Text Message Marketing for Small Businesses: 2023Guide

Read our in-depth text message marketing guide and learn everything you need to know to set up an effective campaign that will give you actual results.

Text message marketing can be a quick and relatively easy way to promote your business. That said, it’s important to plan your strategy and implement it the right way, so your messages don’t get lost in the ocean of other text messages your customers are receiving every day. 

In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything I’ve learned through my own marketing experience. I’ll also give you some expert tips on how to plan a successful SMS marketing campaign, and how to analyze the results from your past campaigns to optimize future results.


How Does Text Message Marketing Work?

Text message marketing appeals to the always-on consumer mindset. It’s a simple and effective way to reach your customers, wherever they are. Here are some elements you need to think about when planning a campaign:

  • Message frequency: You want your customers to notice you, but you don’t want them to feel like they’re being spammed. You’ll need to consider what the perfect frequency is for your audience.
  • Campaign type: Text message marketing is very versatile. You can use it to promote upcoming product launches, events, or special sales, or send your customers regular reminders about your services. You can also use it to call your customers to action, linking to a social media post, a signup form, or a survey.
  • Content style: Identifying your audience will help you develop the right voice and tone for your messaging, whether that’s fun and upbeat or serious and trustworthy.

The Benefits of Text Message Marketing

Here are some of the biggest reasons to include text message marketing as part of your marketing strategy.

High Deliverability Rate

If you’re familiar with email marketing, you’ll know one of the hardest things to do is to reach your contacts’ inboxes and get them to open the message. 

With text message marketing, this is much less of an issue, as open rates tend to be much higher. Most people won’t think twice about checking a text message, so you can grab their attention with minimal effort. 

That means you can focus more energy on crafting copy that invites them to take action, and less on worrying if they’ll ever see the message.

Instant Customer Engagement

With higher deliverability rates, text message marketing makes it easier to engage your contacts. In most cases, you’ll want your customer to click on a link, whether it’s to a product page, a signup form, or a social media post. 

Make sure to include a strong CTA in your messages to increase your chances of getting the click.

With Pay.com, you can even create a direct, reusable payment link and include it in your text message, so customers can pay for a product or service right away.

Minimal Time Investment

Not many people have the time or patience to scroll through a long-winded text message from a business. The best text messages are short and sweet.

This means you don’t have to spend a lot of time planning, writing, and editing long-form messages. 

Affordable Marketing

You know you’re onto a winner when you can save both time and money, and this is exactly the case with SMS marketing. The only real investment is the text message software you use to distribute and manage your campaigns.

Text message marketing allows you to cast a wide net at a small cost, which is ideal for SMBs looking to scale sustainably.

How to Build Your Text Message Marketing Strategy

Sending out texts without a plan could mean a low open rate or a generally ineffective campaign. To build a successful text message marketing strategy, there are various elements you’ll need to consider. 

Identify Your Target Audience

The first step of your plan is to figure out who you’re talking to and carefully plan out your brand voice. In many cases, it’s better to try to appeal to your specific audience rather than just shoot in all directions with a generic message. 

Who are your potential customers? What are they most interested in? What are their pain points? What’s the right tone to use to appeal to them?

Craft Your Messaging 

Once you’ve done your research and identified your audience, you can craft effective messages to speak to them directly.

For example, the brand Thursday stands out in the dating app industry with a voice that goes against the norm. If you were to write a message in their voice, you would assume that you’re talking to someone who’s sick of using endless dating apps.

It’s always a good idea to use language your customers themselves would use. If you see the phrase ‘dating app fatigue’ come up often in your research, you can use that exact phrasing for a promotional text.

With this extra information, your messaging will address core customer pain points and you can present your product as the solution. 

Determine Message Frequency

To set up your SMS marketing campaign, you need to establish how often you’ll send text messages out. Send too many, and you risk being blocked by customers; send too few and customers will forget about your brand.

Of course, message frequency will also depend on if you are actively running promotions. Generally speaking, 1-2 messages a week is a good pace to start with.

Message timing is worth thinking about too. When is the best time of day to grab your customers’ attention?

Say you sell an energy-boosting supplement, and your typical customer works a 9-5 job and crashes from fatigue when they get home in the evening. It would make sense to pitch a promotion after 5 p.m., when your customer is likely feeling the most desire to make a change in their life.

Establish Valuable Performance Metrics

Finally, to understand if your text message marketing is effective, you need to use performance metrics.

Common KPIs (key performance indicators) for text message marketing include:

  • Click rate: If the main goal of our campaign is to get your customers to click a link, then the click rate will be your most important metric. If customers are reading your texts but not taking action, it’s a sign that your messaging isn’t strong enough.

  • Open rate: The open rate can help you figure out if your timing and frequency are right. If customers aren’t opening your texts, it could be that they’re receiving them at odd hours or that they’re receiving too many.

  • Opt-out rate: If your opt-out rate is high, you’re probably sending too many texts, or your messaging is missing the mark with your customers.

When you can put figures to your campaigns, you know exactly how successful they’ve been and what you need to change going forward.

Analyzing your customer data and past sales can also be helpful. Pay.com offers an easy way to keep track of all your transactions.

How to Set Up Your First Text Message Marketing Campaign

If you’re just starting out with text message marketing, here are some tips for setting up your first campaign.

Decide on the Type of Campaign 

First, decide what type of campaign will work best for your business goals. Here are some examples:

  • Product launches
  • Abandoned cart reminders
  • Customer feedback surveys
  • Upsells
  • Appointment confirmation and reminders 

SMS marketing is versatile and can adapt to your current goals. For example, if you’re trying to push upsells, you can target customers who’ve recently made a purchase. If you’re about to launch a new product, you can use text messages to generate a buzz.

Set Up a Number

You need a valid phone number to start any SMS marketing campaign. Many text message software solutions will provide you with toll-free number options or activate your current number if that’s your preference. 

You may want to let customers know that they can expect to receive texts from the number if they opt in.

Grow Your Contact List

Before you start a new text message marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to get as many phone numbers as you can before you start a new campaign. Keep in mind that each new customer has to opt in, so it’s important to persuade them that it’s in their interest to sign up.

To convince your customers to opt in, you can add this as an option on your checkout page. That way, as soon as they’ve bought something, they can take the small extra step of signing up to receive your texts.

You can also incentivize customers to join via email with promotional discounts or special offers. Letting them know what they can expect can also help encourage opt in, as if they don’t know what they’ll receive, they’re likely to opt out later down the line.

Collect Data

To measure the performance of your SMS marketing, track data related to the KPIs most important to your business. With this data, you can then plan ahead for your next campaigns, and assess what worked well, and what didn’t. 

Offer Convenient Payment Options

If your campaign is designed for conversion, you should offer various payment options for customers who click the link in your texts.

If you’re inviting customers to join in on a current promotion or buy a product from your website, you should make it effortless for them to do so. For a frictionless purchase experience for mobile users, you need a convenient payment platform like Pay.com

Here at Pay.com, we prioritize speed and security, so customers can make fast payments without hesitation. We work with all major payment methods, so you can offer your customers a wide range of options.

What You can Learn by Analyzing Your Past Text Message Marketing Campaigns

One of the best things you can do to ensure sustained success with your text message marketing campaigns is to track data and analyze your results. This way, you can see how your marketing efforts are holding up and zero in on the problem areas. 

If, for instance, you have a low CTR (click-through rate), it could be that your CTA (call to action) isn’t inspiring the customer to click the link. If you had a high opt-out rate in your last campaign, it could be that your messaging targeted the wrong audience, or that it didn’t speak directly to their pain points.

Each metric you analyze can give you a wealth of information that you can use to develop stronger campaigns going forward.

The Bottom Line: Is Text Message Marketing Right for You? 

As a quick and cost-effective form of marketing, it’s easy to get started with SMS marketing even in the earliest stages of business. It’s versatile, too, so you can plug various gaps in your marketing strategy with one streamlined tool. No matter how you look at it, it’s probably worth a try.

If you use Pay.com as your payment service provider, you can also include payment links in your messages and allow your customers to pay directly using a variety of mobile payment methods, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.


Is text message marketing effective?

Text message marketing is quickly becoming one of the most effective forms of marketing. It’s especially useful for small business owners who want to promote products and services quickly and at low cost.

What are the benefits of text message marketing?

Text message marketing tends to have a higher deliverability rate than email. It also helps you create an instant connection with your customers, which you can use to build rapport and trust in your brand. You can use text messages to call your customers to action and even send them direct payment links for quick conversions.

How does text message marketing work?

Text message marketing can take many forms depending on the type of campaign you choose. Generally, though, it requires you to send messages from a business number to customers, usually with a CTA or link for them to follow.

When should I use text message marketing?

You should use text message marketing when you have a limited budget for marketing or don’t have the time to commit to lengthy campaigns. It’s best for small businesses in that regard, as it offers a simple way to stay connected to customers and maintain a human face for your brand.

How can I accept mobile payments?

With Pay.com, you can easily accept various secure mobile-friendly payment options, including digital wallets like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. You can also generate direct payment links for your customers. The best part about Pay.com is that it couldn’t be easier to set up. Click here to learn more.

Meet the author
Sam Dixon
A writer with a keen interest in software and finance, Sam has spent the past several years producing content out of Seville, Spain. He keeps up to date with all things tech and enjoys reading when he has a spare minute.
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