How to Use Text Message Marketing in Your Small Business


Like most people, you probably have a cell phone, and you probably use that cell phone to read text messages. Most Americans spend way more time sending texts than talking on the phone, and younger generations, in particular, prefer to communicate via text.  So if you’re a small business owner, why wouldn’t you want to interact with your current and potential customers through the mode of communication they use the most? Text message marketing can be done for every size and every type of business.

Many people think of email as the best way to reach customers and deliver their marketing content—but 90% of people read a text within three minutes of receiving it. Meanwhile, email open rates are in the 20% range.

Yet businesses are often nervous to use text message marketing, perhaps afraid of coming off as invasive or pushy. But as with any other form of communication, the trick is providing value. If customers feel that your messages are valuable to them, they won’t mind hearing from you.

You can use texts to market your small business, as well as provide a more useful and engaging experience for your customers when they visit you in-person. Here’s how to use text message marketing as a small business.

How to write compelling small business texts

If you’re using texts as a marketing vehicle, the first step is to master the art of writing texts. Texting as a small business is different than texting your friends or family: you’ll want to adhere to certain guidelines to get the best response possible and not turn your customers away. Here are the basics:

1. Keep your messages short

From both a technical and creative standpoint, your texts shouldn’t run longer than 160 characters. What you want to say should fit within one standard text message, and get right to the point.

2. Segment and keep consistent and relevant

Just like with email marketing, you can segment your recipients—new customers, loyal customers, older customers, female customers—and send them highly targeted and relevant messaging that will appeal to them directly with text message marketing.

text message marketing for small businesses

3. Every message should be a CTA

Don’t ever text your customers just to say hi—they get enough of that from their parents 🤣. Every text message you send should include a call-to-action, and be sent with a targeted and direct purpose. Without a CTA, customers have no way of acting on the message. Since there is a character limit of 160 on text messages, it’s best to use a branded link in your messaging. When you use a branded link, it acts as the CTA as well. Check out how mobile phone provider, 3, uses branded links in their text message marketing to encourage customers to renew their phone plan. 

text message marketing

When you use branded links like 3 does, you’re able to develop trust with your audience. This is because customers are more likely to click on short links with your brand name, rather than generic ones. In fact, simply using a branded link in your small business text message marketing strategy can increase click-through rates by up to 39%.

Since the goal of your efforts is to motivate your audience to act, the link is the most important asset. Use a branded link, so that the customer immediately understands what the CTA is and what it is promoting. To learn more about using a branded link as a CTA, check out this article.

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4. Don’t overdo it

Text message marketing can be effective, but don’t come off needy or desperate for attention: 2-4 messages a month should be your upper limit.

5. Personalize them

As with most marketing content, it’s better to personalize your messages when possible. Use software that allows you to input customer names or point them towards products they’ve bought in the past.

6. Time it right

Send your messages at a time when they’re most likely to be read. This may be obvious, but that means don’t schedule them to arrive in the middle of the night. Midday, around lunch, is a good bet.

5 ways to send valuable texts to your customers

Before you start sending any messages out, make sure they’re the right ones. Let’s run through five ways that texts will make an impact for customers and keep them on your list.

1. Send exclusive discounts and deals

Coupons and codes for deals are a no-brainer for text message marketing: For customers, they are easy to redeem and even easier to keep in their texts app until the time comes to utilize them. For businesses, an exclusive (and it should be exclusive to SMS, otherwise, what’s the point?) discount for customers can be a great way to induce them to sign up for your texts—you can’t send unsolicited messages by law.

2. Deliver sneak peeks into upcoming products

Speaking of exclusivity, you can use your texts to deliver to loyal customers a first-look at upcoming products or services they’ll love, or big sales they should look out for. Build excitement from the ground up by texting this news rather than blasting it on social media.

3. Target past customers with news of new products

Has it been a while since a customer has visited your page or made a purchase? Target specific customers and let them know that new products—related to ones they’ve bought in the past—are available, and help keep your business top-of-mind during busy shopping seasons.   

4. Remind them of appointment or reservation with confirmations

If you own a restaurant, hair salon, or other small business where reservations or appointments are common, help your customers out by sending them an automated reminder text. They’ll be much less likely to miss their date with you, and you’ll come across as helpful rather than overbearing.

5. Dispatch alerts or notifications about orders

Customers often get worked up about whether their purchase will arrive when it’s supposed to, especially around the holidays. Allay those fears by sending regular updates about the status of their order, from the time they place it to when it arrives at their doorstep.

Text messages combine all the best things about modern communication and content marketing delivery. Your messages are guaranteed to reach customers quickly; they can (and should) be short and to the point, and they drive customers where you want them to go without a fuss. Use this power responsibly and you’ll see engagement soar.

Guest author: Eric Goldschein, Staff Writer at Fundera

fundera guest author eric goldschein

Eric Goldschein is a staff writer at Assign your writer and an editor at Fundera, a marketplace for small business financial solutions. He covers entrepreneurship, small business trends, finance, and marketing.



Further Reading:

This Article is About:

  • Text message marketing
  • Marketing for small businesses
  • Marketing strategy for small business
  • Small business strategy


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