Text Marketing Best Practices

Text marketing campaigns have the potential to drive significant sales for your business. But launching an SMS campaign can feel daunting.

Securing permission to text a customer takes hard work. And an off-putting message can quickly erase those efforts.

You also have to consider SMS compliance requirements — all while crafting a message that will inspire your audience to act and not unsubscribe.

But have no fear.

We’ve compiled the top text marketing best practices to help you navigate every twist and turn and maximize results for your next SMS campaign.

Top 11 Text Marketing Best Practices to Follow

Before launching your next SMS campaign, check these text marketing best practices off your list:

1. Always Get Permission

Text marketing 101 is to always get permission before texting customers.

It doesn’t matter if you have a customer’s phone number or you’re already texting them order updates. You could incur steep fines for texting consumers marketing messages when they did not provide express written consent.

So what qualifies as “express written consent”?

When subscribers opt in to your SMS program via a website form, you’ve earned “written consent.” But the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) also requires you to follow up with a confirmation text as a double opt in measure.

However, when manually adding contacts or uploading a list for your SMS campaign, you must obtain written confirmation from the subscriber. For example, you can provide a sign-up sheet where customers can write down their phone number to receive special offers.

2. Specify the Type of Program or Campaign at Opt-In

When it comes to text marketing, not all permission is created equal.

For example, if customers opt in to receive order status updates, you don’t have consent to send SMS marketing messages.

Before promoting your SMS campaign, you need to define the program type, and make it obvious to potential subscribers when they opt in.

Clearly outline the type of campaign potential subscribers are signing up for when asking for their phone number. Set expectations for what kinds of messages they will receive and how often they’ll receive them. Reiterate those details in the confirmation auto response.

Maintaining transparency at every step will help build loyalty and prevent opt-outs.

3. Give People a Compelling Reason to Subscribe

Texting is a personal act — potential subscribers need a clear and compelling reason to request texts from your business.

A top SMS opt-in best practice is to offer something exclusive and valuable to incentivize potential subscribers.

For example, you could offer subscribers early access to new product announcements or discounts. By opting in to your texting program, subscribers could also be entered into a contest to win a prize.

4. Promote Your Campaign With Shortcodes

Creating a texting shortcode — a 5 or 6 digit phone number used for mass SMS campaigns — can help grow your SMS list.

Text marketing platforms allow you to generate a shortcode and create unique keywords that people can text to enter your campaign.

When coming up with a keyword, make it unique to your brand but easy to remember and type.

Once you’ve created a shortcode and keyword, promote them across your website, social media profiles, email campaigns and web forms to build your SMS list.

5. Abide By Texting Regulations to Avoid Fines

While permission is an essential piece of maintaining compliance, regulations don’t stop there.

For example, CTIA requires you to include a standard text message disclaimer, “Msg & Data Rates May Apply,” in the first text message you send.

Most SMS marketing platforms like Textedly will include this disclaimer for you — but it’s important to verify it’s in place before launching a campaign.

Read up on mass texting laws before promoting your campaign to avoid legal or financial penalties.

6. Give Purpose to Each Message

SMS is a highly lucrative marketing channel — so make every message count.

And that starts with sending content your subscribers actually care about.

Avoid senseless messages with no real call to action. When creating your mobile marketing strategy, assign a specific goal and purpose to each message that goes out. Incorporating MMS is also an effective way to keep texts interesting.

Deliver on your promise at opt-in by providing valuable information or exclusive offers. Strive to make subscribers feel special, and routinely communicate the value of being a subscriber so they want to participate in the program.

7. Use Clear, Everyday Language

Texting is less formal than phone or email conversations, but that doesn’t mean you should communicate with subscribers like you would with friends.

To prevent coming off as unprofessional or sacrificing clarity, avoid shorthand abbreviations.

However, your texts should be brief — most SMS marketing platforms limit characters to 160 per message. Remember, your text messages are interrupting a subscriber’s day, so keep your message to-the-point and worthwhile.

8. Easily Let Subscribers Opt Out

Your goal with SMS marketing is to preserve subscribers. So frequently offering the option to opt out might seem counterintuitive.

However, to comply with CTIA and avoid frustrating subscribers, it’s a text marketing best practice to clearly convey how they can opt out. It’s not required in every message, but you should present the option often.

Opt-out message example: To opt out of receiving text messages, reply STOP.

9. Be Considerate of Timing and Frequency

You told subscribers how often they’d hear from you when they signed up and in the confirmation text.

Be sure to stick to that frequency.

But how do you determine the ideal texting cadence in the first place?

How often you text subscribers will differ depending on your type of business.

If you host weekly events, weekly texts would seem reasonable to a subscriber. If customers purchase from you once or twice a year, weekly texts would feel overbearing.

Strike the right balance based on how often you already interact with customers, and be careful not to overwhelm them.

10. Enable Two-Way Texting

There’s nothing more frustrating than receiving a message from a business and having to go to another platform to respond.

Enable two-way texting with a platform like Textedly to eliminate frustration and give people a fast and easy way to interact. They’ll be more likely to stay opted in to your SMS campaign if it makes contacting your business faster and easier.

To humanize messages and delight subscribers, send personalized follow-ups using custom fields and segments, available in most texting platforms.

11. Measure and Improve Your Text Marketing Strategy

Your SMS marketing strategy shouldn’t be a “set it and forget it” initiative. Earning a subscriber is gold, so you need to monitor performance and pivot to ensure you’re delivering value and preserving subscribers.

Evaluate what types of messages garner the most engagement and action, and send more of those types of texts. Eliminate any messages from your mobile marketing strategy that have high opt-out rates to maximize your return.

Start Texting Customers Today With Textedly

If you’re looking for a cheap way to reach your customers where they’re already spending most of their time, texting is the perfect solution.

Want to experience the benefits of texting for your business? Textedly provides simple, affordable SMS solutions that are easy to set up, so you can start texting your customers immediately. 

Sign up for a free trial (no credit card required) and start messaging your customers today.