SMS Marketing for Affiliates

16 December 2021
Reading: 5 min

In the year 2021 mobile traffic holds a bigger share of the market than desktop traffic (54% vs 43%). This comes as no surprise because smartphones are an integral part of our daily routine, while PC-time is usually limited by working hours and evening recreation.

Among the mobile marketing channels, SMS marketing dates the farthest way back and is still high in terms of performance. Let us take a closer look at SMS traffic.

Working with SMS traffic

Procuring a database

The easiest way to get your hands on a phone number database is to buy one. But similar to email databases, the quality and relevance of such numbers for your campaigns will be rather questionable.

Collecting your own database is ideal because this way you have full control over the quality and provenance of leads that go into the list. Akin to email subscriptions, you may suggest signing up for the SMS send-off to the visitors of your themed landing pages. Thus, you will be able to direct those people into different lists to be used for various verticals. This contributes greatly to the quality of the database and, consequently, to the performance of your future SMS campaigns. 

Messaging services

Of course, you will not have to send thousands of SMS manually every day if you choose this marketing channel. There is a plethora of services and tools that will do this job for you. Here’s a sneak peek (check out this list for more details):

  • TextMagic
  • Textedly
  • SimpleTexting
  • SlickText
  • Twilio

Things to keep in mind

Decide on the type of message

SMS messaging can be a useful tool for a variety of campaigns, these are the types that have the highest opt-in rate among the users:

  • shipment tracking;
  • order status/confirmations;
  • reminders/alerts;
  • special events/promotions/sales;
  • billing/delivery;
  • product/service update;
  • customer satisfaction surveys.

Messages that offer a bonus or some kind of prize also convert well. But be careful with wording, many mobile carriers have inner stop lists designed to filter out spam. Swear words and threats will get you blocked for sure, as will mentions of drugs and alcohol. It is also wiser to avoid words like sale, promotion, grand prize, etc. as they might trigger the ad filters.

Choose the right timing

There is no sure-fire schedule for your SMS send-out: everything depends on the offer, the audience, and the stage of the funnel. For instance, if you work with adult or dating offers, it is better to set the messages for evening hours when your audience is at home relaxed and unobserved by friends and colleagues.

Mind the length and variables

SMS messages written in Latin letters are limited to 160 characters. Specific non-GSM-coded languages, like Russian or Chinese for example, have a limit of 70 characters.

Use variables like {name} or {location}for higher personalization of your SMS messages. People react better to a message that speaks to them directly than to a blanket anonymized mail-out.

Pay attention to the competition

Most SMS ads are delivered somewhere between the morning and midday hours. If you know the timing of your competitors or can estimate the peak periods when the majority of ads find their users, you can schedule your SMS to better stand out.

Work with a high-quality database

There is no traffic and no profit without an audience. That’s no news, right? Wherever you attain your database of phone numbers, whether it has been bought or collected by you personally – be sure to run a check to eliminate landline and erroneous numbers. With a messaging service, you will be paying per message sent, so naturally, you don’t want to pay for a bunch of SMS to nowhere. HLR (Home Location Register) requests will help you or your messaging service provider rule out the inactive numbers.

Why you should try SMS marketing

SMS Marketing for Affiliates

There are roughly 5 bn mobile users out there. An average person checks their smartphone about 58 times every day or every 15 minutes. Moreover, 98 out of 100 SMS messages get opened, and in 60% of cases it happens within 5 minutes after the delivery. These stats are already a good enough reason for launching a trial SMS campaign.


  • High open rate: phone is always with us, and we love checking it
  • Direct contact and high personalization opportunities
  • Less competition: most mobile ads come via email/push subscriptions, while the SMS channel is usually reserved for personal communication and urgent alerts (e.g. natural hazard warnings)
  • No or low bounce rate: basic mobile coverage is present in 99% of cases even when the Internet connection is faulty


  • Limited text space: standard limitations vary for different GEOs
  • No feedback: usually it is not possible or desirable for the user to answer your SMS
  • No images

SMS marketing is an example of that old channel that does not seem to wilt over the years. It will suit different verticals and offers, and many programs and networks that accept SMS traffic provide their affiliates with databases. You just need to pick the messaging tool to your taste and fire away.

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