Text Message Marketing Best Practices In 2021

Written by Kyle Claypool • August 11, 2021
P2P SMS Marketing

Even though text message marketing has been around for a long time, the value proposition only continues to get stronger… 

  • Email inboxes are flooded and open rates are declining. 
  • Organic reach on Facebook is near zero. 
  • Attention spans are shorter than ever and we’re bombarded with promotional messaging. 

The perfect text at the right time may be the best way to break through the noise. 83% of millennials open SMS messages within 90 seconds of receiving them. No other marketing channel comes close.

That said, text message marketing has only become more difficult in recent years as spam proliferates and texting has become more regulated.

This has left many firms scrambling to establish best practices for their text message marketing campaigns. This article offers just such a list of text message marketing best practices. Read on if you’re looking to elevate your SMS marketing game.

10 Tips To Improve Your Texting Campaigns

Obtain the contact’s consent

First and foremost, you’re always going to get a better response rate from any campaign where the contacts have opted in or requested to receive your messaging. If you’re sending automated message blasts (A2P messages), opt-in is required. P2P messaging platforms are exempt from this requirement, but opt-in is still best practice. (Read more about A2P, P2P, and text message marketing regulations.)

One of the most common ways to obtain someone’s consent to receive promotional texts is through SMS keywords. Many companies will send a customer a non-promotional text, such as an order update, that also asks the customer if they want to opt into promotional texts. They can give consent to receive promotional texts by texting an SMS keyword (such as “YES”) to a provided number.

There are many other ways to get people to opt in, but it’s critical that the “What’s in it for me” is clear. “Why would I want your company to send me text messages? Free tacos, you say? Deal.” Add a text message signup to your website. Ask your email list and social media followers to sign up. 

Incorporate a call to action and trackable link or unique redemption code

It is important that you differentiate your promotional texts from your information texts. Not only do you need to include a promotional offer, but you should also include a call to action. This serves to entice the contact to take advantage of the offer. The offer in your promotional text should also be tied to either a trackable link or a unique redemption code (or both).

The trackable link and unique redemption code will enable you to gather data about how your customers interact with your texts. Done right, you can track redemption rates and even split-test different offers, messages, and other variables to see what resonates.This will enable you to better target future campaigns.

Include an eye-catching image or video 

Our attention spans have become woefully short, so it can be difficult to stand out from the other companies sending your potential customers promotional texts. One of the ways to make your SMS campaigns stand out is by including an eye-catching image or even a short video. 

MMS Video Marketing

Keep in mind, MMS videos are capped at a tiny 600KB, which means you’re limited to a 10-15 second heavily-compressed video.

Be careful with shortened URLs 

It may seem like common sense to use shortened URLs in your text messages. After all, using a full-length URL seems like a waste of the valuable and limited space that you have to work with in a text. However, using a shortened URL may result in your message being flagged as spam.

SMS Marketing Shortened URLs

This issue is most common with known short URLs (i.e. bit.ly) and generic domains. You’re likely to have better success with a branded domain that you own. 

As with most things, the key to including URLs in your texts is to test on a small list and measure the result!

Include text message-exclusive offers

If a consumer not only provides their phone number but also gives consent to receive promotional texts, this indicates that they are deeply interested in your brand. Don’t waste this by sending them the same offers that less-interested potential customers receive. Instead, come up with exclusive promotional offers that are only available to contacts on your promotional SMS list.

P2P Texting Exclusive Deals

I’m sorta hung up on tacos today…

Be responsive

Want to really stand out? Be responsive. Often, companies will send promotional SMS communications that customers will respond to, only to receive an automated reply, or none at all. 

If you’re using an A2P texting solution that doesn’t allow for two-way communication, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity. Your customers will feel a closer connection with your brand if they can communicate with another person. MudShare’s P2P texting platform has robust two-way communication capabilities that will help you foster those connections.

Personalize your text messages

You should try your best to personalize even auto-generated text messages. The easiest way to do this is to address the contact by name. When personalizing an SMS promotion, you should be careful not to include deeply personal information that the person might find off-putting (like their address).

Send texts on a consistent schedule

While you don’t want to overload a potential customer with an avalanche of texts, you should try to be consistent. If you plan to send four texts per month to each of your contacts, it is a good idea to send one text per week on the same day of the week. 

It’s all about managing expectations. Tell people how often they’re likely to hear from you, then deliver. If you send four texts over a couple of days, opt-outs will skyrocket. Likewise, if you go radio-silent for a month, people are more likely to forget they opted in.

Don’t swamp your contacts with texts

There are guidelines created by the CTIA to ensure that people do not get swamped with promotional texts. Consumers only want to hear from you as long as it’s a net positive experience for them. You may want to be in front of them twice daily, but they may only want to hear from you weekly. Don’t overdo it!

Include opt-out language and pay attention to CTIA guidelines

Even if you plan to send texts through a P2P texting platform, you should include opt-out language and follow CTIA guidelines. CTIA is a trade association composed of telecommunications companies that establishes guidelines for the industry. Opt-out language must be included and CTIA guidelines should be followed or you risk being penalized by the carriers. 

There are quite a few relevant CTIA guidelines, but some of the most important rules for SMS campaigns include:

  • No sending before 8:00AM or after 9:00PM local time
  • SHAFT (sex, hate, alcohol, tobacco, firearms-related messages). If you’re sending messages on these topics, you’re far more likely to get flagged.
  • Persistent spamming. If CTIA deems that you send a lot of “Unwanted Messages,” deliverability is going to plummet.

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