To Txt Speak, or NTTS. TITQ.
So you got that right? The headline to this blog post is perfectly clear isn’t it?
Shakespeare fans may have cringed when reading the headline to this post. But many say language, at least the written word, will soon consist of the sometimes cryptic acronyms frequently used in instant messaging systems.
“NTTS” is “not to txt speak”.
“TITQ” is, of course, “That is the Question”. Not very clever really given the rest of the headline but it probably made more than a few of you pause.
And for many that’s what “text speak” does. It makes us pause while our brains interpret what is being said. When it comes to marketing, that pause can mean the difference between a successful campaign and one that frustrates the customers.
SMS marketing is a balancing act when it comes to using text speak. With a limit of 160 characters in a standard message, you’re bound to need some abbreviations. But how much can you, and should you get away with? Let me share a recent example of a message I received from a local venue (I’ve blanked out the important info with *s!):
Depending on your generation, or how tuned in you are to the instant message and texting world, the above is either quaint, or you had to read it twice. In reality it isn’t too bad as far as text speak goes. There are no unknown acronyms, just shortened words and numbers in place of common words like to and for.
Honestly though, I had to read this one twice. Not so much because of the text speak itself, but because there was so much of it. I get messages from this venue probably two to three times a week. The last two and a half lines are always there, just as you see them. But for this message I guess they just had too much to say and decided to use text speak in a few other places too. Since I didn’t expect it, I needed to read it a couple of times to be sure I understood it.
But I could have decided it didn’t make sense and never look at it again. Maybe I could have decided to look at it later, but then forget after the moment had passed.
If you’re using SMS messaging for marketing, you don’t ever want to have your customers do either. You want them to act in the moment with a clear message and call to action.
Whether or not your message will be clear in text speak depends on your target audience. Do your research, know your customer, and then craft your messages so they will understand, and act, on them quickly.
Because they are so short, word choice is important in SMS messages. You need to convey instructions and the benefits of following those instructions in few words. If you’ve ever struggled to find just the right one, check out our list of action inspiring words for SMS messaging.
Using people’s names in marketing is great. It does provide a certain level of personalisation that can get people more interested in what you’re sending them. Of course in text messaging, you don’t always have the room for a name, your message, and the required opt out information … usually there just isn’t enough room. So how can you make your marketing messages personal?
Is there such a thing as a "perfect" SMS message? Yes, there is, but there isn't just one example of a perfect message. There are so many uses for SMS messages that each of them would have their own perfect example. How many different types are there? This infographic includes a short list of some types.
While there are many ways you can probably think of to promote your SMS opt in campaign, there may be some “free” channels you’re neglecting. Thanks to Google, I can point out seven of them. At the mCommerce Summit Google gave a presentation about app promotion and optimising. I can’t even convey how exasperated the presenter was when he talked about how many opportunities companies just let slip by.
Marketing messages, whether in print or electronic have many parts to them. In the beginning there’s the hook that entices someone to continue reading, and near the end is the call to action. That’s where you make it clear what you want someone to do after reading the message. There are many parts in between these two, but these are, arguably, the two most important.
One mistake some marketers make is assuming people will know what to do when they read an SMS message. After all, they’re short and to the point right? How confusing could they be? On the other hand, when writing every other form of marketing they know that calls to action need to be clear. So, just because you don't have much room, it doesn’t mean you get to leave out your call to action! Saving space and being brief is important though, so take a look at three of the best SMS marketing CTAs you can use.
You've run a successful SMS opt-in campaign for your retail store. Now that you have your list, do you have a plan to keep them from opting out? Wait, you mean there's more to this than just sending out coupon codes? There is if you want to keep your customers from opting out.