How to Use SMS Marketing to Understand Your Target Audience

Engage your customers effectively by learning what your target audience wants. This will help you improve your SMS marketing and beyond.

SMS marketing (also known as text message marketing, mass texting, and text blasts) is a rapidly growing digital communication channel for businesses.

In fact, SMS marketing popularity increased 56% from 2022 to 2023 with 86% of businesses having used SMS marketing to text their customers.

Thanks to its accessibility and ease of use, texting has become the preferred form of contact by consumers across many industries. 71% of consumers receive text messages from businesses in 2023.

Texting is a powerful tool. When used correctly, texting can result in more lucrative communication between you and your business’s target audience.

SimpleTexting is SMS marketing software

Businesses that text customers are 217% more likely to report success. Take advantage of SMS marketing. Meaningful connections are just a text away with SimpleTexting.

How Does SMS Marketing Work?

Text marketing for each business begins in a few different ways. The key is to understand that text marketing is not necessarily about your personal device, cellphone, or tablet.

It’s about text-enabling a business number or short code that allows you to reach large groups of people at once (or just one person). Then you can use a mobile app or computer to send business texts.

To do that, you need an SMS platform. That’s where SimpleTexting comes in. 💡

Your target audience can message your text-enabled (and verified) toll-free number, registered local number, VoIP, landline, or dedicated short code to communicate with your business directly.

You can reply directly to your audience, or send out text “blasts” (aka campaigns) that share promotional materials, tips, reminders, and more.

Text message marketing sees benefits like higher and faster open and response rates than any other form of digital marketing. It’s the new universal inbox.

What Is a Target Audience?

You can use texting to reach virtually anyone with a cellphone. But to really employ the best SMS marketing strategy you can, your goal is to communicate directly with an ideal type of customer who is most likely to be successful with your product or service — a target audience.

What do you mean by the term “target audience”?

A target audience, or target market, is the persona you want to receive your messages. It’s the “intended” audience, more or less.

A simple way to document your target audience is with a profile of bullet points. I’ve used these points in a handful of different ideal customer profile exercises:

  • Persona name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Goals
  • Profession
  • Working class
  • Projected status
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Location
  • Religion
  • Marriage or relationship status
  • Parenthood/children
  • Pets
  • Purchase decision influencers (e.g. spouse, boss, etc.)
  • Likes/favorite things
  • Dislikes/pet peeves

You don’t need to use every one of those bullets. Think of them as a thought exercise. Use only what you need to help you focus.

By establishing a target audience, you’re not keeping folks who may not fit the profile from receiving your marketing material. You’re just helping to create a focus for your SMS marketing strategy.

For example, if your target audience for a new soda is teenagers, your marketing material would be geared toward them. That doesn’t exclude middle-aged people from buying it, it’s just not who the product is advertised toward.

What Should You Consider When Using SMS to Find Your Target Audience?

Who is your target audience and how do you advertise to them? If the choice isn’t obvious from your product or service, there are a few ways you can narrow down your selection.

If you do have an idea of who your product or service is intended for, but it’s a little too broad, you can use these tools to narrow your focus.

Here are some factors to consider when determining your SMS marketing target audience and how to advertise to them:

  1. Demographics
  2. Psychographics
  3. Socio-economic status
  4. Geography
  5. Behavior

1. Demographics

The first and broadest way to define your audience is demographics. Demographics are anything you can quantitatively define like

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Religion
  • Etc.

When advertising to a target audience based on demographics, align your marketing message with their preferences. For example, use tools like this readability analysis to determine your message’s readability to make sure it aligns with your audience’s education level.

2. Psychographics

Psychographics are another general audience segmentation tool that categorizes people based on things like:

  • Attitudes
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Goals
  • Other psychological criteria.

When advertising to these groups, consider using emotional or logical content to get your message across.

For example, if you are a nonprofit organization marketing to people with a strong interest in rescuing animals, an emotional message tugging at the heartstrings would be an effective strategy.

3. Socio-Economic Status

While this could technically be considered a demographic, advertising based on socio-economic status has everything to do with your brand’s identity. Are you luxury, affordable, or cheap?

Be sure to align your messages accordingly. For example, if you’re selling high-end vehicles, don’t send text messages with coupons to clients.

4. Geography

You can successfully create marketing messages for an audience based on where they:

  • Live
  • Work
  • Dine
  • Travel
  • Etc.

When creating messages based on audience geography, be sure to keep them local and topical. Don’t text out links to surfing blogs to people in Nebraska.

5. Behavior

Segmenting your audience based on behavior is like a combination of demographics and psychographics. These trends might include things like purchasing patterns and brand loyalty.

Collecting this information from your contacts is incredibly important when developing SMS campaigns. For example, if you have a client who buys the same brand of contact lenses each month, you could send them promotional material for lens solutions from that same brand.

Of course, you don’t have a crystal ball that can give you this information automatically. You’re going to have to collect this data.

The easiest way to do this is by using custom fields in your SMS software like SimpleTexting and a data collection series.

Custom fields are a tool you can use to include personalized details from your contacts, but they can also be used in the data collection process.

You simply set up a series of questions to send to your contacts (asking for details like their favorite products, habits they have, or anything else relevant to your brand and its offerings), and they reply back with their answers.

A screenshot of SimpleTexting software that displays a "Question" custom field that says, "When is your birthday? Please reply with mmddyy."
This image shows the questions you could include in your data collection series to get more information from your customers.

From there, you can use that data to personalize your messaging to each contact (but more on that later).

Sending Targeted Text Messages To Your Target Audience

Now that you’ve determined your target audience, what kind of messages speak to them? The first step in deciding this is stepping outside of your perspective. Instead, put yourself in your target audience’s shoes.

  • What are they looking for from you?
  • What problems of theirs can you solve?
  • What can you provide for them that nobody else does?
  • How do they want you to make them feel?

Once you have a better idea of their needs/wants, you can begin determining how to fill those desires.

Here are some tools you can use to answer these questions.

Text Message Surveys

SimpleTexting’s polling feature helps you get feedback directly from your target audience in real time regarding the text messages you’re sending them.

Using texting as a two-way communication tool opens up the possibility for you to request feedback regularly on the content you’re sending. There’s no rule that your audience can’t weigh in on what they want to hear from you, so use them!

A screenshot of SimpleTexting's poll feature. The poll name is "Christmas Deals poll", keyword is "xmasdeals", the question is "What would you like to see from our brand this holiday season?", and the answer choices are "Deals on apparel, buy-one get-one deals for gifting, or surprise gifts with a purchase".
The basic setup for an SMS poll of your customers in the SimpleTexting platform.

2-Way Text Messaging

Your support team is your boots on the ground. They have the most frequent and candid contact with your customers. By giving your customer service team two-way text messaging capabilities, they now have a direct line to your audience to both initiate and respond to their needs.

With SimpleTexting, you can have multiple users on one account, meaning the whole support team can work under one virtual roof!

A/B Testing

Find out what type of content your customers are interested in. In order to test this, you would set up two different SMS campaigns.

For example, one message (A) could include a link to your social media at the end, and the other message (B) could link to a blog on your website:

A: “Thanks for joining our VIP text list. To keep up with our latest events, check out our Facebook page:”

B: “Thanks for joining our VIP text list. To keep up with our latest events, check out our blog:”

By using link tracking, you can test how effective your campaign really is based on who is taking action on your link. From there, your new knowledge about contacts’ behavior can help dictate the kind of messages you send them moving forward.


Now use what you’ve learned to send more relevant messages. With SimpleTexting’s segmenting feature, it’s easy to stay organized and build these specific sub-audiences for reference.

Segments allow you to send your messages to specific groups of your contacts with something in common, which means those contacts only get the information and deals they want.

I’ve personally filled out grooming information for my dogs on Petco’s website, and now I get messages specifically for de-shedding specials (which I always take advantage of).

What Issues Come With Using SMS To Find Your Target Audience?

As I mentioned before, setting a target audience is a tool to ensure your marketing campaign has a focus. It’s not enough to say, “Buy this because it’s good.” 

When selling a product, service, belief, or idea, you need to provide evidence. The best way to do that is to speak directly to the interests and needs of a targeted audience.

Creating too targeted of an audience, however, can become a detriment to your SMS campaign. This example is simplified, but to demonstrate…

Good target audience: Middle-aged mothers with an annual household income of $80,000-$120,000.

Bad target audience: Sentimental non-working Christian mother in the Midwest with family money, on their first marriage, and an annual household income of $150,000.

There might be someone like the second target audience who exists out there, and you may have exactly what they need. But an entire text marketing campaign can’t be based on conjecture and desire.

The first example provides just enough detail and room for expansion but doesn’t bog you down with the details.

The Wrap on Your Target Audience

At the end of the day, the beauty of text marketing is your ability to reach and communicate with both the good and the not-so-good target customers.

Using text messages to reach your target audience will help you send better promotional material to your audience that they will actually want to act on.

This piece was originally published January 21, 2019. It was most recently refreshed and repurposed on June 5, 2023. Meghan Tocci and Nathan Ellering contributed to this piece.