How to Send High Performing SMS Promotions (Include These 3 Things)

How to Send High Performing SMS Promotions


If you're here, you're already sold on the value of sending promotional text messages (also known as “SMS”) to your customers.

But maybe you need some help on the specifics.

In other words, you need someone to show you exactly how to send high performing SMS promotions to your customers. 

You're in the right place.

Of course, without knowing the “ins” and “outs” of your business, I can't tell you specifically what the content of your text message campaigns should be or what products or services you should promote.

However, I can tell you that every single successful SMS campaign includes 3 crucial elements…

  1.  An offer.
  2. A “call to action.”
  3. A “push.”

In this article, I'll discuss each element in more detail.

If you're ready, let's get started.

If you're familiar with the 3 critical elements of a successful text message campaign, you may want to check out our related article, “How to Write Great Text Messages (for Your SMS Campaigns).” It includes a step by step guide for crafting short, 160-character promotional messages using templates we developed. 

1. Your Offer

Every single promotional text message campaign you send to your customers needs to include an offer.

Some examples of the sort of things that work well? Sure…

  • A general coupon (applicable to all products or services).
  • A general discount (applicable to all products or services).
  • A coupon for a specific product or service.
  • A discount on a specific product or service.
  • Buy 1, get 1 free.
  • Buy 1, get 1 50% off.
  • Buy 2 get 1 free.
  • Buy 2, get 1 50% off.
  • Save “x” amount when you spend “y” amount (eg, “get an instant discount of $20 when you spend $150 or more.”)

…And so on.

If you can't look at your message from the perspective of your customer and clearly answer the question…

“What's in it for me?”

… then you need to go back to the drawing board.

You are simply not going to get the results you want if you don't include an offer.

How compelling does your offer need to be?

Don't feel like you have to give every away the farm. All you need to accomplish with your offer is that your customer finds it worthwhile.

For inspiration, check out what your competitors are doing. What sort of discounts or incentives are they offering? Can you offer something similar? 

We occasionally run into business owners who don't want to include offers in their SMS campaigns.


Not everyone sells high margin products or services and giving anything away can be painful. The problem is that without giving something away, your results are going to suffer.


If you fall into this category, you need to find creative ways to provide discounts on the products and services where you have the most “wiggle room” (buy 1 get 1 offers, or “get x discount when you spend y amount” can work here).


You also need to consider the purchasing habits of your customers and your business' average sale amount. For example, are the customers who take advantage of a 30% discount on jeans likely to purchase other regularly priced items at the same time?


In this case, the loss of profit margin on one product can be mitigated by selling other products at full price.

2. Your Call to Action

One of the most common mistakes I see in promotional text messages is failing to include a strong call to action.

For the best results, you have to ask your customer to take action while at the same time making it as easy as possible for them to do so.

For example…

  • Call us today at 234-567-8910 to reserve yours now!
  • Call us at 123-456-7890 to book your appointment today.
  • Shop in store or online at mystore.com.
  • Drop by our location at 123 Reid Street to advantage of the deals!

Most modern cell phones will convert a telephone number into a clickable link that can be opened and dialed instantly by your customer.

Web links are formatted so one click will open up your online store in your customer's browser for their shopping convenience.

You'd be surprised how much difference this can make. 

From a personal stand point, if I receive a promotional text that does not include a link to the merchant's online store, I have to be pretty motivated to open a web browser and type in a web address. 

More often than not, I can't be bothered.  

But if all I have to do is click a link, I often do so, just to “have a look.” And sometimes that leads to a purchase that I would not have made if the web link hadn't been there. 

So, moral of the story? 

Use a strong call to action.  

3. Your “Push.”

A “push” is exactly what it sounds like it is; something you use to increase the likelihood that your customer will take action after receiving your promotional message.

There are a number of ways to do this…

  • Include an expiry date on your promotion.
  • Emphasize limited supplies or limited sizes or models.
  • Restrict the best part of the offer to the first 200 customers only.
  • Highlight that there are “no rainchecks.”

All of these remind the customer that in order to take advantage of the offer, they need to take action now.

Now that you know the 3 critical parts of every successful text message campaign, why not check out our related article, “How to Write Great Text Messages (for Your SMS Campaigns).” It includes a step by step guide for crafting short, 160-character promotional messages using templates. 

Need Help?

We'd be happy to answer any questions you have about developing high converting SMS marketing campaigns for your business.

Feel free to email us, or even better, book a call so we can chat and learn more about your business.