What is SMS / Text Message Marketing?

Illustration of hands holding smartphones

When it comes to text message marketing, the best place to start is at the very beginning—especially if you are relatively new to it.

The question we receive most often is: “What is text message marketing and how does it work?”

Part of the answer is self explanatory; text message marketing is the process of marketing directly to people’s cell phones via text messages.

Text message marketing is also referred to as “SMS marketing.” For all intents and purposes for this discussion, “text” and “SMS” (which stands for Short Message Service) are exactly the same thing. We use the term “text” because it’s the one with which most people are familiar. “SMS” on the other hand, is more of an “industry” related term and not as commonly known.

That part is simple.

It’s the “how” part that requires a little more explanation.

Here’s how it “works”…

  1. A mobile cell phone user types a word (we call this word a “textword” because it is the word that is “texted”) and sends that word as a message to a 5 or 6 digit short code.
  2. Once this happens, the phone number of the device used to send the number is then added to a database.
  3. Once added, the cell phone user is sent a carrier-mandated auto-responder message, which provides standard compliance information, such as instructions on how to unsubscribe, how often messages are
    to be sent, and so forth.
  4. Once a cell phone user has been added to the database, you are now free to send him or her marketing messages, notifications, or whatever relevant marketing messages you like. This is done from the secure control panel of the Local Text Marketers service.

And that, in a nutshell, is pretty much all there is to it, on a rudimentary level.