16 SMS Marketing Ideas to Copy For Your Next Campaign

Looking for SMS marketing ideas? Bookmark these 16 proven campaigns and tips from real independent business owners.

Nothing is original.

That’s one of my favorite takeaways from writer and artist Austin Kleon’s concept of stealing like an artist. Whether I’m planning an SMS marketing campaign or creating ads for social media, I’m looking at others’ work to get my creativity moving. 

You don’t have to be an artist or even a marketer to “steal” ideas. You can do the same thing with SMS marketing.

Gather inspiration from other companies (even those that aren’t in your industry), get curious about why something does or doesn’t work, and adapt it for your audience.

Using data and real SMS campaign examples from independent business owners, I’ll share 16 SMS marketing ideas to help you stay organized and get your creativity flowing.

SimpleTexting Is SMS Marketing Software

Take advantage of SMS marketing’s 98% open rates and engage your customers. Meaningful connections are just a text away with SimpleTexting.

1. Use an SMS marketing campaign calendar

Organize your SMS marketing campaign ideas with a campaign calendar. It’ll help you space them out and make sure your text messaging strategy is cohesive. 

Once you’ve filled out your calendar, all you’ll have to do is review the texts for grammar and spelling, copy and paste the details into your text message marketing app, and schedule the texts. 

📅 Download our free SMS marketing campaign calendar — no email needed!

2. Invite email subscribers and social media followers to text you

Your email contacts and social followers already want to hear from you. Encourage them to join your SMS subscriber list for convenient updates and exclusive promotions. 

For email, you can run a campaign solely to collect text sign-ups or include an invitation at the bottom of your emails. 

On social media, consider posting an announcement about your texting program and adding a keyword to your bio. 

Clothing brand Lane 201's Instagram page where they advertise their SMS keyword
Lane 201 invites followers to join their text club on Instagram.

3. Add a team member to your SMS app to help monitor responses

Adding another user to your texting app saves you time and helps reduce response times to customer questions. Plus, if you go on a business trip or vacation, you’ll have another person on your team who can monitor your inbox so the burden doesn’t fall solely on you.

The additional user could be an assistant, a customer service representative, or any other member of your team. Just give them a quick onboarding session and use saved templates for frequently asked questions.

Note: Every SimpleTexting plan comes with three user seats, so this text marketing idea won’t cost extra if you’re already using our SMS platform.

4. Follow up with contacts after a purchase or event

Sometimes a simple, personalized check-in can help strengthen your relationship with customers and help identify potential issues. 

One of my favorite use cases of this is from one of our fitness studio customers. After every group class, they send a quick follow-up text asking attendees if they enjoyed the class. 

Hi Lisa! This is Jackie from Simple Yoga. I wanted to welcome you to the studio and see how you’re enjoying classes. If you have any questions or need any assistance, feel free to reach out. Have a great weekend!
Hi Jackie! Thank you so much, I’m loving the classes so far 😀

The responses are heartfelt and personal, which makes it clear to me that these texts are part of what make people feel like they’re part of a fitness community. Some class attendees take the opportunity to ask questions about their services or mention difficulties they are having. 

For instance, an attendee responded to one of these messages that they enjoyed the class but had pain in specific areas. The fitness studio owner let them know of a class that’s a better fit to help prevent further discomfort.

You should know: You can create message templates so you’re not typing out each message manually. For an even more hands-off approach, we can help you integrate your e-commerce or event planning software with SimpleTexting’s text message marketing platform.

5. Include a specific call-to-action

Tell your contacts exactly what you want them to do, whether it’s clicking on a link, using a discount code at checkout, or inviting them to reply to the text. Using calls-to-action (CTAs) in your texts is a form of direct response marketing—a method for getting your audience to act immediately.

Limit each campaign to one or two CTAs so your contacts aren’t overwhelmed with choices. Here are some CTA action verbs you can use in your next campaign:

  • Click/Tap
  • Sign-Up
  • Call
  • Reply
  • Buy
  • Order
  • Share
  • Follow
  • Download

6. Run polls for new product and service ideas

With text polls and surveys, your customers can send feedback without having to download or log into another service. Prompt them to share their thoughts on your products and services by replying to your message.

Woman bringing a platter of bruschetta and wine to a table in a restaurant
Postino WineCafé uses SMS polls to let customers vote on their favorite dish.

One of our customers, Postino WineCafé, cleverly uses text polls to see which dish they should add to their menu next. As diners try each experimental menu item, they can text to vote for their favorite bruschetta. 

battle: Reply STOP to unsubscribe or HELP for help. 6 msgs per month, Msg&Data rates may apply.
Thanks for getting in on Postino’s Battle of The Bruschetta!
Reply A or B for your favorite bruschetta:

​​A. Mexican Street Corn
B. The Italiano

7. Integrate SMS with other marketing channels

Texting adds an extra layer of engagement and immediacy to your campaigns, especially when paired with channels like social media and email.

By mixing SMS with your social media strategy, you can drive traffic to your social profiles, promote contests or giveaways, and collect user-generated content. SMS can also help compensate for lower organic engagement rates brought on by algorithm updates.

When combined with email campaigns, SMS can act as a powerful trigger for urgent promotions or time-sensitive events, ensuring your message reaches customers promptly. For instance, you can send an email campaign about an upcoming sale and then send a text reminder on the day of the event.

8. Segment customers by past purchases or interests

By grouping customers into segments, you can tailor your messages to their preferences and behaviors and encourage more sales. 

Use customer relationship management and point-of-sale tools to identify patterns and create segments like “frequent buyers” or customers who have purchased a product in a particular category. 

Then, send targeted offers and product recommendation text messages. This approach boosts customer satisfaction, loyalty, and revenue by providing customers with relevant content and personalized experiences.

9. Discover the best time to send your text campaigns

The day and time that you send texts can make a difference in your campaigns’ performance. For example, if your contacts are mostly parents of young children, you’ll want to avoid sending texts around times when their kids are home from daycare or during meal times. 

You can test a few different times and days of the week and see which text campaigns have the best engagement (like response and click-through rates). 

Not sure where to start? Take a look at our report on the best time to send texts.

10. Personalize your text messages for higher engagement

Customers expect brands to personalize their interactions based on the data they have about them. 

According to McKinsey’s Next in Personalization 2021 Report, 76% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands that personalize their experience.

How do you collect contact information if all you have is their phone number? All you have to do is ask for details like their first name and location. 

With our Data Collection tool, you can gather and store your contacts’ information for a more enjoyable customer experience and to strengthen your relationship with them. You can then insert the information into your text message campaigns dynamically using custom fields.

Image for sending MMS
Phil, have you tried our spicy chicken meatball soup? Hurry in—this dish is only available in June!

11. Use AI tools to save time on copywriting

Even when you know what you want your text messages to say, you may not know how you want to say it. AI tools for SMS—like ChatGPT and SimpleTexting’s AI Assist—can give you a starting point, and you can tweak it to better match your branding and your marketing goals.

When our director of marketing, Drew Wilkinson, tested the AI tool ChatGPT for SMS, he was impressed with the results but found that it struggled to keep the messages short.

Our AI Assist feature is built from ChatGPT’s technology, but it’s optimized specifically for text message campaigns. Give it a try by signing up for our free 14-day trial

A business owner's text message in SimpleTexting's AI Assist message generator
SimpleTexting’s AI Assist tool generates suggestions for your SMS campaigns.

12. Schedule seasonal reminders and product promos

As you fill in the SMS content calendar template I mentioned in the first idea, pencil in some timely product and service features. This is your chance to keep your brand top of mind and even educate customers during holidays and busy seasons. 

I came across a perfect example of this type of text message campaign from a SimpleTexting customer in the landscaping industry. They send mass texts to local customers who may not know about seasonal threats to their lawn’s health—which helps drive more sales and position the company as a helpful resource.

We’re starting to notice spots of fungus pop up in the Little Rock area due to all the spring rains.

Reply ‘Y’ to be sure your lawn is protected from damage this spring!

13. Send mobile coupons via text

If your business has physical locations, use your texting program to send mobile coupons to loyal customers. 

One of our restaurant customers uses SMS coupons like these to increase foot traffic. Here’s how it works:

  1. They compose a text message with the promotion details, like the discount percentage and how long the contact has to redeem it.
  2. The customer shows the text message to your staff when they visit the restaurant.

Happy Mother’s Day! Enjoy one FREE Nutella Crêpe TODAY only! Redeemable in-store with this text.

14. Share helpful and inspirational resources

To position your brand as an industry authority and increase your customers’ trust, schedule text messages that include helpful content. 

Consider sending:

  • Style guides
  • Product tutorials
  • Size charts
  • Images of customers using your products
  • Behind-the-scenes videos

These types of text messages can help your customers learn more about your industry and see how your products and services fit into their lives.

15. Send a text when you’re going live on social

Want more people to join your live streams on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook? Send an alert to your text list subscribers when you’re about to go live.

An independent cosmetics brand uses this tactic to invite customers to watch live streams of them packing orders and showing off new products. 

We are live now on IG & TikTok showing the bundles! Order now to get it in time for Mother’s Day: https://txt.so/NCIDPO

The text blasts include a trackable link to a page on their site with all of their social handles. This helps make sure the brand’s customers are connected with them on social and are the first to know about new product launches. 

Plus, they can view metrics like link clicks in their analytics dashboard to help them measure the impact of the campaign.

16. Partner with other brands and influencers

I know, I know. PetSmart doesn’t fit the definition of independent brand for this list, but hear me out:

You can take a page out of their SMS marketing strategy by partnering with other brands and influencers to promote your texting list. It’s an effective way to expand your reach and attract new subscribers who may be interested in your products and services.

Tweet from the Nashville Predators hockey team advertising a mobile coupon from PetSmart
Source: Nashville Predators hockey team Twitter page

Another fun way to engage your audience is to host an influencer text message takeover. Like hosting a social media takeover, you can invite a prominent figure in your industry to share insights, inspiration, and product recommendations with your text subscribers. 

You don’t even need to add them to your texting app—simply ask them to send you images, suggested copy, and other materials so you can schedule texts on their behalf. 

SMS marketing idea FAQs

What are SMS marketing campaigns?

SMS marketing campaigns involve sending promotional and informational messages to customers via text messages. They’re a way to engage directly with your audience with quick and concise messages.
SMS marketing has several advantages for business owners:
  • Text messages have average open rates of 98% and response rates of 45%.
  • 71% of consumers are signed up to receive texts from businesses. They’re most likely to subscribe to texts from brands in the healthcare space, banking/finance, and e-commerce/retail.
  • 86% of businesses have used SMS marketing to text their customers.
  • The majority of businesses report SMS click-through rates of 20–35%.
You can create a text marketing campaign in three steps:
  1. Choose an SMS marketing platform.
  2. Build your SMS marketing subscriber list.
  3. Draft and schedule a text campaign in your SMS platform.
Absolutely. SMS marketing is still effective, thanks to its convenience and cost-effectiveness. In our 2023 SMS Marketing report, 86% of business owners said they’ve used SMS marketing to text their customers in the past year (a 56% increase in SMS adoption year-over-year).
Some of the most popular types of SMS marketing campaigns are:
  • Deals and discounts
  • Business and product announcements
  • Order updates
  • Review requests
  • Expert Q-and-As

This piece was published June 14, 2023, and was written by Dani Henion.