The Do’s and Don’ts of SMS Marketing

February 27, 2023

Text messaging has become one of the most powerful and effective channels for communication in today's world. As technology advances, text messaging provides a wide array of benefits, from convenience to efficiency. Texts can be used to send reminders, updates, and notifications that keep people informed and on track. For businesses, text messaging creates a powerful channel for marketing, customer service, and sales efforts. With its ability to reach a wide audience quickly and effectively, it is an invaluable tool for reaching potential customers and increasing engagement with existing ones.

SMS has become one of the most powerful and popularly used messaging tools in the world, reaching more than 3 billion people. With 6 billion devices now connected to mobile networks, it is no surprise that SMS is ruling the mobile market and is becoming increasingly ubiquitous on smartphones. In fact, users are sending more SMS messages than ever before.

When you send a marketing text message to customers, it shows up next to conversations with friends and loved ones. SMS is an intimate marketing channel, which means amazing opportunities to build a community. On the flip side, brands need to be thoughtful in their outreach when using such a personal marketing channel.

This guide will help you create the best possible SMS experience for your customers.


Identify Yourself
Customers need to know who is behind any SMS message campaign, so it's important to make who you are clear. With a text, all customers see at first is a seemingly random phone number, rather than a recognizable company email address or mobile app logo. It’s necessary to clearly identify your company to keep up-front brand visibility even through SMS marketing.

Be Concise & Spark Interest
SMS is a short message; only 160 characters to play with. You must be focused and skillful to write short, yet effective SMS marketing message to grab your customers’ attention.

Immediately grabbing the attention of the reader is essential. There are several strategies that can be employed to draw in customers and captivate them. Start your SMS message with an attention grabber – one or a couple of words in capitals. Example: “NEWS,” “SALE” or “SPECIAL OFFER.”

Have a Call-to-Action
The best method for crafting an effective message is by providing the audience with who, what, where, when, why and how. When used properly in communication or writing, this helps readers easily understand the main points of your message without having to sift through unnecessary details.

The Why and How of your call-to-action (CTA) are the best foundation to ensure that customers take the desired action. You’re telling customers what to do after they read your SMS marketing message. Example: WHY – get your coupon; HOW – by texting a keyword.

Offer VIP Treatment
SMS marketing is permission-based meaning you can’t send texts to a customer without their consent. So the audience that permitted you to market to them expects to receive valuable information.  Furthermore, they expect to feel appreciated, valued, and respected in the relationship. Reward their loyalty by making them feel like a part of an exclusive VIP club –offer value, special offers, and exclusive discounts that show your customers they are more than just another number.

Align Timing
SMS is a powerful tool that lands directly into customers' hands, so make sure you consider the best times of day to send your messages. Targeting the right people at the right times will help maximize visibility and engagement with your campaigns. Sending promotional messages late at night, very early in the morning, or during rush hour may not have the desired result.


Don’t Bypass Consent
Of all the text marketing mistakes, bypassing consent is the most serious. In accordance with the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), companies and organizations must obtain consent from all their recipients before sending out any SMS marketing messages.

Ignoring or not obtaining explicit permission to send promotional messages to customers and prospects will be met with disapproval from both regulators and consumers alike. Not only does failing to obtain consent fly in the face of industry best practices, but it can also result in steep fines and other legal repercussions. To ensure compliance, develop a clear and comprehensive opt-in policy that outlines how customers can provide consent for text messaging. Also keep records of all customer interactions to demonstrate that consent has been obtained.

Avoid Overwhelming Customers
Timing is crucial, but the frequency is equally important. You want to create a successful communication cycle and keep a consistent dialogue between sender and receiver. Sending a message “just because” or repeatedly sending the same offer to your audience can create what is commonly referred to as “subscriber’s remorse.” You want to avoid nonsense and repetition that will annoy people and cost you subscribers. Make sure that each message has meaning before sending it out; focus on quality rather than quantity.

Eliminate Abbreviations & Slang
Although text abbreviations and slang are common in everyday communication, they should be avoided when it comes to business communication. This is because using them can make the message difficult to understand, as well as come across as unprofessional and potentially disrespectful. Furthermore, by using more accurate language and including facts, details, and other high-level concepts, the message can convey a much more authoritative and professional tone. Taking the time to craft a well-thought-out message that is free from errors in spelling and grammar will ensure that it carries the intended meaning and comes across as credible. When communicating with customers or clients, always keep in mind that you are representing your company.

Neglecting Growth
One of the most common mistakes when it comes to SMS is not focusing on list growth.

If you’re just starting out with SMS marketing, the first step is to acquire subscribers. This means having a way for people to sign up and receive your messages, such as through an online form or even at physical locations like events or stores. To ensure people are aware of your SMS marketing program, consider promoting it on social media, your website, or other channels.

Even if you’re finding success with your current list of SMS message customers, the worst thing a business can do is give up trying to acquire new customers. Without new customers, businesses will not be able to thrive and grow, as customer acquisition is paramount for success. Ignoring this fact and ceasing efforts to gain more customers can lead to stagnation, decreased profits, and even failure.

Too Sales Focused
SMS is a powerful marketing channel that can be harnessed to generate a lot of sales. However, the challenge with this medium is striking the right balance between providing customers with useful information and promotional content. Customers don't appreciate being bombarded with messages that continually try to sell them something and it's critical to get the messaging right.

Have this in mind when planning your SMS marketing campaign. It is legitimate that you want to sell more products/services, but you must have boundaries. Keep in mind you’re still speaking with people; take a more personal and human approach when communicating with your audience. They will appreciate it much more than if you’re just pitching to them.

SMS marketing could elevate your business to the next level. It’s a powerful tool for building relationships and community with customers. Don’t miss the opportunity to reach more customers and increase engagement using targeted, timely, personalized messages sent directly to their phones. SMS marketing can be an incredibly successful venture for any company, if they follow the do's and don'ts of this unique form of marketing.