Learn What Text Message Advertising Is & How to Send Promotional Texts + SMS Marketing Examples
The most effective advertising delivers the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
Speed, timing, and segmentation dictate how well your audience engages with your messaging.
So what’s the best messaging tool for getting immediate engagement?
Text message advertising.
In this post, I cover:
- What text message advertising is
- Why text message advertising works and how it compares to email marketing
- How to get started with a text promotion service
- 8 best practices for sending promotional text messages
- List 50+ of the best SMS marketing messages text advertising message examples
After reading this article, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to run a successful text message advertising campaign.
Read on for more.
Why Text Message Advertising Works and How It Compares to Email Marketing
Text messages are one of the most immediate and engaging advertising methods. Texting is fantastic for getting a quick message in front of a lot of people at one time.
Below are several reasons why text message advertising works.
Texts are direct and immediate
58% of consumers say texting is the fastest way to reach them. This makes texting a more immediate and preferred alternative to email.
Email is the single most widely adopted form of communication in the world. But email inboxes are overflowing and promotional messages often get marketed as spam.
In fact, some 53% of emails end up in spam folders, compared to only 3% of texts.
Texts are universally accessible
Text messages are also supremely accessible. Some 5.1 billion people use mobile devices globally and nearly every single one of their phones is text-enabled.
This makes it easy to engage with everyone on your contact list, regardless of what kind of device they use.
52% percent of consumers also say that they prefer to communicate via text for marketing and promotional messages.
Texts have great open and click-through rates
Texts have up to a 98% open rate––people are far more likely to read them right away. And compared to email, texts typically net higher click and engagement rates.
The normal promotional email blast gets around a 2% link click-through rate. Text messages often get around a 35% click rate when you include a link.
But despite text messaging’s clear advantages over email, email will always have its place in your marketing mix. This is where I advocate for using both text message advertising and email marketing together.
Email marketing vs. text message advertising engagement rates
Both text messaging and email marketing have unique advantages and are well-suited for particular types of promotional messages.
Text messages are perfect for a quick, timely prompt.
Emails give you a chance to add more media and content and include more calls to action. Email marketing also helps reach more people if you use the available tools and get some more addresses, say, you find emails from LinkedIn with the help of extensions and tools.
So consider combining the two as part of a more comprehensive advertising plan.
How to Get Started with a Text Promotion Service
There are many SMS marketing services, including MessageDesk. But the trick is choosing the right platform based on your organization’s needs.
Below is a step-by-step guide for evaluating your options and getting started.
1. Choose a text promotion service
The first step to starting a text message advertising campaign is to sign up with a text marketing platform.
As you get started, there are several key features you’ll want to look for when evaluating solutions.
The first key feature is high-volume, carrier-verified, mass texting—also known as carrier-verified A2P 10DLC.
You’ll need texting software that can get you near 100% delivery rates for large-scale SMS marketing campaigns. Without this, you can only send a limited number of texts, and delivery isn’t guaranteed.
Note: MessageDesk’s text message broadcasts do support high-volume, carrier-verified 10DLC messaging.
The second grouping of features you’ll want to look for is text message automation features. These include:
- Text message scheduling
- Support for templates, tags, links, and media
- Keyword-based autoresponder texts
- Contact list management features and custom fields
- CRM and email marketing integrations
2. Create a free account and trial the service
Once you've selected a text advertising platform, get started with a free account. This gives you time to get answers to questions and test the platform's capabilities.
Note: you’re always free to try MessageDesk for 14 days, free.
3. Text-enable your business phone or select a new text number
Some platforms allow you to select various types of SMS phone numbers, including toll-free 800 numbers.
Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request.
4. Import and segment your contacts into groups and lists
Once you’ve got your SMS phone number configured, you’ll want to upload contact lists or sync with your CRM. MessageDesk makes this easy with built-in CSV upload, custom fields, and Zapier integrations.
Keep in mind, TCPA compliance requires contacts to opt-in to receive promotional messages (more on this below).
This is where SMS subscriber systems, like those built into MessageDesk can help. MessageDesk makes it easy to track who has and hasn’t consented to receive promotional messages.
5. Pre-save messages with templates, tags, links, and media
Once you upload your contacts to your promotional texting service, you can now compose your messages.
Templates ultimately allow you to create more personalized texts. This allows you to optimize your promotional messaging for deeper engagement with your audience.
It’s also possible to pre-save templates. You can use these for different types of text message marketing for events and other various campaigns.
6. Schedule and automate mass text broadcasts
It also helps ensure that your message gets in front of people when they're most likely to be receptive. This can be after they’ve made a purchase or when they first join your text subscriber list.
Need to send a message on a certain day at a specific time? You can schedule SMS messages to send at a later time. You can also schedule messages at specific intervals as part of automated text message campaigns.
7. Set up keyword-based autoresponder automation
An autoresponder sends an automatic text when someone texts your organization’s phone number with a keyword.
Here’s an example:
8. Use Zapier to integrate your promotional SMS with third-party tools
Zapier makes it easy to integrate texting services like MessageDesk with other third-party marketing software. You can sync contacts from ConstantContact, HubSpot, Shopify, or even Mailchimp.
An example is if a Shopify e-commerce shopper abandons their cart. You could set up a MessageDesk and Zapier integration with Shopify. This could automatically send an abandoned cart message and prompt the shopper to complete checkout.
8 Best Practices for Writing SMS for Marketing and Promotional Purposes
I’ve covered how to get set up with a promotional text advertising service.
But before you compose your marketing messages, consider the following text message advertising best practices:
1. Let your audience know who you are
Most people in your audience won’t have your business number saved on their phone. So it's important to introduce yourself when starting a new text message conversation.
Sending messages with a pre-saved text message signature can also help you identify yourself and establish trust with your audience.
2. Keep your messages short and concise
Texts are a quick form of communication. Part of proper text message etiquette is getting right to the point.
Most business texting software enables you to send more than 160 characters per SMS. But if you find that your marketing or promotional text is getting too long, consider sending an email instead.
3. Include images and media
Is your promotional text campaign about a new product or service or advertising a sale? Consider including a simple graphic or an image.
Adding images and other media to your marketing message increases your chance of a click-through versus sending plain text alone.
4. Include a call to action (CTA)
Always offer a clear CTA to spur your customer to action. CTAs make direct people to redeem an offer code, click a link, or take some desired action.
You’ll want to limit your text messages to one call to action per text. Any more than that and you reduce your likelihood of getting engagement.
If you need to send a message that includes multiple CTAs, then consider email.
5. Don’t use a URL shortener
The goal of many promotional texts is to drive traffic to a website. So consider using a link as your CTA. When including a link in your marketing message, I recommend using the entire URL link instead of using a link shortener.
Phone carriers view shortened links as suspicious. As a result, they may flag your message as spam, affecting your text message delivery rates.
6. Don’t send texts without permission
That being said, I outline numerous ways you can stay compliant and still grow your text subscriber lists in another article.
Promotional texting services like MessageDesk are designed to help you get and stay compliant with text message advertising regulations.
7. Don’t overwhelm customers with promotional SMS messages
Texting is meant to enhance other forms of marketing and promotional outreach. It doesn’t fully replace them.
As a best practice, only send relevant texts to your customers when it makes sense. I advise including a line about how often people should expect to receive texts from you. This helps to set expectations.
8. Be mindful of text acronyms and emojis
As a best practice be mindful of your audience when using text acronyms and abbreviations and emojis. Younger audiences may appreciate and respond well, while older or more professional audiences won’t.
It’s always best to consider your audience and the tone of your voice. When in doubt, simplify and go for clarity as opposed to being clever.
Promotional SMS Marketing Examples
Text message advertising gives you the advantage of immediate engagement. It’s great when you need to:
- Send sale messages to customers.
- Offer discount messages
- Advertise exclusive offers.
- Recover abandoned carts.
- Promote holiday sales.
- Advertise loyalty programs.
- And more.
Below is a list of text message advertising examples and SMS promotional messages that I’ve put together.
You can also check out my list of 100+ text message templates for more of the best SMS marketing examples.
Promotional sales discount message examples
Sales promotion text messages can drive sales, increase engagement, and foster brand loyalty. By offering discounts, clear CTAs, and targeted messaging, you can capture attention and encourage immediate action.
These types of direct, engaging texts can also boost website traffic and help you collect valuable customer feedback. When used responsibly, they can help you achieve sales goals and nurture customer relationships.
Limited time offer SMS template
Discount offer message sample for retail
Discount message for products
Discount message to attract customers, gym or studio
Discount message example for sports teams
Sales promotion template for retail
SMS activate promo code template
Flash sale promo message
Sales gift promotion template
Free shipping text sample
Free product or BOGO ("Buy one, get one free") offer SMS template
Promotional message example with discount for retail location
Abandoned cart messages
Abandoned cart text messages are a must for e-commerce businesses. Abandoned carts occur when a potential customer adds products to their cart but leaves your website before finalizing the purchase. This is a great time to send promotional SMS.
These promotional sms campaigns are meant to remind and encourage customers. Use the following abandoned cart SMS campaign templates to get people back to their online shopping carts to complete their purchases.
Initial abandoned cart reminder text
Free shipping promotional offer
Abandoned cart assistance offer
Abandoned cart follow-up
Customer testimonials and reviews to recover cart
Holiday marketing and seasonal promotional SMS samples
SMS for holiday promotions can engage customers, boost sales, and creates excitement. It's a direct, immediate way to send time-sensitive offers, personalized greetings, and exclusives.
Consider sending these types of promotional SMS to increase brand awareness during the busy holiday season.
Holiday promotion with discount
Holiday sale promotion
Seasonal sale promotion
Discount message example for Mother’s Day retail, flash sale
Promotional text for a service during the holidays
Loyalty rewards and birthday text messages
You can also incorporate birthday SMS marketing and promotional texts into a loyalty program. Redeeming rewards on a mobile device is much easier for customers because your customer doesn’t have to scroll. It’s easy to immediately redeem your offer.
Loyalty rewards text message templates
Birthday text message templates
SMS templates for marketing new products or services
Texts are a great way to advertise a product launch or promote a service. Consider emphasizing scarcity with limited-time or limited-stock type offers.
Early access promotional text
Limited quantity message template
Back-in-stock arrival messages
New arrivals SMS sample
New collection SMS text message
Contest promotional text message sample
One of the ways to get people to engage with your brand with minimal effort is through contests. The complexity of the contest (or giveaway) is entirely up to you. You can choose to simply ask people to like and share a post or to register for the contest itself.
Social media contest announcement
Win big announcement
Call for contest participants
Text message promotion with a time-sensitive prize incentive
Event invitation or promotion and ticket sales
Using SMS for event invitations, promotions, and ticket sales is a powerful marketing strategy. You can create concise messages with event details and clear calls to action.
You can also build anticipation with teasers, share updates, and include ticket links. Promotional SMS can enhance attendance, drive ticket sales, and elevate your fan experience.
Influencer meet-and-greet promo SMS
Special event invitation promotion SMS text
Promotional message for an event
Promotional message example for sports teams
Text message promotion for sports teams
Final thoughts and next steps
I’ve covered what text message advertising is and how it works. And I’ve shown you some classic text marketing examples.
We’re here to help your small business or organization generate leads and find success.