How to use SMS in a way customers actually want


To fully understand the power of SMS and how to use it in your overall marketing strategy, check out The Acoustic Guide to SMS.

Simple is often best. While Short Message Service (SMS) is no longer considered new, it remains highly effective — if you do it right. Remember the line attributed to Willie Sutton? He said he robbed banks because “that’s where the money is.” Well, if practically all of your customers have mobile phones (and 96% do, according to Pew Research) and they check their phones almost immediately when they receive a text message, then why would you not want to learn how to effectively text them? SMS gives you the chance to communicate through a device nearly every consumer looks at an average of 52 times a day (Source: Deloitte).

Entire generations of your customers rely almost entirely on their mobile phones. It’s not their “second screen” — it’s their only screen. As long as you are providing a convenience to your customers, SMS messages are welcomed and can make your brand relevant and trusted.

“SMS gives you the chance to communicate through a device nearly every consumer looks at an average of 52 times a day.”

A primary reason SMS messages work is that they are quick and to the point. No time wasted. Messages are generally limited to 160 characters and spaces. This impact of brevity and immediacy makes SMS an ideal channel for promotion and timely customer service. So while a retailer might email a receipt (that the customer doesn’t need to view instantly) the same retailer could text a message as soon as a package is shipped or delivered — and be providing superior customer service.

Use cases for SMS

Okay, short is good, but how do you say something effective in so few characters? Well, SMS can be used any number of ways: getting attention at the right time, quick alerts, or short reminders. These messages could be coupons, special offers, product notifications, or an alert to download an updated mobile app.

SMS is being used effectively in a wide variety of industries that need to have direct contact with customers. Here are just a few examples:

  • Retail: When shopping at a store or online, consumers want to know about special offers. With consumers often on the go, reaching people on their mobile devices with With SMS, in-store coupon redemption rates are 70–80% versus the out-of-store coupon redemption rate which is 30–50% (source: mGage), so it’s one of the best ways to communicate — especially in real time.
  • Finance: With the growth of online banking and mobile payments, the smartphone has become the modern wallet for many consumers. Consumers want and expect immediate notification of their transaction activity such as a deposit via an ATM, transferring money, or making a payment.
  • Travel and Hospitality: In times when people are travelling (and hopefully they will be again as soon as possible), mobile marketing and messaging are ideal for travel and hospitality brands, since customers are often on the go. Whether it’s flight alerts, hotel check-in or check-out alerts, gate changes, travel reminders or tips, SMS messaging can increase satisfaction and revenue.
  • Education: SMS is ideal for schools and colleges as a way to communicate with both students and parents, and even faculty and staff. According to mGage, 90% of students who use SMS in a class would like to see text messaging extended to other classes. With young people being the most active users of mobile devices, SMS is typically the best channel to reach and engage them.

In today’s world of high-volume, rapid information, SMS can be remarkably successful and cost-effective. To learn more about why and how to bring SMS into your marketing mix, download The Acoustic Guide to SMS for even more best practices, use cases, and industry resources that will help you maximize the ROI from this highly effective marketing tactic.

And check back often as Acoustic continues its series of Brilliant Basics marketing practices.