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Copywriting Principles for SMS Marketing

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In a recent blog I covered how to create urgency in your SMS marketing messages. It didn’t feel right to leave out a few other key components – the U companions. In copywriting circles they are often called the 4-Us. They are: Urgent, Useful, Unique, and Ultra-specific.

So to make sure I don’t leave anything out, here I’ll show you how to use the others in your SMS messaging.

  • Unique – is everyone running a sale on women’s shoes? what can you do different?
  • Useful – the message needs to relate to the reader. By segmenting and tracking your list you can know if you’re sending that women’s shoe sale to women … or not.
  • Ultra-specific – saying “Sale on women’s shoes” is not as good as “25% off women’s shoes”. The specificity helps drive the purchase decisions. That is it will help justify the women’s desire for more shoes no matter how many she already has (and yes I’m a woman so I understand these things).

Tying these all together in one advert or headline to an advert is often challenging, but doing it in 160 characters (or up to 456 characters if you’re using fastsms) can be even more so.

The key of course, is to understand your product or service and the market you’re trying to reach with the text message campaign. Making an offer useful for instance, completely depends on who you send the messages to. As mentioned above, if you send a text about a sale on women’s shoes to your entire list, most men will likely ignore it (if you send too many they may well unsubscribe too). If you’re able to segment your list so the men don’t get irrelevant messages, but instead get one focused on men’s products you’re conversions will go up.

Having a unique twist to your SMS marketing or message can be one of the more difficult things to define and implement. Let’s say just before Valentine’s Day florists may all be offering roses at a discounted price. If every offer says two dozen roses delivered for £15, a customer has no incentive to choose a particular one. Being unique could mean offering a better discount, adding a vase or other perk, or even in how the message is crafted and delivered – something different from everyone else. Perhaps the text message could include a link to a short video ad with the ability to order right on page. Maybe the SMS message is sent in a funny or humorous way that grabs someone’s attention. This is where creative marketing comes into play and the challenge to make it deliverable within the character limit.

Being ultra-specific is potentially the easiest part of the 4-U’s to include in your message. Use specific numbers and names whenever you can. If your sale is only on a certain brand of product with a certain discount, include all of that if you can fit it into your text message. For example, “10% off Clarks, today only” would be ultra-specific with the discount and the brand name.

Integrating all of the 4-Us will help any marketing campaign. Meeting the challenge of doing so in an SMS marketing message could really help conversions take off.

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