Promotional vs. Transactional Texts

What is a transactional SMS?

Typically, a transactional SMS is an automated message sent in response to an event or action triggered by a customer. Banks provide the perfect example of transactional messaging in action. They send one-time pins to their clients making purchases or wanting to access their accounts online. They also send balance updates when a customer withdraws or transfers money. Transactional SMSes are also used to improve processes, like account activations, booking or order confirmations, account balance notifications, and real-time alerts.

What is a promotional SMS?

A promotional SMS is most commonly used to drive new, or repeat, business or sales. These texts are used to let customers know about any new deals, offers, or discounts or simply to thank customers for their continued support.

Here we show you what type of consent is needed when sending a transactional vs promotional message.

Transactional Messages Promotional Messages
Conversational Informational Marketing
What is it?

Conversational messaging is an expected back and forth exchange between two parties that takes place via the SMS channel.

The customer would typically initiate this conversation.
What is it?

Informational messaging is typically one-way messaging, where the company or business responds to a customer’s request to receive information, or where a customer can expect to receive a once-off response to an action that they have taken.
What is it?

Promotional messaging is also one-way messaging that offers a sales or marketing promotion. There is typically a call-to-action in the SMS message received by the customer.
The first message... sent by the customer. It responds to a specific request.
The first message...

...can be sent either by the customer or the business. This message contains useful and helpful information.
The first message... sent by the business to an opted-in customer or contact list. This message promotes a brand, product or service.

A customer sends an SMS message to an advertised number. The business then manually or automatically responds to the SMS message and a conversation ensues.

There is an existing relationship between the customer and the business. The business would send, for example, an appointment reminder.

A second example would be the sending of a one-time-password. Where the customer initiates the conversation by performing an action. E.g. logging in to a platform and a one time password is sent to their mobile number.

This would be an awareness campaign for a business or brand. An example would be a brand that has a special on popular items during a sale. They would then send this promotion out to their opted-in customer base with the details of the offer, along with opt-out instructions.

Source: Adapted from the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practice

So now that you know the difference between promotional and transactional messages, you can start setting up your campaigns and get ready to send! Sign up today and you’ll reach your customers in no time!