How Does Text Message Marketing Work?

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By Jacob Maslow

Text message marketing is one of the premier ways to make a cost-effective investment in the growth of your business. While there is a long list of benefits to cover, there are some basics to understand first. Some readers may not even be familiar with text message marketing, so let’s do a deep dive and give you everything you need to know about text message marketing.

What Is Text Message Marketing?

When talking about text message marketing, we’re really referring to SMS/MMS messages. These are the text messages that just about anyone with a cell phone less than 20 years old can send and receive. Text messaging marketing is using these text networks and messages to deliver your marketing or promotional material. 

Text message marketing can help a brand move to a new level of operations and revenue through awareness, engagement, and traffic generation. It is one of the most simple and reliable ways to boost customer engagement and web traffic. 

How Does It Work?

First, you will need to make sure that your customers are on board. This means you need them to either submit subscription information or otherwise opt-in. This could be a simple email announcing the ability to sign up for notifications about news, promotions, and so on. Then, you will need to contract with a service or firm to have the messages drafted and scheduled for sending to subscribers. Many times, text message marketing can also be used as two-way communication, gathering information from responses. 

How Are Leads Generated?

Getting people to sign up may sound like one of the hard parts. Still, many people are eager to become part of it and become excited at the prospect of exclusive promotions and similar opportunities. There are a few ways that this can be accomplished. 

Keyword Opt-In

These types of campaigns are becoming increasingly common due to their simplicity. They can be advertised just about anywhere, and they are easy and quick to follow through with, requiring only one or two texts to become enrolled. These are usually in the format of “text 12345 to XXXXX”, after which there is usually one confirmation message that the user will need to answer yes to.


Web forms are another trendy place to collect customer information and run opt-in programs. This is particularly popular for customer feedback forms, where providing information for possible follow-up can be tied into the opt-in process. These are also common in “contact me” forms that request more information.

Paper Forms

If you have your customers fill out any paperwork, you may as well tie in your text message marketing opt-in to those forms. It will make data collection easier for you and make it easier for your customers to provide that data conveniently.

Your SMS Presence

When you run a text message marketing campaign, you will need to think about how you will want to be seen in the messaging app of your subscription base. You will also need to consider how your customers will be engaged once subscribed.

Your Number

You will have the opportunity to decide if you want your number displayed to be your 5-digit texting code or if you want a standard phone number to show. While your shortcode will be easy for the customer to remember, it won’t allow them to call you. A toll-free number fixes this but is more difficult to remember. Of course, having a toll-free number will also depend on your service’s ability to provide toll-free texting.


To complete your marketing campaign, you’ll need an auto-reply to let them know that they are successfully subscribed and interact with them during future engagements. It might seem trivial since it’s only an auto-reply, but it will be the only personalized reply your texters will get, so make sure you get it right.

Growing Your Subscribers

So you have amassed a reasonable base of subscribers, and while you have steady engagement and reliable revenue, you now want to grow your subscriber list. This is where you will really want a quality texting service because they can help you run appropriate texting campaigns to drive new growth without neglecting your existing users. 

This can be accomplished with ads on websites, radio, streaming services, and more to help you push a new keyword campaign. Another popular way is to create a signup widget that can be displayed on different social channels.

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