How to Build a Successful SMS Marketing Campaign – A Checklist

SMS marketing is a powerful tool for engaging with your audience.

SMS marketing is a powerful tool for engaging with your audience. Text messages provide personalized and immediate communication, making them important for any business looking to directly connect with leads and potential customers. With the right tools in hand, SMS campaigns ensure that marketing messages reach their target audience, and resonate with them as well.

This guide presents practical steps to launching successful SMS campaigns, offering businesses a roadmap to fully leverage this dynamic and effective channel for overall growth.

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What is an SMS Marketing Campaign?

An SMS (Short Message Service) marketing campaign is a focused initiative aimed at directly engaging an audience through text messages on their mobile devices.

When using platforms like Sakari that also support sending MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), these campaigns may even include images, video, and audio– enhancing engagement and effectiveness.

Text messages are known for their high open rates and nearly instant delivery, so sending an SMS marketing campaign can push sales, increase customer engagement, and boost  your brand awareness efficiently.

How Do SMS Marketing Campaigns Work?

Following 5 key steps you can start an SMS marketing campaign easily:

  1. Build a list of subscribers who have opted-in to receive your text messages, that way you build a compliant and active subscriber base.
  2. Divide your subscriber list into different groups based on factors like demographics, interests, or past behavior to personalize your messages.
  3. Craft messages that are clear and engaging, with a strong call to action.
  4. Decide on the best time for sending out your messages and schedule them for automated delivery.
  5. Use analytics tools to track engagement metrics and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Be sure to choose a user-friendly SMS marketing platform that integrates well with your existing CRM systems for easy campaign management, and that provides relevant and easy-to-understand analytics.

Types of Text Message Marketing Campaigns

SMS campaigns can be tailored to suit different business goals and customer engagement requirements. As you map out your goals, consider using a combination of these proven campaign types:

  1. Promotional campaigns: Boost sales by offering flash sales, limited-time deals, exclusive discounts, announcing new products or services, and notifying customers about special events or sales.
  2. Transactional campaigns: Improve customer service by sending order confirmations, shipping updates, appointment reminders, billing notifications, and payment acknowledgments.
  3. Loyalty programs and rewards campaigns: Strengthen customer connections with loyalty program invitations, reward status updates, birthday or anniversary rewards or discounts, and exclusive member offers.
  4. Informational campaigns: Keep customers updated on business updates, policy or service changes, educational content, and helpful tips tailored to their interests.
  5. Feedback and survey campaigns: Engage customers through surveys, feedback requests, and polls to gather valuable insights.
  6. Re-engagement campaigns: Reignite interest from inactive customers with special win-back offers or personalized product or service updates.
  7. Event-triggered campaigns: Automate messages for customer welcome notes, milestone achievements, and time-sensitive or offer-based alerts.
  8. Personalized recommendation campaigns: Customize product suggestions, deals, or invitations to exclusive events based on individual preferences and past interactions.
  9. Appointment scheduling and booking campaigns: Streamline bookings with confirmations, reminders, and follow-up messages including next-step guidance.
  10. Emergency alert campaigns: Send urgent notifications and safety alerts to keep customers informed during critical situations or service disruptions.

Each campaign type serves a distinct purpose – from elevating customer service to boosting sales and fostering loyalty. Choose the appropriate campaign based on your marketing goals, target audience demographics, and desired results.

How to Start an SMS Marketing Campaign [Checklist]

Preparation Phase:

  • Sign up for SMS marketing software: Choose an SMS marketing platform like Sakari for its robust features including audience segmentation, advanced analytics, A/B testing tools, and AI-driven personalization and performance evaluation.
  • Define clear objectives: Set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals and identify KPIs to measure success.
  • Understand your audience: Conduct market research to gather insights about preferences and behaviors as you create your audience personas.
  • Segment your audience: Use data analytics for segmentation based on demographics, behavior, and engagement history, then plan personalized campaigns for each segment to increase relevance and engagement.

sms marketing campaign - phone with text sakari start your free trial today

Campaign Development:

  • Craft compelling content: Write clear, concise messages with a strong call to action using persuasive language that resonates with your target audience.
  • Leverage AI for personalization: Use Sakari AI to help you create personalized messages based on your prompt, analyze messages you wrote, and create workflows automatically based on performance.
  • Ensure compliance: Adhere to laws like GDPR (Europe) and TCPA (USA), always obtain consent, and provide a clear opt-out option.

sms marketing campaign - text that says Molly, are you looking for a look for a summer wedding? Check out our collection! Answer STOP to unsubscribe at any time


  • Optimize timing and frequency: Use AI analytics to identify the best times and frequency for sending messages, without overwhelming your audience.
  • Integrate with other marketing channels: Create a unified experience across SMS, email, social media, and other platforms. Push the same message with SMS messages that you do on email with a single brand voice.
  • Implement automation and triggers: Set up automated campaigns triggered by specific actions, and use AI to dynamically adjust messaging based on customer behaviors and campaign performance.

Optimization and Analysis:

  • Test and refine: Use A/B testing on message content, timing, and frequency, and use AI-driven tools to analyze campaign performance and areas for improvement.
  • Measure success and ROI: Monitor your SMS marketing strategy’s performance against KPIs and assess the financial effectiveness of your SMS messaging.

The Pros and Cons of SMS Marketing Campaigns

As you evaluate the role of SMS in your marketing programs, you should think about both the pros and the cons. The advantages of using text message marketing are:

  • Exceptional reach: Accessible to all mobile phone users and with an average of 98% open rates, SMS messaging ensures that your messages reach your audience.
  • Instant delivery: SMS campaigns allow for immediate communication. 60% of text messages are read within 5 minutes of being received.
  • Personalization and targeting: SMS messages can be highly personalized with the data that you have about your leads. You can segment your audience to only send them relevant content that they relate with.
  • High return on investment (ROI): ROI can depend hugely, and you need to make sure that you are optimizing your campaigns to maximize ROI. However, SMS marketing can bring an impressive $71 for every dollar spent.

how consumers want to receive updates - 48% sms, 22% email, 20% app notification, 8% direct mail

The downsides to SMS marketing that you need to bear in mind are:

  • Limited message length: Text campaigns are restricted to around 160 characters, which is very short. You need to be creative to get your message across effectively.
  • Compliance requirements: Before sending your SMS marketing messages, you need to be sure that you’re following legal standards such as GDPR and TCPA, and be aware of any limitations set by mobile service providers.
  • Risk of over messaging: Consider your frequency and times of day to avoid annoying your audience with excessive or inconvenient messages. You shouldn’t text between 8 pm and 8 am.
  • Diverse customer preferences: Not all recipients may appreciate SMS communications, make sure that you provide an easy way to opt-out in every message that you send.

Selecting a platform like Sakari can ensure compliance with regulations, prevent sending too many messages, and assist in measuring the results of SMS marketing so you have the best outcomes with the least manual work.

The Best SMS Marketing Campaigns to Try Out

You may be wondering when you can use SMS marketing, and at what moments text messages are useful. These are great ways to try it out:

  • Flash sales and promotions: alert customers to limited-time offers to create urgency and encourage immediate action.
  • Event reminders: increase attendance and engagement by sending reminders for upcoming events or webinars.
  • Personalized discounts: offer discounts tailored to customer behavior or significant milestones, like birthdays or anniversaries.
  • Loyalty programs: send updates on points, exclusive offers, and reward redemption opportunities through SMS to boost loyalty program engagement.
  • Feedback surveys: invite customers to participate in SMS surveys post-purchase or interaction to gather valuable feedback.
  • Order confirmations and updates: provide peace of mind with automatic order confirmations, shipping, and delivery updates via SMS.
  • VIP exclusives: make your customers feel special by offering VIP-only deals or early access to sales and new products.
  • Re-engagement campaigns: rekindle interest among inactive customers with enticing offers or updates on new products and services.
  • Appointment reminders: reduce no-shows by sending appointment confirmations and reminders.
  • Product launch announcements: build excitement and anticipation by announcing new products or services directly to your customers’ phones.
  • Seasonal campaigns: capitalize on holiday seasons and special events with themed promotions and greetings.
  • Referral programs: encourage customers to refer friends in exchange for discounts or rewards, promoting organic growth.
  • Cart abandonment reminders: gently remind customers of items left in their cart with a prompt to complete their purchase.
  • Exclusive content: offer valuable content, such as tips, guides, or early access to blog posts, to engage and educate your audience.
  • Emergency alerts: provide immediate notifications in case of urgent updates or recalls, ensuring customer safety and trust.
  • Subscription renewals: remind customers of upcoming subscription renewals and offer easy renewal options via SMS.
  • Customer support: offer an SMS option for customer support, allowing for convenient and quick resolution of queries.
  • Interactive polls and contests: engage customers with fun polls or contests, offering prizes or discounts to winners.
  • Location-based offers: send special offers to customers when they are near your store or a particular location.
  • Thank you messages: foster a positive relationship by sending personalized thank you messages after purchases or for being a part of your community.

Incorporating SMS messages into your marketing strategy opens a world of possibilities for connecting with your audience. Dive into the possibilities and let your creativity lead the charge and drive results!

10 SMS Campaign Tips & Best Practices

To ensure that you see results, follow our best practices to use SMS marketing effectively:

  1. Choose the right software: Choose a platform that aligns with your campaign needs and provides comprehensive features.
  2. Keep messages concise: Ensure clarity and brevity in your texts to keep your audience interested and engaged.
  3. Adhere to regulations: Always follow local legal requirements, including obtaining consent and offering an opt-out option.
  4. Time your messages wisely: Send messages at times when they are likely to be read and acted upon. Use data to continually test and improve your sending times.
  5. Maintain a content calendar: Use a calendar to plan your campaign schedule so that you stay top of mind without overwhelming leads.
  6. Strike a balance between engagement and frequency: Find the right mix of informing your audience while avoiding flooding them with text messages.
  7. Include clear calls to action: Every SMS message should have a distinct call to action, guiding recipients on their next steps.
  8. Personalization is key: Customize messages based on segmentation to enhance their relevance and increase engagement.
  9. Partner with email: Use SMS messaging alongside your email campaigns to boost the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts.
  10. Guide to your website: Encourage recipients to visit your website or specific landing pages for additional details, compelling offers, engagement tracking, and re-marketing.

SMS marketing campaigns offer great potential to improve your audience’s engagement through direct and impactful communication.

These recommended SMS marketing strategies are essential for running successful SMS campaigns, ensuring that messages get noticed, drive engagement, and help you achieve your marketing goals.

Elevate Your Engagement with Sakari!

Experience the transformative impact SMS marketing can have on your engagement levels and business growth. Whether you’re seeking a jump-start or want to achieve new marketing heights, Sakari’s intuitive and powerful platform will support your campaigns from idea through optimization, delivering exceptional results and supporting you along the way.

See for yourself the remarkable results you can achieve with Sakari’s 14-day free trial!

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