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What is Text Message Marketing?


In this Tatango blog article, we answer the question: What is SMS marketing? Read on to learn the basics of this highly effective form of mobile marketing, and find out how you can utilize it for your brand’s promotional offers.


What Is an SMS Message?

Before we get into the basics of SMS marketing (also called text message marketing), we like to explain the meaning of an SMS message to that small percentage of readers who are unfamiliar with this mobile communication method.

SMS/text messages are small messages that people and brands send to mobile phones. Usually, these messages can only contain 160 characters, and they are made up of text, clickable phone numbers, and links.

Now that we’ve talked about the text message itself, let’s take a look at SMS marketing for brands, and at what it means when they talk about this particular marketing method.


What is SMS Marketing?

SMS marketing is the broad term for a combination of commercial text messaging related practices. When brands talk about these practices, it can, for example, mean that they discuss a text message poll or contest.

However, most brands, when they talk about SMS marketing, they mean the practice of sending mass text message alerts to interested consumers. You can compare it with email marketing, only instead of emails, a brand will send out text messages to consumers who have opted in to its mobile marketing campaign.


How Do Consumers Subscribe to an SMS Marketing Campaign?

First off, it is important to mention that text message marketing is strictly a subscriber only form of marketing. As a brand, you cannot send messages to people who haven’t opted in to your SMS campaign.

Consumers first need to go through an opt-in process that confirms their willingness/consent to receive messages. This opt-in process starts when someone texts a keyword, like for example “PIZZA” to the brand’s short code, which is a phone number that contains five to six digits.


SMS Marketing Opt-In Methods

In addition to offering the opt-in method of sending a keyword to a short code, brands can also give consumers the option to subscribe via a form on their business website. A third option is the point of sale method, where people get a chance to opt-in for an SMS campaign when they are at the checkout counter of a physical store.

So there are many opt-in methods that brands can use to gain subscribers for their campaigns, but it essential that consumers actually give their consent to receive messages. By giving their consent, they make it clear that they want to receive things like promotional offers, text message coupons, and special deals.


What Happens After People Opt-In to an SMS Campaign?

When consumers start to join the SMS campaign from a brand, then it ends up with a gradually expanding phone number database. In order to send weekly or monthly messages to those phone numbers, the brand’s mobile marketer will make use of an SMS software provider like Tatango.

Via the software from this provider, the marketer will be able to create and send out 160 character alerts, coupons, promotions, and other marketing related messages to all the subscribed phone numbers.


Consumer Reaction to SMS Marketing

Once the SMS alert reaches a subscriber, then that person can react to the offer in the message by, for example, going to a restaurant and redeeming a coupon in order to receive a free food item, or by going to an online store to purchase discounted products.

Although these are beneficial reactions for brands, they must keep in mind that subscribers can also choose to opt-out their phone number at any given moment.

When consumers want to opt-out from a campaign, they always need to be able to unsubscribe automatically by replying to a message with the keywords “STOP” or “UNSUBSCRIBE”.


Learn More About SMS Marketing

So that is the basic process of SMS marketing, which is really a very effective communication method for brands that want to send their promotional messages to a lot of consumers at the same time.

If, after reading this article, you want to learn more about all the things that can be done with text message marketing, then we also recommend that you watch the following Tatango videos on our YouTube channel.