What is SMS marketing?

SMS (Short Message Service) marketing uses text messages to communicate promotions, new product launches, news and other relevant information from your brand directly to your customers' smartphones. 

At Altum, we suggest that SMS marketing should be part of your automation strategy and works best in combination with other owned and direct marketing strategies, particularly email, to increase your revenue and improve customer service and retention. You can pre-design SMS flows and campaigns using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms like Klaviyo and automate your messages to save your marketing team time and allow your brand to be ‘always on’.

Why should you include SMS in your marketing strategy?

“45% of UK consumers have bought as a result of a brand’s text”

Source: SMS marketing for ecommerce growth and retention

SMS communications are clearly popular, as almost half of UK consumers have purchased an item having received a text message from their favourite brands.

Here are some more of the many reasons why we think your brand should include SMS marketing in your automation strategy!

1. Instant message delivery 

Timing is key when there are tight offer deadlines or launches, and SMS cuts straight through to the customer and lands instantly. This helps create a sense of urgency and customers are more likely to respond quickly to a text.

2. High open rate

“Currently, text messages have as much as a 97% open rate, compared to as low as 15% for email.”

Source: Can Text Messages Increase Conversion Rates?

There can be high open rates because people may check their text messages more than other platforms. Therefore, your message is less likely to get ‘lost in the crowd’.

3. High response rate

There is usually a much clearer message and call to action with text messages due the need for conciseness when using a limited number of characters. This can translate into higher response rates, especially to time restricted offers or messages.

4. No spam folder

Unlike emails, text messages will not end up in any spam folder! This means the subscriber can view all your messages and it again reduces the chance of your communication getting lost in the clutter.

5. Meet your customer where they are 

Some customers might prefer SMS rather than email as a direct channel. Giving them the option to pick this communication method at sign-up, makes the customer's automation journey specific to them and their needs, so the right message is sent in a way they engage with.

Tips for implementing your SMS marketing strategy

Here are some tips we think you should follow to implement this strategy effectively!

Gain SMS consent

When implementing any direct marketing strategy, it is important to gain consent first. It is the first step in gaining interested subscribers and ensures the groups that want to receive your messages really do and have explicitly consented to do so. Gaining consent for SMS marketing is a crucial first step and you can do this by using:

  • Popup forms - Use your website to your advantage and create targeted popup forms, so you can gain consent from potential customers. Usually these involve emails, but adding an SMS function allows the customer to choose their preferred communication style. Consider using a 2-step form and only display SMS subscriptions to those that are already subscribed to email for a seamless customer experience.
  • Email campaigns and transactional messages- Add SMS subscription to your other forms of direct messaging, such as emails. This helps gain SMS subscribers that are already very engaged with your brand and want to be the first to hear about news and offers on their mobiles.
  • At checkout - If you are already gaining consent for email marketing at checkout then why not add the option to consent to SMS too? Checkout is one of the highest converting positions to gain consent as people are really engaged in your products at that point.


Any SMS marketing strategy involves creating and perfecting content to deliver the message you want and that your subscribers will engage with. You can help create the best messages in a number of ways:

  • Be concise - Text messages have a limited number of characters so it’s important to be as concise as you can while still getting your core message across.
  • Include a clear call to action - With a short and distinct message, a clear call to action (CTA) is important to drive conversion. This can include a link directly to the website or to a specific sale landing page.
  • Personalise your message - You can create your pre-designed messages to include the first name of the customer, so it is automatically personalised, making the customer feel special!

Timing / Inclusion of SMS messages

Here are a couple of examples of when to implement SMS automation in your omni-channel marketing:

  • Welcome Series - Pre-design a welcome text message so when a new subscriber gives consent, they know a bit about your brand and the way you will communicate going forward. This can be included in your existing email flow or built out as an entirely new flow dedicated to SMS subscribers only - perhaps consider including a bespoke offer just for SMS subscribers to really increase your sign-up rates.
  • Abandoned Cart - When a customer is about to purchase an item, life can sometimes get in the way and cause them not to follow through with the purchase immediately. A simple SMS reminder that they have an item in their cart ready to purchase, can elicit a response.
  • Special offers / big discounts - It is important to announce special offers and discounts clearly and quickly, and SMS is a great way to do that. Make sure there is a clear call to action to drive up sales.


Nathan Hoare

Digital expert with extensive global marketing experience