15 SMS Marketing Ideas to Generate More Sales
You’re ready to create an SMS marketing strategy, but what kind of text messages do you send and when? We’re going to give you 15 SMS marketing ideas to keep subscribers engaged and push your revenue through the roof.
Why use SMS marketing?
The goal of an SMS marketing text message is to drive contacts to take an action, like:
Replying to a message
Completing a survey
Sharing their opinion
Making a purchase
Registering for an event
Referring a friend
Leaving a review
The best SMS marketing texts will include a call to action (CTA) asking customers to do one of the things above. Create great experiences around these CTAs, and subscribers will continue to stick around. Just be sure to talk to them like you’re an actual human being—because that’s who they’re expecting to be on the other side of a text conversation.
People actually read their texts, so the subscribers who opt in to your list are doing so because they want to see what you have to offer. Fewer than 5% of SMS opt-ins ever unsubscribe, while 20% or more of email subscribers leave each year.
We’re going to show you SMS marketing ideas your customers will love, so you and your customers will get the most out of your messages.
1. Tell the World Your Business Can Text
People will only text you, if they know they can—so tell ’em!
Your existing customers, followers, the press, advocates, and employees will all want to know your business has a texting option. Get the news out across places like your:
General marketing materials
Include the CTA “Text Us” on any and all of your new marketing materials. Do this when you first start texting and ongoing. You’ll have to say it multiple times before it sticks for most people.
One of the fastest ways to capture people’s attention and let them know they can text your business number is to place an SMS Chat widget on your website. SMS Chat allows customers to text you directly from your website, and can be customized with a CTA, like:
“Text us to get a quote!”
“Text us to schedule an appointment!”
Any numbers that use the SMS Chat will automatically be saved, so you can text them again for your future SMS marketing campaigns. It’s the perfect way to grow your list of numbers.
The more you advertise that your business can text, the more comfortable customers will be using the channel to communicate with you.
2. Build an SMS Subscriber List
While you technically can text anyone who’s given you their contact info—we recommend that you only text the ones who’ve specifically opted in to receive texts from you. That way you’re fostering relationships with people who you know are interested in what you have to share.
The best way to build a list of opt-ins is through keywords. A keyword is a term customers text to your business phone number to be opted-in for specific information. Pick a term that is relevant to what you do, and showcase it in public places like your website, social media, and digital ads with an announcement, like:
“Text DEALS to [business number] for updates on our upcoming sales and discounts!”
You can create different keywords for different target customers, which is great if your customer base has different categories of products and services they’re interested in.
Every time a customer texts in a keyword, they’ll receive an autoreply telling them they’ve successfully been opted in. You get to choose what this message looks like, which is why we recommend using it to tell customers:
What kinds of messages they can expect to receive
Why these messages will bring them value
How often they can expect to receive these messages
“Thanks for opting in for [business] updates! Once a week we’ll send our latest deals, plus early access to our newest products before they even hit the shelves.”
This is not a one-time gig though. Building your SMS list must be a continual process for you to expand your reach and grow sales.
3. Advertise SMS Exclusive Offers
Everybody wants to be a VIP. Give your customers and followers that opportunity. Advertising discounts and flash sales creates a sense of urgency, especially when they’re limited to only your SMS subscribers. It’s just one more way to get customers to join your SMS subscriber list when you have a clear CTA like:
Customers will receive a one-time discount code when they join
SMS subscribes get behind-the-scenes info and updates that your business doesn’t share anywhere else
Customers can earn points toward purchases every time they participate in your text campaigns
SMS subscribers get opportunities to have input on your store, like which new products you add next
Just be sure to follow up on any rewards and value you promise. You’ll get as much from your SMS marketing campaigns as you put into them. That said, if your goal is to create an exclusive community that’s excited to hear from you, you’ve got to focus on personal touches to make them feel that way.
These are your VIPs—so talk to them like friends. Share behind the scenes, major milestones, and other details that make them feel like they’re part of your growth. If you can turn your SMS Channel into an exclusive content distribution machine, that also includes sales, you’ll build a loyal audience.
4. Share Updates On New Products and Services
Customers subscribe to your SMS list because they care about new products and services you’re dropping. So tell ’em about them.
Include why these products and services are important to the customer in your texts, plus a link to check them out. A photo of the product, or an infographic on what the service accomplishes, can also go a long way in getting a customer to take action.
After that first text, depending on how complex the product or service is, you can space out follow up texts to further introduce and hype the new release, including:
A link to a customer testimonial or case study
A highlight of a specific feature the product or service offers
Links to guides or blogs on how to best utilize it
Links to events or seasonal topics that highlight its relevance or usefulness
We recommend limiting these texts to once a week, so the new product or service can stay top-of-mind without overwhelming your customer. If there’s a lot of info you’re trying to share, use an image, flyer, or infographic. Keep the hype simple and sweet.
5. Create Personalized Promotion Opportunities
Any kind of personalized marketing will capture a customer’s attention. Combine that with the speed of texting, and you’ll hook customers as soon as you put the line in. That’s why they’re interacting with you on that channel in the first place—texting is fast and personable.
Start by categorizing your contacts into Groups, or segmented lists, based on their interests, including:
The type of service or product they typically purchase the most
Seasonal events or offers they participate in
Their specific use cases or goals
Where they are in your sales funnel (prospect vs. subscriber)
Create SMS campaigns that are relevant for each of these Groups, so they know you’re paying attention to their individual needs.
Once your contacts are in Groups, you can personalize your campaigns one step further by using Text Merge. Text Merge is a Mass Text with customizable fields you can fill with things like:
The customer’s name
Last purchase or service
Next appointment date
Number of existing points for a reward system
Seeing details like these pop up on their phone screen will encourage customers to interact with your message way more than a generic notification.
Don’t need to send a Mass Text every time? Our Merge Fields feature allows you to achieve the same level of personalization, but with individual messages.
6. Celebrate Milestones, Holidays, and Events With Customers
If sales are the only thing you text people for, you risk pushing them away. Mix it up occasionally, by celebrating things like:
The customer’s birthday
Major company events or accomplishments
The anniversary of a customer’s first service, appointment, or subscription date
These are all organic opportunities to stay top-of-mind, by reminding customers you exist and you want to commemorate big moments with them. This works to establish your brand as someone who cares about them, as opposed to just another company that wants their money—which helps you draw in more customers in the long run.
Giving a shout-out to a customer on their birthday, in particular, can impact retention. Text Request has custom fields to help you document things, like when a customer’s birthday is or the date of their first purchase.
7. Promote the Valuable Content You Create
You most likely already create content to establish yourself as an industry expert to customers. The biggest part of content marketing is distribution, so it only makes sense to incorporate sharing that content into your SMS marketing strategies.
Start by returning to the SMS subscriber list and Groups we talked about earlier. You can use the keywords subscribers have chosen to opt into, or the Groups you manually categorized your contacts into, as a way to determine what kinds of content they’d like to receive.
For example, SMS subscribers who opted in using the term TOOLS will most likely be thrilled to receive blog posts you’ve created around existing tools in your industry. Likewise, any contacts you’ve categorized into a Group based on the seasonal services they get will love educational guides on what causes the problems they typically get those seasonal services for.
Personalization should drive the content you share via text message. It’s what customers expect and will interact with.
8. Share Interactive Content
Things like polls, surveys, and questionnaires give you a chance to get feedback from your customers on future marketing efforts. You can gauge what they care about, when you ask questions like:
Want to vote on your favorite product release this year?
How could our services benefit you more?
Which product, service, or feature would you like to see added most?
These questions could either be asked directly in the body of the text, or you could link to more in-depth polls or surveys for the customer to complete. We personally love using Google Forms and SurveyMonkey for interactive campaigns like these.
Customers will stick with your business, when you give them opportunities like this to have a small say in what you do. It’s the kind of experience people want when they have the power to text you directly.
9. Send Links to Your Physical or Virtual Events
SMS subscribers opt in because they want updates on what you're doing—that includes your events. Sharing links to tickets or registration via SMS is one of the quickest ways to grow attendance.
You can also attract new contacts who haven't joined your SMS subscriber list, by using keywords to generate hype around the event.
“Text [keyword] to get early bird prices on tickets to our annual [event] webinar!”
The texts you send to customers to promote the event should include things, like:
Links to tickets
Event hashtag for customers to share on social media
Details on any early bird specials or group bundles
Giveaways or swag that will be available at the event
Food and drink options
You can even text customers during the event for things like updates, upsells, parking information, seating charts, and more.
Texting is an ideal way to get the most out of your event, while also making it more efficient for attendees. Plus tying your events to your texts shows people your SMS list gives them those great customer experiences they’re looking for.
10. Use SMS Marketing Automations to Your Advantage
Text messaging is a great channel for one-on-one communication, but there are ways to make it work for you even when your reps aren’t around to actively send messages.
Autoresponders move people through your sales funnel, by sending automatic messages when you’re not in the office.
“Thanks for contacting [Business]. Use [link] to start your quote, and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible.”
We also have multiple integrations that automatically trigger text messages based on certain actions, including:
Square: SMS invoice notifications
MindBody: SMS class reminders for those in the fitness industry
Clio: SMS billing notifications, payments links, and appointment reminders for those in the legal field
HubSpot: Send Message Triggers can be added to Contact-Based Workflows
Don’t see any software you use in this list? You can always reach out to our team to see what new integrations we have cooking. The more efficient your text workflows are, the more engagement you’re going to get from customers.
11. Upsell Relevant Products and Services
Remember those Groups we talked about earlier? You can also use them to track upsell opportunities when you categorize contacts by their previous purchases.
A good upsell text will feel more like a customer service interaction than a sales pitch. You’re introducing an offer that will make the customer’s life easier and improve their overall experience—which is why your accompanying text message should explain that value to them, including:
Whether or not the upsell is time-sensitive for a seasonal event
How the upsell compliments a product or service the customer is already using
If there’s a discount or deal associated with upsell, because of a previous purchase the customer made
How the upsell fits into the customer’s current goals or use cases
It’s all about showing the customer how the upsell is relevant to them in one short and sweet message. That said, if the relevancy is more complicated than one text allows room for, you should link customers to a guide or landing page that walks them through how it will benefit them.
Just like everything else with texting—and marketing in general—these upsells need to be personal to the customer if they’re going to make an impact.
12. Coordinate Your SMS and Email Marketing Efforts
Cross-pollinating your SMS and email subscriber lists is one of the fastest ways to grow both. You’re also more likely to get a customer to take action when they see a back-to-back text and email about a new offer you have.
We have an integration Constant Contact that let you automatically pull the phone numbers you collect from those platforms and put them into your Text Request account.
Follow up with subscribers on both platforms, and use data from your email campaigns to better target your SMS subscribers. Text messaging is just like any other marketing channel in that you will see the most returns when you use it in tangent with your other channels.
13. Share Service and Appointment Reminders
No-shows are the bane of service-based businesses. The simplest SMS marketing tactics you can implement to help eliminate them are appointment confirmation texts. Customers will also greatly appreciate the reminder!
Even if they can’t make the appointment, the confirmation text can include a link to reschedule—so the business isn’t lost.
“Hey [Name], this is a reminder that your appointment is at [time] today. Text C to confirm you’re coming, or use [link] to reschedule.”
We have pre-made text message templates specifically for your appointment scheduling needs.
Use SMS marketing to make things more efficient for your customers, and you’ll see higher rates of retention and revenue.
14. Ask For Reviews Via Text Message
Review links get lost in email, and in-person asks are forgotten as soon as the customer walks out the door. That’s why our customers have made the biggest impact collecting reviews using text messaging—because their review link is actually seen and opened through that channel.
If you don’t have a preferred review link ready to send to customers, we suggest creating one with Google Place IDs. Google reviews greatly affect how you rank in organic searches, plus it’s a search engine that is used across most audiences.
Go to Google Place ID
Write your company name in the “Enter a location” field
Click on your company name that appears in the drop-down list
Copy your Place ID that appears in the popover
Paste the ID number at the end of this link: https://search.google.com/local/writereview?placeid=
And that’s your review link!
Send it to customers with a short and sweet request, like:
“Did we do a good job? Go to [link] and tell us!”
Just be sure you give customers enough time between a purchase or service, before you make the ask. We have a whole guide dedicated to helping you collect more 5-star reviews.
15. Create an SMS Referral Program
Text messaging fits perfectly into your referral process, whether you’ve already created one or you’re starting from scratch.
Share this link with your existing customers, either on your website or through text, with a message like:
“Share this referral link with your friends [link], and receive a 10% discount off your next purchase when they sign up!”
A small incentive or reward can go a long way in getting customers to participate. But you have to create great customer experiences first, then swoop in with a referral program that capitalizes on it second for the best results.
Launch Your Text Message Marketing Strategy
You’ve got your list of SMS marketing ideas, now it’s time to create text messages. We have a full list of premade promotions and marketing text templates to get you started.
Create a communications calendar, plan out what you want to text about, have assets ready to go ahead of time to complement those messages—and you’ll be on your way to generating more sales with your SMS marketing strategy!