How to Use SMS Marketing for Different Stages of the Funnel

Discover how to leverage SMS effectively at each stage of the marketing funnel. From awareness to conversion, learn strategies for engaging customers.

We live and work in an oversaturated digital space where customers’ social media feeds are cluttered with ads. As a result, they start to tune these ads out, wasting dollars and bloating budgets.

So how can businesses prevent ad fatigue? SMS marketing.

The number of smartphone users today is 6.648 billion, which translates to 84% of the world’s population, according to BankMyCell. What’s more: data shows we’re connected to our phones more than ever. Americans check their phones 96 times a day – that’s once every 10 minutes, according to research by global tech care company Asurion.

The bottom line?

Brands have to fight to get noticed on social media.

Text messages get undivided attention. That’s why SMS can help you reach your goals at each stage of the sales funnel.

What is an SMS sales funnel? And how can you use SMS at each stage of the buyer’s journey? We’ll answer these questions and much more. Here’s everything you need to know to create an SMS sales funnel that converts.

What is an SMS Sales Funnel?

An SMS sales funnel is the process of leading prospects through different stages of the buyer’s journey on the way to purchase via text messaging.

According to FinancesOnline, texts have a 98% open rate, which gives brands incredible visibility; especially when compared to other channels such as email where the open rate is only 20% on average.

How to Use SMS Marketing for Different Stages of the Funnel


To top it off, 48% of customers prefer to get brand updates via SMS. Unlike other channels with murky regulations, SMS requires consent meaning it’s easy to opt-out, so customers feel in control of which brands can reach them.

7 Benefits of Having an SMS Sales Funnel

While SMS marketing is effective and can help you achieve your business goals, having an organized approach using tailored messages for different sales funnel stages is next-level. Let’s look at the seven benefits of having an SMS sales funnel.

1. Reach Your Audience with a Targeted Approach

In today’s world, one-size-fits-none. Customers have high expectations, and using a generic approach won’t produce your desired results. Using an SMS sales funnel, you can create a targeted approach for different groups with tailored messaging that resonates with your customers.

2. Automate Your Campaigns

Developing personalized text messages for different groups of customers can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be that way. With SMS Autoresponders, you can create automatic text message replies and interact with thousands of customers at scale.

Whether it’s a welcome message for customers who first sign up, a sales follow-up for an abandoned cart, or a thank you message for customers who leave a positive review — automated text message replies ensure that every customer gets a quick response.


3. Save Time with Templates

With an SMS sales funnel, you’ll get a clear picture of where your customers are in the journey as well as the best time to reach out.

How to Use SMS Marketing for Different Stages of the Funnel

Based on the customer segments and different stages, you can create SMS templates to save time and improve the process of mass business texting. With SMS templates, bulk messages still feel like personalized one-to-one messages.

4. Support Other Marketing Channels

SMS is a great tool to have in your marketing arsenal. If you already have a sales funnel that includes other channels, SMS marketing can complement them with direct customer communication to help you reach your goals.

5. Convert Customers

The ultimate goal of every sales channel is converting customers. Adding SMS to the mix with different content depending on the stage will pave the way to a purchase. Understanding your prospects’ journey and customizing your SMS approach can be a real game-changer for your business.

6. Increase Customer Engagement

Targeting customers with social media ads and not receiving an answer can feel like yelling into the void. However, customers beyond the awareness stage in your sales funnel are more likely interested in getting more information or asking questions. With two-way text messaging, you can instantly connect with customers on a more personal level.

How to Use SMS Marketing for Different Stages of the Funnel

7. Test, Optimize, Repeat

The best part of having an SMS sales funnel is that you can always test, measure results, and optimize the flow. See what resonates with customers, what types of text messages get the most replies, and what tactics excite customers the most. The data from previous outreach can be an excellent foundation for an even better SMS sales funnel in the future.

How to Use SMS for Different Stages of the Funnel

SMS sales funnels can be extremely effective — especially if you tailor your approach to fit different stages of the buyer’s journey. Here’s how you can get started with specific examples for each stage.

How to Use SMS Marketing for Different Stages of the Funnel

Awareness Stage

In the first stage, you want to build awareness. To start leveraging the power of SMS, you need to create a list of subscribers. However, due to the strict regulations for SMS marketing, your task is to attract customers to opt-in. Here are some strategies to help you do that:
  • Offer an incentive — You can create a special discount for customers who give their consent for SMS marketing. To do this, ask customers to text a certain keyword to your SMS phone number to opt-in and get the discount.
  • Sign-up form — Another way to build your SMS list is to place a form on your website. You already invest in other forms of advertising to get customers to open your website, so adding a pop-up form where you ask for their phone number in exchange for updates, discounts, and special offers is another way to build your list of subscribers.
  • Email campaign — If you have a solid email subscriber list, you can use it as a channel to collect phone numbers from your database. Remember, always offer something in return.

Interest Stage

Once you build your SMS list, it’s time to use it to spark some interest.
  • Welcome message — The easiest way to kick-start your communication is a welcome message. Use this type of message to set expectations and drive customers’ interest.
  • Campaigns to stay top of mind — Later on, you can create campaigns that will help you stay top of mind, so as soon as the customer is ready to buy, your brand will be the first choice. Make sure to notify subscribers of upcoming limited-time sales and promotions or product launches and events.

Decision Stage

As customers move down the funnel, segmentation is the best way to create a customized experience for different audiences.
  • Drip campaigns — You can set drip campaigns for educating subscribers, nurturing leads, or following up on a sales offer ending soon.
  • Special offers — Customers in the decision stage are well-aware of your brand. To get them closer to purchase, you need to offer an incentive — whether that’s a discount, special offer, or early access to your new collection.
  • Answer questions — Another thing to keep in mind is that customers might have questions at this point of the sales funnel or they need additional support before making the purchase — especially when it comes to big-ticket items. SMS marketing can be a great way to offer customers the help they need to make the purchasing decision.

Decision Stage

The journey doesn’t end with a sale. You can use SMS in the retention stage to keep customers engaged and satisfied.
  • Customer support — SMS can be a great channel for customer support. Capitalize on that convenience with links to relevant pages, forms, or online resources.
  • Cross-sell and upsell — Use SMS to offer customers compatible products or suggest similar products they might like.
  • Ask for a review — Customers today are constantly looking for unbiased feedback to help them decide whether they should buy a product. This is why getting reviews from your customers can be a powerful tool for even more sales in the future.
  • Customer surveys — Customer-centric brands are constantly asking for feedback to improve the end-to-end shopping experience. SMS is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to gather customer insights.
There you have it — everything you need to know about SMS sales funnels, along with strategies to get you started. Ready to leverage the power of SMS marketing? Start a 14-day free trial now.
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