a minimum spend” note to boost your average order value (AOV).

Abandoned cart

Send a text to website visitors who abandon the products in their shopping carts. This is more advantageous than an email message, which is likely to get lost in a crowded email inbox.

Birthday offer

Improve customer loyalty through SMS marketing by sending out a discount during your customer’s special day. That way, they can get whatever they want from your store! Pro Tip: Create urgency in your message by giving them a deadline to claim their gift.

Check out these birthday SMS marketing examples from Yotpo:

Provide an option for recipients to opt out.

Similar to other marketing channels, never let your prospects into your SMS marketing list without giving them the ability to unsubscribe. For example, you can tell them at the end of each message: “Reply STOP to unsubscribe.”

Identify the best times to send marketing texts.

It would be a good idea to run different tests to figure out which schedule likely results in better conversion rates. You should always take note of their time zones and avoid sending during rush hours.

Wrapping Up

There you have it: all the basics of SMS marketing. Sending out marketing messages through text is relevant for many types of businesses, and as you’ve learned, you can make it work through different creative tactics!

When you need help with collecting more leads, UpViral has you covered. 🙌🏻 Use UpViral to build beautiful campaigns, such as monthly giveaways and sweepstakes, to grow your SMS marketing list — and so much more. Get started with UpViral here!