There’s a lot for digital marketers to like about text marketing, or SMS, this holiday season. Consider the stats from the infamous Mobile Cloud Blog: their recipients, most within three minutes or less, open 90% of promotional texts. Stacked up against email marketing, research shows that texts can be eight times more effective at engaging customers. This makes text messaging a highly effective tool for getting customers’ attention at the most opportune moments.

All the same, SMS marketing is extremely hard to get right. For starters, consumers must first opt in to receive messages from marketers. Even then, one off-putting message can alienate a subscriber for good. The convenience and intimacy of SMS can be both a blessing and a curse. The bar for marketers to deliver text messages that are extremely targeted, very relevant and valuable for the customer is high. A simple error can put a company in risk of losing customers for good.

Here’s four ways you can begin implementing SMS marketing – whether it’s during the holiday season or beyond:

1. Get smart about sign-up incentives:          

Use in-store signage and QR codes to drive customers to sign up for SMS notifications. After customers scan a QR code, ask for permission to communicate with them via text messaging. Offering incentives such as coupons and exclusive products can help lock in new sign-ups.                                                           

2. Let customers dictate their messaging:

Let subscribers pick what kind of information they receive via text and when.  By allowing customers to choose what type of content to receive and when, retailers improve engagement and, ultimately, sales.

3. Tap into SMS coupons:

Get a coupon when you check out from the grocery store and it’s likely to end up in the trash within the hour; SMS coupons, on the other hand, hold far more potential for digital marketers long-term. According to a recent survey by RadiumOne, 42% of customers say they prefer receiving coupons via SMS. It’s important for retailers to remind customers that they can receive coupons and loyalty cards via SMS.

4. Turn text alerts into a competitive advantage:

Savvy retailers like Amazon keep customers updated of an order’s shipping status. These SMS alerts satisfy demanding customers and can reduce call-center costs. Brands that deliver on the promise of holiday delivery build loyalty. These SMS reminders help maintain a brand’s image by always keeping customers in the loop.