It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that any 160-character message is okay when it comes to SMS copywriting. That's because the no-frills, simple approach feels informal and – in some ways – unprofessional. However, the quality of your SMS marketing copy is just as important to generating a positive response as the copy quality of any other advertising message.
Try these simple tips for improving your SMS message, or to use as a lens to coach the team member to whom you've delegated the task.
1. Incentivize Your Call to Action
People have heard "Act Now!" and "Call Today!" so often the sentiment is all but invisible. Instead, provide a discount, perk or elite status option for texting a response or coming in with the message. A lunch hour special for example includes a time limit, which can further motivate immediate action.
YES: Text 123456 to try our newest milkshake FREE!
NO: Time is limited! Act now!
2. Avoid "Text Talk" (Unless You Should Be Using It)
Unless your customer base consists entirely of teens and young adults, keep your SMS message professional. This means using proper grammar and traditional spelling. You'll never alienate even the most wired customer by using standard conventions – but text abbreviations may cost you a client.
YES: Come early for the best view of our newest addition.
NO: Hope 2 CU there! LULZ!
If you must abbreviate to stay within character limits, stick with standard abbreviations, and avoid web slang.
YES: Text B4 noon for a 2-for-1 deal.
NO: Text FTW! Don't B L8.
3. Use Powerful Words
Make the most of your characters by using words that evoke action and emotion. Each industry has its own set of words that speak loudest to the customer, but verbs and adjectives can be your best friends. Use them to paint a "benefits picture" of what will happen when a subscriber responds to your message.
YES: Enjoy a relaxing Swedish massage.
NO: Massage sessions open today.
4. Focus, Focus, Focus
It's been said that SMS advertising is an arrow to traditional media's shotgun. Focus on your broadcast subscribers, rather than the general public, with references to your shop, brand, and unique selling proposition. You may want to focus even further, such as with an offer for fans of just one product you carry – or on the customers who come in at a specific time or day of the week.
YES: Jerry, enjoy your favorite side dish at lunch FREE.
NO: Dear customer, take 10 percent off this week.
5. Lead With Power
The first line of your message must hook the reader and draw him into the rest of your message. A personalized connection, such as the use of a first name, or a compelling benefit, are two of the best tools for accomplishing this. Without that powerful lead line, you run a risk of your message never receiving the attention you'd hoped for.
YES: Today only discount for your favorite shirts.
NO: Shirt sale begins tomorrow.