Sales & Marketing Tech

What Is Text Marketing? Here’s How It Works

By | 9 min read | Published

Curious about text marketing? Think it’s a good fit for your marketing efforts? Find out what it is and why it’s important for marketers.

If you’ve been a marketer for any amount of time, you know how tough it is to develop relationships with customers. Being proactive and engaging with your customers in a variety of different ways is crucial to any good marketing strategy, and one of the best and most immediate ways of communicating with your customers is through text marketing.

Sending messages to your customers helps keep them updated on promotions, brand campaigns, and relevant information like hour changes with an immediacy that other forms of digital marketing can’t even come close to matching.

If you haven’t been using text message marketing, you’re missing out on a remarkably effective and easy marketing strategy that can help improve your sales, increase brand awareness, and improve customer loyalty and retention.

Don’t worry though, we’re going to break down what text marketing is, how you can use it, why it’s important, and what to watch out for when starting out.

What is text message marketing?

SMS marketing (or text message marketing as it’s more commonly referred to) is a marketing strategy that uses text messages to deliver advertisements and promotions to your customers. From deals and short-term sales for mobile users to alerts about new products, text message marketing is a versatile and simple marketing strategy that guarantees eyes on your advertisements.

You can include details about the promotion, product, or sale in the text, add links to where your customer can purchase the product, and even include pictures in order to better entice your customers to click through onto your website.

It’s similar to email marketing in that you’re sending more or less the same message to a big group of customers who have purchased and opted into your marketing campaign.

You can use SMS marketing a variety of ways to help bolster your marketing strategies:

  • Boost sales: Grow revenue by sending discounts, promotions, new product information, and limited-time offers via text message
  • Build relationships: Bolster your customer experience by providing customer support via text messaging
  • Engage your audience: Share content and non-sales related information via text message to increase brand recognition and awareness
  • Nurture leads: Use a text message to nurture relationships by following up with leads who have given you their contact information and have opted in

There are a couple of types of text messages you can send with SMS marketing:

Campaigns: This is probably what you think of immediately when you hear “text message marketing.” Campaigns focus on sending out bulk text messages to everyone who has opted in to promote coupons, sales, event details, or changes of hours.

Transactional: These messages are more personal to an individual user, and are triggered by certain actions. Transactional text messages are used to communicate timely, time-sensitive information to the customer who triggered them.

If you’ve ever received a shipping notification from a business alerting you that your package is out for delivery, you’ve experienced a transactional text message.

Why is SMS marketing important?

SMS marketing should be considered as an option for your marketing campaigns for a variety of reasons:

  • Nearly everyone has a smartphone. 85% of adults in the US own a smartphone, so it’s safe to assume you can engage with your customers directly with SMS marketing.
  • SMS marketing works in tandem with email marketing. Email marketing and text message marketing are similar, but ultimately serve a different purpose. SMS marketing is more instantaneous and better suited for short-term marketing efforts like small promotions, whereas email marketing could and should contain more long-form marketing content
  • You’ll get an immediate yes on your advertisements. You can almost be guaranteed that your message will at least be opened and read with SMS marketing because an astronomical 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of your customer receiving them. You can ensure your messages are being received and consumed more confidently than with email marketing
  • Outcomes are traceable. Unlike traditional advertising, text message marketing can be tracked. SMS software gives businesses an instant view of campaign performance regarding SMSs sent, opened, read, and answered. This helps marketers evaluate customer engagement at various stages of the campaign, so that they can improvise as and when needed.

Other digital marketing channels like social media marketing rely on paid advertisements, your number of followers, influencer partnerships, and algorithms to get eyes on your messages, and email marketing runs the risk of being ignored or living inside of your recipient’s spam folder for all eternity.

With text marketing, you can at least be confident that your marketing message will be received and, almost always, read by your audience.

How does SMS marketing work?

SMS marketing messages are sent from “short codes,” as opposed to full telephone numbers. These short codes are typically 5-6 digits, and can be associated with one sender, or shared across multiple senders, often by SMS marketing software.

When sending a text message via text marketing, it’s crucial you include your company’s name in the message because your message will come from the short code and not from your business number.

Things to watch out for when using text marketing

Ensure your consumers have opted into text marketing

The most important rule when you’re starting a text message marketing campaign is to make sure you have permission from your customers to send them SMS messages.

The last thing you want is to send messages to people who don’t want them which could potentially kill all your chances with that consumer in the future. Most importantly, opt-in is legally required in some countries like the U.S.

Be thoughtful about when you send text messages

Unlike other digital marketing channels, you’re sending a message directly to your customer, who will be getting an alert immediately—so don’t schedule to send any messages at odd hours.

Getting a text about a promotion in the middle of the night is not going to endear you to your customer base and will guarantee people opting out or just choosing not to engage with your business anymore.

What industries can benefit from text message marketing?

Any business which wants to reach a large group of people at the same time should consider text marketing, but how each type of business uses text messages differs.


Restaurants can use an SMS message to send coupons, update customers on weekly specials, indicate a menu change, send promotions, or take reservations.

Retail and ecommerce

Text message marketing is great for retailers whether they have a brick and mortar or online store. Use text marketing to engage with customers by sending exclusive discounts via text message. You can also alert customers of upcoming promotions, changes in store hours, and encourage a loyalty program.


One of the most important parts of running a successful gym is keeping retention rates high, and text marketing can help improve retention through better communication. Send information about upcoming classes and events, important announcements, or even answer questions from current or prospective customers.

Home service

When it comes to winning a bid, time is always of the essence, so the immediacy of text marketing should be appealing to home service businesses. Whether you’re in HVAC, home repair, or lawn care, communication with potential customers is crucial, and text messages are quicker than email when it comes to securing a bid.

Use SMS marketing software to make text message marketing a snap

You could send text messages individually or as a big group manually, but it’s neither efficient nor what customers are used to, so if you’re considering text message marketing for your business, you need to consider SMS marketing software.

One of the key benefits of text message marketing is the fact that you can send a large blast of texts to all of your customers who have opted in, and the fastest and most effective way to do that is by using SMS marketing software.

SMS marketing (or text marketing) software is a bulk text message sharing tool. It allows businesses to send SMSs to customers, in addition to helping them create and maintain contact lists, schedule message delivery, analyze response rates, and generate reports.
EZ Texting’s analytics dashboard

EZ Texting’s analytics dashboard (Source)

Typical features of SMS marketing software include the following:

  • Mass texting: Send messages in bulk to a large audience in a single go.
  • Contact management: Create a centralized repository to store contact details—such as name, address, and phone number—in an organized, searchable manner.
  • Scheduled messaging: Set a specific time to broadcast messages to individuals or to entire contact lists.
  • Reporting and analytics: Determine and report the performance of the SMS marketing campaign based on KPIs such as messages delivered, read, and answered.
  • Mobile keywords: Add unique identifying keywords in the text message to let readers perform certain actions during the campaign. For instance, “START” or “STOP” to continue or discontinue receiving messages.

Use SMS marketing to complement the rest of your digital marketing strategy

Text message marketing is just one of many digital marketing strategies that you can and should utilize to help drive sales, improve customer engagement, and promote confidence in your brand.

Looking for Marketing Automation software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Marketing Automation software solutions.

About the Author

Collin Couey

Collin Couey

Collin Couey is a Senior Content Writer at Capterra, covering medical, education, and customer experience technologies, with a focus on emerging medical trends. Collin has presented at the Conference on College Composition and Communication as well as the Pop Culture Association Annual Conference. Collin loves playing disc golf and Dungeons and Dragons in his free time.

Related Reading


No comments yet. Be the first!

Comment on this article:

Comment Guidelines:
All comments are moderated before publication and must meet our guidelines. Comments must be substantive, professional, and avoid self promotion. Moderators use discretion when approving comments.

For example, comments may not:
• Contain personal information like phone numbers or email addresses
• Be self-promotional or link to other websites
• Contain hateful or disparaging language
• Use fake names or spam content
Your privacy is important to us. Check out our Privacy Policy.