What is SMS Geofencing and How Does It Work?


15 April 2024


TJ Gaushas

SMS geofencing offers a targeted and personalized approach to engaging with customers based on their location. It allows businesses to send relevant messages to users within a specific geographic area, Improving customer experience and driving foot traffic. 

In this article, we will demystify SMS geofencing, explaining its concept and mechanics in simple terms. You will gain a clear understanding of how businesses use this technology to deliver targeted messages based on user location. By the end, You will have a comprehensive grasp of SMS geofencing's benefits and how to leverage it for successful SMS  marketing campaigns.

Types of Location-Based Marketing Techniques

There are several types of location-based marketing techniques, each with its unique approach and benefits. Some common types include:

1) SMS Geofencing:
Geofencing involves creating virtual boundaries around a physical location, such as a store or event venue. When a customer enters or exit the geofenced area, they receive targeted messages or promotions.

2) Beacon Marketing:
Beacon technology uses small Bluetooth devices placed in physical locations to detect nearby smartphones. This allows businesses to send personalized messages or offers to customers in proximity to the beacon.

3) Location-based Push Notifications:
Mobile apps can send push notifications to users based on their current location. These notifications can include special offers, event information, or reminders related to nearby businesses or attractions.

4) Location-based Push Notifications:
Advertisers can target users based on their location, displaying ads relevant to their current surroundings. This can include ads for nearby businesses, events, or promotions.

5) Location-based Social Media Marketing:
Social media platforms allow businesses to target users based on their location. This can be used to promote local events, offers, or content to users in specific geographic areas.

Why is SMS Geofencing Effective as compared to others?

SMS geofencing is effective compared to other location-based marketing techniques for several reasons:

  • High Open Rates:
    SMS messages have significantly higher open rates compared to emails or app notifications, making them more likely to be seen by customers.

  • No App Required:
    Unlike some other location-based techniques that require users to have a specific app installed, SMS geofencing works through standard text messaging, reaching a wider audience.

  • Immediate Delivery:
    SMS messages are delivered instantly, making them ideal for time-sensitive promotions or offers.

  • Broader Reach:
    SMS geofencing can target a larger area than other techniques, making it suitable for businesses with a wide geographic presence.

  • Simple and Direct:
    SMS messages are concise and easy to understand, making them more likely to be read and acted upon by customers.

What is SMS Geofencing?

SMS geofencing is a location-based marketing technique that uses a combination of GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi, or cellular data to create virtual boundaries around specific geographical areas. These boundaries, known as geofences, trigger an action when a mobile device enters or exits the defined area. In the case of SMS geofencing, businesses use these geofences to send targeted text messages to customers within the designated area.

The Main goal of SMS geofencing is to deliver relevant and timely messages to users based on their location. For example, a retail store might use SMS geofencing to send a discount offer to customers who are near their store, encouraging them to visit and make a purchase. Similarly, an event organizer could use SMS geofencing to send event details and updates to attendees as they arrive at the venue.

How SMS Geofencing Works?

  • SMS geofencing works by using a combination of mobile technology and location-based services to send targeted SMS messages to users within a specific geographic area. Here's how it works in practice:
  • When a user with a mobile device enters the predefined geofence area, their device's GPS or location services detect their presence within the boundary.
  • The geofencing platform detects the user's entry into the geofence area and triggers the predefined action, such as sending Automated Text messages.
  • The platform sends a preconfigured SMS message to the user's mobile phone. This message is typically designed to be relevant and timely, such as a promotional offer or event notification related to the user's location.
  • The user receives the SMS message on their mobile device. The message appears like any other SMS but is targeted based on their current location.
  • If the SMS message is compelling and relevant to the user, they may engage with it by clicking on links, visiting the store, or taking advantage of the offer mentioned in the message.

Here are some examples of SMS messages that could be sent using geofencing:

1) Retail Store Promotion

Welcome to Macy’s! Show this SMS for 10% off your purchase today only. We're located just around the corner!

2) Event Notification

Exciting news! Join us for live music at The Blue Note tonight! Show this text for half-price entry. Located at 456 Oak St.

3) Restaurant Offer

Hungry? Enjoy a free appetizer with your meal at Olive Garden when you dine in tonight. Just show this SMS!". Find us at 789 Elm St.

4) Local Service Promotion

Need a haircut? Visit Uptown Hair for a special discount on your first visit. Find us at 7207 W Sahara Ave #100

5) Special Deals for Nearby Customers

Exclusive offer for our nearby customers! Get 20% off your next purchase at Rocky Mountain Hardware when you show this SMS.

Pros and Cons of SMS Geofencing

SMS geofencing, the practice of sending targeted messages based on a user's location, offers several advantages and disadvantages. Here's a breakdown:


  • Hyper-targeted Messaging: With SMS geofencing, businesses can send highly targeted messages to customers based on their location, ensuring relevance and increasing engagement.
  • Increased Foot Traffic: By sending timely offers or promotions when customers are near a store, businesses can drive more foot traffic and potentially increase sales.
  • Improved Customer Experience: Geofenced messages can provide valuable information or offers to customers when they are most likely to need them, Improving their overall experience with the brand.
  • Cost-effective Marketing: Compared to traditional advertising methods, SMS geofencing can be a more cost-effective way to reach customers in specific locations.
  • Real-time Engagement: Businesses can engage with customers in real-time, sending relevant messages when they are most likely to act on them.
  • Data Analysis: SMS geofencing provides businesses with valuable data on customer behavior and preferences, allowing for better targeting and more effective SMS  marketing strategies.
  • Customer Relationship: By sending personalized and timely messages, businesses can strengthen their relationship with customers, leading to increased loyalty and repeat business.


  • Privacy Concerns: Some customers may be concerned about their privacy when receiving location-based messages, leading to potential backlash or opt-outs.
  • Technical Limitations: Geofencing relies on accurate location data, which may only sometimes be available or reliable, leading to potential inaccuracies in targeting.
  • Over-messaging: Businesses need to be careful not to over-message customers with geofencing, as this can lead to annoyance and a negative perception of the brand.
  • Battery Drain: Using geofencing features on smartphones can drain the battery faster, which may be a concern for some customers.
  • Limited Reach: Geofencing is only effective for customers who have opted-in and have their location services enabled, limiting its reach compared to other marketing methods.

How to craft an effective SMS Geofencing Campaign?

Here are the key components of a successful SMS geofencing campaign and provide actionable tips on how to craft an effective strategy:

1) Define Your Goals
Before launching an SMS geofencing campaign, it is essential to define your objectives. Are you looking to drive foot traffic to your store, promote a specific product or service, or increase customer engagement? Clearly defining your goals will help you tailor your messaging and measure the success of your campaign.

2) Identify Your Target Audience
Understanding your target audience's behavior and preferences is crucial for a successful SMS geofencing campaign. Identify key demographics, such as age, gender, and interests, and use this information to create personalized messages that resonate with your audience.

3) Choose the Right Geofences
Selecting the right geofences is essential for reaching your target audience effectively. Consider the locations frequented by your target audience, such as shopping malls, restaurants, or event venues, and create geofences around these areas. You can also create custom geofences around your store or competitor locations to target potential customers.

4) Craft Compelling Messages
The success of your SMS geofencing campaign depends on the quality of your messages. Craft compelling messages that grab attention, provide value, and include a clear call to action. Personalize your messages by including the recipient's name and relevant information based on their location and preferences.

5) Timing is Key
Timing plays a crucial role in the success of your SMS geofencing campaign. Send messages at the right time when your target audience is most likely to be near your geofence. Avoid sending messages late at night or early in the morning to respect your audience's privacy and avoid being intrusive.

6) Test and Optimize
Once your SMS geofencing campaign is live, it is essential to continuously monitor and optimize your strategy. Test different messaging, geofences, and timing to see what works best for your audience. Use analytics to track the performance of your campaign and make data-driven decisions to improve its effectiveness.

Main Challenges and Considerations in SMS Geofencing:

Here's a table summarizing the challenges, considerations, and ways to overcome them in SMS geofencing:

Challenges Consideration Ways to Overcome
Privacy Concerns Obtain user consent and be transparent about data collection practices. Clearly explain the benefits of location-based services and implement robust data protection measures.
Data  Security Encrypt location data and comply with data protection regulations. Store and manage location data securely, ensuring compliance with GDPR, TCPA, and other relevant regulations.
Accuracy Regularly test and optimize geofencing parameters for reliable performance. Use advanced geofencing techniques like polygonal geofences and proximity-based triggers to improve accuracy.
Regulatory Compliance Stay updated with local regulations regarding location tracking and data privacy. Work closely with legal advisors to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations governing location-based services.
Signal Interference Account for environmental factors that can affect signal strength and accuracy. Use signal-enhancing technologies or algorithms to mitigate the impact of signal interference.


Implementing Geofencing into your SMS marketing strategy can lead to increased brand awareness, customer engagement, and ultimately, business growth. So, don't miss out on this opportunity to connect with your audience in a meaningful way—start using Textdrip today!

TJ Gaushas

As the COO of Textdrip, TJ oversees global operations and is committed to driving success through strategic planning, operational efficiency, and team leadership. Read More

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