SMS ads are an excellent way for organizations to interact with their customers about offers, promotions, and other opportunities. Text message advertisement campaigns are one of the best ways to promote your business because SMSes are opened far more than emails and can reach a much larger fraction of the target audience, particularly due to their platform- and internet-independent nature.

Text messages are also an underutilized method of communication with tons of potential and very good results. SMS messaging advertising is a super effective way to contact customers about special promotions and interesting news.

Let's take a step back and explore what text message advertising is and why it matters, with some examples and expert advice to help you achieve the best results.

What is text message advertising?

As the name suggests, text message advertising allows you to promote your brand, products, or services to potential or existing customers in a succinct and direct way – text messages have a limit of just 160 characters. It is particularly useful for promoting time-limited special offers, flash sales, and ticketed events, broadcasting important news or other announcements, and generating more appointments or store visits.

SMS advertising can engage existing or potential customers and encourage them to move ahead with a specific action. There are various effective messaging strategies in advertising, but a simple one can quickly establish your brand identity and set the industry standard for effective, personalized communication. With text message ads, personalization is everything.

Text message advertising falls under the umbrella of mobile marketing and is also known as SMS (short message service) marketing. To run a text message campaign, you'll need to use an SMS marketing service – it's not something you can do using your own personal mobile phone.

Reliable SMS software will give you all the tools you need for successful text advertising campaigns. Using Messente, for example, you'll be able to upload or start collecting a list of new or existing contacts, compose your campaigns in our easy-to-use online dashboard, send your campaigns, and view analytics.

The benefits of text message marketing campaigns

"We like you too" message on a wall

Text message advertising is a popular marketing channel because it's highly effective.

Here are a couple of statistics worth knowing.

  • Text messages are widely known to have an open rate of 98%. This is nearly five times more than the average email open rate.

  • Texting ads can be very cheap. Messente's pricing model for sending texts to the United Kingdom is €0.035 per SMS, or even lower if you send messages in higher volumes.

Aside from the fact that text advertising works really well, it can also be cost-effective. Messente only charges for the texts you send (and this is calculated by destination and volume of SMS messages).

So if you're a small business with a small budget, SMS may provide better value for you (given the direct and personal approach it offers) than other mobile marketing channels (Google, Facebook, etc.) or print advertising.

How does text message advertising work?

Unlike other types of marketing, a text-based mobile marketing campaign sends your bulk SMS advertisement messages straight to the potential customer. Once you have gained access to or put together a database of phone numbers of potential customers that have signed up for promotional content, you can begin to send your SMS ad messages.

Send messages that are short, snappy, and to the point will bear amazing results, especially if you send them at the right time. And don't overdo it: a few texts a week are more than enough. You can combine your texts with links to other marketing channels, such as social media, too.

How to send advertising SMS messages

There are just a few steps involved in SMS advertising: getting subscribers, signing up for a texting service, and then creating your text message campaign.

Step 1: Getting subscribers

Woman in a brown coat checking her smartphone outside

As a starting point, look to your existing databases and see if you have phone numbers for customers. If you do, contact them and ask them to opt into your SMS advertisement campaigns (sweeten the deal with an incentive for best results!).

Important: you must get explicit consent from those on your text marketing list before you start sending promotional messages to them.

If you only have emails for customers, try converting them to SMS. This is as simple as sending an email campaign and asking them to opt into your text message advertising campaigns.

How to get text marketing subscribers from scratch

If you don't already have a database to tap into, or you want to attract new leads, you can encourage subscribers to opt into your text campaigns by creating an online signup form or displaying a short code number with a keyword and a request to opt in on your social media channels. However, you'll need to be set up with an SMS provider in order to get your hands on a dedicated shortcode.

Example Facebook post:

Want to be the first to know about our special offers and discounts before our sales go live? Sign up to receive promotional updates by SMS. To opt-in, simply text the word 'BARGAIN' to 12345. Cost varies depending on your mobile network provider.

Step 2: Accessing SMS marketing and advertising services

Once you've chosen your preferred SMS provider or text advertising software, setting up SMS advertising is fairly straightforward. This is the process if you use Messente:

1. Request a Sender ID – this is the phone number that your advertising text messages will originate from. It can be a short code, a 10DLC (ten-digit long code), or a brand name.

2. Upload your contact list – this can be done in just a few clicks, and you can even separate your list into different sections, allowing you to send targeted SMS campaigns to specific groups, like new customers, existing customers, VIPs, warm leads, etc.

3. Create your SMS campaign – Once you've uploaded your contact list, create your SMS campaigns and click send.

Using Messente, you can easily create an account, upload your contact list and begin sending SMS marketing messages in minutes. You can also integrate Messente into your own systems and send SMS advertising material directly from your CRM tool or other applications.

Text advertising examples: What kind of ads can you run?

Grocery store sale

Clothing companies will frequently send out special offers and deals to their mobile subscribers when a specific item is on sale in order to get a customer in-store to make the purchase. This is a great example of location-based SMS marketing because it uses a customer's location to target them.

Food outlets are a great example of companies that heavily utilize text messaging advertising for their business. They text customers about special offers, cool facts about the food they sell, and even reminders on when breakfast items are no longer available.

Various companies are trying to get customers involved in their business by sending them mobile coupons, games, or even discounts for referring people. Companies like Amazon have included a text message advertising campaign where you can get Amazon gift cards just for referring people to shop at Amazon's mobile app. This is great because it gets customers engaged in the business and gives them an incentive.

Text message advertising best practices and mistakes to avoid

Don't complicate things. Keep it simple, and try not to use too many words or characters in your messages. People who receive text message advertising noise can easily spot and even go as far as to report spam.

Don't text too often. If you just bombard users with multiple daily advertising message blasts, they will quickly become irritated and block or unsubscribe from your messages. Only send your texts when there is a good deal or offer going, and send these every week or so.

Compliance and laws relating to advertising text messages

When you embark on an MMS or SMS message campaign, you will also be subject to the rules of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA). The CTIA rules have been developed by the telephone companies that deliver this text message advertising content and govern prohibited content such as profanity, pornography, and hate speech.

A text messaging advertising campaign is not something you set up on a whim and spam would-be customers. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) protects consumers from text blasts and is very specific about how you can send bulk SMS messages.

The most important thing is to obtain consent from every customer. The CTIA provides guidelines and helpful tips on text message marketing, although you won't find the same level of legal guidelines as you will with the FCC.

Create your first text messaging ad today

Text message advertising with Messente is the best way to reach out to your target audience to create excitement and loyalty among a large number of customers. It is the cheapest and easiest way to grow your business, and when done correctly, you will have guaranteed positive results.

Messente's easy-to-use SMS API can support SMS advertising in more than 190 countries around the world. We offer smart routing algorithms for quick SMS delivery or rerouting. Our two-way messaging feature allows your customers to interact and reply to your texts, helping to boost client engagement and, ultimately, business growth.

And because Messente is an enterprise-grade, fully scalable solution, you can start off small, and rest assured that Messente can handle any volume of text message advertising as your business grows.

Check out Messente for yourself today – create a free account.