SMS Marketing Best Practices for the Best Customer Engagement

SMS (short message service) — otherwise known as texting — is a fast, efficient, relevant way for local businesses to reach existing and potential customers and help boost revenue. 

SMS marketing can be used in a number of ways, such as getting customer feedback, reminding customers of appointments or reservations, passing along “insider” information about special promotions or sales, and more. No matter how you’re using it, texting helps create a more personal connection to the customer, which increases their engagement and loyalty and can result in more sales.

The beauty of SMS marketing is that you can reach many customers at once with a single message — as opposed to having to send a bunch of one-off communications to individual people. This is especially useful for multi-location businesses or franchises that need an efficient way to send a company-wide message to all customers across all locations.

As you get started with SMS marketing, or if you’re a digital agency managing SMS marketing for your clients, keep the following SMS marketing best practices in mind to get the most engagement from customers.

1. Be conversational

You know how texting works in your everyday life. You generally have easy back-and-forths about simple concepts in an informal tone. Anything other than that and you might lose interest or not even read the text at all — which defeats the purpose. 

The same is true for SMS marketing. It works best when you treat it like a conversation with a friend.

You can still keep your message professional, in the sense that you’re probably not going to pepper it with swear words or inappropriate comments, but it doesn’t have to be stilted either. You can use emojis and abbreviations within reason, as long as they’re widely understood. And you don’t necessarily have to worry about correct punctuation.

Bottom line: If it reads like something you’d send to a friend, you’re on the right track.

2. Be brief

Another best practices for SMS marketing is to keep messages short. You can send a text that’s up to 160 characters, but anything more than that will get broken up into separate messages when the user retrieves them on their mobile device.

The challenge with sending a message that goes out as multiple texts — instead of one — is that it can be really annoying for the customer. Chances are good they may not read them all. Or the customer might get so annoyed that they unsubscribe.

The best way around this dilemma is to be as brief as possible and stick to that 160-character limit. You can also use a tool like Bitly to shorten any URL links you share in the text and avoid going over the limit. But if you can’t send a message that lands in a single text, you might want to use a different delivery method — such as email. 

3. Be clear about your “ask”

Regardless of what the subject of the text is, it should always include a call to action (CTA). In other words, what do you want the customer to do? Giving them a clear CTA is a great way to ensure their engagement while also giving them important information that helps them take the next step with your business.

For example, if you’re sending them an appointment reminder, include a link for them to review the date and time, or a way to contact you if they need to re-schedule. If there’s a time-sensitive sale or promotion, give them a direct link to the product page where they can check it out right away and make a purchase. 

Whatever your “ask” is, an easy CTA that creates a little urgency will encourage customers to jump on it and stay engaged with your business.

4. Be legally compliant

Texting is so commonplace these days that you might be tempted to go for it and start texting all your customers. Before you do, hold up. You first need to ensure you’re following one of the most important SMS marketing best practices.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which governs texting, says that businesses can’t send text messages to consumers without their consent. That means they need to give you their phone number and explicitly opt-in to receive texts from you before you can message them.

It’s also very important that you provide a quick way for your customers to opt out or unsubscribe from your texts. Every message you send needs to include something like “Reply STOP to unsubscribe.” These are critical matters to pay attention to so you stay in compliance and don’t chase away your customers.

Grow, engage, and retain your SMS subscriber list

Want to know how to get more subscribers the right way? Download this guide.

Easily follow SMS marketing best practices with an integrated tool

SMS marketing should be as easy and straightforward as the actual text messages your customers get. 

GatherUp’s reputation management platform now includes SMS marketing capabilities to help round out a comprehensive marketing and customer engagement strategy. You can use GatherUp to get customer feedback and data, then use the SMS feature to send customized texts to individuals or entire customer segments. Everything is available in one platform for streamlined data collection, data management, SMS campaign execution, reporting, and analysis.

Whether you’re managing your own SMS marketing strategy for your business, managing it for multiple business locations, or managing it for your agency’s local business clients, GatherUp has the tools you need to reach and engage with customers effectively. 

As long as you keep the SMS marketing best practices outlined above at the center of your strategy, you can start driving customer loyalty and business growth with this important marketing channel.

To learn more, schedule a demo with one of our product experts.



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