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7 text promotion ideas your customers will love

Text messages can drive incremental revenue and bring in new customers. Learn how and why to use them.

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The average person sends or receives more than 40 texts per day. When you consider the fact that 95% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, that’s a lot of texts. If you crunch the numbers, it comes out to around 12 billion text messages daily in the U.S. alone.

And they’re not all from family or friends. An increasing amount of texts are being sent by businesses. High open and click-through rates make SMS the ideal channel for reaching customers. Plus, customers have to opt in first. This means that if you send marketing texts, you can be sure the recipients are actually interested.

So, that answers why you should send texts, but how about what you should send? After nearly a decade of working with clients across a variety of industries, we’ve come to learn what works and what doesn’t.

What makes an effective SMS or text promotion?

You’re probably here because you want an SMS campaign idea that you can plug and play. Rest assured, we’re going to give you several. But we also think it’s helpful to understand the elements that make text promotions effective. If you want to attract new customers or bring existing ones back, your messages should have the following three elements:


It’s possible to send a mass campaign, and make each text unique without extra work. Using custom fields, you can include your customers’ first names at the beginning of your messages.

Of course, personalization isn’t just about addressing your contacts by their names. It’s also about sending relevant messages. Don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to your SMS marketing. Be sure to use segments and lists to keep your audience organized by location, age, interest, opt-in source, etc. Then send each of these groups personalized messages.


SMS has a significantly higher open rate than email. Research shows that somewhere around 98% of texts are read. Still, when you send your message is important. Consider when you want your contacts to take action.

If you run a restaurant and need to bring people in for lunch, it’s a good idea to let people know about your daily special around 11:30—when stomachs begin to rumble.

If you manage an entertainment venue that needs to sell tickets to an upcoming event, you should probably send your message with plenty of lead time so that people have time to plan.

Either way, there’s no need to sit with your finger on the send button. Using scheduled texts, you can set your message to go out ahead of time.

A good call to action

Every text promotion campaign has two calls to action (CTA): one asking people to sign up for messages, and another in the message itself. Both of these should tell people why they should care, and what they should.

For the first CTA, it’s crucial to tell people what they’ll be getting when they subscribe to your SMS list. This isn’t just best practice, it’s required for SMS compliance. And as for the content of your texts, be sure to give customers a next step—whether that’s buying something from your e-commerce store or reserving a spot at your next event.

Avoid overhyping your offer

There’s no need to use ALL CAPS. And definitely avoid excessive use of exclamation marks or words like free. If you do, you risk coming off like this. Remember, customers know a good deal when they see one. If you’re confident that what you’re offering is enticing, then you don’t need to promote it with gimmicks or flowery language.

7 text promotion ideas you should try

Okay, here’s what you came here for. Tried-and-true SMS marketing campaigns that contain the key components we talked about above. Feel free to copy and paste any of the below messages or check out these SMS templates for more ideas.

1. Weekly tips

You can offer more to your audience than sales and discounts. Build your brand’s image by sharing helpful, educational content. For example, a fitness center may want to send out #motivationmonday campaigns. Or a beauty brand could send skincare or makeup tips. Ideally, your tips will help solve a problem your customers have. The more value you offer, the more likely you are to create loyal customers.

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Curology Cosmetics Weekly Tip #45: When it comes to skincare, less is more. Only use a pea-sized amount of our cleanser. See all of our past tips here:

2. New product announcements

Don’t wait for your customers to show up at your business before you share information about new products. Make them feel like insiders by sharing updates by text—even before you post anything to social media. If people know your SMS list is the place to be first in line for news about your company, they’ll feel encouraged to sign up.

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We’re happy to say Chef Joe has perfected his gorgonzola walnut pizza recipe. Come in and try it today! It’s officially on the menu. 🍕

[Read: How a Healthy Food Delivery Service Drives More Orders Using Text Alerts]

3. Sweepstakes

In the world of text marketing, there’s what’s known as a keyword. This a word or phrase that people can text to your number to sign up for your messages. In this case, when they text in the word, they’ll be entered for a chance to win a prize. The great part about this type of marketing campaign is that it helps you build your list if you’re just getting started with SMS.

Thanks for entering to win a year of free Slushies from 7/11! Winner will be announced on Monday, the 14th.

4. In-store deals

If you run a brick-and-mortar shop, sometimes foot traffic isn’t enough. Bring in an extra surge of customers by offering deals that can only be redeemed in-store. The key to this promotion is to include a deadline on your offer. A good deal combined with a sense of urgency can be a powerful tactic for increasing sales.

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Kelsie’s Closet: Emily, we need to make room for new inventory, so we’re offering our texting list BOGO on our shorts and pants. But come quick, it’s today only! 🏃‍♀️

5. Flash sales

Similar to the previous text promotion idea, this one is all about delighting your customers. Send out a message with a discount code that’s just for your SMS contacts. You can use our link tracking feature to segment your audience based on who clicked, and who didn’t. Then you can send an extra nudge to customers who didn’t click.

Image for sending MMS
Amy! Dogs got ahold of our text message system and demanded a flash sale. All of our chew toys are 50% off for the next three hours!

[Read: How Delta Sonic Got More Than 50,000 Text Subscribers]

6. Event invites

Text messages are a popular tool for event promotion. Even if you don’t run a venue, you can still host a fun event and use SMS messages to invite your customers. Successful retail pop-ups or fun in-store events are an opportunity to build customer relationships and, of course, drive sales.

Image for sending MMS
You’re invited to our latte art competition, Alberto. Come see our baristas go head to head on Saturday 7/21 at 7 pm.

7. Polls and surveys

An essential part of fostering customer loyalty is making your customers feel listened to. Learn more about your audience’s preferences, and involve them in your business with an SMS survey. You can use this text promotion to either acquire new contacts or get opinions from existing ones.

What should our next flavor be at Twistee Treat ice cream?
A.Girl Scout Cookies
B.Blueberry Pie
C.Caramel Apple

How to get started with text message promotions

Now that you have a better idea of the type of marketing messages you can send via text, let’s talk about how to get started. First things first, you’ll need to find a texting service. You can try ours risk-free for two weeks, without having to enter a credit card.

Decide what number you want

When you sign up for an account with us, we can set you up with a local number. This is a virtual phone number you can use to send and receive texts. Make sure to have your local number registered.

It’s not the only number type we support. You have two other options: toll-free numbers and dedicated short codes. We explain the difference between number types in this article if you want to learn more.

Note: If you use a toll-free number with us, know that carriers are imposing limits on traffic from toll-free numbers (and those limits will increase until you submit your verification form). Have your toll-free number verified to avoid this.

Build your contact list

As we briefly mentioned at the beginning of this article, you must have permission from your customers before you text them. This is what’s known as express written consent. There are two main ways you can get consent.

The first is by creating an opt-in keyword, like in example three. The second is by creating a web form on your site to collect phone numbers. We make it easy to create a sign-up form that you can copy/paste right from your platform to your site.

Send out your promotion

You have a text-enabled number, you have a list of contacts, and you have permission to text them. Send away! Pick one of the above ideas and schedule your first message. As with any marketing channel, you should experiment with different kinds of messages until you find what works best for your company.

Try your text message promotion idea for free

We hope this article has given you the inspiration you need to text promotions to your marketing calendar. If you want to see how others are doing it, browse through a few of our customer success stories. Once you’re ready to give texting a shot, sign up for a 14-day free trial.

Alfredo Salkeld
Alfredo Salkeld

Alfredo is SimpleTexting's brand manager. He's passionate about using his 10+ years of marketing experience to help small businesses grow.

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