Subscribe to The Marketing Scope Newsletter

Do’s and Don’ts of SMS Marketing

By Autumn Rivers – Contributing Writer, The Marketing Scope.

sms-marketing-emlthumbOne of the most overlooked digital marketing methods is SMS marketing – which is amazing since 81% of cell phone owners use their phone to send and receive text messages! So if you’re not using this handy marketing technique, you’re missing out on a pretty big market. Yes, texting your customers actually works, unless you’re sending multiple messages at 2 am. Then it just gets weird.

In fact, if you don’t know what you’re doing, your SMS marketing campaign won’t have a happy ending. That’s why you need these do’s and don’ts before you get started.

Do Get Subscribers the Right Way

If you want this digital marketing method to work, your list of subscribers should be made up of people who are actually interested in getting texts from your business. So that means buying lists of phone numbers for SMS marketing is off the table! That’s shadier than buying social media followers and will only garner a bad reputation for your company. Instead, focus on getting phone numbers from people who have expressed an interest in your products or services. In fact, when you get their number, make sure you ask if they are okay with receiving automated text messages. And make it easy for them to opt-out by sending you the word “Stop” or clicking an unsubscribe link.

Do Let Your Subscribers Reply

Texting a brick wall is pretty pointless (not that I’ve tried it…), so make sure your texting is not one-sided. Encourage the recipients of your texts to respond to you. This might mean running contests that require them to text you answers to questions, or simply telling them to text back with a code to get a special deal. You can also send surveys for them to fill out. These tactics can increase customer engagement and get you some feedback so you can improve your SMS marketing campaign or your business as a whole.

Do Include a Call to Action

You’re not texting just to ask “What’s up?” You’re trying to accomplish a task here, and that’s marketing through text. So make sure your audience members know what you want them to do. For example, you could tell them to use a coupon code for a special deal, or you could just suggest that they save the date for a fun event coming up.

Don’t Send Overly Long Messages

With SMS marketing, you have about 160 characters to get your point across in each text. And no, you can’t write a novel and then break it up into multiple texts to send one right after the other, unless you want to scare subscribers away. That means now is finally the time to use text speak for business! Take advantage of this opportunity to use catchy, fun phrasing. If you struggle with the character limit on Twitter, this might be a challenge for you, so just start by removing a few letters from longer words. For example, “messages” can become “msgs” and “thanks” can become “thx.” Just make sure you don’t go overboard removing letters; you still want subscribers to understand the text.

Don’t Text Too Frequently

You’re not best friends with your customers just because you’re allowed to text them, so avoid contacting them too often or you’ll come off as spammy. In particular, two to four times per month is a good amount. And you might want to let your subscribers know how often they will be hearing from you; consider using the first auto reply to tell them how many monthly texts they can expect from you.

Don’t Text at the Wrong Time

SMS marketing lets you reach out to customers in real time. After all, most people look at their text messages as soon as they get them – 90% are read less than six minutes after they are received. This is why you should send messages around the time you want recipients to read them. So if you run an office supply store, you won’t be doing anyone any favors by sending a text at midnight. Let’s face it: No one is thinking about paper late at night. But if you own a bar, midnight might be the perfect time to send a text reminding customers of reverse happy hour or offering drink discounts. Simply put, you should stick to texting only during your business hours.

Have you used SMS marketing yet? If not, what’s been stopping you from trying this useful digital marketing method?

By Autumn Rivers – Contributing Writer, The Marketing Scope
Email:, Twitter: @AutumnEditing