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What is Text Marketing? Your Questions Answered

What is text marketing

If you want to expand your marketing campaigns, you have probably across text marketing or SMS marketing. These phrases might not mean much to you, but they are a useful tool in any company’s marketing plan.

In this article, we will answer two of the most general and most common questions regarding text marketing; what is text marketing, and how does it work. So you will understand what it is, how it works, and the benefits it brings to marketing campaigns.



What is text marketing

What is Text Marketing?

Firstly, it’s worth noting that text marketing and SMS marketing both mean the same thing. SMS is the abbreviation of ‘short message service’, which is another way of saying ‘text’. In this article, we’ll prefer to use ‘text marketing’, but it is referred to by both names.

Text marketing is a marketing strategy that uses permission-based text messages to promote a company. In this instance, the name does try to explain the process.

Thanks to the method of communication, text marketing is a great way to send short, instant messages to customers. These can be anything from an update on a new product to an alert about sales, or an offer to an exclusive discount. And as smartphones have become increasingly popular, SMS campaigns can include more sophisticated content, like links to a company’s website so customers, can order online. Text marketing is a great method to engage with customers instantly, encourage their engagement with your brand, and build your database of subscribers.



How does text marketing work

How does Text Marketing Work?

Now that we have explained what text marketing is, we’ll answer another common question; how does text marketing work?

We alluded to how it works in the previous section, but here we will expand on it in far more detail.

Text marketing works through using permission-based texts, which are sent to customers who have opted-in to use the service. There are two methods that this is usually done by, hard opt-in, or soft opt-in. We advocate a hard opt-in, as it has complete clarity to the customer, and to your company.

Not only that, with the introduction of GDPR next year, a hard opt-in it is more in line with changes in regulations and the push for higher clarity and consent with consumers.

Additionally, hard opt-in is the most used example of how text marketing works.

But what is the difference between hard opt-in, and soft? It’s worth outlining so you know the difference, and what to do.


what is a soft opt-in

Soft Opt-In

A soft opt-in requires certain conditions and is rather limited. It is when someone has contacted you to organise a sale, and given their personal details to you, but never became a customer. They also must have been offered the opportunity to opt-out of marketing and didn’t. As we said, these cases are limited. In these instances, you can potentially contact those people regarding the sale you originally discussed, or similar products or services, and offer options to opt-out of marketing.

This ‘soft opt-in’ is obviously limited, and the choice of phrasing regarding who you can contact and what about isn’t the clearest. Plus, with the upcoming changes in rules about contacting consumers with the enforcement of GDPR, it might not meet the conditions needed to uphold the clarity and consent guidelines. For these reasons, we strongly suggest always using a hard opt-in.


What is a hard opt-in

Hard Opt-In

Despite the strong name, this is the far greater option when contacting people through text marketing, and the more commonly used example of how text marketing works.

A hard opt-in simply means that you have specifically requested the permission to contact a customer through SMS, and they have agreed. It’s important to be clear what they are signing up for, and how their details will be used. And they must have the same opportunity to opt-out.

But in these cases of a hard opt-in, you can more freely contact your customers through SMS as you have their specific consent. So unlike a soft opt-in, you aren’t restricted to only communicating with them regarding a specific product or service. And if you keep a record of when and how a customer opted-in in this way, if they contact you regarding messages you have full clarity and evidence of their permission.

As we mentioned, a hard opt-in is also the main example of text marketing. So we will explain how text marketing works through the example of a hard opt-in.



An example text marketing message

How Does Text Marketing Work

One of the most common uses of text marketing is to offer an incentive to customers and build a subscriber base. You’ve probably seen examples of it in your life. We’ll explain the process using the example of a restaurant since everyone has to eat! But you can use the process we explain to suit your company.

An Example of Text Marketing

Firstly, a customer sees an offer somewhere, be it online or in print. The offer is from your restaurant. It states that if they sign-up for text messages from your company, they can receive special discounts from you. And for signing up, they get £10 off their first order.

It sounds good. It entices the customer and clearly outlines what the customer has to do to receive the discounts: by signing up for text marketing.

The offer will also give a set of instructions on how to sign up. Usually along the lines of texting a keyword to a shortcode. For this example, this could be,

‘Text ‘HUNGRY’ to 12345 for exclusive discounts and £10 off your first meal!’

So the user will write a text saying ‘HUNGRY’ and send to the number provided 12345. This will be received by automated software which will store the mobile number, and respond to the text. Usually to thank them, and to offer a link to opt-out of text marketing should they want to.

This all means that later on, you can log into your text marketing software and send a message to everyone who entered their details and everyone will receive it unless they chose to opt-out.


You now know what text marketing and SMS marketing mean, what it is, and how text marketing works. That means it’s time to focus on building your own mobile subscribers list.

Just like email marketing, text marketing is a way to build your list of subscribers. It also offers another method of communication and promotion with your base. And more specifically, communication other than email or push notifications.

Text marketing promotes engagement and loyalty of consumers to your brand and offers a way of instant communication with them.

Text marketing is another string to your marketing bow and one you can’t afford to overlook. And with the abundance of mobile phones in the world today, the key to contacting customers is literally in their pocket!

If you’d like to find out more about the benefits of text marketing, we have several blog posts explaining the benefits for your business, and for specific industries. Try reading this post on the perks of SMS to find out more.


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