22 SMS Marketing Best Practices That Are Actually Myths

SMS marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels available to businesses today.

According to Mobile Marketing Watch, text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 20% open rate. And, text messaging has a 45% response rate, while email only has a 6% response rate. (Velocify)

Even though SMS is one of the most effective and oldest marketing channels out there, there are still a lot of misconceptions that linger around this channel – all of which I’ll bust in this article.

1. SMS marketing messages can’t be personalized

I don’t know why so many brands don’t personalize their SMS messages, but you certainly can. How? You can use information such as behavioral data and demographic data to create highly targeted messages. For example, if you own an optical store, and a customer normally orders contact lenses from your store every 3-month, send her text promotion when it’s time for her next order. Remember, the more you personalize your messages, the better they will perform.

2. SMS marketing is too expensive

If you are sending too many and too long messages, then this myth may be true for you. If your messages are too long, they will get cut into separate pieces, and you’ll be charged multiple times for a single message. Also, they’ll lose their gist. Ideally, your SMS messages should be 160 characters or less. When writing your SMS copy remembers, brevity is the key.

3. Nobody reads SMSes any more

They surely do. 90% of SMS messages are read within three minutes upon receiving them. And,“64% of consumers believe that businesses should use SMS messages to interact with customers more often than they currently do”. If customers are ignoring your SMS messages chances are that they might not be valuable or you’re reaching them at a wrong time. So, instead of dropping text messages from your marketing strategy make sure you find out what and when to send.

4. Sending more SMS messages means more revenue

SMS marketing is a great revenue driver, but the more, the merrier does not apply here. In fact, it’s the opposite the more you send to your list, the less they will engage. Remember, increasing your sending frequency can have diminishing returns, so it’s better to test and find the right frequency for your recipients.

5. People don’t act on SMS messages

People do act! You don’t have to take my word for that; I have stats to prove that “19% of people will click a link in an SMS campaign rather than just 4.2% for emails”. That’s not to say they’ll click on your every message unless you’re providing them an offer with a clearly-outlined value.

6. SMS marketing = promotional messages

SMSes don’t always have to be used to send marketing messages or promotions. You can use text messages to get feedback from your customers and to provide better customer service. An Open Market article states a majority of Millennials prefers businesses use text messaging, instead of calling, for customer service because they don’t like to talk on the phone. 

7. Sending batch and blast messages is cheap

It can be in the short term, but it will hurt your business in long run. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you do if you keep getting irrelevant messages again and again? It would annoy you, and you’ll start ignoring these messages, or probably you’ll opt out. 

Every now and then you may send the same marketing message to all your subscribers, but for the most part, if you want to increase engagement, it’s better to segment recipients and target them with relevant text messages as much as possible.

8. Never remove recipients from your list

Some marketers think that deleting people from their database can hurt their SMS marketing, but not deleting people from your list can hurt you even more. How? See people change their mobile numbers all the time if you don’t update your database regularly you’ll keep sending messages to these wrong contacts. And, if you are sending the message to wrong contacts your message won’t perform no matter how good they will be.  

Don’t be afraid to remove people from your database – identify contacts who haven’t opened your messages in the past few months and delete them from your list quickly. 

9. SMS marketing is spammy

No, it isn’t as long as you are following the given below rules:

  • You have explicitly taken permission from your contacts to fire text messages to them.
  • You provide an opt-out option in your SMS messages.
  • You are sending messages from a familiar number.


10. SMS marketing can’t be tracked

I think it’s the biggest myth. You can easily track who opened your message, who clicked on your link, and who ignored your message. Nowadays every SMS gateway allows you to track your progress and some of them even show you the best time to send your messages.

If you’re not acting on this data, you won’t be able to improve your future performance.

11. Text message marketing isn’t for my business

Don’t fall for this myth. There is no business that SMS marketing wouldn’t benefit. Seriously. Every industry can use SMS marketing from travel to healthcare to beauty&fitness to hospitality.

Also, no matter whether you are an SMB or big business, you can benefit from this channel.

12. CTAs aren’t important in SMS marketing

One of the most common reasons SMS campaigns fail is that they don’t present call-to-action in a way that customer can recognize it. Don’t make this mistake the only way to encourage people to take action is by letting them know how. So, do include a phone number or URL as the CTA to induce actions.

13. SMS marketing is a one-way communication

A common misconception that most businesses have about SMS marketing is that it’s a one-way street. They use text messages to send offers, coupons, and deals to their customers but text messaging isn’t limited to that. You can use it as a communication channel too. By using SMS as a two-way communication channel, you can improve your customer experience, which in turn will improve your bottom line.

14. Consistency doesn’t matter in SMS marketing

Well, it does. It’s unlikely that you’ll get good results from your SMS marketing if you don’t send messages consistently. If people don’t hear from you for a long period of time, they will forget about your brand or lose interest over time. If you message them too frequently, they’ll get annoyed and will opt-out. Ideally, you should keep an SMS marketing calendar of when and what to text your contacts.

15. You don’t need to give an Opt-Out Option

No, you should! No matter the channel every marketing message should provide recipients an option to stop receiving the messages from their business. Make sure you give your subscribers an option to opt-out from your text messages regularly. Also, ensure that it’s clearly defined in your message.

16. SMS is a standalone channel

Well, this one isn’t a myth! SMS can work as a standalone channel, but to leverage its full potential, you should integrate it with other marketing channels. For example, you can send a coupon in your email and follow up with an SMS reminder to encourage more people to avail the coupon. Remember, just because you can use SMS as a standalone channel doesn’t mean you should.

17. SMS marketing is interruptive and intrusive

SMS marketing can be intrusive and disruptive when you reach to wrong contacts or when your messages are not valuable. So, make sure every message you send to your recipients delivers a differentiated value. Instead of sending same text messages to all your subscribers, I highly recommend that you focus on creating highly targeted messages that will interest your recipients.

18. SMS marketing doesn’t generate a good ROI

Well, it does. When done properly, SMS marketing campaigns generate lots of revenue. Some stats from one of our client, Lenskart:


Those who say that SMS marketing has a poor ROI probably just don’t know how to use it properly. So, if you aren’t seeing a positive ROI from this channel, try changing tactics to get positive returns.

19. Segmentation isn’t important in SMS marketing

No, no, no! To get good results from this channel, your message needs to be relevant. And segmenting your customers is the key to relevant messaging.


Segmenting your SMS database Pay Off

If you’re not clear how to segment your database here’re few ways to do that:

  • Gender
  • Geographic area or Zip code
  • Past Purchases
  • Age


20. Exclusivity doesn’t matter in SMS marketing

It does. Stay away from sending the same messages you’re sending on your other marketing channels. There’s no appeal to an offer if it’s available to everyone. Also ensure you clearly mention in your message that the deal is only for customers who’ve opted for text messages to make them feel that they are part of something special.

21. There’s one perfect time to send SMSes

This one is far from the truth. In general, there’s no magic time for sending SMSes to your recipients. However, if you want to find the right timing for your recipients you need to answer all these questions:

  • Does a certain time of day make sense to reach out to users?
  • What time zone my subscribers are located in?
  • What time of the day did subscribers prefer receiving my messages (Look at your data to find the best time)?

Armed with this knowledge, you can customize your delivery time for better conversions.

22. When writing SMS copy, the focus should be on being brief

Being brief is important as SMS messages have a limit of 160 characters; when writing your SMS copy the emphasis should not just be on being concise, but being clear and action-oriented too. 

The copy is the most important element of an SMS, but it’s often the most ignored one — once written, you should edit it and try to cut your text as much as possible.






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