How an E-Commerce Business Can Effectively Leverage SMS Marketing

A graphic design of an iPhone displaying the reality of SMS marketing for e-commerce businesses

The most effective ways to leverage sms marketing to improve e-commerce sales

Short Message Service (SMS) is a vital tool for millions of businesses around the globe. It is used to reach customers that are regular buyers and to reach out to new potential customers. One of the most effective uses of SMS is to advertise sales, deals, or special offers. This use of SMS in marketing is by far one of the most effective ways to reel in customers. While it is beneficial, there are many best practices and ways to improve a company’s SMS marketing. Having a polished SMS is vital to gaining an edge over competitors and increasing its success.

How to Gain SMS Subscribers

A graphic design of an SMS and email subscriber ad for an e-commerce business

The first step for receiving SMS is to sign up or opt-in to these services, which can be done in person at a checkout counter at retailers, through email, or even through customer receipts. Customers need to be encouraged to sign up for a company’s SMS because, in the U.S., it is illegal to send unsolicited SMS marketing messages without consent.

During account setup for online shoppers, there is usually a box that customers can check off to opt into SMS. The method is highly effective in gaining SMS recipients. Another great way to gain more SMS subscribers is to offer deals to customers who sign up. For example, a simple five to 10 percent off a first purchase or next order can go a long way.

Message Frequency and Length

Like any part of a business, SMS has best practices that should be followed. One of the biggest issues many companies face with SMS is sending too many messages. No one wants their device to be spammed with messages from their friends and family, much less a business. Many people consider sending more than one message weekly to be too much. It depends on the company in the end.

The frequency of messages sent ultimately comes down to knowing customers and products. If someone is a more frequent customer, they will most likely want more offers and messages sent to their device. The same principle applies to the opposite. Customers who use a company’s services once a month do not need more than one message weekly.

Message length is just as important. The average attention span of a person in 2022 is approximately eight seconds. If an SMS message is long and drawn out, odds are, it will only be read partially, meaning that short, attention-catching messages are critical.

However, what if the message has to be long to convey the deal or offer? When this is the case, the best way to execute a successful SMS is to send an attention catcher and a link. The attention-catching message should be descriptive with keywords like a specific product, service, or deal. If this attention catcher is effective, customers will likely click on the link to the company’s website. The link brings customers to the original message’s expounded description of the sale, product, or service. The method is vastly underutilized by most companies, but a great way to capture the attention of SMS subscribers.

Message Tonality

A colorful graphic design with "talk nice or don't talk at all (thats what my mom says anyway)" for POLA Marketing's guide to SMS marketing for e-commerce

No one likes the feeling they are talking to a robot or computer. Think about using a customer service platform or troubleshooting service. When given a choice, customers naturally gravitate to speaking with an agent over the phone rather than a robot because people trust people.

When it comes to SMS, people want to feel the same way. Customers will see messages more appealing when they feel someone wrote them specifically. Moreover, this is important, considering that SMS goes to customers’ devices. When it comes to these personal devices, messages should be conversational. There is no need for a formal tone of voice when using SMS, as the tone can make customers feel pressured or intimidated, which is the last thing a company wants. Sticking to a personal tone with SMS will undoubtedly increase customer loyalty and trust in the long run.

Message Content

Sending a 47-year-old male a deal on the best mascara or lipstick on the market is surely useless. Nothing will disengage a customer more than offering them something that is not appealing or applicable.

In order to send appropriate and informative messages, SMS subscribers should be filtered into categories. These filters can include age, sex, purchase history, profession, location, browsing behavior, and more. When customers are segregated into these groups, it makes it much easier to communicate with them effectively.

Customers also need to feel as if they are getting value from these SMS texts. One of the most valued SMS features for customers is shipping updates. Everyone wants to know how many stops away their packages and orders are. Another great SMS feature is reminders for appointments and meetings. The most valued SMS texts, however, are great deals and offers. People love a sweet deal, and there’s no better way to entice customers than to advertise to them through SMS.

Measuring SMS Success

A graphic design of two smiley faces, a cell phone, and two green arrows symbolizing SMS marketing for e-commerce businesses

Just like with any other branch of a business, the effectiveness of SMS can and should be monitored to ensure it is used to its full potential. By tracking customers engaging with SMS, a company can further optimize its methods based on what is working and not working. If a company’s SMS system is doing poorly, more filters may be needed to ensure appropriate messages for specific customers. Companies should also experiment with the timing of messages and measure the engagement of messages sent at different times of the day to optimize timing. Using these metrics can improve SMS strategy drastically.

The Power of SMS

Whether a company employs SMS for promotional purposes, reminders, or even birthday messages, it is undoubtedly effective. SMS marketing’s biggest strength is that it can reach customers worldwide, giving a business a massive advantage over competitors that do not utilize the service. How effective SMS is, is up to the company. Overall, SMS is an excellent addition to any marketing campaign.

Call in a Professional

At POLA Marketing, we understand that SMS Marketing is time-consuming and that implementing a system takes effort to maintain it appropriately. POLA Marketing is a full-service marketing agency that creates data-driven SMS strategies with its talented team of experts.

For more information, contact us at (

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