SMS Marketing – Top 5 starter tips to get response from your Bulk SMS Campaign

Many customers are new to SMS Marketing and we’re often asked, “what’s the best way to send out my SMS campaign”. As with all direct marketing campaigns, there is no universal best way. What works for one company won’t necessarily work for another. Sigh!

Having said that, there is some common ground and also some general advice which will help you get the best response from you SMS campaigns, so here goes;

1. What do you want to achieve?

Think about what you actually want to achieve from your Bulk SMS campaign. Is it a text back response, a phone call, an email, a visit to your website, etc. This will help you in writing your message and selecting your target audience. For example if you were texting older people you might want to have a phone number to call rather than a text back response as in all probability the majority of that target market will prefer using the telephone to talk to someone.

2. Target, target and target again

There’s a rule of thumb in direct mail that has proven itself bullet proof over the decades. The list (target market) you use is seven times more important to the success of a campaign than any other element of the campaign. This is of course true when it comes to SMS Marketing.

If we sent an offer of a buy 1 lipstick get 1 free to our entire list, you’d reasonably expect a close to 0% response rate from the men on the list! A glaringly obvious example of course but it serves to demonstrate the point!

Think about the people on your list. Are there any obvious ‘segments’ you can talk to more specifically? Gender is obvious, but, other things to consider are, age, geography, time since last purchase, product categories (what have they bought in the past), spend levels (how much have they spent with you), transactions (how many times have they transacted with you or indeed have they) and so on.

‘Segments’ will of course be specific to each company but normally in a list of any size there will be some segmentation that can be done so you can target your message and your offer more appropriately to give the best chance of success.

3. The Text Message

Now that you’ve decided on what to achieve and what segments you have, writing the message should be easy enough. Just keep it short, to the point and make sure you get you call to action across clearly, i.e. what you want them to do.

Don’t forget you might want to write several versions of the message which appeal to your various segments.

  • A good example of a succinct message is, “Great news! x% of all XYZ products for this weekend only. Only available online @ Use XYZ code at the checkout to claim. Hurry, ends 9am Monday!”

4. Test everything!

The biggest joy about SMS Marketing is you have the ability to test everything. Don’t be afraid to, it’s how the companies at the top find out what works best. For example, does a web promotion work best or is it best to invite people to call you or even respond by text? What time of day or night is best to send out your message? Or even a weekend? What offer works best, BOGOF or discounting.

Include redemption codes in your different messages (e.g. “use code XYZ when you call to claim your discount”) and track responses to work out which combination works best for you.

5. Remember, it’s an SMS Marketing ‘Campaign

Many companies like to try one SMS broadcast and if it’s successful, they’ll subsequently do another.

In common with other direct marketing channels numerous studies have shown that frequently prospects will not respond until they have seen a text a number of times. This is often simply because they do not know the advertiser, and continued exposure brings reassurance. It may also happen that your prospect is not in the market the first time your text arrives but some weeks later they are ready.

John Caples, one of the world’s great copywriters put the optimum figure at 7 times; David Ogilvy, the founder of Ogilvy and Mather, said 5 times. In any event the principle is clear.

Repeated exposure will bring a better response.


Using SMS in your company’s marketing mix is essential. I don’t know of anyone who does not use text messaging, including my 73 year old father. Using these 5 top starter tips you should be able to achieve excellent response rates to your SMS Campaigns and because SMS Marketing is so cost effective, it won’t even cost much to give it a go!

Get a Free Bulk SMS account with us and get testing today – once you’ve tried it, you won’t look back!