Lesson 1: Everything you need to get started

What is SMS marketing and why should I prioritize it now?

What is SMS marketing?

SMS, which stands for short message service, refers to messages of up to 160 characters, including plain text, numbers, and emojis. MMS, or multimedia messaging service, is a type of text message that contains multimedia like video, images, audio, and GIFs. Like email, SMS has evolved into a direct marketing channel that lets brands connect with consumers in a personalized and measurable way.

Over the last few years, text messaging has become a valuable differentiator for brands of all sizes. From sending transactional order updates to sharing exclusive promotions, this channel personalizes the interactions we have with brands.

Why is SMS marketing so effective?

Most of us have only one cell phone number. We keep it for a long time and are pretty selective about who we share it with. We carry our phones with us everywhere for immediate and reliable communication with our friends, families, and now, brands.

Being able to text our favorite brands feels natural and convenient. And because SMS requires consent and makes it easy to opt-out, we can feel in full control of which brands are in our “favorites.”

For marketers, text messaging stands out as a channel that’s uniquely data-informed and measurable. Its immediacy lets you tailor your strategy in real time to drive action.With analytics, channel orchestration, and reporting tools, you can better engage your audiences so they’re receiving content and offers they’re interested in.

When it’s done well, SMS can power much more than the acquisition stage of your marketing efforts. It can become a central part of your CRM. Use it to have back-and-forth conversations with your shoppers—whether recommending new products they might be interested in, or answering their customer service questions.

Why launch an SMS marketing channel now

It’s getting harder to reach consumers as their preferences change. They’re trading traditional acquisition and retention channels for more modern and convenient brand interactions on their own time.

Email click-through rates have decreased in the last eight years, while digital ad performance for display and social have dropped over the last few years.

It’s clear that marketers can't rely solely on these more traditional methods to engage their shoppers. They need to diversify their channels—both from a consumer preference and marketing performance perspective.

Consumers see personalized text messaging as a way to have more direct access to brands—whether it’s to get support, access sneak peeks, or stay informed about their order status. They’re interested in receiving texts throughout the customer lifecycle—to source discounts before making a purchase and to stay in touch after they’ve clicked “buy.”

91% of consumers are interested in signing up for texts, but not all brands offer it yet—meaning they’re leaving money (and consumer goodwill) on the table. With the majority of consumers interested in text messaging, you have a massive chance to capture consumers' attention (and e-commerce revenue).