The simple text message punches way above its weight. In a recent study, we discovered that businesses use SMS to send at least 25 different types of messages to customers, clients and staff. So, we dug into the data to find out more.

Here are the top 10 ways businesses are using text messaging. And how you can use the same SMS tactics to get ahead.

How to send SMS to your customers, clients and prospects

Technically, you could message your whole audience from your handset. But that’s a one-way ticket to texting thumb (and a lot of wasted time). It’s much better to use a business SMS service.

Using an SMS gateway, you can send text campaigns to thousands of people at once. You can also automate messages, get help when you need it, manage your contact lists and much more.

Most SMS platforms will offer you a free trial. At ClickSend we provide some free credit to try before you buy, when you sign up for a free account. After that, you’ll only ever pay for the messages you send.

1. Alerts, notifications and updates

What’s the one thing you don’t leave home without? Your mobile. The average person touches, taps and swipes their phone 2617 times a day. If you have an urgent message to send, text is the perfect solution. It’s no surprise that alerts, notifications and updates are the most popular type of message.

Alerts, notifications and updates are used to share important information quickly. They are used to spur people into action or keep them in the loop.

Ways to use SMS alerts, notifications and updates:

  • Update your sales team as soon as you get a new lead so they can convert quickly.
  • Notify your team ASAP when there are security, fraud or IT issues.
  • Send confirmations to customers when their payment has been received.
  • Keep clients updated on progress, such as updates on home loan applications, valuations and more.
  • Update your contact list about any emergencies or delays that may impact them.
  • Send staff urgent information or updates after work hours.

Here’s an example of an update via text message:

Alerts, notifications and updates SMS example

2. Requesting information

Imagine a new client has signed up for a service. They’ve filled out the form diligently, but they’ve left off a key piece of information. You could call them. But do you really want to start a game of voicemails and phone tag?

Businesses use SMS to get answers to questions quickly. Most customers have smartphones, so they can open links and provide the information required themselves. No lengthy customer service calls are required.

What type of information do businesses request over SMS?

  • Missing details from application forms such as home loans, rental applications, insurance forms, job applications and more.
  • Reviews from customers after they have purchased a product or service.
  • Ratings from customers after they finish customer service calls.
  • Gather information from leads that visit your website (and opt in for text).

Here’s an example of a business requesting information via text message:

Harry dog SMS example

3. Remarketing to customers

Customers are like friends. Your oldest pals are easier to connect with than people you’ve never met. That’s why so many businesses use remarketing for instant customer connections, no introduction required.

Remarketing via SMS is the same as remarketing on Facebook, digital ads or email. It is used to send relevant offers and promotions to customers who have interacted with your business before.

TIP: Make sure the people on your contact list have opted in to receive SMS messages from you. Read about transactional vs marketing SMS.

How can you use remarketing SMS tactics?

  • Use SMS to win back abandoned carts.
  • Contact customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while.
  • Send an offer or discount to clients who haven’t re-booked.
  • Upsell to people with product recommendations based on recent purchases.
  • Ask questions so you can know more about customers and provide a personalised experience.
  • Automatically SMS ‘hot’ leads or people that take certain actions on your site.
  • Drive people who have just opted in for SMS to follow you on social media.

Here’s an example of a business remarketing to customers using SMS:

Jill Juiceup SMS example

4. Answering inquiries and questions

No matter what industry you’re in, getting back to people ASAP is always a good way to do business. But, it can be time consuming — unless you’re able to put responses on auto-pilot..

You can answer inquiries and questions using SMS by setting up autoresponders. When someone sends you an SMS with a keyword, they automatically receive a response with all the information they need.

Examples of using SMS to answer enquiries?

  • Set up automated responses based on messages.
  • Use SMS for your customer service system.
  • Answer requests for information based on a keyword.
  • Send quotes when customers request services via SMS.
  • Provide people with information about your company, product or service.
  • Introduce customers and clients to the best point of contact for their needs.

Here’s an example of a business using a text message to answer inquiries and questions:

business using a text message to answer inquiries and questions

5. Sharing sales, offers and promotions

SMS is fast, personal and low-cost. And it’s very easy to set up and send. It’s a great way to share offers, sales and promotions with your contact list.

That’s why we see so many businesses using SMS tactics to improve their marketing campaigns, sending hundreds of thousands of messages every single year. Last year alone, over 140,000,000 promotional messages were sent by ClickSend customers.

TIP: Always shorten any URLs in your SMS to save on characters. There’s a free link shortener in the ClickSend dashboard.

Types of sales and promotions shared via SMS

  • Product bundling by offering a matching product or service at a discount.
  • Buy one get one free promotions.
  • Sharing a discount code as a way to offer customer loyalty rewards.
  • Referral programs.
  • Birthday gift vouchers, free products or discounts.
  • Abandoned cart offers for people who have not completed payment.
  • Sale announcements and countdowns.
  • Big sale events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Here’s an example of a promotional text message:

Jill SMS bakery example

6. Sharing incidents, updates and alerts

There are moments when you need people to respond, fast. The best way to get your message to the right people is via text messaging. SMS is easy to use and almost everyone has a mobile phone. The 98% open rate doesn’t hurt either.

Businesses and organisations use SMS for incidents, updates and alerts to share important information quickly. It’s often used to keep people safe, keep things running smoothly and catch problems early.

When is SMS for incidents, updates and alerts used?

  • Alert employees when there is an issue with machinery or any process that stops work.
  • At events to update people about cancellations, issues or special shows and offers.
  • Sent to office workers alerting them to disruptions, IT problems, security issues or health and safety.
  • During emergencies or natural disasters to keep people safe.
  • For tourism by sending local updates to visitors and guests.
  • By schools from K-12 to higher education. They send alerts for parking, health checks, evacuations, marketing, reminders and more.
  • At hospitals or health care facilities for patient care, medical emergencies, fires and hazardous spills.

Here’s an example of an update and alert text message:

SMS example hazardous spill

7. Employee communications about shifts

Handling the staff roster can be a painful experience. It’s even worse when people forget to show up and there’s no time to find a replacement.

Many companies use SMS to communicate with staff about shifts. You can coordinate staff, get faster responses to fill shifts and set up automatic shift reminders and confirmations.

Who uses SMS for employee communications about shifts?

  • Government agencies use SMS to manage a wide workforce.
  • Health care providers and hospitals to help reduce agency fees.
  • Hospitality to send reminders and coordinate shift swaps.
  • Hair and beauty to confirm the staff member shows up for their clients.
  • Tourism and tour companies that operate on an on-demand basis.

Here’s an example of a business using text messaging to communicate with employees:

John SMS example burgers

8. Event confirmations

When events run smoothly, everyone is happy — the planners, the sponsors, and the attendees. Sending people their tickets via SMS is a great way to make sure everyone has easy access to their ticket on event day. Plus, automated confirmations are likely to reduce “where’s my ticket?” calls to your customer service team.

How to use SMS for event confirmations

  • Confirm their payment has been received and provide a link to the tax invoice.
  • Confirm that a booking has been made online and the event will go ahead as requested.
  • Responding to queries with updated information about events, such as home opens.
  • Let people know that an event has been scheduled to take place, and it will impact them, such as routine maintenance on a service.
  • Send tickets as a QR code to stop bottlenecks on entry.

Here’s an example of an event confirmation text message:

event confirmation via SMS

9. Event reminders

There’s nothing worse than a half empty room. But, how do you get people to show up once they’ve clicked RSVP?

Event reminders not only remind people about events. They also allow people to confirm attendance so you can adequately staff your event.

Why businesses use event reminders

  • To remind people of the upcoming event.
  • Send countdown messages to generate excitement.
  • Encourage RSVPs to confirm their attendance.
  • Get food or drink preferences beforehand to make the event run smoother.

Here’s an example of an event reminder text message:

10. Delivery updates and alerts

sms examples event reminder

Everyone loves getting a delivery. They also love being kept in the loop about their delivery. According to RetailWire, 85% of your customers will purchase again if they can track their delivery.

Types of delivery updates and alerts to set-up:

  • Shipping confirmations to let people know their order is on the way.
  • Estimated date of arrival of package.
  • Updates about any delays on delivery.
  • Confirmation that the order has been delivered.
  • Update of ETA of the delivery driver so the customer can plan to be there to receive the order.

Here’s an example of a delivery update text message:

SMS use case for delivery updates and alerts

Ready to get started?

Text messaging is lightning-fast and (almost) never left unread. We believe every business can benefit from employing SMS tactics, we’ll even show you how.

Want to try one of our most popular message types? Or, maybe you want to see what’s possible for your business? Open a live chat with our team or sign up for a free trial.