How To Craft The Best Content For Your SMS Messaging
You need concise, memorable and high-impact content with a clear call to action in your SMS messaging.
That, in a nutshell, is what’s needed to achieve with any marketing or engagement communications in any form. But this is never truer than with an SMS campaign when your business text messaging has to rely on 160 characters (or 456 with fastsms) and a small window of recipient attention.
Read that sentence again. 160 characters – personal, with a point and a call to action.
SMS is increasingly powerful as a form of quick, easy mass communication. And with the right platform, it is also extremely cost-effective, with impressive conversion rates.
However, SMS messaging is not just about spirited and sales orientated marketing content. A responsive and flexible contract with a text message provider means that you can add a whole new level to your workforce management, the way you issue financial reminders, your appointment making and IT control.
So clearly, just being good at marketing jingles and succinct messages may not be sufficient to maximise the full potential of text messaging as a modern communications tool.
Using SMS services to communicate means you will benefit from an almost 100% open rate, and you can deliver your message straight into the hands of your target audiences. But this is an era of white noise – when “talk is cheap”. So how do you make that SMS message as sharp and influential as possible?
Here are some tips for making every letter count and getting your message across.
It may sound simple, but it is amazing how many organisations overlook the end result when they start putting an SMS message together.
Who are you talking to? What will get your target audience’s attention? What is it you want them to do?
Armed with that information and a clear, measurable aim, you can then formulate SMS content that gets the job done. Keep to the point and don’t overcrowd the content with too many messages. Just the opening and a purpose with no superfluous detail.
You want them to buy – give them one good and unmissable reason.
Keeping your staff informed? Tell them the most important fact and a contact point for more information.
Informing your clients or suppliers about new contract terms and conditions? Tell them it’s important business information and provide a link. The whys and wherefores can come from your website.
Greeting, purpose and call to action. That’s all they really need.
Having a hook
One of the best ways to use SMS messaging effectively is to start with a hook – for example, using the opening word ‘discount’. Other attention-grabbing choices increase the chances of people reading the whole thing.
There have been experiments done to measure consumer response to campaigns based on Buy One Get One Free; 50% off; or half price. They all ultimately mean the same thing, but there is a reason why BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free) is so common these days. It shows how influential the word ‘free’ is.
Other great words for grabbing attention include ‘new’ and ‘instant’ or ‘instantly’. We live in an age when everyone is in a hurry, so if the offer is instant or the response needed must happen instantly, it echoes the urgency of modern living.
What do YOU think is the biggest attention-grabbing word of all time? Look at the opening sentence of this article. You will guess then.
Make it personal
If the text reads as mass communication, it can be a huge turnoff. Simply by slotting the word “You” into an SMS communication (even though you said it to many people) ensures it becomes more personal.
Also, using multiple messages to focus on different sectors of your data – with guidance from your SMS provider – can help you to send texts that have various versions, to imply an individual communication.
For example, in an estate agency campaign, you could batch SMS texts into “Leeds homeowners” “Bradford homeowners” and “York homeowners”. By simply changing one word, you can make it feel more relevant to the recipient than just a universal “Homeowners” or even “Yorkshire homeowners”.
Use strong language and avoid anything even remotely vague or uncertain such as “you might…” “we think…”. Be bold and make it count such as “you will” and “we know”.
If you are communicating something with a shelf-life, such as a special offer or a call to respond to a company development or activity, include an expiry or response deadline.
Be loud and clear
SMS texts should say exactly who you are. Don’t assume they can guess, even if this is a staff or supplier communication about a pertinent announcement.
And never use abbreviations, no matter how tempting it is with so few words available. Text speak and your own jargon may be perfectly clear to you, but your recipients will not respond if they spot something woolly or mysterious.
Use a call to action that clearly states what they need to do – click, ring, visit etc. Again, don’t assume they will understand the next step. Spell it out.
It is useful at this point to use terms that invite them to click on links or telephone numbers such as “buy now” “text to vote” “ring today” and “book appointment”.
Multiple link checks
The link to your website, special offer page, online appointment system or other location must be checked, tested, then checked again. If there is last minute tinkering with the content then go through the whole process again.
Links that fail don’t just kill the impact of the SMS message, they dent your reputation as a cutting edge, knowledgeable organisation.
Use tried and tested methods
There are templates on this website that can help you to form clear, concise and high impact SMS messages.
However, the most important thing to do to make sure you use SMS messaging to best effect is to work a partnership with a business SMS platform that incorporates experience, insight and expertise to get your message across. And one that’s won awards! Get in touch with Fastsms today.
In terms of storytelling, SMS text messaging is probably as far removed from long-form, direct-action copywriting as you could be. However, the SMS marketing writer can still learn a lot of lessons here with regard to overall approach, content and composition.
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