Text Message Marketing for Small Businesses

When it comes to digital marketing techniques, we’ve seen massive growth and diversification of platforms in recent years. While email marketing has long been popular, more recent competitors include Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media giants. Newer still to the major digital landscaping marketplace is text message marketing. 

SMS marketing taps into smartphone culture – while some people don’t spend much time looking at social media or reading promotional emails, most people are constantly checking their text messages.

Why is Text Message Marketing Great for Small Businesses?

There are so many reasons why text messages are a powerful tool for small businesses. Regardless of whether you operate a clothing boutique or a dental clinic, text messages can bring your business to the next level. 

Open Rates

As a marketer, one of your top priorities is always maximizing your return on investment. To do that, you have to make sure your marketing message gets seen by as many people as possible. And when it comes to getting eyes on your business, only one thing is more important than your audience size. What is it? Audience engagement. That’s right – it doesn’t matter if you have thousands of people on your email list. If they aren’t engaging with your business and opening what you send them, they’re not worth much to you. Open rates for SMS are over 90%, compared with a typical open rate of 20% for email. Equipped with this statistic, it’s easy to understand why using SMS for marketing can be more valuable for a small business with limited resources than email or other forms of marketing.


Most email inboxes are massively overwhelmed. Many customers barely look at their Promotions tab, and even if you manage to end up in their primary inbox, many customers feel inundated with far too many messages from businesses and are likely to quickly skim the email before moving on. Conversely, with texting, many people are careful with who they give their phone number to. Having the ability to text them puts you on a different level of intimacy with the customer. If you are able to get their phone number, you are essentially in their “inner circle,” and your marketing is more likely to be successful. This is because of a relationship of trust; it is illegal to send unsolicited text messages or make opt-outs difficult or inaccessible. You want to stay legally compliant and avoid losing the trust of your customers at all costs. For more tips on abiding by text messaging rules, download a guide here.


In a 2020 survey, over half of customers said a text message was the most effective way for a business to contact them quickly. Because customers check their texts very frequently, time-sensitive information like appointment reminders, shipping updates, and one-day sales or pop-up shops will fare better when sent to a customer’s phone versus their email or traditional mailbox.

Direct Links

Because text messages are short, sweet, and to the point, and usually only have one link to click on, they can be very successful at generating click-throughs. Indeed, one study found that SMS click-through rates are as high as 29%, and almost half of all those click-throughs result in a sale. When building a text message marketing campaign, don’t forget to use link shorteners to make those click-through opportunities more clear and appealing.


How to Maximize the Effectiveness of Text Message Marketing

Include a CTA in Each Text

Like all marketing efforts, texts are powerless without a call to action. Never send a marketing text without an opportunity for a customer to take action. Regardless of whether that action is replying C to confirm their appointment or clicking a link to get to your Labor Day weekend sale, there needs to be a clear instruction. Texts from a business are not something that people are likely to come back to unless they have a clear motivation; most likely, customers are going to read your text and then either immediately take action or mentally discard the message. That’s why it’s so vital to get them to engage.

Don’t Spam

As we mentioned earlier, text messaging is a uniquely intimate and consent-driven relationship with your customer. Sending messages too frequently disrespects that relationship and could cause unsubscribes or, worse, could cause customers to have a negative view of your business in general. Text sparingly – for most businesses, it’s wise to limit text message usage to 1-2 per month.

Include Exclusive Discounts in Text Message Marketing Campaigns

The best way to maximize subscription and retention rates for your text messaging program is to give users a great reason to want your messages. That’s why exclusive discounts and coupons are your text message marketing superpower. When you give people awesome deals they can’t get anywhere else, they will love being a part of your text message list. These exclusives can be as simple as an instruction to mention the text to the sales associate to get an extra discount, or they can be as complex as texting each customer a unique code for your e-commerce store on their birthday.

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Chantelle Gossner

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