10 Best Practices for SMS Marketing in Local Small Business

One of the biggest reasons that small business needs to look at SMS marketing is the undeniable effectiveness. According to recent survey statistics,  text messaging has a 98% percent open rate. The response rate is 45% compared to 6% for email.

There are other good reasons why text messages are a good choice.

Small business owners don’t have a lot of time or resources to put into marketing, so they need a way to reach their customers directly but also have a tool that helps them automate their marketing messaging, Text marketing has a low overhead, and makes it simple for small business owners to execute a marketing strategy on their own.

SMS Marketing Best Practices

1. Offer a Text-Only Deal

You never want to make your prospects feel like you’re spamming them. One aspect that makes SMS so appealing is that prospects can opt in and out.

To get new leads to opt in to your text marketing campaigns, offer an exclusive text-only deal.

For example, a diner can offer a meal deal through SMS only.

2. Write Clearly

You’ve got 160 characters to get a pitch across. Avoid jargon and don’t use all caps or even emoticons. If you’re telling prospects about a sale you’re having, make sure to tell them when it ends to pump up urgency.

3. Use Calls to Action

A good CTA is a valuable piece of almost any marketing campaign including texts. One good technique is to use a “click here” button that leads to your website since text space is limited. Two word CTA’s like “Buy Now” work well.

4. Use the Available Platforms

Considering what design resources are needed to create a really great marketing email or shareable social media post, building a text marketing campaign can easily be DIY’d.

5.Time Your Texts

If you time your text message releases properly, you’ll be able to make the most out of impulse buying. Keep in mind there are “office hours” for SMS marketing that are really more guidelines than hard and fast rules.

Most experts agree the best hours are between 8 AM and 9 PM. These are good times to capitalize. Include analytics that can check open rates.

6. Customize for Each Client

It’s important to make sure that each text is customized to a particular customer segment. For example, promo codes are great for bringing in new clients. Customers you’ve had for some time can get invitations to reward programs.

Don’t forget to consider putting together location-based campaigns.

7. Don’t Forget Boomers

A good text marketing campaign won’t make the assumption that Millennials need to be the primary target group for any campaign.

Research shows that 76.4% of the youngest Boomers, aged 55-65, have smartphones while 47.2% of people ages 65+ own and use them.

8. Watch Your Inbox

Quick response rates with SMS campaigns means that you’ll need to watch for fast responses. In fact, the response rate of a text message is 90 seconds whereas for emails is 90 minutes.

That means that you should carefully monitor your inbox after sending out a promotion for 24 hours so you can be on top of any leads.

9. Get Personal

Making sure your prospects don’t feel like just another contact is about getting personal. Including their name as well as a reference to a local event or sports team makes a big difference.

10. Add Value

A well crafted message is good—but not always good enough. Try adding additional value with coupons and other unique special offers. Integrating rich media using mobile landing pages will set you apart.


Text marketing stands out because it allows business owners to reach customers where they already are — on their mobile devices.

With 91% of Americans keeping their mobile devices within arm’s length at all times, text messages reach a more captive audience than web marketing tactics like SEO and affiliate marketing can.