9 do’s and don’ts of SMS text message marketing

5 minute read
9 do’s and don’ts of SMS text message marketing

It’s tough to beat SMS text message marketing when it comes to digital marketing tactics. Text messaging is fast, direct, efficient and relatively inexpensive when compared to other advertising tactics (such as Google Ads).

Short message service (SMS) marketing is a form of marketing that businesses use to send promotions to customers by text messages. About 75 percent of clients want to receive offers via SMS, so it’s definitely something to consider layering into your digital marketing.

But before you do, the following are nine do’s and don’ts of SMS text message marketing that you should be aware of.

The do’s of SMS marketing

Keep it brief

SMS text messages are short, just 160 characters, so you have limited space to not only get your message across but also to be engaging enough for your text recipient to act on it.

Keep it as short and simple as possible while including the basics: the who, the what, the where and the when. You might go through a few drafts, but that’s okay. Keep drafting and see where you can tighten up your language.

Check out our eight tips to write an effective marketing text message.

Include a call-to-action

With such little space to work with, it’s critical to focus on getting your call-to-action (CTA) into your text message.

This is where you want to think about the “how” or “why” behind your message. For instance, a “why” could be getting a discount, and the “how” could be replying with a keyword or clicking a link. What do you want the text recipient to do upon opening your message?

Make your text recipients feel important

Remember that your text message subscribers have all opted in to receiving texts from you (or should have, legally speaking). They deserve to feel special, and you can make that happen by delivering value and offering exclusive discounts that they can’t find anywhere else.

Pay attention to timing

Because SMS text messages are so personal and direct, you want to be extra mindful of timing. Think about it: Would you want to receive a late-night text from a company? Put yourself in their shoes as far as best possible times to text and monitor your overall performance to get a sense of what works best for your audience.

If you’re a national or even an international, then time zones are critical to consider here as well.

Keep it legal

There are several requirements of all promotional text messages. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulates SMS marketing in the U.S. Violating the rules can cost you heavy fines on top of getting flagged by wireless carriers (such as AT&T, Verizon and so on).

Some requirements include:

  • Obtaining a clear opt-in from text subscribers.
  • Identifying yourself and/or your company in every text message.
  • Including an easy way to opt-out (such as “Reply STOP to unsubscribe”).

Learn more about carrier violations and how to avoid them when texting.

The don’ts of SMS marketing

Bombarding your recipients

Frequency matters, especially with text messages. Never text just to say you’re sending something or anything else that’s not incredibly useful.

Your SMS marketing messages must always deliver value, as well as a real-time benefit to those who opted in for your SMS communications. If they don’t (and texts are being sent too often on top of that), you’ll annoy your text recipients and increase your opt-out rate with every text. 

Less is definitely more in SMS marketing.

Using text slang and abbreviations

Because you only have 160 characters to work with, the temptation to heavily abbreviate is very real. 

But not everyone will understand all abbreviations and other types of text slang, and that can cause confusion. It even can risk the appearance of being unprofessional. You don’t want to hurt the image of your brand just to save a few characters.

Always selling

This is actually a typical piece of advice for most digital marketing tactics. If you’re always selling in your messaging, then you lose the opportunity to share what your brand is about and why people should care. You also miss out on delivering value in different (and possibly unexpected) ways.

Consumers are already exposed to thousands of marketing messages a day, and you’ll do better to cut through that noise by inserting non-selling messages into the mix (particularly in SMS marketing).

Take a personal and human approach and aim to help solve the problems of your text subscribers first. The selling can always sprinkle in later.

Forgetting to use segmentation

Segmenting your contact list is a powerful tool to make sure that you’re getting the right message to the right people.

For example, you would like say and offer something different to loyal, recurring customers than you would someone who’s never purchased from you before. 

Make sure to segment based on demographics and behaviors that matter to your marketing messaging, and personalize where you can (like adding in the recipient’s first name). (DailyStory can help with both.) That way, you’re optimizing your SMS marketing.

In conclusion

Your SMS marketing is only as powerful as the strategy behind it. Take the time to determine your goals and how you’ll measure success.

Check out our six things to know before starting your first texting campaign to help you get started.

While you’re evaluating your SMS strategy, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more, as well as text message marketing and email marketing. Schedule your free demo with us today.

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