Business SMS: A Complete Playbook

The ultimate guide to business SMS, including what it is, how to use it, the problems it’ll help you solve and best practices we’ve gathered from user data.

What is business SMS?

Business SMS is a type of communication used to build connections with professional contacts.

SMS for business closely mimics the features of a personal phone but can be used on a larger scale to reach contacts and track analytics.

While personal messaging is considered peer-to-peer (P2P), business text messaging is often application-to-person (A2P), and utilizes a technology platform to meet the needs of businesses.

An example of business SMS would be a recruiter contacting candidates about jobs from a text messaging platform that connects to their application tracking system (ATS).

Text messaging marketing is another common form of messaging that a retailer may use to let customers know about promotions or sales.

Which problems does business SMS solve?

Business SMS makes everyday tasks and workflows more manageable.

Users encounter issues like privacy concerns and separating work and life when using their personal phones for business use. If you use a business SMS platform, you can set out office hours and turn work off when you want (or need!) to.

SMS is the preferred form of communication—especially for younger generations who are entering the workforce. You can reach people faster who have ignored your emails or phone calls since text message response rates are faster.

Business SMS allows you to automate messages to save time particularly for responses to common questions. You can also gather insights by tracking who clicks on your links and analyze your performance to make sure you continue to communicate more of what works.

If you feel like there’s never enough time to chase people down, want a user-friendly solution, and still provide a personal user experience, text messaging is a great solution.

In addition to everyday nuances, businesses have faced and endured many challenges in the past several years at a large scale. Some of the top pain points that companies encounter are shared no matter the industry—and business texting can help (and in the case of our customers) have helped them tackle these challenges to come out on top.

Here are a few challenges business texting tackles:

1. Burnout

Companies experienced drastic changes in regulations, hiring, and job demands that added to increased burnout. Industries such as healthcare were always at risk for burnout, but it intensified the past several years. You want technology that will reduce your staff burnout, not add to it.

“More than one-third (34%) of nurses say it’s very likely that they will leave their roles by the end of 2022 and 44% cited burnout and a high-stress environment as the reason for their desire to leave.”

Business SMS can be used to schedule shifts, send photos for encouragement, and check in with employee mental health.

2. Workforce shortages

As companies were forced to shut down, furloughs and layoffs changed job security. As regulations eased, the economy worsened and the struggle between an employee and employer market ensued. During this battle, companies went from having too many employees to not being able to hire back or retain a workforce. The retail industry was one of the hardest hit for workforce shortages.

With a 48% response rate, for example, retailers are using business SMS to rebuild after ups and downs from both employees and consumers. Business texting can be used to make recruiting easier during peak seasons, especially hiring holiday help, and eliminates phone tag retailers may find during busy seasons.

3. Lack of responses

No one likes to be ignored. But those who work in sales base their income projections on responses and closed deals.

When emails get ignored and phone calls go silent, sales reps have found that text messaging marketing has been a great tool to connect with prospects.

Particularly in sports and event sales that have been on the rebound since Covid-19, teams using texting see a staggering 58% response rate!

4. Poor organizational structures

For teams that have departments that work in silos or for enterprise companies that make it hard for all teams in the company to keep track of internal workflows, statuses, and communication, business SMS allows them to communicate more effectively.

For an industry like real estate, where you may have office staff on computers all day while realtors may be out in the field showing houses and meeting with clients, staying updated can be difficult. We have seen real estate customers use TextUs to stay connected to staff and clients no matter where or what hours they work!

The real estate industry sees a high response rate of 58% with business SMS. The real-time benefit to SMS for business is that it improves your internal communications. Everyone on your team will know where clients stand in the process so that no one is overstepping or a client gets lost in the shuffle.

Texting easily allows you to send documents, retrieve signatures, and manage tasks, while also building relationships. The real estate industry relies on good relationships, referrals, and a strong sense of community.

What phone numbers can you use in business SMS?

One of the first things to consider before you start using business SMS, is what type of number you will use. There are three different types of numbers that can be used for business texting. Here is a breakdown so you can make the best decision for your business needs!

Short code: Short code messaging may include five- or six-digit numbers, is easy to send promotions and offers, is best for automated notifications, and you can send more messages faster. The telecommunications industry recently moved to dedicated short codes. These codes are more expensive but mean that each brand will have a unique code to share with its audience, and avoid sharing codes with another company. This process can take 6-12 weeks to get started.

Long code: A long code number will look similar to a regular, local business phone number and include 10 digits. Long codes can increase brand awareness and credibility, you can respond to text messages and carry on a two-way conversation, and is a more personal form of communication. 10DLC was completed in 2022 — this change requires companies that use text message marketing services to register their brand and their campaigns. This impacted local long-code 10-digit phone numbers. The process typically takes a few days to complete and brands can renew automatically so users don’t need to manually complete after the initial registration.

Toll-free: Toll-free SMS includes seeing a number that comes from an 800 variation. Toll-free texting is most commonly used for transactional messaging such as account-related alerts, notifications, and customer care messaging. Carriers expanded the verification process to opt customers into receiving mobile SMS marketing. An end user will have to add their opt-in policy and a screenshot of how and where they collect the opt-in. One of the biggest differences from 10DLC is that toll-free verification requires a clear and concise opt-in policy. This process typically takes 2-3 days but during a time when all users are trying to verify, it can take up to two weeks.

What are business texting features?

The functionality between business SMS platforms can vary. You should research your business priorities to make sure that the features offered with business text messaging are a match.

Some of the top features include:

2-way SMS

Text and reply with your contacts back and forth. This is used for conversational text messaging.


Add rich media including photos, PDFs, and videos.


Trigger automated text messages responses based on the word(s) someone sends.

Scheduled texts

Define when you want to send a text message. This is a good feature if you are working with contacts in different time zones or work during different times than you.


Create targeted messages to the right list of contacts. You can group contacts together and send a personalized message. Some SMS platforms have limits to how large a campaign send can be.


Include links in your text messages. This also includes being able to brand your links to create credibility and brand awareness with your contacts without using a third-party that may block message delivery.

A/B testing

Evaluate different text messages and see which ones are performing the best so you can do more of that.


Understand how to send business text messages, when is the best time to send, how long the message should be, which call-to-actions are working. Make more informed decisions based on your reports.

What is business SMS used to accomplish?

With so many use cases for business text messaging, it can be implemented in different industries and departments within a company’s function. Some companies have even started using business SMS for one purpose and discovered that it was applicable across departments to make workflows better.

Here are a few ways you can use business text messaging in your company.


Reach candidates faster and get them placed into jobs with you over your competitors. Waiting too long to respond to a candidate or risk your voicemail getting ignored and email landing in spam aren’t risks you should be willing to take. Use business texting to recruit, place, onboard, and train new employees.

Schedule reminders and appointments

No shows can really put a dent in your business bottom line. And staff shouldn’t waste time playing phone tag hoping to catch someone and remind them about appointments. Business text messaging can send reminders for you and track the replies within your CRM in real-time so that you know the actual status of your calendar.

Follow Ups

Having trouble getting people to respond to you with email and phone calls? No worries! You can use business SMS to follow-up with unread emails and ignored voicemails. With higher read and response rates, you will find that your contacts engage more (and more quickly) with business texting!

Keeping in touch and staying top of mind

If you ever feel a prospect or customer starts to go cold or you find a hard time nurturing your communication, business text messaging is a great tool to send low-key and quick messages that still let contact think about you. Instead of sending emails when you need something, text messages can share short messages that provide information, fun, or a quick question.

Marketing, promos, offers and polls

Text message marketing is a great way to let customers know when you have sales and promotions, offer exclusive deals for customers who subscribe to SMS marketing, and opt customers into campaigns.

Need to quickly get an answer or collect feedback? Send a link to your survey in the text message or you can actually put evaluations into the SMS itself.

Order confirmation and delivery updates

People like knowing where their packages are year-round, not just during December! Keep logistics running smoothly and the customer experience pleasant with updates straight to customer phones. Eliminate the need for customers to play detective, have an irrelevant support chat with a robot, or dig through their emails to find out where their status is.

Business texting compared to other communication channels

Business text messaging has a 98% average read rate and 48.5% response rate average. Benchmarks for email are considered good around 21.33% and click through rates (similar to the engagement of a response rate for business SMS) are optimal at 2-5%. These rates have drastic differences!

Email and phone, even when combined, have lower percentages of success. It is a best practice to implement a mix of email, phone, and texting, but it’s worth noting that text messaging has the best response.

texting stats

Business texting users are responding with a median response time of 11 minutes during the week compared to 90 minutes for email. Response times on Saturday and Sunday can jump up to 60 minutes. We expect working professionals to be texting more during the work week, but our users do appreciate the convenience of responding via the mobile app during the weekend when they are away from their desks. Our business texting statistics show that even on weekends, SMS response times are still faster than email.

text message response time by day of week

Benefits of business SMS

In our increasingly distracted-world, it can sometimes feel impossible to get people’s attention. They scroll past your emails, they delete your voicemails without listening to them, they block your pop-up ads, and ignore your chat bots.

It’s not that they aren’t interested in what you have to say or wouldn’t be if you could just get a second or two of their time — it’s that consumers have, by necessity in an information-drenched world, become message connoisseurs. You need a mode of communication that most people do not routinely ignore. Here’s why business text messaging is that communication tool.


Consumers, employees, prospects, candidates-– all contacts want instant gratification. We live in a time where everything is fast and convenient. Patience isn’t as much as a virtue when you can find a faster and more efficient way of doing something.

Business SMS is no different. When you send a business text message, it’s the polite way to have a conversation. You reach contacts when it’s convenient for you and them. It’s unobtrusive if they are not able to take a call. They don’t have to wait to reply to a text as long as it takes to return a call (and by that time the contact probably forgot it was on their to-do list).


Business texting is a familiar tool since it mimics a personal device everyone is already using. There is little to no learning curve for business texting because it’s easy to use and you can start implementing right away to reach and engage with your contacts.

Text messaging is already a part of a communications stack.

Text enable a landline

Text enabling your business number lets contacts click your number and text you without giving it a second thought. If all text messages are going to a single inbox, your team may lack the insight and speed they need to keep up with your audience.

A textable business number means that your team can all field incoming text messages.

Integration with other platforms

Business text messaging platforms that integrate with your CRM or ATS tools let you connect and engage with customers and candidates all in one place.

Know exactly where a person is on their journey with you—right down to the last text message. You can track and evaluate the text messages you send to improve your communications and relationships.

Business texting best practices

You want to make sure what you’re sending to your customers is actually working for you and your business. We did some digging of our own data and business texting usage to find out what the best practices are to maximize your response rates.

Here are 4 tips on how to optimize business text messages.

1. Keep business text messages short

We see a direct correlation between message length and response rate. When messages are under 100 characters, we see higher response rates. While this yields the best response rate discovered in our texting statistics, users continue to send messages with 100+ characters—with most text messages being over 250 characters.

Since we see people sending longer text messages, this may explain why median response time is more geared towards 12 minutes. When the message length goes down, the response time is faster.

response rate by text message length

2. Communicate when contacts want

We see the most text messages sent on Tuesdays and Wednesdays — around 10M each throughout the year. More than half of messages sent (~70%) happen between 9am-3pm. This suggests that midweek and earlier in the work day is the most popular.

When looking at the times business text messages are sent to a contact and then when a reply happens, we see that the time is very close. Business SMS can see contacts respond within minutes compared to hours with email. Because of this you want to make sure you are also responding back to contacts and send messages when you know you can reply back quickly.

text message response time by day of week

3. Use proper spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation

Sloppy writing isn’t acceptable in any medium. Texting etiquette for business is more critical to showcase your professionalism. Text messages can still be personal without sacrificing proper grammar. We also see better SMS response rates when active voice is used instead of passive voice.

4. Ask permission to text

You need to make sure people want to be contacted by business SMS. Business texting etiquette says the proper way is to ask them. SMS compliance says there are certain ways of collecting permission based on the type of number you have in order to opt contacts into receiving text messages. In this case, text message etiquette and compliance go hand-in-hand.


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The Definitive Guide to Business Texting

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