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How To Craft Compelling Text Messages (SMS) That Drive Results

When used strategically and respectfully, text messaging (SMS) can be a powerful tool for businesses to engage their audience, drive conversions, and build customer loyalty.

SMS Marketing Statistics

These statistics from SMSComparison highlight the widespread use of smartphones, the high engagement and response rates of SMS messages compared to email, the preference for text message communication, and the significant market size and growth of SMS marketing.

  • Mobile phone ownership and smartphone usage:
    • 97% of US adults own a mobile phone, with 85% being smartphones.
    • As of 2023, there are 6.89 billion smartphone users worldwide, and it is projected to reach 7.86 billion by 2028.
  • High engagement and response rates:
    • 95% of text messages are read and responded to within 3 minutes of being received.
    • SMS campaigns have an average open rate of 98%, five times higher than email’s average open rate of 20%.
    • 45% of text messages receive a response, eight times higher than email’s average response rate of 6%.
    • The average response time for SMS messages is 3 minutes, which is 60 times faster than email’s average response time of 90 minutes.
  • Customer preference and communication:
    • 48% of customers prefer to receive communication from businesses through text messages.
  • Market size and growth:
    • The US SMS marketing market is projected to be worth $12.6 billion by 2025 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 20.3%.

How Is Text Message Marketing Unique?

  1. High open and read rates: Text messages have exceptionally high open rates, with studies showing that around 98% of SMS messages are read within minutes of being received. This high engagement level makes text messaging an effective way to ensure your marketing message reaches your target audience.
  2. Direct and immediate communication: SMS delivers messages to the recipient’s mobile device, making it a highly personal and immediate communication channel. People tend to keep their phones nearby and check messages promptly, providing a direct line of communication with your audience.
  3. Wide reach and accessibility: Mobile phones have become ubiquitous, and virtually all mobile devices support SMS. This widespread accessibility allows businesses to reach a large audience, regardless of the type of phone or operating system they use. Unlike other marketing channels that may require an internet connection or a specific app, text messaging is universally accessible.
  4. Short and concise messages: The character limit of SMS messages (usually 160 characters) forces marketers to distill their message into a succinct and impactful format. This brevity helps ensure that the core message is delivered clearly and quickly, capturing the recipient’s attention without overwhelming them with excessive information.
  5. Opt-in nature: SMS marketing relies on recipients opting in to receive messages, ensuring that you communicate with individuals who have expressed an interest in your brand. This opt-in nature enhances the quality of your audience and increases the likelihood of engagement and conversion.
  6. High response and conversion rates: SMS messages often generate higher response and conversion rates than other marketing channels. The direct and immediate nature of text messaging, combined with the sense of urgency it can create, can prompt recipients to take immediate action, such as making a purchase or responding to an offer.
  7. Personalization and targeting opportunities: SMS allows for personalization by addressing recipients by name or tailoring messages based on their preferences or behaviors. Additionally, you can segment your audience based on demographics, interests, or purchase history, enabling targeted and relevant messaging that resonates with specific groups.
  8. Cost-effectiveness: SMS marketing can be a cost-effective marketing channel. While costs may be associated with sending SMS messages, they are generally lower than traditional advertising methods like print or TV. Additionally, the high engagement and response rates of SMS can contribute to a higher return on investment (ROI).

How To Craft An Effective SMS Marketing Message

A well-crafted SMS marketing message should consider several critical aspects to maximize its effectiveness. Here are some key elements to consider:

  1. Clear and concise content: SMS messages have a limited character count (typically 160 characters), so conveying your message concisely and straightforwardly is crucial. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complexity and focus on delivering the core message.
  2. Compelling call-to-action (CTA): Include a clear and actionable CTA that tells recipients what you want them to do. Whether purchasing, visiting a website, signing up for an offer, or attending an event, ensure the CTA stands out and encourages immediate action.
  3. Personalization: Personalize your messages by addressing recipients by their name whenever possible. This helps create a more personalized and engaging experience, increasing the chances of a positive response. Additionally, segment your audience and tailor the message content to suit their interests or preferences.
  4. Timing and frequency: Respect the timing and frequency of your SMS messages to avoid overwhelming recipients or being perceived as intrusive. Sending messages during appropriate hours (e.g., daytime) and limiting the frequency (e.g., once a week) will help maintain a positive relationship with your audience.
  5. Mobile-friendly formatting: Optimize your SMS content for mobile devices since most messages will be read on smartphones. Use a legible font size and avoid using all caps or excessive punctuation, which can come across as shouting or spammy.
  6. Unique value proposition (UVP): Clearly communicate the value or benefits recipients will gain from taking action. Highlight exclusive offers, discounts, promotions, or useful information to entice and engage your audience.
  7. Compliance with regulations: Ensure your SMS marketing messages comply with relevant regulations, such as obtaining proper recipient consent and providing an easy opt-out mechanism. Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union.
  8. Tracking and analysis: Incorporate tracking mechanisms to monitor the performance of your SMS campaigns. Utilize analytics tools to measure open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and other relevant metrics. This data will help optimize future campaigns and improve your overall SMS marketing strategy.

SMS marketing messages should prioritize the recipient’s preferences, privacy, and convenience. Strive to provide value and engage your audience respectfully and meaningfully.

Examples of Effective SMS Marketing Messages

Here are ten compelling text messages for different calls-to-action covering B2B and B2C scenarios. I’ve included event registration, retail sales, abandoned carts, and more examples. For compliance, I’ve added a STOP messaging line at the end of each example to provide recipients with an easy opt-out mechanism.

Event Registration Text Message:

Don't miss out on our exclusive webinar on [Topic]. Register now and secure your spot! Visit [Website] or reply YES to this message. STOP to opt-out

Retail Sale Text Message:

Flash Sale Alert! Get 30% off all items at [Store Name] today only. Show this message at checkout or use code FLASH30 online. STOP to opt-out

Abandoned Cart Recovery Text Message:

Oops! Looks like you left something behind. Complete your purchase at [Website] and enjoy 15% off your order. Limited time offer! STOP to opt-out

Appointment Reminder Text Message:

Hi [Name], just a friendly reminder of your upcoming appointment with [Business Name] tomorrow at [Time]. We look forward to seeing you! STOP to opt-out

Product Announcement Text Message:

Introducing our latest product, [Product Name]! Be the first to experience its innovative features. Visit [Website] for more details. STOP to opt-out

Lead Generation Text Message:

Attention [industry] business owners! Boost your sales with our cutting-edge marketing solutions. Reply YES to learn more or visit [Website]. STOP to opt-out

Customer Survey Text Message:

We value your opinion, [Name]! Please take a moment to complete our quick survey and get a chance to win a $100 gift card. Visit [Survey Link]. STOP to opt-out

Exclusive Discount Text Message:

As a valued client of [Company Name], we're offering you an exclusive 20% discount on your next purchase. Use code VIP20 at [Website]. STOP to opt-out

Industry Webinar Text Message:

Calling all professionals in [Industry]! Join our free webinar on [Topic] to stay ahead of the curve. Register at [Website] or reply YES. STOP to opt-out

Product Demo Request Text Message:

Interested in seeing how our [Product/Service] can benefit your business? Schedule a personalized demo today at [Website] or reply YES. STOP to opt-out

Remember, it’s important to adapt these examples to your specific business, target audience, and desired tone of communication. Ensure compliance with local regulations, provide clear instructions for opting out, and always prioritize the recipients’ preferences and privacy.

Using AI To Write Effective Text Messages

Generative AI is revolutionizing how you can write effective text messages, and SimpleTexting’s AI Assist is at the forefront of this transformation. When customers begin using text messaging as a marketing channel, one of their main challenges is adapting to this platform’s unique requirements and constraints. Writing compelling messages with limited characters can be particularly difficult, especially for those who don’t have a background in copywriting.

With the introduction of SimpleTexting’s AI Assist, customers now have a powerful tool that helps them craft messages better suited to their audience and the texting channel. This feature not only relieves the burden of wearing yet another hat but also leads to higher response and click-through rates, ultimately improving the effectiveness of their SMS campaigns.

To ensure a seamless user experience, SimpleTexting has embedded the AI Assist directly into their Campaign composer. Users can easily access the AI Assist by clicking Generate message and providing a short prompt that captures the message’s purpose and relevant details. SimpleTexting’s AI processes this prompt and generates suggested text messages based on the input.

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Customers can then review and select the message they prefer, making any necessary tweaks from within the Campaign composer. This allows for additional customization, such as adding links and other essential information. SimpleTexting’s AI Assist enables users to write fantastic text messages faster and more precisely.

Generate Your First SMS Marketing Message With SimpleTexting

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is the founder of the Martech Zone and CEO of DK New Media. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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