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What is SMS Marketing: Definition and Best Practices for Your Store

sms marketing definition

Chances are, if you’ve ever bought or booked anything online, you’ve been the recipient of SMS marketing. But exactly what is SMS marketing?

That ping in your phone’s inbox, the one that offers discounts on flights, provides you with details of your team’s next football match or updates you about the new opening hours at the gym, is an example of SMS marketing.

In the world of ecommerce, it reaches a huge amount of customers and has enormous potential to increase your conversion and customer retention rates. SMS marketing is really taking off amongst online stores, so we’re here to take you through the definition of text marketing as well as why it’s so great and how you can use it efficiently.

What is SMS Marketing?

Simply put, SMS marketing is the practice of selling via text. Businesses send these texts to leads and customers that have opted in to an SMS service, usually receiving promotional sales campaigns, confirmation messages, direct conversational messages and more.

Traditionally, there are four types of SMS marketing, all aimed at engaging a store’s visitors at different stages in their buyer’s journey. Text marketing campaigns can only be used once a customer has engaged with a store, provided some personal details and opted in to receive SMS marketing messages.

  • General – These are general updates that are sent to all customers regarding store operation times, maintenance times, event details, etc.
  • Promotional – These are typically cookie cutter messages that throw a general net over customers, attempting to reel them in with short-time sales, discounts, invitations to webinars, etc.
  • Transactional – These are auto-generated messages that are sent once a customer passes a transactional milestone. They might confirm a product order, remind a customer of an appointment or welcome a new customer who has opted into SMS marketing.
  • Communicative – These are one-to-one messages that address customers in a conversational manner. A store might send these messages if the customer has reached out personally to the store or if they have abandoned their cart midway through a transaction.

In most SMS marketing, the messaging of customers will be automated, meaning that you only need to construct the original message template and set up the parameters for when the messages are automatically sent.

With communicative SMS marketing, however, you’ll need a more personalised approach. TxtCart uses a mixture of real people and smart AI technology to approach customers on a human level, addressing them personally and, through helping to rescue abandoned carts, increasing your store’s revenue by up to 20%.

Try out TxtCart today for free

Why is SMS Marketing so Effective?

It’s probably no surprise to you that SMS marketing is emerging as one of the best marketing strategies for your store. We all see on a daily basis the general public glued to their phones; it’s only natural that text marketing, something that finds a home in the heart of where we pay most of our attention, is experiencing some serious success.

  • 5 billion people own mobile devices – that’s two thirds of the world’s population and an awful lot of potential when it comes to text marketing.
  • 45% of those mobile devices are smartphones – meaning that texts can include an instant access link to a store for nearly half of the mobile-owning population.
  • 50% of all global retail is done via smartphone – and it’s only increasing. Having a text link to your store is more effective now than it ever has been, and making sure that your store is mobile-friendly has never been absolutely essential. For help with this, try out Shopify’s top-rated page builder app, PageFly, for free.
  • 98% of texts get opened – compare that to a measly 20% of emails and it becomes clear why text marketing is so effective.
  • 90% of texts get opened within 3 minutes – this means everything in the world of SMS marketing, where timing is crucial.
  • 45% of texts get a response – again, compared to just 6% of emails that get a response, it shows that SMS marketing campaigns are much more effective at establishing a dialogue with your customers.

If you’re asking what SMS marketing is, you’re probably also wondering if it’s seen as an invasive medium. After all, text messaging is usually just reserved for friends and family, right? Does anyone really want to hear from companies they barely know?

Well, the crucial thing to remember with SMS marketing is that the texts you send as a business are sent with expressed consent of the recipient. They will never receive anything that they did not ask for, and in that regard, SMS marketing is nothing like those annoying pop-up ads or flashing banner ads you can get when visiting a website.

Mobiles are, indisputably, the closest device to a user, closer than laptops, TV, radio and anything in print. If your customers give permission for your text messaging marketing campaign, it can drive sales directly through the device that’s barely ever out their sight.

That means the potential for SMS marketing for your store is profound.

7 Best Practices for SMS Marketing

So, you know what SMS marketing is and you can see why SMS marketing works so well. Want to get in on the act now?

text marketing ask for permission

Here are 7 of our best practices for SMS marketing and how your store can go from zero text presence to the phones of thousands.

1. Make sure there’s consent

What is SMS marketing without consent? Frankly, it’s just unsolicited messages about a business, which, generally speaking, we tolerate less than pop-up ads on a website.

The best way to get consent from your customers is through a sign-up form, which you can present to them when offering a demo or trial of your product. If your store requires users to create an account, then this is also a great chance to ask if they would like to sign up for text marketing messages.

As always when asking for personal information, asking for a customer’s phone number and permission has to be tactful and subtle. Remember to clearly state in your policies that you will only use their number for SMS marketing purposes and will never share it with a third-party.

2. Make it relevant

Once you’ve got their number and consent for text marketing, you need to make sure the information you are sending them is relevant to them. For instance, don’t send initial sign-up offers to customers that signed-up for your service months ago. Likewise, don’t send event details for a meetup in New York to someone living in Hong Kong.

These may be fairly obvious, but there may be less clear distinctions between groups of customers. Many apps that help with SMS marketing allow you to segment your customers into different categories depending on their demographic and their current position in the sales funnel. Then, you can target these groups with different messages that are much more relevant to them.

3. Make it timely

Just like sending a group text to your friends at 4.50am, sending a text message from your store at the wrong time could lead to some pretty terrible engagement. Naturally, this will damage the efficacy of your texts and the sales of your store.

Only you will know the best time and days to promote your business via text marketing. Every product and service is different and, through trial and error, you will learn which time slot gets the best engagement from your audience.

You can check analytics on your SMS marketing app to see which messages are the most effective at getting read and receiving action. Of course, all of this will differ across regions and time zones, so if you’re an international ecommerce business, you’ll have a lot of tabs to keep!

4. Make it short

Without the potential for images and videos, SMS texting has to work hard to grab the reader’s attention. If you have a single block of text, you may be able to stuff a lot of words in, but you’re going to seriously bore your customer – and what’s the purpose of SMS texting if your customers click off as soon as they open a text?

Luckily, SMS has a rough character limit – around 160 – which some marketers see as a disadvantage, but you should see as a positive way to make your posts more engaging. Make sure you get out the most amount of valuable information in the fewest words possible.

Also, remember to use space and avoid ‘textspeak’ in your messages. Nothing screams unprofessionalism quite like a wall of text featuring the sentence ‘gr8 sale 4 u’.

5. Make it personal

While there’s some surprising effectiveness to sweeping promotional offers sent to everyone, you should never forget to treat your customers as individuals. Making messages personal is a great way to do that.

It’s possible to have automated text messages that address customers by name, but the best way to make customers feel valued is to have your messages written by real people who understand the customers’ needs.

text marketing txtcart

This is especially effective when dealing with abandoned carts, as only humans can truly understand the humanistic reasons as to why someone deserts a transaction. TxtCart uses real people to find out exactly why your customers are abandoning their carts, then reels them back in with the perfect coupons.

Give TxtCart’s 14-day free trial a go and start recovering up to 29% of your abandoned carts.

6. Make it one part of your outreach

We could harp on about the benefits of SMS marketing all day long, but it should really just be one part of the way that you communicate with your customers.

Consider a couple of other marketing options alongside your text marketing campaign to ensure that customers are always getting contacted via their preferred medium:

  • Emails – Lots of blogs titled ‘what is SMS marketing’ (yes, including part of this one) like to laude the benefits of SMS marketing while denouncing email marketing as comparatively useless. In truth, many of your customers will prefer to receive promotions and updates about a store via email than via phone; there’s no reason why you can’t offer both as an option.
  • Phone calls – Phoning your customers might seem pretty old school, but if you’re targeting an older demographic of buyers, there’s a good chance they’d prefer to be contacted via a phone call. Of course, these calls have to be made manually, and so they’re pretty inefficient in the world of fast-paced ecommerce, but if you have the capacity to offer them, then your customers might really appreciate the personal touch.

Including these two contact options on your customer form makes communicating with your customers a more comfortable experience for them.

In the end, if a customer feels comfortable with your communication, you’re likely to see some great engagement.

How TxtCart and PageFly can help your SMS Marketing Campaign

Capture with TxtCart, convert with PageFly – two top apps to drive a successful SMS marketing campaign.

A study by Barilliance found that a pretty staggering 77% of your customers will add a product to their cart before abandoning it at the last minute, with mobile devices inducing the highest abandoning rate of all devices.

In the fight against abandoned carts, TxtCart and PageFly can be a formidable duo. With TxtCart convincing customers with abandoned carts to come back, and PageFly offers a sleek, mobile-friendly store that makes a seamless and streamlined experience from SMS to Online store, catering to the 54% of shoppers that will be using mobile devices in 2021.

Getting started is simple enough. 

Step 01: Install TxtCart App

install txtcart for sms marketing

Step 02: Follow TxtCart’s insanely intuitive and fun-steaming onboarding steps

text marketing txtcart

Step 03: Create your first SMS Campaign

create sms marketing campaign shopify txtcart

Step 04: Make sure your landing page is mobile-optimized – which is made simple using PageFly Page Builder

pagefly txtcart sms marketing

After all, what is the purpose of SMS marketing if you don’t have a great-looking mobile store on the other end of your link

Capture with TxtCart, convert with PageFly. Try both apps for free by clicking on the links below:

Wrapping up on SMS Marketing

Remember, no matter what kind of business you operate, whether it’s business-to-customer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), dropshipping, wholesale or any other, there’s always scope for SMS marketing.

As long as you have customers, you will surely benefit from a targeted campaign of text marketing. It’s a journey that can lead to a great deal of customer engagement, website visits and salvaged carts, all of which helps increase your online presence as well as directly and indirectly improving your profit.


Author Bio

Once you’ve created your SMS marketing campaign, you’ll need a great looking store to close the sale. PageFly can help with that. PageFly is the top-rated page builder app on Shopify, assisting over 50,000 users from across the world in building their dream eCommerce store. We have a 4.9-star rating on the Shopify App Store and a 95% customer satisfaction rate, offering more than 50-page elements to enrich content, lower bounce rates and boost conversion rates.

Click here to start using PageFly for free: TRY PAGEFLY FOR FREE.

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