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SMS Texting Part 2: Crafting your Text Message

SMS Texting

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the biggest SMS text marketing fears that business owners have.  I walked through everything from invasion of customers’ privacy to general disinterest, in hopes of illustrating the reality of SMS text opportunities that exists because of one simple thing: most consumers do want to receive deals, savings and information from the stores they frequent.

Now that the opportunity for reaching consumers through SMS text is clearer, you may be wondering where to begin.  You are probably wondering to yourself what exactly you are going to text these customers. Well, you are headed in the right direction. The “what, when, and how” of your text message marketing campaigns is vital to their success.

The first step is crafting your text message so that it is eye catching and informational. Here are a few tips:

  1. You only have 160 characters. Short and to the point is expected and best practice for text messages.
  2. If you don’t think 160 characters will be enough consider linking to a mobile optimized website with more information.
  3. Don’t use “text speak”.  You are a business, and your texts should reflect that.
  4. Start with action words. Words like “save,” “run,” and jump” help start the message with a call to action customers can respond to.
  5. Make your message clear. Creativity is great, but not at the expense of being clear and direct.
  6. Identify yourself. Include your name or the business name at the beginning or end of the text to guarantee your customers know who’s texting them.

As a small business owner, you probably know your local market pretty well. Speak to what your customers want when you text them. Not sure what you can text? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Time Sensitive Offers. One of the biggest benefits to using SMS texting as part of your marketing is the ability to reach customers wherever they are and at any time of the day. Take advantage of this unique aspect and text customers offers that are only good for the immediate future. For example, if you’re a restaurant, send out a text about your dinner special around 4pm when people are deciding what to eat.

SMS Specific Offers. Send your customers specials and offers for your products and services that only they have access to. You’ll make your contacts feel special and encourage more customers to sign up by treating the opt-in text customers like VIPs.

Reminders. If you’re a service company, use SMS texting to remind customers of upcoming appointments. They get a quick little reminder and you will reduce your no-shows. If you have a big event coming up you can use your SMS list to remind customers that the big day is fast approaching. Finally, if you run any weekly or monthly specials send out a quick reminder that it’s “Tasty Tuesday” or “Free Friday”.

 “Be On the Lookout”. Use your SMS list to inform customers when you send out a new marketing piece like your email newsletter or the latest direct mail flyer to let your customers know they can be on the lookout when they get home. Send out teasers (with dates!) when you have new products or services coming to your business.

Overall, your texts should never be too frequent – once every two weeks is best – and they should always be useful to your customers. Evaluate what you’re texting as if you are a customer receiving it from a business you frequent. If you wouldn’t want to receive that text offer or update, chances are neither will your customers.

How do you craft the perfect SMS text message for your campaign? We’d love to hear your “tried and true” approach! 



Valpak, one of the leading direct marketing companies in North America, is owned and operated by Cox Target Media, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Media Group. With nearly 170 franchises throughout the United States and Canada, The Blue Envelope® delivers savings and value to nearly 40 million households each month.
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