Best practice tips for a successful SMS marketing campaign

Topic: SMS Marketing

Don’t start your next SMS marketing campaign before reading these best practice tips…

SMS is the perfect vehicle for marketing because of its potential to reach a huge audience that’s almost always switched on. 

It’s particularly good for time-sensitive communications: anything from rich messaging to showcase a new product, to a succinct SMS for a tempting takeaway deal on a Friday night. And while your audience might be global, you can easily manage and segment contacts via your communications platform to ensure messages resonate and drive action. 

In this best practice guide, we’ll explore some of the ways you can get the most out of SMS marketing to achieve your goals.  

Start with compliance 

For a campaign to be successful, first you need to make sure it’s compliant with data privacy legislation in the country or countries you’re operating in – for example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and UK. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office provides comprehensive details of legislation like the GDPR to help organisations working in the UK understand their obligations, including any new ones. As part of your due diligence, it’s a good idea to choose an SMS platform that makes compliance processes both more efficient and robust.

Esendex, for example, is ISO27001 certified which means your customers’ data is protected to the highest standards.

So what are the key legal principles to consider when using SMS for marketing?


By law, businesses must have written consent from customers agreeing to receive marketing messages. You can ask for consent when people open an account or make a purchase – the best way to do it is with a simple checkbox asking them to opt into SMS and email communications.

As a marketer, you’ll know there are advantages to seeking out active consent that goes beyond your legal obligations. It leaves you with a database of engaged users who are more likely to respond positively to your communications, so you get a better return on your investment. 

Clear opt-ins and outs

As well as having a clear opt-in box, it should also be quick and easy for customers to opt out. As well as being a legal requirement, it’s really just good practice. Unwanted communications damage your brand reputation and reduce your marketing ROI. An unsubscribe option, like replying ‘STOP’ to the message, or texting ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’ to a short code, is the simplest way to do this.

You can easily remove contacts within your SMS platform but there’s also another fail safe as opt-outs are automatically added to an unsubscribe list where any messages sent will fail.

Send during business hours

SMS marketing messages should be sent in business hours which are typically between 9am to 6pm. This reflects professionalism and a respect for your customers’ time, and also reduces the likelihood of opt-outs caused by ill-timed communications.

Naturally, if you received an SMS from a business late at night you might be annoyed and not want to hear from them again! 

State your business

When communicating with customers, you need a sender ID – including the business name, so customers know who the text has come from. A sender ID helps to prevent fraudsters from impersonating your business, while customers can be confident the text is from a legitimate organisation.

Learn more: SMS compliance (UK): A guide to SMS marketing regulations

Top tips to boost your SMS campaigns

Compared to other forms of marketing, SMS is fast and straightforward. It has a 160-character limit, so you don’t have to write reams of text – and you can also enhance your communications with branded visually-appealing rich messaging. 

However, there are a few things you can do to give your SMS campaign a boost and improve your ROI.

When a customer opts-in to marketing messages, it’s important to strike while the iron’s hot and they’re at their most engaged. This could be as simple as extending a warm welcome, with a promo code to encourage them to make a purchase. 

Be sure to personalise the text using the recipient’s first name or an appealing offer, so the communications feel both relevant and exclusive. It’s highly effective too: around 72% of consumers expect businesses who they buy from to know their interests and recognise them as individuals. 

These SMS marketing tips can help you improve the effectiveness of your campaigns. 

Include clear CTAs 

If you want customers to take action when reading your text, you need a clear and compelling call-to-action. For example, ‘register now’ or ‘click here’ explain in a couple of words exactly what you want people to do next. 

You can create urgency for limited-time offers with words like ‘today’ and ‘now’ but the usual rules apply around messaging. You don’t want to sound desperate, nor mislead customers with offers that sound too good to be true. 

sms example for a new product launch

Back in stock notices 

Back in stock notices create a buzz around in-demand products that have sold out – and you can do the same when stocks are low. It’s a way to notify customers who’ve signed up for stock alerts, as well as for those who’ve previously had an item in their basket, or to amplify a product buzz on social media.

Back in stock SMS template example:

Hi [Name], that [Product Name] you wanted is back in stock. Order quickly before it goes again! [Link]

Feedback and surveys 

SMS surveys are a great way to get quick and easy feedback on your products, service or business. With Esendex, you can tailor and automate your surveys based on customer data like purchase history, making it more relevant, accurate and more likely to improve your response rate. 

SMS customer survey


Your SMS platform allows you to personalise text messages by addressing the recipient by their first name, and segmenting contacts into lists based on their activity. It’s also easy to send birthday messages, offering free gifts or discounts to drive engagement and sales. 

text message on a phone that says "Hi Claire, great news, an item you have on your wish list is now in our SUMMER SALE!"

Personalised SMS template example:

Hey, [Name]! We value you as a loyal subscriber, so here’s 10% off your next order [Link]

Learn more: Personalised SMS marketing: Guide to sending personalised SMS

VIP/Early access

Early access or VIP sales links help create a feeling of exclusivity and relevance, so people are more likely to act on communications.

sms example with a vip discount code

Early access VIP SMS template example:

[Name], our sale starts on Friday, but for VIPs it starts today! Get access before everyone else here: [Link]

Using the right SMS platform

At Esendex, we have decades of industry experience with businesses of all sizes. We are also ISO27001 certified and fully compliant with the latest regulations and offer 24/7 industry-leading customer support.  

Our platform is ideal for bulk SMS because it has the infrastructure to be able to send thousands of messages at a time. Coupling this with SMS automations which improve efficiency, accuracy and speed, you can create impactful SMS marketing campaigns that deliver a high ROI.

Speak to an expert to find out how Esendex can support your SMS marketing efforts.

Author Avatar
Mary Henry

Mary has extensive experience in communication, PR and journalism - most recently across SaaS businesses. A keen researcher and storyteller, Mary is highly skilled in making complex concepts accessible, and in putting customers at the heart of her communication. She has supported all kinds of businesses to tell their brand, product and people stories - from global multinationals to start-ups across retail, travel/leisure, banking/finance, government and educational institutions.