SMS is one of the most effective marketing tools in the consumer market. Many businesses leverage this powerful tool for branding and customer engagement. SMS or short messaging service helps businesses reach their target audiences.

And since many SMS services also include mass texting capabilities, companies can send messaging to existing customers in the local region as well as potential customers across the globe. SMS is one of the fastest and most reliable communication channels.

According to Garter, SMS has an open rate of a whopping 98%– the highest of all marketing channels. In addition, the conversion rate of SMS is almost 45%. Compared to SMS, email open rates are only 20%, with a response rate of a mere 6%.

Looking at these figures, it comes as no surprise that SMS marketing has become an essential marketing tool. Companies use SMS to run their marketing campaigns and engage customers. The key is to create effective marketing content to inspire your customers to take action.

While there is no standard rule for writing a marketing text, here are some tips that may help you persuade the customer.

1. Structure Your Content Around Your Marketing Goals

Before you work on the content of your campaign, it is important to have clear goals in mind. Ask yourself some of these questions below:

  • What are your marketing goals?
  • What action do you want the customer to take?
  • Do you want to acquire new customers?
  • Do you want to target a specific audience?

Once your objectives are clear, make sure to structure your campaign around these goals. You can accomplish the goal with clear communication. Remember, the limit for a marketing text is 160 characters. You can view this as an obstacle or an opportunity– use these characters smartly to convey your message to the customers.

2. Remember to Get Permissions for SMS Messages

According to the US Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), you cannot send promotional messages to any user unless the customer gives you explicit permission to receive messages.

Sending unsolicited messages, i.e., messages without the users' consent, can cause immediate suspension of your SMS program. Make sure to send messages to only those customers who have opted-in to your SMS service. In addition, the CTIA requires marketers to add the disclaimer "msg & data rates may apply" in auto-reply messages.

Spamming the customers' phones is unethical; it forms a negative image of your brand. Therefore, it is important to follow the guidelines for text marketing when creating and sending promotional content.

3. Include a Clear Call to Action in Your Message

You have invited your friends for lunch but forgot to tell them which restaurant to meet at. They won't be able to reach their destination if they don't know anything about it. The same goes for a marketing text; it serves no purpose if you don't tell the customers what action they need to take. Just telling them that a great sale is happening is not enough— how and where can they take advantage of the sale?

Make sure to include a clear call to action (CTA) in your message. Whether you want customers to sign up for a new service or claim a discount using a special code, make sure to tell them so using simple and clear language. The more complex your CTA is, the more likely it is that customers will ignore the message or become confused and frustrated.

4. Use Immediacy to Your Advantage

One of the key features of SMS marketing is immediacy; make the most of this novelty by incorporating it into your messaging strategies. Use time-specific phrases in texts to inspire recipients to take immediate action. Instilling urgency in the text will make it difficult for customers to overlook the call to action.

Incorporating phrases like "expires soon," "hurry, before it's too late," or "valid till …," in your texts create a sense of urgency. Such messages are more likely to attract customers and encourage them to take action than messages that have no element of immediacy.

5. Keep the Value, Get Rid of Unnecessary Info

Loyal customers are valuable to any business. Make sure you are not overwhelming them with unnecessary messages serving little to no purpose. If the user has given a "green signal" to hear from you, tell them something that benefits them. Always make sure your messages hold value for subscribers.

Since the message limit is 160 characters, you can use shortened words in your message content, such as "msg" and "txt," as long as the message is readable. Just make sure that the abbreviations are universally recognized or easy to understand.

Your message should have a value proposition– something that excites the customers. Whether you are sending an appointment alert, sharing package delivery status, or offering promotional content, make sure it's interactive and engaging.

6. Use Branded Short Links for Your SMS Campaigns

SMS has emerged as one of the most effective marketing tools because it is short and simple. Sending long paragraphs to customers is a waste of resources, as many of the people won't ever read through all of it. The golden rule for SMS marketing campaigns is KISS– Keep It Short and Simple.

You only have 160 characters, so make them count using short URLs. When you send long links in your message, they can get split into two separate texts. The user cannot take action if the link is broken. However, you can use branded short links as they take up fewer characters. Furthermore, short URLs help to track the performance of your marketing campaign.

7. Schedule Your Messages; Send them at the Right Time

Bombarding customers with marketing messages infuriates them, particularly if the customer is a new subscriber. It is your responsibility to respect subscribers' schedules; you can tell customers in the initial welcome message how often they will hear from you.

In the beginning, send no more than four or five messages per month. You can gradually increase this number over time, as long as you are sharing valuable information with customers.

Furthermore, send your messages at the right time. For instance, if the message requires the user to take action closer to the end of the day, send your message between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Additionally, make sure to factor different time zones when sending messages to out-of-state and international subscribers.

A man standing with his hands up with a server, and a cellphone beside him

Final Word

Incorporating SMS into your marketing campaign helps with engaging customers and making them content. The key is to follow texting guidelines, make sure you have permission to send messages, and send simple texts with a clear call to action.

In addition, use short branded URLs, and keep your brand front and center in every text. While SMS itself is an effective marketing channel, it becomes more powerful when integrated with other marketing mediums.