The complete SMS marketing guide for 2024 campaign success

Everything you need to know to implement SMS into your omnichannel marketing strategy.


Your strategic guide to SMS success with Klaviyo

This guide will walk you through the 3 key goals you need to focus on to create strong, consistent, long-term revenue growth through SMS. Based on thousands of successful Klaviyo customers, these Klaviyo product and strategy best practices will inspire new ideas for engaging with your customers and empower you to grow your business with Klaviyo.

Before you begin

This guide is designed to help you with your long-term SMS strategy. Before you continue with this best practice guide, review our Getting started with SMS guide to ensure your sending numbers are activated and that your SMS settings are configured in your account.

Goal 1

Grow your SMS list to grow your revenue

Grow your SMS list by securing SMS marketing consent from new prospects browsing your site and existing customers who are already subscribed to your email list. The best practices outlined below will ensure you are capturing as many SMS subscribers as possible.

Set up your SMS compliance basics

Given the highly personal nature of text messages and phone numbers, it’s crucial to be explicit and direct about how you will use them for marketing. To build transparency and trust between your brand and your customers and cover your business from a legal standpoint, take these 3 steps if you haven’t already:

A mobile TOS is a legal outline of exactly how you plan to communicate with subscribers via mobile device. Klaviyo allows you to create and host your mobile TOS directly within the app so you do not have to create this page on your own site.

Your mobile TOS doesn’t need to be part of your normal TOS; it can be separate. What’s important is that you link to your mobile TOS anywhere you collect SMS consent, such as sign-up forms and at checkout. Learn how to create mobile terms of service in Klaviyo.

Collect SMS consent at checkout on your website

Consent at checkout is one of the most streamlined ways of growing your SMS list. Refer to the guides below to see if Klaviyo supports SMS consent at checkout for your ecommerce integration: Shopify, Magento 2, BigCommerce, WooCommerce.

Don’t see your platform listed? You can still collect SMS consent at checkout using Zapier, a workflow automation software.

To abide by SMS compliance laws, the opt-in checkbox should be unchecked by default. In the Shopify example below, the SMS disclosure notice appears once a customer checks the opt-in checkbox.

Target your visitors with different forms for maximum engagement

When you add SMS to your existing email program, you’ll have 2 distinct types of site visitors: those who are already subscribed to email marketing and brand-new visitors who are not subscribed to anything.

In order to gain SMS consent from as many people as possible, target each group differently with a sign-up form tailored to their current situation.

To collect SMS consent from brand-new site visitors, add a second step to your existing sign-up form. The first step is to collect email marketing consent, and the second step is for collecting SMS consent. On the second step, make sure to add your SMS disclosure language above the submit button.

SMS consent must be optional and cannot appear to be required under any circumstance. Using 2 separate steps to collect email and SMS consent helps your audience understand that SMS consent is not required in order to subscribe to email.

We recommend using a layered sign-up incentive to collect email and SMS consent. For example, offer 10% off for email sign-ups and an additional 5% off for SMS consent. This supports the idea that SMS is optional, but positions the channel as more valuable than email. We’ll cover how to deliver these stacked incentives later in the flows section of this guide.

Streamline the SMS subscription experience with Smart Opt-in

Configure Smart Opt-in on Klaviyo sign-up forms to remove friction from the SMS consent collection process. When a site visitor enters their phone number into your form, a 6-digit authentication code will be sent to their device. They then enter that code into the form to confirm their SMS subscription.

This feature makes it easier to opt in to SMS marketing across both desktop and mobile devices. On mobile devices, the authentication code will auto-populate into the form. On desktop, the user simply needs to manually enter the code they received via text.

Smart Opt-in works for all sending number types you use (e.g., long code, short code, branded sender ID, etc.).

Goal 2

Send more SMS campaigns to hit your revenue goals

SMS campaigns are a high-impact way to generate more orders, boosting sales and revenue. Brands on Klaviyo that send at least 8 SMS campaigns per month see stronger revenue growth over time than those that don’t.

By sending targeted SMS campaigns to engaged customers who are likely to spend, you may draw more revenue per recipient with SMS than you do from email. Engaged customers are profiles in Klaviyo who have recently engaged with your brand either on site or through a marketing channel.

Plan your SMS campaign segmentation strategy

To get the most value from SMS, a best practice is to send at least 2 SMS campaigns per week. Follow the best practices outlined below to build your SMS campaign segmentation strategy.

Similar to email, your SMS campaigns should target a variety of segments. In other words, you should not send every SMS campaign to every single SMS subscriber. If you continue to send messages to profiles who consistently do not click on them or take any action, your list will decay over time and you will waste money contacting profiles who are not likely to buy.

We recommend building the following SMS segments in Klaviyo (click the segment name for suggested segment criteria):

Send high-value content designed to drive clicks and conversions

Your SMS campaign content should be short and direct. Each campaign should have a clear call to action that drives recipients to your site to engage with content or make a purchase.

Your monthly SMS campaign calendar should support your key business initiatives while enticing subscribers to engage. SMS is the most personal channel you have for reaching subscribers, so you need to provide consistent perceived value that is greater than what you deliver through email.

Some examples that work well:

  • Giveaways or challenges
  • New product alerts
  • Flash sales and promotion announcements
  • Early access to sales and promotions
  • Special SMS-exclusive promotions
  • Opportunity to pre-order or join a waitlist for SMS subscribers only
  • Advertising special events

Need more inspiration and real-life examples? Explore these use cases with 11 real brand examples.

Format your SMS messages properly

Our analysis of top-performing Klaviyo brands shows that shorter messages tend to drive higher click rates and more ROI. So keep it simple in your SMS campaigns. Use the built-in SMS AI feature to help you generate concise copy that encourages recipients to take the desired action.

When you start creating SMS messages, Klaviyo automatically shortens links for you by default. Leave the Automatically shorten links box checked. This allows your link to be tracked in Klaviyo, and therefore allows Klaviyo to attribute revenue to the message. If you don’t use a Klaviyo shortened link for tracking, no revenue will be attributed to your message.

You can use 3 types of shortened links in SMS messages:

  • A Klaviyo link (default): a shortened URL with a Klaviyo-branded root domain (e.g.,
  • A branded Klaviyo link: a shortened URL with your own brand name appended to the front of the root domain. This is configurable in Klaviyo and can be used immediately (e.g.,
  • A branded custom link: a shortened URL where the root domain is fully customized to your brand’s domain. Setup requires you to edit your DNS records and can take up to 14 days. (e.g.,

Once you’ve launched your SMS program, we recommend transitioning from the default Klaviyo shortened link to a branded Klaviyo link, which you can configure in your SMS settings. Branded Klaviyo shortened links display your domain name in the shortened link, which can help build trust with recipients.

Goal 3

Convert and retain more customers with SMS flows

Flows are automations triggered by direct customer actions. Because of the highly relevant nature of flows, they tend to outperform campaigns in both engagement and attributed revenue. Based on thousands of Klaviyo accounts using SMS, we’ve found that SMS messages included in flows tend to yield a higher revenue per recipient than email. Bolster your revenue growth by adding SMS into your flow strategy.

When it comes to adding SMS into flows, you should focus first on adding SMS to flows where it will have the biggest impact on driving more revenue. In this section, we’ll walk through SMS best practices for each of these core flows. Once you’ve got those covered, you can add SMS to nurture flows that typically see lower engagement, but still help build loyalty and customer relationships.

Make sure that Smart Sending is turned on for all SMS messages in your flows (exceptions to this are outlined below). This feature helps you avoid over-messaging subscribers with texts, which in turn helps you control your unsubscribe rate.

Launch an SMS-specific welcome series

Virtual contact cards build trust with SMS recipients and can reduce unsubscribe rates by 3x. Build your virtual contact card under Settings > SMS. Note that virtual contact cards are sent as MMS messages, which means they will only be delivered through number types that support MMS.

If you add a virtual contact card to a flow and the flow message is sent using a number that doesn’t support MMS, the virtual contact card will be removed automatically. Only the copy of the message will be sent as an SMS.

Add SMS to your high-engagement purchase consideration flows

Once you’ve laid the groundwork for collecting SMS consent and welcoming subscribers, you should prioritize adding SMS into flows that target high-intent purchaser because these flows tend to have high click rates and conversion rates. Since SMS is immediate and more likely to be seen than an email, you can generate even more revenue from your existing flows simply by adding an SMS branch. Our customer Linksoul increased their overall revenue from flows by 82% after adding SMS.

Add SMS to these flows: Abandoned cart, Browse abandonment, Back in stock, Price drop, Order updates (Shopify only).

Add conditional splits to these flows to separate SMS subscribers from email subscribers. When you add a conditional split for SMS to existing email flows, all of your existing email content will be grouped under the YES path by default. For this reason, we recommend using the negative condition person cannot receive SMS in the split logic so that all of your email content can stay in place.

If you prefer to use the positive condition person can receive SMS marketing, you will need to flip the split in order to get your email messages in the correct pathway.

Adding SMS to your abandoned cart flow is a great way to nudge conversions for high-intent shoppers who have left something in their cart. If you are sending this flow to recipients in the US, you must adhere to a few requirements:

  1. You must use double opt-in when collecting SMS consent if you plan to send abandoned cart reminders.
  2. You can only send 1 SMS message to each recipient per abandoned cart flow. Klaviyo lets you easily rejoin the SMS flow branch to continue messaging recipients via email.
  3. You have to send the SMS within 48 hours of the cart abandonment.

Use SMS in your retention flows to build brand loyalty

Although retention flows don’t typically have the same conversion rates as the flows mentioned above, they are extremely important for maintaining relationships with customers and priming them to make another purchase in the future. Consider adding SMS to these retention flows:

Keep the customer experience in mind and use SMS for time-sensitive messages that encourage subscribers to take a clear action. For these retention flows, you should test different configurations of email and SMS to see what works best with your customers. A/B test 2 flow branches: 1 where you lead with SMS and follow up via email, and 1 where you lead with email and follow up with an SMS.

Key takeaways

The best practices we’ve outlined in this guide have helped thousands of businesses accelerate revenue growth. As you pick up momentum, your SMS strategy and marketing tactics will evolve over time. To achieve long-term SMS success, keep your ongoing focus on 3 major goals.

A growing percentage of shoppers prefer to communicate with brands via text, with 33% of Gen Z shoppers preferring SMS over other channels. Our SMS trend research shows that the way to keep customers engaged through SMS is to offer exclusive deals and perks, and to reward your subscribers frequently. By making SMS a key communication channel and ramping up your SMS sending volume, you can build stronger relationships with your customers and grow your revenue like the best brands on Klaviyo.


Stay consistent

Maintain consistent month-over-month SMS list growth.


Send at least 1 SMS campaign per week

Use SMS campaigns to hit your revenue targets.


Build relationships with SMS

Nurture and retain more customers using SMS in flows.

Power smarter digital relationships with Klaviyo