8 Steps to Building a Successful SMS Marketing Program

July 18, 2022
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Woman texting

As a marketer, you have undoubtedly noticed how the brands you shop with are using SMS marketing to engage with you in a thoughtful and meaningful way. You may have also become aware of your competition’s use of SMS marketing.

Because of this, you are eager to implement an effective SMS marketing program to increase engagement with your customers.  

Follow the 8 steps below to get started immediately and accomplish your goals.  

Step 1: Conceptualize your SMS marketing strategy

SMS marketing provides a wealth of opportunities from driving purchases and reengaging with customers to building authority and awareness through reviews. Think about all the ways that SMS marketing can help you engage customers and what it’ll mean to your company's long-term success.

Step 2: Build a mini business case to determine the value you can drive

Quantify the value that your company can achieve from SMS marketing with Twilio’s texting for marketing ROI calculator. Just update the inputs with your company’s specific data and in a matter of minutes you’ll be able to see your potential ROI.

Step 3: Draft key criteria for success

Carefully construct a list of items that are required for your SMS marketing success. For example, do you require integrations with your CRM or Customer Data Platform (CDP) or other marketing automation tools? Is future scalability, such as supporting growth of SMS marketing to XX volumes in YY countries in ZZ years, important to you? How about ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and building trust with customers?

Finally, make sure you include a line item for implementation resources as they will be instrumental to your immediate and ongoing success.

Step 4: Secure Internal Stakeholder Support

Check out our blog post How to champion SMS marketing to internal stakeholders for guidance on this step. It covers everything from identifying your audience to overcoming objections and successfully delivering your pitch.

Step 5: Select a Provider

An important thing to consider is whether your company will benefit more from a ready-made solution or building a solution that’s tailored to your specifications. When deciding on a provider, here are a few key items to evaluate:

  • Ability to integrate with existing and future MarTech stack
  • Ability to scale based on expected future volume needs or geographic expansion
  • Implementation time
  • Price

Learn more in our blog, SMS Marketing: How to Decide Whether to Build or Buy a Solution 

Step 6: Technical Implementation

The technical implementation will likely be supported by other internal resources such as IT, Software Engineering, and/or Marketing Ops. The timeline will of course be dependent on their availability as well as the complexity of the solution and your key criteria for success.

Keep in mind that a crawl, walk, run approach may enable you to quickly start SMS marketing campaigns while working toward a full-fledged solution.

Step 7: Build and launch your comprehensive SMS marketing strategy

A carefully constructed SMS marketing strategy will give you a blueprint for success and help ensure the results meet or exceed your expectations.

Twilio’s SMS for Marketing Ebook provides the information you need to develop a comprehensive SMS marketing strategy, capture consent, and create effective campaigns at each stage of your customer journey.

The guide includes real-life customer case studies that highlight what SMS marketing campaigns look like in practice, including:                

  • Conversion campaigns such as promotion codes, product announcements, and abandoned cart reminders
  • Retention campaigns such as exclusive offers, loyalty programs, NPS or customer surveys
  • Re-engagement campaigns such as “come back” promotions and “return to use your loyalty points/rewards”

Step 8: Maximize Your SMS Marketing ROI

Ensure your program delivers meaningful ROI by personalizing your messages, optimizing your campaigns, and measuring results to report on your success and identify opportunities for improvement. Learn more in our blog post, How to Maximize Your SMS Marketing ROI.

Begin your SMS marketing journey today

SMS marketing provides the personalized customer engagement that your customers desire. With a 98% open rate and a 45% response rate, the time to begin your journey into SMS marketing campaigns is today.

Download Twilio’s SMS for Marketing Ebook for greater insights into the benefits of SMS marketing, driving subscriber opt-ins, and delivering high-value message content.


Bill Higbee is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Messaging, at Twilio. Bill has 20+ years experience in technical marketing roles spanning API, SaaS, Telecom, and more. When Bill isn’t helping businesses enhance their customer engagement, he’s most likely skiing, golfing, or finding some other way to have fun outdoors. Feel free to reach out to him at whigbee@twilio.com or linkedin.com/in/billhigbee.