How to Write Marketing Text Messages
Marketing text messages have become over 4 times as effective as marketing emails. Research shows that customers are 8 times more likely to redeem text coupons than email coupons.
Your customers are almost 400% LESS likely to even open their emails: compare marketing texts open rate of 98% to marketing emails’ meager 22%.
That said, you can’t expect the same old email marketing strategies to work in this new marketing medium. But don’t worry. We have everything you need to know about effective SMS marketing right here.
Follow these 6 Essential Steps to Writing Marketing Text Messages That Will Drive Sales.
Who Are You?
“90% off all products and services, today only!” That sounds like an amazing deal.
Too bad your customers don’t know who sent it.
Identifying yourself may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s easier to miss than you might think, especially if you are used to email marketing. Emails automatically identify the sender. But unless you make yourself known in your marketing text messages, your customers will only know you as a jumble of numbers.
Always state your company’s name or website in the text.
Who Are You Talking To?
Would you send the same text message to all of your customers? The ones who shop from you every day and the ones who only shop once a year?
That doesn’t make any sense… does it?
Your customers are not all the same person. If you only send messages to one demographic, the rest of your customers will likely opt-out. But if you pay attention to your analytics, and segment your lists, you can personalize your messages to multiple people.
You can tailor offers specifically to your customers’ shopping habits, what types of items they buy, how often they shop, whether they tend to shop online or at a brick-and-mortar location, etc.
You can also offer exclusive promotions to win back customers who haven’t purchased in a while.
Analytics-based targeting is vital. Your customers will receive more relevant information, and you’ll receive more orders!
Text messaging exists to be the most instant form of telecommunication possible. When customers receive a text from you, they’ll expect you have something immediately relevant to say. So, if you’re texting your customers right now, it better be important… right now.
For example, customers actually love getting timely promotional offers in their texts. It’s the number one reason consumers opt-in to SMS marketing programs.
But what if, instead of a coupon, your customers get a text from you promoting an event that doesn’t start for 3 months? Or a message saying, “We still have the biggest selection!”? Your customers are going to feel disappointed and your texts will come off as irrelevant and annoying.
As a business, there are always hundreds of things you want your customers to know, but that’s what newsletters are for. With text messages, customers expect urgency. If you fill your marketing text messages with non-urgent information, you’re wasting their time.
Instead, use your texts to show your customers you always have something new to offer them. New sales, new items, rebranding, site improvements. Now each text is an exciting new development!
Being timely also goes hand-in-hand with analytics-based targeting. You can use demographic targeting to advertise upcoming sales and new items to those who will find it most relevant. Or you can time sales and promotions based on which demographics you need to boost.
A Call to Action is Mandatory
You’ve sent a text about a “flash sale” that ends today. Your customer opens it, likes the sound of it, but doesn’t get around to it. What’s missing?
A call-to-action. Don’t just inform customers, invite them to “act now!” Always assign them a simple action toward your desired sales goal.
Add a link in your marketing text messages to your online store, or a phone number they can call right then and there!
You’ve offered your customers a great deal that’s personally relevant and time sensitive. That’s great! But don’t stop there or it will never make it off their to-do list.
If you give them the first step toward taking advantage of your deal, you build their momentum to get the task done. People often procrastinate starting tasks, but it’s much easier to finish a task once they’ve started. Give them that first step.
It will mean the difference between a customer at your store and a customer who misses out.
Some practical ways to do this:
- Use commanding speech at the end of your message. (“Use this coupon code,” “Find a store,” “Sign up here,” “Show this text at checkout.”)
- Use a link or button. (“Click to View Coupon,” “Buy Now”)
Here’s a special tip… if you add your link at the end of the text message, some phones will show the link as an active BUTTON people can click in the message!
Keep It Simple
There’s a second part to the urgency people expect from text messages: brevity. No one ever wants to read a daunting wall of text, especially in a text message. Keep marketing text messages simple, focused, and very short.
People text to share time-sensitive information as quickly and conveniently as possible. They expect the same in return.
Now that we’ve shown you what customers do want in your texts, cut out everything else. Pick 1 point to make per text, use the four guidelines above to make it and that’s it! Anything more will take longer than your customer plans to invest in reading your text.
One sentence can be enough to achieve this; there’s no reason you’d need more than three.
Remember, this isn’t your newsletter. Customers don’t want to know every new thing your company is up to in one text. They only want the one thing that is personally relevant for them right now.
Now for some other tips on what NOT to do…
Avoid Spam Speak
Lastly, here’s what NOT to do in a marketing text:
- DON’T USE ALL CAPS. It’s the text version of shouting, and no one likes to be yelled at.
- DON’T overuse emoticons. It’s annoying, cluttered and looks spammy. One or two is fine.
- DON’T overpunctuate!!! Why??? Customers won’t respect a company that texts like a middle-schooler.
- DON’T leeve uncorrected tyypos. Same reasons as above.
- DON’T sound too “sales-y.” No one likes a pushy salesperson. You want your customers to feel like you’re giving to them, not selling to them, helping them, not taking advantage of them.
- DON’T sound like a robot. When trying to stay brief it’s easy to start sounding like a computer-generated message. Try to keep a personal tone in your message. It will make your customers feel more special.
These are guaranteed to annoy your customers into opting out of your texts. Avoid them like the plague.
Marketing Text Messages Cheat Sheet
Identify Yourself. Add a link to your site, or at the least remind them who you are!
Personalize: Use analytics to send relevant information and offers to targeted demographics.
Be Timely: Don’t text anything unless it is relevant to that customer right now.
Call To Action: Give customers an easy first step to making that purchase, signing up, inviting friends, etc. and they’ll want to finish the task.
Be Brief: 1-3 sentences.
Forget your name.
Send long texts.
Sound impersonal, unprofessional, juvenile, pushy or spammy.
Allow typos, triple punctuation or too many emoticons.