8 do’s and don’ts of SMS marketing

Like all marketing channels, practice makes perfect. To help you speed up this process and give you a head start with SMS marketing, take a look at this quick list of do’s and don’ts.

Since 2005, we’ve helped over 165,000 businesses send millions of SMS campaigns. Whether it’s a simple appointment reminder or a seasonal promotion, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

And to ensure your next SMS campaign utilises the UK’s fastest growing marketing and communications channel, we’ve assembled a few do’s and don’ts for you to consider before you hit send.

SMS marketing do’s

Do get creative with your sender ID

Add a touch of personality to your SMS marketing campaigns and bring a smile to your customers’ faces by changing your sender ID. For instance, if you’re a retailer running a timely Christmas offer, change it to Santa Claus or Santa’s Little Helper. Or if you’re a restaurant looking to get a few extra bookings around Valentine’s Day, change your sender ID to say Hitch or Cupid.

Do keep your SMS campaigns short

Whether you’re sending a booking reminder, delivery update, or a Black Friday offer, short and sweet is the recipe for success. An infographic from Wyzowl last year revealed that a consumer has an average attention span of just 8.25 seconds, which is less than a goldfish! You can read more about this here.

Create something short, succinct and well within 160 characters. As a rule of thumb, 100 characters is the optimum amount.

Do integrate your SMS marketing campaigns

For a more holistic marketing and communications strategy, make the best of all channels on offer. While email marketing becomes increasingly cluttered, with 18% of consumers receiving in excess of 51 communications a week, it still remains one of the most popular platforms.

You can integrate SMS with hundreds of other CRM platforms, apps and software packages with our free SMS API.

Refer to the other means of communication that you’ve sent and customers will appreciate the time you’ve invested in making their experience a better one. Following up an email or promotional e-shot with an SMS can also help significantly improve the chances of your message being seen as well.

Do give your customers the opportunity to opt out

Customers may have given you consent to send them marketing or communications before, but sometimes they change their mind.

Act responsibly and give them a clear option to opt out at the end of the text. It also benefits your business too, so you’re not wasting money targeting a cold prospect. Keep your mobile list warm and you’ll see better results.

SMS marketing don’ts

Don’t include long ugly URLs

If you want to include a link to an article, attachment or mobile webpage, don’t forget to shorten it. A longer link not only uses up valuable characters, but it looks extremely unprofessional and could be mistaken for spam by the receiver. Bitly, Goo.gl and Ow.ly are some of the top URL shortening providers. Or if you choose to use Textlocal to send your SMS campaigns, our platform has an option to do this.

Don’t bombard your customers

When it comes to sending an SMS online, it’s important to get the balance right. How many times have you sent them a message in the past month? According to The State of SMS, 68% of consumers are happy to receive an SMS from a brand or business once a month or more.

SMS marketing do's and don'ts infographic

While the table is just a guideline, just remember to only send relevant information and targeted promotional offers at applicable times.

Don’t use text speak

Although character and personality is key to creating a successful SMS campaign, using the latest text lingo is an absolute no-no. It looks unprofessional and your message could easily be misconstrued by the receiver. And let’s face it, you may run the risk of sounding like an uncool uncle desperately trying to recapture his youth!

Don’t leave it to the last minute

Running last-minute SMS marketing campaigns can work very well if the offer is right. But doing this over a longer period could have a detrimental impact on the outcome of your communications. Get organised and plan months in advance for upcoming dates.

After all, if you decide to send an offer on 20th December, the chances are that most of your customers would have already completed their festive shopping. Sure, you’ll get a few panic shoppers like me taking you up on the offer, but capturing the whole market at the ideal time can really give your sales a big boost.

For more daily SMS marketing best practices and tips, follow Textlocal on Twitter or download a free copy of The State of SMS white paper.


open rate

Over 98% of the text messages sent from our SMS tool are opened and read. That’s unmatched communication power for your business. Try it for yourself.