How to write SMS marketing messages your customers can't ignore

By Stu Thom | 13 February 2015
How to write SMS marketing messages your customers can't ignore

SMS marketing campaigns are all about words. You don’t have any images, videos or fancy gifs to fall back on. Just words.

So, if you’re going to hit the sweet spot with consumers and compel them to act, there are a few essential rules you need to remember when writing your SMS marketing messages.

1. Tell them who you are

Never assume the recipient knows who the SMS is from, even if you've sent them messages previously. Always start your SMS by telling them who you are, either in the sender name or in the text body itself. Think of it as introducing yourself into the conversation.

2. Avoid Txt Spk

We know you want to save your valuable 160 characters for the amazing offers and URL link. But using text speak is not the way to do it. More often than not, this will confuse, alienate and frustrate customers – which is not the result you’re looking for.

3. Keep it simple

Whether we’re talking about websites, brochures or TV ads, simplicity is the key to effective marketing – and SMS is no exception. Even if you had more than160 characters to play with, we’d say the same thing: keep your message simple and to the point. Use a URL shortener to add links to landing pages if you really need more space to convey your message.


4. Grab their attention first

Make it impossible for recipients to ignore your message by including an attention-grabber. Think of a single word (“OFFER”) or phrase (“MEMBER DEAL!”) that will appeal to your target audience and use capital letters to give it that extra punch.


5. Tell them what to do next

The call to action (CTA) is the single most important element of your SMS so take time getting it right. Whether it’s “CALL NOW” or “VISIT WEBSITE”, the key is in simple and commanding wording.

6. Make them feel exclusive

If you’re playing by the rules, your subscribers have given you permission to contact them. Show them they did the right thing by making them feel special. Use language that promotes exclusivity, such as “when you show this text” and “Member special!” or “First look!”. And use unique offers for your “SMS” club alone. Remember, if people have opted in, they have placed a lot of trust in you and value your brand, so be sure to reward them.

7. Inject urgency

Add urgency to your SMS marketing campaign by adding an expiry date for promotions and discount codes. People won’t want to miss out on the deal, which means you’ll see faster results.


There’s no one size fits all. You need to test and trial your SMS marketing copy to see what works best for your customers and your bottom line.

Looking for more best practice tips on creating an SMS marketing campaign? Contact MessageNet today.

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