Ultimate Guide to SMS and MMS Marketing

Americans check their phones 160 times every single day, and SMS open rates can reach as high as 98%. Even more promising is that 45% of all text messages get a reply.

Statistics like these make SMS a hard channel for marketers to ignore.

Let's dive into this guide that aims to help you take advantage of those high open rates and master SMS Marketing.

What is SMS marketing?

Short message service (SMS) marketing is the action of sending an update, promotion, offer, or transactional information over a text message.

What is MMS marketing?

Multimedia messaging service (MMS) is the action of sending multimedia messages for marketing purposes. It involves sending promotional messages to mobile devices that include multimedia elements such as images, audio, and video, in addition to text. 

SMS and MMS marketing benefits

Overall SMS and MMS marketing can be a highly effective way for businesses to reach out to customers and engage with them on a personal level, making them an important part of many marketing strategies. Here are some benefits:

  1. High open rates: While SMS message read rates are sitting at nearly 100%, they also have a clickthrough rate of 19%—nearly triple the average clickthrough rate of an email marketing message. The average text message is also opened more than an email, which is seen 20% of the time and only answered 6%, making them an effective way to reach out to customers.
  2. Instant delivery: SMS and MMS messages are delivered instantly, making them great for time-sensitive promotions or alerts.
  3. Cost-effective: SMS and MMS marketing can be relatively inexpensive compared to other marketing channels, such as television or print advertising.
  4. Personalized: SMS and MMS messages can be customized with the recipient's name and other personal details, making them feel more personal and engaging.
  5. Opt-in: Customers must opt-in to receive SMS and MMS messages, ensuring that your marketing efforts are targeted and well-received.
  6. Trackable: SMS and MMS marketing campaigns can be easily tracked and measured for effectiveness, allowing businesses to refine their approach and improve their results.
  7. Engaging: MMS messages can include multimedia content like images and videos, making them more engaging and memorable than plain text messages.

How to get started with SMS and MMS marketing?

Building an SMS marketing strategy requires several steps, from covering your brand legally to growing your customer list and creating a consistent marketing campaign.

1. Gain customer permission

Otherwise known as opting-in, gaining permission from your customers to send them text messages is the very first step of any SMS marketing strategy.

This permission is given by a customer via online opt-in forms or replying to messages with a specific keyword.

Gain customer permission

There are a couple of ways brands can gain consent to messages customers, including:

• Onsite pop-ups. When collecting customer details using a pop-up form, marketers can also include consent text or checkboxes that permit them to opt-in to SMS campaigns.

• Email opt-ins. Send an email to current subscribers to gain SMS consent. Using a tool like Sendlane, marketers can gain consent by inserting an HTML snippet into a block in any email.

2. Grow your list

Like any marketing channel, growing your SMS list will be key to running successful campaigns. Building your list starts with the opt-in phase, where numbers are collected from customers who consent. Marketers have several options to leverage existing marketing channels, like:

  • Social media.
  • Online checkout.
  • Referral programs/email lists.

3. Create customer touchpoints

When asking a customer to opt-in to SMS marketing, start by collecting minimal information such as their name and phone number. As you begin marketing to them, you’ll have opportunities to ask for more information, like their gender, age, and demographics, that can help with campaign segmentation later on.

To grow your list as fast as possible, create multiple touchpoints where customers can opt-in on their buying journeys, such as:


Webforms are online sign-up pages placed on landing pages or generated when a customer clicks on a dedicated UTR.


Checkout/POS allows customers to opt-in to text message marketing at the checkout.

Chatbot/Live chat

Live chat and website chatbots can automatically collect customer information using triggers and questions.

URL/QR codes

URL or QR codes can link customers directly to a sign-up form with all the necessary information about your SMS messages’ benefits.

4. Increase customer engagement

Segmenting your audience using historical data can make it more personal and engaging.

There are several ways you can segment your audience to send them the best material:

  • Product interests: Look at recent engagements, saved items, and past purchases to send them messages about similar items.
  • Buying behavior: Targeted copy that reflects their past buying behavior and the products they use the most
  • Demographics: Their gender, age, and profession.
  • Location: Segment messages based on which country and state the customer lives in.

The segments you choose will depend on the type of campaign. Seasonal sales campaigns, for example, will be targeted towards previous buying behaviors, whereas certain holidays like Mother’s Day can be segmented based on demographics and age.

5. Understand compliance and laws

It’s crucial to remain compliant with SMS laws. SMS laws differ depending on what region and country you are sending messages in, but as with similar email spam laws, it’s important to remain compliant to avoid fines.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Brands launching SMS campaigns in Europe should understand General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules. Basically, it stipulates that SMS campaigns must process and store only as much personal data as is required to send text messages, for only as long as necessary, and store it confidentially and securely.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

In the United States, businesses must operate SMS campaigns under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which stipulates that companies that use SMS campaigns must receive express written consent from customers before sending any text messages to them.

Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) regulations

These guidelines tell marketers what material should be excluded from their SMS campaigns, including inappropriate content, profanity, endorsement of illicit substances, and hate/discriminatory speech.

S.H.A.F.T. Rules

S.H.A.F.T. is a set of rules created by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) that outline what marketers should specifically exclude from their SMS campaigns. The acronym stands for Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco and regulates the content within messages.

Understand compliance and laws

SMS and MMS marketing best practices

To get the most out of your campaigns, here are some SMS marketing best practices to follow:

Get personal and connect with every customer

Personalizing messages can help create connections with customers. Using a customer’s name is a start. It’s also the best way to guarantee that the customer will take notice—72% of consumers say they’ll only engage with personalized messages.

Craft compelling opt-ins and CTAs to drive engagement

SMS messages are limited to 160 characters per segment of a message (best practice is to stay around 300), so texts need to be short and succinct.

However, it’s still enough space to add real value for your customer. So have one goal, identify yourself, include a clear call to action (CTA), and, more importantly, always remember to check your grammar.

Give customers a way to opt-out

It’s important to provide customers with a way to opt-out and stop receiving messages at any time.

Customers should be able to do this without contacting a customer service rep at your company and preferably stop the messages using SMS.

Give customers a way to opt-out

Build consistency with an SMS marketing calendar

SMS marketing campaigns should be planned for and organized on a calendar. Outlining key events on a calendar allows you to collaborate with other departments, share assets and ideas, and keep messaging consistent with your brand.

Build consistency with an SMS marketing calendar

Measure campaigns to see what’s working

You can improve your marketing strategy by measuring and tracking the performance of SMS messages and refining future campaigns to reflect what your customers find most engaging.

The metrics to consider when creating SMS campaigns include

  • ROI. The total amount of revenue generated by an SMS campaign.
  • List growth. The number of people who have opted-in to your SMS marketing list.
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR). The number of subscribers who clicked on the CTA included in your text message.
  • Conversions. The percentage of customers taking action as a direct result of a text you sent.
  • Delivery rate. The number of text messages that are actually reaching your subscribers.
Measure campaigns to see what’s working

7 SMS and MMS marketing messages examples

Many different types of messages can be used in SMS and MMS marketing campaigns, each with its unique benefits. Here are 7 examples of SMS and MMS marketing messages that businesses can use to reach out to their customers:

marketing messages examples

1. Promotional messages

Promotional messages will include deals tied to a particular holiday or event, like the customer’s birthday or anniversary.

Promotional messages

2. New stock notifications

These messages are used to update customers about new product releases or when an item comes back into stock.

 update customers about new product releases

3. Product launches

The purpose of these SMS messages is to promote or build interest in a new product or service.

promote or build interest in a new product or service

4. Abandoned cart

Similar to abandoned cart emails, these messages help companies recoup the revenue lost when a customer doesn’t complete their transaction at checkout.

abandoned cart emails

5. Loyalty offers and rewards

Offering giveaways and contests to customers can also help them feel like they’re getting the best deal.

loyalty offers and rewards

6. Customer support

SMS messages are a two-way communication channel, making it a perfect avenue for businesses to provide customer support.

customer support

7. Transactional messages

Transactional messages are sent when a customer interacts with your business—usually when they buy something. These messages include important details about payment invoices, shipping notifications, and returns information.

Transactional messages

Why invest in SMS and MMS marketing automation?

Using a marketing automation tool, marketers can unite their efforts, so every message sent to customers is personalized and aligned with their brand. Here are some features to look out for when choosing an SMS & MMS marketing automation solution.

Better tracking and analytics

Like email tracking, SMS campaign data should be stored and analyzed so you know what parts of your campaigns are working.

A tool like Sendlane, for example, consolidates data from 100+ data points across your website, email, and SMS/MMS. It uses the data to create visual charts that you can use to analyze clickthrough rates, conversions, link tracking, and UTM tracking.

better tracking and analytics

Personalized automations

Marketing automation platforms can send out personalized SMS, automatically shorten links, and trigger text messages based on real-time customer behavior.

With Sendlane’s platform, you can set up and measure automation that uses both real-time email and SMS messages and integrate them into workflows.

Marketing automation platforms

Stand-alone campaigns

Similar to email marketing, SMS campaigns can be created to send out bulk blasts and personalized messages to segments of your list.

You can send a bulk text message campaign with a few clicks using an SMS marketing tool to reach thousands of customers at once.

SMS marketing tool

Two-way reply

The right SMS marketing tool will include a reply center for your team to interact with customers on the spot. Thanks to message history logs, every member of your customer service team can be kept in the loop and solve problems to keep your customers happy.

Two-way reply SMS marketing tool

The top-rated software platforms for SMS and MMS marketing

Having gained some insight into SMS marketing, it's time to explore the top five SMS marketing software solutions currently on the market.

1. Sendlane:

A comprehensive marketing automation platform that offers SMS marketing capabilities, as well as email marketing, landing pages, and more. Its SMS marketing features include audience segmentation, automation workflows, personalized messaging, and real-time reporting.


2. SimpleTexting:

A user-friendly SMS marketing platform that allows businesses to easily create and send text messages to their subscribers. Its features include mass texting, drip campaigns, keywords, and scheduling, as well as integrations with popular marketing tools like Mailchimp and Zapier.

3. SlickText:

A platform that specializes in text message marketing for businesses. Its features include mobile coupons, contests, and surveys, as well as automation workflows and integrations with popular CRM systems.

4. Attentive:

An SMS marketing platform that helps businesses engage with their customers through personalized messages, automated campaigns, and targeted promotions. Its features include audience segmentation, messaging automation, and real-time reporting.

5. Postscript:

An SMS marketing platform that allows businesses to create and send targeted text messages to their customers. Its features include automated workflows, personalized messaging, and integrations with popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. Postscript also offers advanced features like SMS-based abandoned cart recovery and product recommendations.

Are you ready to increase ROI using SMS and MMS marketing with Sendlane?

If you are in the market for an email tool that:

  • Integrates easily with Shopify, WooCommerce, ClickBank, BigCommerce, or Miva
  • Has all the revenue, retention, and data insight features that matter for eCommerce brands
  • Unites your email and SMS under one roof
  • Has fast support, from real email experts, 24/7/365

Then we hope you’ll consider taking Sendlane’s email & SMS marketing features for a spin!

SMS and MMS marketing guide FAQs

What are some common mistakes in an SMS and MMS marketing campaign?

Some common mistakes businesses make with SMS and MMS marketing campaigns include sending too many messages, not providing enough value to customers, using generic messaging that doesn't resonate with the target audience, and not complying with regulations and laws.

What industries can benefit from SMS and MMS marketing campaigns?

SMS and MMS marketing campaigns can benefit a wide range of industries, including retail, hospitality, healthcare, real estate, and entertainment venues. Any business that wants to engage with customers in a personal and direct way can benefit from SMS and MMS marketing campaigns.

Want to read more?
Fill out the form and get lifetime access!
Are you on the market for a new email marketing tool?
Don't worry, we won't spam you.
Loading content...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Share article link

Get started with your free
14-day test drive!

All our PRO level features at your fingertips.

Try for Free

Related articles

No items found.

The 2021 eCommerce
Email Marketing Playbook Part 2

Maximize revenue & customer loyalty in 2021

Mastering Customer
Acquisition & Retention in 2021

Tuesday, July 20

Better features. Better support. Better customer experience.

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

No More Guessing; Make Data-driven Decisions at a Glance

Ditch the clunky UI; send high-converting messages with unified email & SMS data under one roof.

Find Hidden Growth Opportunities in your Shopify Customers

Build a retention-first strategy with real-time analytics and multi-channel automation.

Turn sales into reviews & reviews into more sales. All for free.

Collect, manage and dynamically display unlimited reviews all within one snazzy dashboard (and at no additional cost).

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Create Winning Campaigns Faster with Personalized Email Marketing

Spend less time building emails & more time creating experiences that drive your store growth.

Unified Email & SMS Marketing for BigCommerce

Send hyper-targeted email & SMS marketing that generates revenue with an easy one-click integration.

Uncover What your Customers Really Want

Get all the same features you need with a more intuitive UI you’ll love. Experience the difference.

Everything Your Brand Needs to Achieve Greatness with SMS

Build lasting, authentic relationships and tap into multi-channel revenue with all-in-one email & sms marketing.

Drive significant ROI for your
online store

Your eCommerce power couple - Unite your email & SMS marketing under one roof with Sendlane.

The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing
CLTV for Digital Retailers

Keep your store cruising onward and upward with these seven strategies to increase CLTV.

The eCommerce
Segmentation Handbook

12 eCommerce Email Marketing Segments to Maximize Your Customer LTV.

The Definitive Guide to Abandoned
Cart Emails for eCommerce

Perfect your abandoned cart email funnel and recover those lost sales on autopilot.

The Big Book of eCommerce Email Funnels

Boost your customer LTV & ROI with these 10 proven automated funnel templates.

Your 2021 Guide to eCommerce Holiday Marketing

9 tried and tested omnichannel marketing strategies to crush holiday sales

The Digital Retailer’s Email Copywriting Handbook

A Marketer's Guide to Writing Killer Email Copy That Sells.

The Future of eCommerce
in 2022

Omnichannel strategies to drive revenue plus trends to watch in 2022 and beyond

The Digital Retailer's Guide to Modern SMS/MMS Marketing

10 Best practices to convert more customers where and when they’re active most with text messaging.

Increase Revenue and Retention by Mastering the Digital Customer Experience

A step-by-step guide to mastering the customer experience and building a base of loyal, repeat buyers.

The BigCommerce Experience: Omnichannel Marketing Strategies for a Post-Cookie World

The Shopify Experience:
A Merchant & Marketer's Guide
to Scaling eCommerce Growth

Get started with your free
14-day test drive!

All our PRO level features at your fingertips.

Try for Free