How to Use SMS to Start a Conversation with a Customer

  BONUS MATERIAL: The Psychology of SMS Marketing

Great SMS marketing is about knowing what type of messages would interest your audience and sending them at the right time. In this article, we’ll give you ten specific types of SMSs that arouse a real response from your audience.  

So, if you’re ready, let’s begin!  

#1: Appointment Reminders 

If a user has made an appointment with you, sending them an appointment reminder to confirm the appointment will definitely arouse a response.  

Just look at the following SMS sequence as an example:

See how “Mary” in the SMS sequence responds to the appointment reminder to find out about the car parking. Appointment reminders are the perfect way to win the trust of the customer while building a meaningful rapport.  

One sure shot way to get a response for appointment reminders is to include a “Please confirm your appointment by replying to this message.” This way your customers will be compelled to reply to your message.  

#2: Payment Reminders 

Similar to appointment reminders, a payment reminder SMS will remind your users to pay for the products or services they’ve bought from you. One great way to arouse a response here is to include the link for the customer to make the payment.  

This means you can add a payment link that leads up to a landing page or banking page to let the user pay via their card, electronic funds transfer, PayPal, mobile payments, cryptocurrencies or any other way they find suitable. The more mediums through which they can pay, the better it would be for both you and your audience.  

#3: Special Deals And Promotions 

If you’re giving your audience a special deal via SMS, you could arouse a response by asking them to reply to receive their promotional code to capture the deal.  

For instance, your message could say: “Get 20% Off Your Next Purchase With Us. Text Back Saying “I love discounts.” to get your promotional code.” Makes sense?  

Check out the following image ad Payless Shoes launched to evoke a response from their audience. It’s exactly what we’re talking about!

A lot of companies use this type of marketing to solicit a response from their audience. But before you send out any special deals, make sure you’ve obtained the permission to send these messages to your audience, while always including an opt-out option if they wanted to exit your marketing database. This gives your promotions a sense of authenticity.  

#4: Informational SMS 

If you send out an SMS containing information that adds value to your audience, by entertaining them, educating them, or engaging them in a meaningful way, you should!  

Including a link to an article, podcast or video in your SMS can lead to a ‘click on the link’ response, leading your audience to consume the piece of content you want them to know.  

The important thing here is to include a catchy message in your SMS to arouse interest in the content you send. So, if you’re a restaurant, and you’re sending a new recipe to your audience, you can do it in a bland, not so interesting way and say:  

“Hello! Thanks for visiting our restaurant on Saturday night. We’d like to send you a recipe as a token of our appreciation. Click on this link to know how to make delicious Apple Pie. Visit Us Again Soon!”  

Or you could spice it up by saying:  

“Hello James! We were so happy you visited us, we thought we’d send you a cool Apple Pie recipe {include link} you can make at home anytime. Apples are in season, and making Apple Pie will get your mouth watering in no time.”  

Notice how the second message is a bit more personal as it includes the recipient’s name, and includes the link more naturally, and conversationally. This is what gets people clicking, i.e. if they feel like you’re talking to them via your SMS!  

#5: Get People to Vote About An Important Issue 

If you’re a non-profit or socially conscious brand, your audience will want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They’ll want to have their voice heard, their opinion counted. 

So, for instance, if you’re an organization on a mission to prevent and eliminate racism at the workplace, you can send your audience a message like:  

“You’re our subscriber because you know we’re on a mission to eliminate racism at your workplace, forever. We want to know from you, how do you believe diversity can be encouraged at your workplace? Give us 5 ideas and we’ll contact your office to have a chat about making it happen!”  

See how specific, clear and open-ended the SMS is. It’s not just asking for a yes or no response. It’s actually wanting people to voice their ideas in relation to a mission they’re already a part of, making it super hot to respond to.  

#6: Send an SMS About A Current Issue 

You know how everyone is talking about the Corona Virus these days. It’s because it’s an issue that’s global, and affects everyone. It’s not just a health hazard, it’s also had various repercussions on the financial economy.  

So, if you’re a financial institution, like a stock trading firm or broker, you could send the following message to your customers:  

“Call Us On 123-324-567 to speak to one of our stock analysts about how to invest wisely while the CoronaVirus is plaguing the world.”  

Sending this message to investors, worried stock market traders, or anyone who’s been affected by the virus, would definitely stimulate them to call you.  

#7: Connect People 

Connecting people via an SMS is probably one of the smartest, most untapped innovative ways of arousing a response.  

For instance, if you’re a dating agency, you could send a message like “Reply to this message to connect with [include name] who matches your dating interests! She’s 31, from Spain, is interested in Yoga and loves romantic nights at fancy restaurants!”  

Sending a message like the one above leads to a concrete outcome for the recipient, enabling them to connect with a new person. You could follow this strategy if you’re a recruitment agency, dating agency, or in the business of connecting people.  

#8: Ask for A Customer Rating 

Asking for a rating on Google reviews or any other ratings and reviews website, within 24 hours of the customer transacting with you, usually leads to a response. 

The timeliness of this message is important. It’s also important to incentivize your reviewers to boost the response rates. For instance, if you gave your reviewers extra loyalty points towards their next purchase, you’d definitely get a response while sweetening your customer relationships.  

#9: Provide Customer Support 

A very meaningful way of engaging with customers is to send messages for customer support. You can send a message right after a customer transacts with you to let them know about your availability on SMS to provide customer support.  

If you integrated customer support with SMS chatbots, you’d definitely be onto a winner. You’ll be able to have multiple conversations with several customers simultaneously!  

#10: Security Codes 

If your service requires a customer to log in to a portal or website, you can use SMS security codes to arouse a response from customers.  

Customers can use SMSs to confirm they’ve received a code to help them log in or to initiate the process of sending and receiving a code. Not only does this lead to a response from the customer, but it also keeps their personal details secure, winning their trust at a deep level.  


The above types of SMSs are only the tip of the iceberg. Getting a response from a customer is about being creative at the end of the day. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what’s of value to them. Give them a solid reason to reply to you! 


From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs at Elevation Marketing, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations


Ryan Gould
2020-06-29 00:00:00 UTC