There are many reasons for businesses to send gift cards, and many ways to send them. 

From drumming up more leads to rewarding employees, getting survey participants, and everything in between, smart companies today are leveraging digital rewards to improve engagement. 

Sometimes that means sending physical gift cards. 

But for most business use cases today, sending incentives will work best when the rewards are instantaneous. And that often means sending gift cards via text message.   

Here's how to send gift card rewards and incentives via text message - along with why you'd want to go this route in the first place. 

Why send gift cards via text?

Sending digital rewards only works when your recipients actually get the memo. And that's why sending gift cards via text is on the rise. 

In short, companies often opt to send gift rewards via text because they're more likely to be opened.  

If you're sending digital rewards to increase brand loyalty or awareness, reward employees and drive increased employee satisfaction, or even to simply execute on a promised payment - you generally want your recipients to, well, open and redeem them.

And the difference in open rates between email and texts is dramatic: 20% and 82% respectively. Plus, links included in SMS messages are clicked on 19% of the time. 

Ultimately, sending these rewards by text message can be a great way to improve your reward redemption rate. 

How to send digital rewards by text message

So you know you want the option to send gift cards via text. But how are you going to do that?

First things first - as with any text messages, you will need a text message platform in order to send your digital rewards via text message.

While there are many platforms out there with a wide variety of features for consideration, you will want the platform you choose to allow you to insert custom links into your text message, which are sometimes referred to as query tags, or merge tags.

Do your research to find a platform that works best for you (but a pro tip: we like Tatango or Texting Base). 

Keep in mind that if you plan on sending marketing text messages in addition to your digital rewards, then you will also need to obtain text marketing permission from your recipients.

While many text message platforms will help you obtain this opt-in, it's also a best practice to add an opt-in to any email marketing collection form or account creation pages you may have.

Choose the right rewards to send

Once you have your text message platform in place and are ready to send text messages, you then need your digital rewards to send!

In order to send gift cards via text, you will need to choose a digital rewards providers that uses custom links, which you can then upload to your text message platform to send to your recipients.

Giftbit links are an incredibly easy way to do just that in two easy steps:

  1. Download a CSV file of links that are immediately ready to send
  2. Send your rewards via text and SMS (OR via social DM, Slack or internal software like Google Workspace and MS teams, embedded in a survey, in your CRM .... or just about anywhere else you can think of!).

brands with approved Starbucks

Gift cards that can be sent via text

And you can offer your recipients as many reward options as you like from our always-growing rewards catalog that includes prepaid virtual cards from Visa and Mastercard, charity options, and gift cards from all the top brands, like Starbucks, Target, Amazon, and Uber. 

gift card catalog cta

Rules and regulations for sending gift card texts

Text messages are regulated by the TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act). You'll want to make sure you understand the ins and outs, but the highlights are pretty simple: sending marketing messages requires prior consent, but sending transactional messages does not.

However, as there is ongoing litigation to clarify the TCPA application to text messages, with potentially expensive penalties, we always encourage you to consult with your legal counsel before proceeding.

Sending marketing vs. transactional texts

In general, marketing messages are intended to drive incremental sales, and often include coupon codes, information about an ongoing or upcoming sale, or encouragement to contact a sales person for a demo or more information. 

In contrast, a transactional text message often includes an appointment confirmation, order confirmation or shipping information - with no additional marketing focused text.

Best practices for text-based marketing

Text-based marketing can be quite effective, assuming it's done right. The following best practices should always be top of mind.

  • Regular Communication: Sending your digital rewards via text message has the highest success (as measured via open and clicks) when you have previously engaged with the recipient via text - i.e., are regularly communicating with them via text.
  • Business Name: Be sure to include your business - or project - name in your text message. This is especially important if you don’t regularly communicate with the recipient via text, but it is also a good idea in general - since the recipient may not have your number saved in their contacts.
  • Avoid Spammy Language: Avoid using words or phrases that may come across as “spammy” - such as easy or free. If in doubt about the legitimacy of your message, your recipient may not feel comfortable clicking on a link to claim their digital rewards.
  • Consent: While sending marketing text messages requires written consent (which conforms to the TCPA), it is always best practice to obtain consent before sending any text message.

To best protect yourself, and provide the best recipient experience for your digital rewards program, we recommend obtaining consent to send the digital reward via text when your recipient signs up for the program.

phone and hand

Text and track digital rewards

Giftbit links open up a wide variety of sending capabilities. Send digital rewards via text, social media DM, embedded in a survey, or even hand out physical copies at events. Then track the results of your rewards program to make ti better and better.