The Beginner’s Guide to SMS Marketing

The Beginner’s Guide to SMS Marketing

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Deciding on what kind of product or service your business should offer is just the first step. However, figuring out the ways to generate profit from it is another thing.

This is where you should start to practice marketing. Specifically, SMS marketing. But what is it and how do you do it?

I will give you a guide to SMS Marketing today.

There is one particular type of marketing that we will be discussing in this article — the Short Message Service (SMS) Marketing, or also known as text message marketing.

Below are the main points that will be tackled, mainly focusing on SMS Marketing and how you can use it even if you are only a beginner:

  • What is SMS Marketing?
  • How to Practice SMS Marketing?
  • How to Grow Your Market?
  • Advantages of SMS Marketing
  • Disadvantages of SMS Marketing

Marketing, in general, is the process where a business creates ways on how they will communicate with their target consumers. This includes formulating strategies that will help sell and widen your product’s reach.

If your product is not limited to gender, location, age group, and other classifications, this would mean that you have a broad target market.

What is SMS Marketing?

Short Message Service or SMS Marketing is an advertising tool that is operated through sending promotional text messages, that is if the user allows them to.

This practice is continuously growing and is being used by a lot of entrepreneurs in the present. According to Text Local’s statistical data, there will be 48.7 million consumers who will allow companies to send them business messages.

Here some things you need to know:

  • You can send up to 918 to 1600 characters
  • This depend on the phone and network system used.

However, it is limited to 160 characters per message. If you send more than 160, the message will be broken down into chunks and will probably cost you more.

Because it is a permission-based advertisement, the process starts with the customers themselves. They first have to allow your messages to be sent to their inbox by texting the code that your business provided.

The system will then recognize it as a subscriber and thus, send them the advertisements.

Speaking of the provided codes, let us now talk about the two types of codes you can set.

Short Codes

The first type is called short codes. This consists of a combination of 5 to 6 numbers. It is easy to remember, which makes it advantageous for businesses that have a very big subscriber list, like mobile networks, SIM cards, TV networks, and the likes.

On the other hand, this also has disadvantages. If you are using a shared short code, meaning there are other businesses using your code other than yours.

Though it is more affordable compared to personalizing your own, it may cause complications for both parties.

You can avoid this through paying for a dedicated short code for a slightly higher cost. Having a dedicated code means you have the code for your business only, which will give you more control over the system.

Long Codes

On the flip side, long codes are 10-digit combinations. This gives the feel of being more “personal” with your market, unlike in short codes where it is obvious that they are communicating with a bot.

This is beneficial for companies because it can be used as an all-around contact number. It is not limited to text messages only. You can use this for calls, faxes, customer service and many others.

But unlike its counterpart, you cannot send multiple messages at once with long codes. You also cannot send multimedia, plus, because they are longer, users tend to mistake your code for another more commonly.

How to Practice SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing is not just the mere texting of your product details to random people. It is a marketing art.

You should also plan how you will approach your customer in a way that they would want to keep subscribed.

Below are some things you need to consider:


Just because you received permission does not mean you can text anytime. It doesn’t mean you can just advertise your product in the middle of the night or early dawn.

You should take note of existing laws about when you are allowed to send SMS messages. 

This varies from country to country, so research is very essential.


After determining the perfect time to advertise, you should now decide how often your text messages will be sent.

A marketing that is done too rarely will not work. However, if it is done nonstop, your target will get annoyed and will to unsubscribe.

The recommended frequency would be 2 to 6 SMS maximum per month. More times than this may look like spam.


Text messages are naturally dull, but you should not keep it like that. How your message looks like has an impact to your customers. It is easy to appear cold and unentertaining in texts.

To fix this, your message should be kept short, simple, but the same time, sweet. Avoid huge blocks of text for the user may find it boring. Also, you can add images, personalized invoice of your brand, and even emojis.

Seasonal Coupons

Offering timely discount coupons or vouchers through SMS may also help your business. It may be a welcome code after a new user subscribes or a currently on-going sale or offer.

The Right SMS to the Right Recipient

If your product is not limited to gender, location, age group, and other classifications, this would mean that you have a broad target market.

You cannot just send the same message to every one of your subscribers. It would feel irrelevant on your customer’s side.

As a beginner, you should learn the significance of list segmentation. This is the process of grouping your market in the characteristics that they have in common. Some network providers provide you with this option and customize the message by where they are or what their traits are.


Of course, the most important thing is the content itself. Repetitive and uninteresting messages may result to loss of subscribers, or worse, low rate of sales. Your content should contain direct instructions, relevant information, website and brand links, answers of frequently asked questions and disclaimers.

You should also use common language, or a language that can be understood by the general. Avoid jargons and special terms.

In SMS Marketing, a good and informative content is equivalent to subscribers’ satisfaction.


You have to let your customers know that they can stop your messages at any time you like. Occasional inclusion of how to stop your SMS service can make your customer feel assurance that they can still control what they receive.

How to Grow Your Market

The hardest thing about starting out in SMS Marketing is learning how you can grow your subscribers. Having a large target market will not automatically make your subscribers list large. You have to initiate reaching out to them so they would do the same.

Here are some ways that you can do to attract more people to your market:

Modify Your Website

An official website is a must for every business. Having full control over your page will give you limitless options and this includes the choice of adding a quick-to-subscribe tab for your site visitors.

You can allot a specific space for your customers to easily navigate where they can sign up for SMS alerts.

Use Social Media

Before aiming for access to your market’s SMS inbox, which is a lot more personal, you first have to make your business be recognized.

You can start by introducing your business by using various social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a lot more. You should not limit yourself to what is famous at the moment. Take time to actually use different platforms to reach a larger audience.

Maximize Your Email Use

Your email should not be sitting idly; you and your business will be at an advantage if you start maximizing your email’s purpose.

Make it visible in every platform you use so more people can see and subscribe to email alerts. These email campaigns can then be turned to SMS campaigns if used correctly. By correctly, we mean, writing a content that can convince your target market that SMS is as, if not more, efficient than mail notifications.

Run a Contest Through SMS

What will be more effective than showing your customers what they can get when they opt to use SMS alerts?

Organizing a contest, giveaway, or raffle every once in a while, can help attract more subscribers, and at the same time, you can also market your product by giving your customers a chance to use your product.

Advantages of SMS Marketing

If you are having a hard time deciding whether you should use SMS Marketing or not, listed below are some upsides of using the said platform:

It is permission-based

Marketing through SMS will be beneficial to your business because you would be assured that the people you are sending messages to are interested in your product and/or service.

They won’t subscribe for alerts unless they are planning to, if not already, use what your business offers.

On the other hand, your customers will also have their fair share of advantage because they will only receive messages that they allowed to. They can also subscribe and unsubscribe easily by sending keywords to your code.

You can communicate with many customers at the same time

SMS Marketing can be considered as a mass communication tool because it is instant and is able to send messages simultaneously to thousands of people. Your messages will feel more personal which makes it easier for customers to read your message.

In addition, mobile phones are very accessible, especially in the present. Unlike in emails where you need to be connected to an internet connection, text messages can be read offline and will take only seconds to read.

SMS Marketing works great, both as a standalone and as a collaborative channel

This type of marketing can work independently. You can advertise your product accurately and without complications. You don’t need third party servers to let the customer read your message, your chosen service provider is enough.

Even so, you can still use SMS Marketing as a tool to support your other platforms. You can notify a user about an advertisement sent to their email through text messages and even redirect them to product links.

Messages can easily be spread from person to person

Text messages are easier to forward to other people. Your customer may send your advertisement to another family member or friend which can result to a larger traffic.

Disadvantages of SMS Marketing

On the contrary, SMS Marketing also has its fair number of disadvantages. Some are:

It is permission-based

Though this is listed as an advantage, this can also be unbeneficial to your business. You have to work hard in growing your subscribers list to have a huge market that will allow you to send text messages.

There are some customers, no matter how much they like their product, won’t opt in to SMS notifications because they feel like it is too invasive, and thus, uncomfortable.

There is a character limit

Unlike emails and posts in social networking sites or SMS, you cannot freely express everything you want to say in a single message. Thus, you have to carefully write your content while considering its length and conciseness.

If the message is formulated even a little too plainly, you may sound flat and boring which the customer will definitely not like.

You have to follow a strict set of regulations.

Because text messages are considered personal, there are a lot of rules and laws that you have to follow. Mostly about privacy and data breach, and spam messages.

Like what is stated above, you have to choose the correct time and frequency when sending your messages. If you overdo them, customers may even file a complaint about your business which will cost you more than the marketing fee, itself.

Summary: Guide to SMS Marketing

All in all, SMS Marketing will be a good marketing tool especially if you want to reach a large target market at once.

It will be a good investment if you want to broaden your business platforms and want to include your customers that are not always equipped with an internet connection in your business and product updates.


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