Hero image Hero image

Text message marketing for small businesses

Find out the basics of a SMS marketing strategy for your small business.

Constant Contact Offer

Get 50% off for the first 6 months of Constant Contact's Standard or Premium plans + 1 hour of free Professional Services. Terms and conditions apply. Get the details and the offer.

Amazon Business has partnered with Constant Contact to help you start, manage, and grow your small business. In this guest post, Dave Charest, Director of Small Business Success, Constant Contact, a provider of email, web, social media, text and event marketing tools for small businesses and non-profits, walks you through the basics of text message marketing. 

What is SMS Marketing?

If you’ve ever received a text message from your favorite store or restaurant offering a special deal, you have experienced text (SMS) message marketing. Text message marketing is a digital marketing strategy that uses text messages to communicate with customers directly on their mobile phones. It’s a low-cost, high-impact way for small businesses to connect with customers, build loyalty, and grow their business. In fact, text messages, on average, have a 19 percent click-through rate* (CTR), making it one of the most effective channels for businesses to communicate with their customers. 

Benefits of text message marketing for small businesses

Text message marketing is now an essential part of any successful marketing strategy, as almost everyone has a smartphone they check regularly throughout the day. Text message marketing has numerous benefits for small businesses, including:

High open rates

Text messages have an incredible open rate of up to 98 percent*. This means almost all of the messages you send will be seen by your customers or prospects — a huge advantage compared to other types of marketing. 

Direct communication with your audience

Text message marketing allows you to communicate directly with your audience. You can send them personalized messages or updates on promotions and events, which build stronger customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.

Increased customer engagement

Text messages feel personal, are short and to the point, and prompt an immediate response. This makes text messaging a great way to connect with your audience and increase engagement.  In addition to promotions, you can send out polls, surveys, or even ask for feedback on new products. This kind of interaction can help build a sense of community around your brand, make your customers feel valued, and keep them coming back for more. 


Text message marketing is more cost-effective than other forms of marketing— you don’t have to spend a lot to get your message out and see results. It allows you to send messages to large audiences at once without the advertising or production costs other forms of marketing require. 

Easy to track and measure

One of the great things about text message marketing is that it’s easy to track and measure. You can monitor your campaigns in real time and see how many people have opened your messages, clicked on links, made purchases, and more. This makes it easy to refine your strategy and improve your results. 


How to get started with text message marketing

If text message marketing is something you want to add to your small business’s marketing campaigns, here are a few ways to get started::

Customer permission

Customer permission sms

Before you start texting your audience, it is important to obtain explicit permission to send them messages. You can ask for permission by asking customers to opt-in to your text message list through your website, social media channels, or in person at your business location. Asking for permission is not only a legal requirement, but it also ensures you have a group of people that are more engaged and looking forward to hearing from you.

Choose the right text message service provider

There are many text message service providers  out there, so it’s important to choose one that fits your business’s needs. Look for a provider that offers features like message scheduling, list management, analytics, automation, and integration with other marketing tools.

Build an SMS subscriber list  

SMS subscriber list

Once you’ve chosen a service provider and have gotten permission from your audience, it’s time to start building your subscriber list. You can do this by promoting your text message marketing program on your website, social media, and in-store signage. You can also offer incentives like exclusive promotions and discounts to encourage sign-ups. Once you start building your list, segment your audience as it will allow you to tailor your messages based on their interests, preferences, and behaviors. This helps to increase the relevance of your messages and makes them more likely to be well-received.

Schedule messages

Make the most of your time by scheduling your text message promotions. This allows you to plan out your campaigns ahead of time, schedule welcome messages, and ensure your messages are sent at the right time to maximize engagement. 

Text message marketing best practices

Now that you know how to get started with text message marketing, let’s talk about some best practices to make sure your campaigns are successful. 

Personalize messages

Personalize your messages by using your customer’s first name or by personalizing your messages based on audience preferences and past behavior.  This can increase engagement and make your subscribers feel more connected to your business.

Keep messages concise

Keep your text messages short and sweet; make sure they’re easy to read and provide value to your customers. Make sure your message is relevant to your audience and offers value, such as exclusive promotions or important updates.

Include a Call to Action

Don’t always assume your customer knows what you want them to do — be sure to include a call to action (CTA) to encourage engagement. Clear calls to action like “click here to shop now” or “Reply YES to receive exclusive offers” can increase engagement and drive more traffic to your website or store.

Be consistent

Be consistent with your messaging and avoid sending too many messages in a short period of time. While message frequency ultimately depends on your audience and the nature of your business (for example, if you have a weekly delivery service, you’ll want to send out reminder messages before each delivery goes out), it's recommended to send no more than 1-2 messages per week.

Experiment with posting times

Experiment with different days and times (that are within legal sending limits) to see when your subscribers are most likely to engage with your messages. 

Comply with legal and privacy regulations

Make sure you comply with legal and privacy regulations. This includes providing clear opt-in and opt-out options, respecting subscriber privacy, and only sending messages to those who have given their permission. In the U.S., the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ** (TCPA) requires businesses to get prior consent in order to send text messages to customers for marketing purposes. While there is more than one rule to follow to stay in compliance, consent is the first one you should focus on. 

Avoid spamming customers

Don’t overdo it when it comes to sending text messages to your customers. Be selective about when and how often you send messages to avoid coming across as spammy or annoying.

Measure and Test

Try different approaches to see what works best for your audience. This can include testing different types of messages, sending messages at different times, and personalizing messages based on customer behavior. Then, use analytics tools provided by your text message service provider to measure the success of your campaigns. Track metrics like open rates, click-through rates (CTR), and conversions to see what’s working and what’s not. 

SMS marketing examples 

If you are looking for inspiration to help you get started here are some ways you can use text message marketing. 


Retail business sms example 1
Retail business sms example 2
Retail business sms example 3

Text message marketing can be a powerful tool for retail businesses to connect with customers and increase sales. You can encourage customers to visit your store or website and make a purchase with text messages providing special offers, sales information, etc. Abandoned cart reminders can also be sent to customers who have left items in their online shopping cart, reminding them to complete their purchases.  You can also use text messages to announce new product releases and restocks, welcome and nurture new customers, and ask for customer reviews. 

Real Estate

Real estate business sms example 1
Real estate business sms example 2
Real estate business sms example 3

Real estate businesses can use text message marketing to engage with clients and streamline communication. It can be used to send information about new listings, upcoming open houses as well as price and status change alerts. This ensures that clients are always up to date on the latest developments and don’t miss out on opportunities. Text message marketing can also invite and remind clients about customer appreciation events, welcome and nurture new clients, and ask for reviews and feedback. 


Non profit sms example 1
Non profit sms example 2
Non profit sms example 3

Non-profits can also benefit from text message marketing as it provides a direct and personal way to communicate with supporters and volunteers. Text messages can help recruit volunteers by sending messages to subscribers with a link on how they can get involved. Text message marketing can also encourage donations by providing an easy way to donate via a link. Event reminders, announcements, donors thank yous, and motivational messages can also be sent to keep subscribers engaged with your organization.

Business to Business (B2B)

B2B sms example 1
B2B sms example 2
B2B sms example 3

Business-to-business (B2B) companies can leverage text message marketing to improve their communication with clients and increase engagement. Text messages can be sent to announce events or training sessions and send reminders to attendees to ensure they don’t miss out.  Similarly, you can send reminders to clients to schedule appointments for services or consultations, announce new services or products, and highlight benefits to clients. You can also use it to solicit feedback to help identify areas of improvement and build customer relationships. 

Text your way to more business

Text message marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for small businesses looking to reach their customers in a direct and engaging way. By utilizing text message marketing, small businesses can drive sales, increase customer engagement, and build stronger relationships with their clients. You can start today by creating a simple opt-in form on your website or social media channels to get your audience to sign up for exclusive offers and updates via text message. With a little effort and creativity, text message marketing can be a valuable addition to your marketing strategy.

About Constant Contact 
Constant Contact delivers for small businesses and nonprofits with powerful tools that simplify and amplify digital marketing. Whether it's driving sales, growing a customer base or engaging an audience, we deliver the performance and guidance to build strong connections and generate powerful results. 


Want More Small Business Digital Marketing Tips from Constant Contact? 

During the Digital Marketing for Small Business session at the Amazon Business Small Business Summit 2023, Dave covers the fundamentals of social media marketing, email marketing, and text/SMS marketing. 


In the below guest posts, Dave walks you through how to create your digital marketing contact list and more. .   


Explore these additional digital marketing posts:


Amazon Business does not endorse or approve any products or opinions shared by content contributors. The content is for information purposes only and Amazon Business does not warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate nor that it is completely free of errors when published or that it is suitable in dealing with a particular situation.


About Dave Charest

Dave Charest is Director of Small Business Success at Constant Contact, the online marketing leader trusted by millions of small businesses to provide email, web, social media, text and event marketing tools. In his role, Dave acts as an educator and an advocate for small business leaders, marketing professionals, and nonprofits by providing them with practical marketing advice that can help them achieve their goals. He is a dynamic leader, speaker, creator, and award-winning marketer who strives to inspire small businesses by simplifying the complex world of online marketing.

Get started with Amazon Business. 

Create a free Amazon Business account or subscribe to the Small Business Success Studio to be the first to know when new content is added.