Text Message Marketing: How to Get Started

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Text message marketing is one of the most underrated marketing strategies in 2021. And that’s due to the many misconceptions that surround it.

Most marketers believe that SMS marketing died decades ago, or that it has become extremely overpriced. Others think that it’s no longer legal or that it’s too difficult for small businesses to execute.

But is any of that really true?

That’s what we’re going to answer in today’s article.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about text message marketing. We’ll explain why it’s a great option for your business and show you how to get started with it.


Let’s dive in.

What Is Text Message Marketing?

Text message marketing is a mobile marketing approach that uses SMS to reach out to prospects. 

An SMS is a short text message that can contain up to 160 characters, which you can send to mobile devices to make new announcements. For example, you can announce exclusive deals, contests, text message polls, or other information such as delivery status, purchase receipts, etc.

Is SMS Marketing Effective?

Here’s a statistic that might leave you surprised:

95% of subscribers will read your text message within the first 5 minutes.

This is the highest open rate you can get with any marketing strategy today. Which means that SMS marketing can help you boost brand recognition and promote your offers more effectively.


That’s not the only reason text message marketing is an excellent option for your brand.

For starters:

SMS marketing is an easy, cost-effective approach to connect with your prospects and convert them into loyal customers. Considering the high open-rates, you can rest assured that the ROI will impressive.

On top of that:

Unlike other types of digital marketing, SMS marketing doesn’t require internet access. And the number of phone users is expected to reach 301.65 million by 2022 in the US only.

That means that you can reach out to almost anyone in your customer base including underserved markets. And you’ll be able to promote your best offers with a click of a button.

Most importantly:

Your text messaging service provider will allow you to monitor your campaign’s performance. That’s an excellent way to learn more about your target audience, their needs, and their preferences.

You can then write better text messages, identify the best timing and date to send your campaigns, use better keywords, and achieve better results.

This question often comes up whenever SMS marketing is mentioned. And to be fair, you have all the right to worry about the legal side of any marketing strategy you want to implement.

The quick answer is:


Text message marketing is a completely legal marketing approach and many top brands are using it. However, it’s a permission-based technique that requires building your own list using an opt-in form before you can contact anyone.

subscribe to sms marketing

Many countries have set laws and regulations for businesses that want to use SMS marketing. That’s how they make sure they’re protecting customers’ privacy and preventing spam.

So before getting started with text message marketing, here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Get permission from customers via email or opt-in forms
  • Provide clear instructions for opt-out
  • Keep your text messages relevant to your brand
  • Avoid sending too many messages in a short time

Do You Have To Pay For SMS Messages?

Like any other marketing strategy, there are expenses associated with text message marketing. But they’re nothing compared to the amazing results your business will get.

Different text messaging service providers have different payment plans and pricing options. They’ll all offer you a certain number of text messages and keywords for a monthly fee.

The great thing about this type of marketing is this:

Your costs are clear from the start, so you won’t be surprised by additional charges along the way. You can expect to pay 5$ to 25$ per month to claim a keyword, and 0.01$ to 0.1$ for each text message you send.

How to Get Started With Text Message Marketing

1- Choose an SMS Marketing Service

Text message marketing is a growing industry with lots of new tools launched every day. There are dozens of SMS marketing apps you can use to connect with your prospects. However, only a few are suitable for small businesses.

When choosing a text message marketing software, you must take into consideration:


You don’t want to waste months on learning a complicated SMS marketing app when there are many beginner-friendly ones in the market. 

Make sure the tool you’re going with requires little to no tech expertise so that anyone in your company can use it.


The difference in pricing structure may seem trivial in the beginning. 

A few extra dollars aren’t going to increase your costs by much, right?


Some text message services are expensive right from the start. Yet, they become cheaper as you scale your business and send more text messages to your customers.

Others are more optimal for small businesses as they start off with a reasonable fee for a limited number of text messages.

Choose what works best for your business while considering your end goals.

Customer service

Although this may not always be needed, having the option to contact support is a huge plus. You’ll get your problems solved quickly without much of a hassle.

Besides, since tools are always evolving, they may require an expert’s assistance as they get more features.

So, remember to check for customer service by reading online reviews. This will save you a lot of trouble and time in the future.

2- Get a Good Shortcode

A shortcode is the 5-6 digit phone number you’ll use to reach out to your prospective customers. It’s better for SMS marketing as it allows you to send mass text messages within seconds, unlike long codes.

sms shortcode

Having a memorable shortcode also helps you leave a lasting impression on your clients. Once people know who’s contacting them, they’re more likely to engage with the message and respond to it.

3- Choose Your Keyword

A keyword is a unique word or phrase your prospects will use to opt-in to your SMS lists. It helps you ask for permission to avoid any legal issues. 

On top of that, keywords are the best way to segment your lists and run more targeted campaigns in the future.

Here’s what makes a good SMS keyword:

  • Simple and unique to your business
  • Short (one word) and easy to remember
  • Relevant to your industry, brand, and marketing campaign
  • Doesn’t use any special characters or poor spelling

4- Grow Your List

The options for growing your text message marketing list are endless…

You could create an engaging opt-in form to drive more people to subscribe to your SMS list. You’ll then get permission to send them occasional text messages that would keep them informed about your latest offers.

Another way to go about this is to send an email campaign to all your subscribers encouraging them to join your SMS list. All you have to do is ask them to send the keyword you purchased to your shortcode.

For example: 

Send “TheLoremIpsumCompany” to 664012 to join our SMS list and stay updated with our latest offers! 

5- Launch Your First Campaign

You’re finally there!

You got everything in place to launch your first SMS campaign. You purchased a good shortcode and a memorable keyword to represent your brand. And you built a list of SMS subscribers ready to hear from you.


All you have to do is deliver!

Start promoting relevant offers that have clear value to the customer. Include a direct call to action to boost interactions and leave a lasting impression. More importantly, be consistent in your efforts but never get too spammy.

Bottom Line: Text message marketing

Text message marketing is one of the best ways for brands to engage their prospects. It’s a cost-efficient approach that requires no expertise but can ensure amazing results. 

Considering the incredible open rates for SMS marketing, it’s the way for your business to explode. 

Need help getting started with digital marketing?

We’re here for your help! Tell us about your project needs by contacting us or giving us a call at (949) 354-2574. 

Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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