SMS Marketing

Starting Your First Campaign is Easier Than You Think

April 2, 2021

Written By

Chaz Gonzales

Getting your customers to opt in to receive texts may have been easy, but now you may be wondering what to do next with your captive audience. They want to hear from you, but what will be your first message you send out? It can be intimidating to stare at the metaphorical blank canvas, but don’t worry. Starting your first campaign is easier than you may think.

Make sure you have a solid list of phone numbers

Before you even think about starting a campaign, make sure you have enough of a customer base to start one. Sending a campaign won’t have the returns you are looking for until you have a solid captive audience. Healthy campaigns often have an audience of over 1,000 members to start. The best way to grow your audience is by using Via’s list growth tool called Capture. If you think you already have a large enough audience to work with, skip to the next step.

Growing your list with Capture is easy. You can grow your list through 4 different channels:

  1. Desktop Popups
  2. Mobile Popups
  3. Exit Popups
  4. Customer Checkout


Desktop Popups

Create a simple popup with our popup designer to appear on your website several seconds after a customer arrives at your site. It could be a welcome message, a discount code, or a new arrivals message. 

Desktop Popup example


Mobile Popups

Mobile Popups are similar to desktop pop ups but designed for the mobile version of your online store. More often than not someone is purchasing a product on their phone.

Mobile Popup example

Exit Popups

Exit Popups are very useful since some customers are very close to buying but need a little extra incentive. As the customer closes out of the browser tab, a popup window appears. You can use it to offer a discount code or to subscribe to get updates when new products are back in stock.

Exit Popup example

Customer Checkout

A customer who is ready to buy is often likely to buy again in the future. At checkout, you can have the customer add their phone number to opt in to your campaigns as they are purchasing their product.
Building these capture tools will give your customers an opportunity to opt in to receive your text messages.


TPCA Compliance

Something to note is TCPA compliance. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act refers to certain rules about who you can and cannot text. Not all are listed, but here are the fundamentals:

  • Text messages are considered calls.
  • June 27, 2003, the FTC created the National Do Not Call Registry to ensure compliance with the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003.
  • Do not call residences before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., according to the recipient’s time zone.
  • Do not place a marketing call or text without prior express written consent (PEWC) from the recipient first.

With Via, you are only texting those who have opted in, and the opt-in language explains clearly how customers can opt out at any time, so they can rest easy that your customers will get the best communication as possible, without any fear of being roped in to anything against their will. For more information about TCPA compliance, visit TNC.com.

Sending your first message

When creating your first message, here are a few things to keep in mind. 

  1. Know Your Audience: Who do you want to send this campaign to? Texting is personal. What would you say to a friend? Keep in mind that you are sending a text message, so short and simple works the best.
  2. Tell the customer who you are right up front by including your business name at the beginning of every campaign message.
  3. Using the Voice of the Brand when putting the text message together and remember that a text is not an email. Keep it short, simple, and quick to read.
  4. What's the "Call to Action"? What is going to drive the customer to click on the link in the message.
  5. Add a link to your website or specific shopping page
  6. Bitly links do not work as well with the software, however, by copying the full URL to a specific page and pasting it in the message box the software will shorten the URL, to a custom branded link, once your message sends.
  7. When using an image/GIF, stay within the recommended size. Dimensions of GIFs and Images need to be 500 x 500. And file size ideally needs to be 500KB. But no bigger than 600 KB.
  8. Emojis are fun. Keep them to 2-4 a campaign will help catch attention but not overwhelm. Be judicious so that customers are not tripping over them while reading the message.
  9. Once a month, add in opt-out language in your campaigns to comply with TCPA guidelines. Simply press the Stop Button while composing a campaign message to automatically add in the language ("Reply !Stop to unsubscribe"). 

Know your audience

You can create segmented audiences from your subscribers based on different demographics. For example if you want to have a seasonal discount campaign go out to your customers in a city with lots of rain, you can create a campaign specific to that area and promote a line of rain jackets to just those customers. Planning your campaigns around your customer’s needs will often reveal to you what kind of campaigns you need to make. 

The results will be your guide

The best way to tell if your campaign is working effectively is simply by seeing if people are responding to your message. If after a month of inactivity, you may need to kill that campaign, or readjust your message. You will be able to tell it is working when you see click throughs happening, and purchases are being made. Those are the basics for starting your first campaign!

Here are the big takeaways

To summarize, here are the big takeaways:

  • Make sure you have a solid customer list to send your campaign to
  • Be sure to include an opt-out option to be TPCA compliant
  • Decide what segment of your audience you are targeting
  • Have a clear call to action
  • Let your customer’s needs be your guide


Connect with your customers today.

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