5 SMS Text Messaging Mistakes Businesses Make Every Day
Short Message Service (SMS) is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to deploy campaigns easily and quickly. But — if you don’t get everything set up right before you press send, there is no taking it back and you’ll have an error-filled message sent to your list.
You may already be using texting for your business or perhaps you're interested in launching your very first text marketing campaign. Either way, you should know about these simple and avoidable texting mistakes before your next promotion spirals out of control.
Mistakes Can Damage Credibility & Cost You Customers
Something as simple as not double-checking your message for typos can damage your credibility with your customers. It might a basic misspelling that isn’t life-threatening, but even small mistakes can cause your customers to lose faith in you and think of you as less professional.
Other mistakes can cause your audience to miss out on your promotion entirely.
For example, let's say that you were having a 1-day sale on Friday, Dec 21 and you sent out the following message:
“1-day ONLY — get BOGO FREE boots, this Friday, Dec 28”
If you manage to catch it right after it’s sent, you can always follow up with a second message to correct the mistake — but that will damage your professionalism.
However, imagine that you didn’t catch the typo on the date. Nobody would show up on the 21st, and then when they came in on the 28th looking for the sale, they would be very disappointed.
That’s just one example. Read this list of other common SMS text messaging mistakes and avoid disastrous campaigns.
1. Sending Too Many Messages… or Not Enough
Like many other marketing channels, messaging frequency is a delicate balancing act that businesses must master. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all schedule and finding the right frequency for your business depends on a few different components.
The important thing is that every message you send should provide value to a specific audience segment. Some marketers only send occasional texts and they miss the chance to build a meaningful dialogue with their contacts. Others will send multiple texts every day that don't deliver any value.
If you’re trying to find a messaging frequency that works for your business, start with these general guidelines:
- Start by building a text message marketing calendar. On the calendar, highlight at least three days each week that you'd like to send texts. A semi-regular and weekly text messaging blast is a quick and easy way to keep your business top-of-mind without being too overbearing.
- Before you press send, ask yourself if you are providing value. You should never send a message just because it's your scheduled day to do so. It's better to skip over a day than to send out something that doesn't have meaning.
- Make sure that all of your messages include an “opt-out code”. You are required by law to include an opt-out mechanism. Plus, your customers may be more forgiving of overly frequent messages if they see that you've given them away to stop receiving them.
2. Sending the Wrong Type of Message
Text messages are a more intimate form of communication than other marketing channels.
So before you jump in with the same strategies that you use for your other channels, stop and think about what your customers want to see in their text messages. If you do this right, you can build high levels of customer engagement, better brand loyalty, and create an experience that your customers will truly appreciate.
On the flip side, if you send the wrong type of message, you will annoy your customers and damage your brand
Don’t Treat Them Like a Mass Audience
We know that text messaging is a mass communications tool. However, recipients should be treated like individuals. Take the time to segment your database by interest, location, or other relevant metrics. Segmentation will allow you to personalize the messages and offers to that specific audience segment.
You can also personalize your text messages by incorporating your contacts’ first or last name. Adding personalization makes it seem more like you're having a one-on-one dialogue with them as opposed to treating them as one member of a herd.
A great example of segmentation & personalization for restaurant owners would be:
- Sending a message to the popular food and lifestyle bloggers on your list with personalized invitations that invite them to write about a new dish. This might look like this: “Hey John - we just added a new salmon dish to our menu. Would you like to stop in and give it a try?”
- Sending a message to your regular and casual customers, that includes more traditional messaging such as promotions, discounts, information about events, and other general offers. For example: “Hey Susan - we have a special BOGO deal this weekend on cocktails! Grab your best friend and come see us!”
Don’t Try to Sell to Them in Every Message
Even though you're using your marketing to generate more sales, that does not mean that every message has to include a sales pitch.
Sometimes you can provide a lot of value without asking for your customer’s money.
Some good examples of messages that don’t sell to customers include:
- A destination resort or theme park might offer daily text updates of weather conditions in the area without asking them to stay there or buy tickets.
- A sporting goods store might make a recommendation on a training video for little league players to watch if they purchased little league equipment in the past.
3. Sending Non-exclusive Offers and Promotions
If people opted into your list, they need to feel special. You need to make sure that they receive offers and information that is reserved only for people on your list.
It is okay to send information to them that is made generally available, but there should also be messages unique to them that provide additional added value.
Your subscribers were willing to give you their phone number. They trusted you with this direct contact method. That means that you need to make them feel unique and valued.
- If you own a restaurant, subscribers should get access to exclusive deals and promotions that the general public is not given.
- If you own an event venue, you could do open up early access to tickets for people that are on your text message list.
- If you have a place that takes reservations during select times of the year, you could allow your text message subscribers a first chance to make a reservation before you open it up to the general public.
This strategy does more than just making your subscribers feel special. It also gives you a way to track the success of these campaigns.
Because these promotions are only redeemed by the people on your text message list, you are able to tell how successful they are.
4. Using Abbreviations or Slang
It can be easy to fall into the trap of using abbreviations and slang when you're sending text messages so that you can fit your message into the 160-character limit.
However, you don't want to jump on this trend just to make yourself appear “new” or “current.”
It's more important that your messages are clear, concise, and represent your own unique brand voice. You don't want to risk someone not being able to understand what you said just because they are unfamiliar with the abbreviations that you used.
Even worse, you risk being potentially offensive if you do not fully understand the slang words that you are using.
You should always strive to use full words except for cases where the abbreviations are very well-known and that would make sense in any marketing medium, such as using abbreviations for state names or other well-known local places.
5. Not Incorporating a Call-To-Action
Unlike passive marketing mediums like billboards and TV spots, your text messages should be designed to invite an interaction. Many people fail to take advantage of this by not including a call-to-action or by having one that's easy to miss.
If you fail to do this, then your SMS campaigns become just a friendly chat instead of a powerful marketing channel.
Here's a quick checklist before you send a message so that you can make sure you've got this covered:
- Have someone else on your staff review the message before it’s sent. If they are unable to spot the call to action, then you need to rework it.
- Every message that you send should include some form of a call for a response. Even if you are just confirming who's the most involved.
- You can consider creating a second, elite, broadcast list for those fans who are eager to respond to every message.
- You can integrate other media by including an SMS message as a part of your advertising campaign.
Bonus: Not Learning What Strategies to Use for Successful Campaigns
You've learned a lot about what not to do to create a successful marketing campaign using text messaging.
You know that you should:
- Be careful not to send too many or too few messages.
- Avoid sending the wrong type of message — like ones that make them feel like they are part of a herd instead of an individual.
- Include exclusive information and offers for your text subscribers.
- Be careful with your use of abbreviations and slang to make sure that your message is clear and concise.
- Include an easy to find and understand call-to-action. Now it’s time for you to learn what you should do to build a better campaign.
Download our guide on 4 Strategies for Successful Text Marketing Campaigns to learn how to use one of the fastest-growing, most effective, ways to connect with your customers to get the best results.
You will learn how to effectively promote your goods and services, increase your engagement with your customers, quickly send alerts, and automate your appointment reminders. So get the guide now and start planning your next campaign.