When used wisely, text messaging platforms increase customer engagement in new ways. Did you know that 98% of text messages are opened and read within 3 minutes of receipt? In comparison, consumers today perceive 90% of their emails as SPAM.

This is why businesses of all sizes are turning to text for customer service and marketing to grow. Increasing customer engagement is key, and with texting, receiving response rates of 25%+ is common. 

Results like these mean it is important to consider adding this new channel to your communication strategy.

In this blog, we’re going to explore some of the SMS marketing best practices and explain how small businesses can benefit from short message service (SMS) marketing.

The Dos and Don’ts of Business Text Messaging

As with any communication tool, there are certain do’s and don’ts. We have outlined some key texting best practices for small businesses to assist in establishing your overall text messaging communication plan.

The Dos:

Text-Enable Your Line

Much research has demonstrated that customers would often rather text a business than call them or use email marketing. In many cases, however, they can’t do this because the business phone line doesn’t accept text messages.

Using the right business texting services, you can easily “text-enable” your existing business lines. That way, when clients receive your text, they likely already have you in their phone’s contact list and will recognize you.

Doing this guarantees that your message will be read immediately, and customers can text back a question, set up appointments, refer friends, or address other issues. 

You have just opened up a new channel of communication that helps streamline future exchanges and likely saves your staff time while furthering the customer relationship.

Personalize Your Messages

Your messages should start with the recipient’s name and include your name and maybe even a picture of your store, product, or logo.

Having a real phone (not just the shortcode some businesses use) establishes instant credibility because it tells the recipient that the message is from someone real that they have done business with before and not a random unwanted spam text!

This makes your marketing communications feel personal, yet there is no need to share your phone number.

Messages Must Add Value

If you want to use a business texting app to enhance and streamline the customer journey, consider sending text messages to confirm an order or upcoming delivery.

Send pictures introducing the technician who is coming to their home. Remind them how to prepare for upcoming appointments and simply keep them informed of the status of a project. 

These are great ways to take customer service to a more professional level. If they have a question or concern, encourage them to text you back.

After a service or sale, texting is used to do a customer survey and solicit the best responses to submit an online review. Sending “thank yous” and requesting referrals via texting can be very effective and relevant.

To stay top of mind with your customers, keep them updated on upcoming sales events, new product introductions, or special VIP offers to encourage additional business. These texting ideas can all be automated for you, yet your customers will feel like you sent each one personally.

Small business text message about an technician arriving for appointment
sms marketing best practices example

Keep Messages Short & Engaging

Since texting is a more intimate channel than email or other forms of advertising, you can have a little more fun by using emojis, food images, animated images, comics, links to reviews and reservation pages, etc. 

Try to keep your message short, but use images to convey the rest of your message. Remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words – this is particularly true with texting. Use your imagination and think about the texts that would capture your attention.

You can also use other campaign content and images you are trying to reinforce. Texts that include images have been proven to deliver better engagement.

Automation is The Key

You know instinctively that these ideas would work, but since you don’t have time to send messages out one by one, it is important that your texting service can automate these SMS marketing campaigns for you.

A business texting platform can make this automation easy by designing campaigns ahead of time to address these different customer touchpoints. 

Whether you use a spreadsheet to manage customer data or a robust CRM or back-end system, texting campaigns can be easily integrated with those systems to automate these personalized messages to support your processes.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) governs the use of text messaging for marketing. But it exempts customer service messages, such as appointment reminders. This means you don’t want to send marketing texts to non-clients or spam your existing clients with unwanted marketing messages since TCPA fines can be significant.

For SMS marketing messages, you need “express written consent.” The good news is that getting adequate consent is easy. You can put the legal language into your estimates, invoices, contracts, in-take forms, etc., along with a checkbox that the clients can check and sign.

Staying well-informed about SMS marketing regulations is a best practice for small businesses to get this consent even for non-marketing text communication.

Legal compliance texting best practice for small business

You can incentivize consumers to “opt-in” using keywords (text VIPSALE to 87000). Encourage people to sign up for your texts by offering perks. Say, by texting “VIPSALE” to 87000, they could get special deals, discounts, and info on future sales. 

The Don’ts

Overwhelming Your Customers

Don’t overuse texting. When users see strong results from their first well-designed text marketing campaign, it becomes natural to want to do more. Resist this temptation.

With the high effectiveness of this communication channel comes a higher level of responsibility. While texting is an extremely powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal, customers may be put off if you text too frequently.

You don’t want customers to opt-out, which would prevent you from sending future text messages to them.

Being Too Salesy

It’s important to keep your text messages friendly and not too pushy. Your SMS subscribers might get annoyed if every message is a hard sell.

Think of it this way: you probably wouldn’t enjoy getting message after message from a friend telling you to buy something. Your texts should feel like a conversation, not like you’re just trying to make a sale.

Not Identifying Yourself

When sending your first text to customers, clearly state who it’s from. No one likes getting a text and guessing where it came from or thinking it’s just another spam message.

So, in your first message, clearly state that it’s your business reaching out.

Grow your Business with Textellent’s Automated Texting

With automated texting services, businesses frequently see their client retention levels increase and their customer service ratings improve. The opt-in techniques described earlier will also grow your list of interested prospects for future SMS campaigns.

In addition, you will be able to streamline communications with customers and thereby likely save staff time that was previously devoted to hit-or-miss phone calls. Talk to the experts at Textellent about how this SMS marketing software might work for your business.

You can try out the Texting Best Practices for Small Businesses for 30 days for free and prove how it will help you better serve your existing customers and help you grow your business.

Textellent capabilities

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SMS text message marketing allows small businesses to interact with customers directly and personally. It helps them build a solid connection, which can help grow their business.

With these tips on how to make your SMS marketing campaigns engaging, personal, and valuable, you’re all set to start!

Begin with small steps, see how your customers respond, and adjust from there. Now’s a great time to explore the benefits of SMS marketing and see your business thrive.

FAQs About SMS Marketing for Small Businesses

Can SMS marketing work for any type of business?

Absolutely. SMS marketing is a great fit for all kinds of small businesses, whether you’re selling products or offering services. Just make sure to tailor your texts to connect with your audience and support your business goals.

What should I do if my SMS marketing isn’t working as expected?

Review your SMS marketing strategy to see if it appears interesting and useful for your target audience. Also, consider whether you’re sending the SMS message at the right time and frequency. Playing around with different methods and watching how they perform can help you figure out what works best.

What’s the difference between promotional and transactional SMS messages?

Promotional texts let you in on deals and offer to catch your interest, while transactional texts keep you updated with practical info like your order status or appointment reminders. They each have their role in the SMS marketing efforts and make sure you stay informed and engaged.