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.
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.
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In last week’s blog I covered how the Trump campaign sent unsolicited SMS messages to voters. This week I’m stuck on the same topic, but from a totally different angle: what we can learn from that failure. Because honestly, their biggest issue might not be violating the law. It might be the people they have writing their SMS messages. It’s time to dissect the message that spawned the law suit, and learn what we can from it.
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You’ve read all about getting subscribers, the legal and recommended guidelines, and put great offers out to your list. But people still unsubscribe. Should you be worried? Are you doing something wrong? That depends. As the saying goes, you can’t make 100% of the people happy 100% of the time. You will have opt-outs, but whether you have too many is the question you should be asking.
Good copywriting is something marketers understand. But it's easy to forget the basic principles when running SMS marketing campaigns. You only have 160 characters after all (or 453 characters if you're using fastsms). While there are many elements to successful copywriting, there's one element that is often either overlooked or over-used. What is it? Urgency.