SMS Marketing with Shortened Links: How it Works

By TinyURL Marketing

Last updated on February 15, 2023

When reaching new customers through SMS marketing, less is more. Shorter messages win big gains, which is why link shortening is a key component of a successful run.

SMS marketing remains a powerhouse tactic for modern businesses. With the number of smartphone users worldwide estimated at 6.6 billion in 2022 and 85% of Americans owning a smartphone in 2021, conditions have never been better for text message-based strategies. 

Better still, people have proven far more likely to open a marketing SMS than an equivalent email message. SMS open rates can be as high as 98% depending on the campaign, while email ranges closer to 20%.

That said, there are challenges to creating SMS campaigns with impact. For one thing, the lack of visual branding elements can make text messages hard to trust. For another, costs based on character limits act as penalties to marketers who struggle to keep things short.

Enter link shortening: the practice of creating short and memorable links to longer destination URLs. Modern URL shorteners allow you to brand, monitor, and shorten links to give them a better chance of being clicked in a legitimate marketing text.

This article will cover the ins and outs of SMS marketing with shortened links. We’ll prove why link shortening is important to SMS marketing campaigns, how it can save money and boost results, and how you can put it into practice yourself.

Why Perform SMS Marketing?

SMS offers marketers unique opportunities to get in touch with their target audiences in a quick and direct way, with messages sent practically to the palm of the receiver’s hand. 

SMS marketing messages also offer interested consumers a chance to easily and quickly respond to a call to action (CTA) in the message: they could reply to the SMS directly, or follow an embedded URL in the message using their smartphone’s browser. 

This quickly shifts viewers to a sales or conversion funnel. From a text message, they jump to your sales pages, lead magnets, quote calculators, or other marketing devices you’ve crafted. 

You can even combo together email and SMS marketing to create promotions and follow-up campaigns that can reinforce each other and shore up each medium’s weaknesses.

The Challenges of SMS Marketing

The biggest challenge in SMS marketing is coming up with a short and punchy message that still manages to convince the reader to take an action like clicking through or sending a reply.

Any marketer working today will tell you that trust is hard to earn, especially now that the general public is aware of spam and phishing practices. Text messages can’t just be engaging and informative: they also have to carry the authority of the real brand behind them.

Likewise, brevity is important given the character limits involved in SMS marketing and the small size of smartphone screens. Nobody wants to deal with a wall of text — and you certainly wouldn’t want to pay to send them out to tens of thousands of people.

Finally, it can be hard to track the results of your text marketing campaigns by default. Unless you’re creating a specific landing page for each of your SMS campaigns or pushing the character limit with UTM-tagged links, you’ll be hard-pressed to know which of your texts are getting results.

The Solution: Shorten Links with TinyURL

URL shorteners like TinyURL are a useful part of your SMS and MMS marketing toolkit. 

We’ve written at length about how shortened URLs are more attractive and more memorable than lengthy links packed with UTM strings and other character spam. They’re easier on the eyes, which in turn makes them easier to understand and trust.

When they’re branded, they can even bring some of the positive associations your audiences have had with your business and help set good expectations for clicking through to any attached links.

Beyond this, shortened links can also help make your SMS marketing more cost effective by reducing the message length and accompanying costs from the telco.

Using Link Shorteners in SMS Marketing 

Like any marketing tool, there are a few best practices that come with using URL shorteners in your SMS marketing. To give you a better idea of what it’d be like to work with one, have a look at our following tips:

1. Brand your links

Many link shortening services offer a free tier that lets you shorten a link with a generic domain and a random link slug. While it may seem like a convenient and cost-effective way to go about things, it isn’t meant for marketing purposes. 

While it’s fine to create default shortened links and send them to friends, links that aren’t branded look less trustworthy, and can be mistaken as spam or fraudulent messages by your recipients or their automated system filters.

Then, depending on your jurisdiction, online privacy and digital marketing regulations such as the GDPR may require your links to be recognizable and connected to your business, hence the need for proprietary and branded links.

Finally, generic links simply don’t have the same mental recall and stickiness that a properly branded shortened link can have for marketing purposes.

2. Customize your link slugs

Even when running a proprietary domain for shortened links, it’s still important to customize your link slugs for your marketing and promotional needs. 

This makes it easier for a recipient to understand where the link goes. For example, offers less information than the more descriptive, 

This also helps keep your links organized for your own marketing analytics efforts.

3. Don’t over-shorten your links

While the temptation is there to shorten your links and domains as much as possible to make the most out of the character constraints of SMS messaging, you should be careful not to destroy your branding in the process. 

Keep your business name recognizable in your shortened link. For example, if your business name is Fine Point Paints, don’t over-simplify to, try for something like or, or even

4. Check local laws and regulations

Digital and online privacy regulations can vary from region to region, so it’s best to brush up on regulations around SMS marketing and the use of link shorteners. 

Besides good practices in using proprietary and branded domains for shortened links, you should also check if local telecom providers have any code of conduct or public best practices guidelines to make sure your shortened links don’t inadvertently get your messages filtered out by automated systems.

How can Tiny URL Help with your SMS Marketing?

TinyURL’s link shortening platform can be an important tool in your SMS and MMS marketing arsenal, with our premium plans offering critical features such as customizable branded links and a streamlined real-time analytics and management dashboard for tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns.

An easy way to own a branded domain

TinyURL can handle all the work of creating and managing unique branded and proprietary domains for your shortened URLs that would be perfect for SMS and MMS marketing campaigns. 

You can even use multiple domains for each of your various promotions for even more flexibility.

We give you the tools to search, purchase, and use domains to build custom shortened links and link slugs—all without having to leave your TinyURL dashboard. 

Analyze and optimize your SMS marketing in real-time

TinyURL’s link management and analytics dashboard makes it easy to optimize and analyze the performance of your shortened links and their associated marketing campaigns. Our platform tracks the important metrics for each of your links, such as devices used to access the URL, locations, frequent access times, and more. 

Real-time performance and traffic data gives you up-to-date feedback and the ability to quickly set up and compare the results of A/B testing and other optimizations in your promotional campaigns. 

You can track link performance individually, or bundle links together into groups to get a bigger picture view of your wider SMS and MMS marketing efforts over time.


We hope we’ve illustrated some common link shortening pitfalls in SMS marketing, and how TinyURL can help you get the most bang for your buck with shortened URLs in SMS and MMS marketing. 

You can find more details about TinyURL’s features such as link management and our built-in analytics features on our website, and you can sign up for our paid plans to get started using our premium features for your marketing and promotional needs today!

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