The Do’s and Don’ts of SMS Marketing: Best Practices and Mistakes to Avoid

Text message marketing can be very powerful however it can also do more harm than good at the same time. Knowing all this, it might seem easy to use SMS for marketing purposes. But, communicating effectively via SMS actually takes quite a bit of effort. For this reason, like any other marketing activity, SMS marketing has its own rules and good and bad practices. There is some general rule whether that it should be adhered and avoid for your business in SMS marketing.
Here are the top 5 Do’s and Don’ts of SMS marketing.


1. Be Brief

Since SMS is a short form of text messages, an effective SMS marketing message required focused and skillful to write it short to grab your customers’ attention. Hence, the best technique to do this is by applying the “KISS” principle which stands for “Keep it Short and Simple”.

2. Start with an Attention Grabber

With the limitation of 160 characters per SMS, you must use each character smartly! This is the reason why you must understand and find something effective, which will engage with your customers and immediately garb their intention. You may start your SMS Message with an attention grabber such as “NEWS”, “SALE” or “SPECIAL OFFER”.

3. Make your Customers Feels like VIPs

Since SMS marketing is permission-based, the audience that gave you permission to market to them, expect to receive valuable information from you. To add, they expect to feel special. Therefore, let reward their loyalty by making them feel like a part of an exclusive VIP club that isn’t yet available elsewhere such as special offers, exclusive discounts, offer them value and others.

4. Timing is Everything

It is crucial to choose the right time to send SMS to customers. Since that SMS is very personal, you must consider the most appropriates times of the day to send your marketing messages as it lands directly into customers’ hands. Hence, simply imagine that you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, would you like to receive any promotional messages early in the morning, during the rush hour or late at night? Of course not! To quote Confucius: “What you do not want to be done to yourself, do not so to others.”

5. Allow Two-way Communication

Developing a very good relationship with your customers is good and important. It is good to get responses and feedback from customers for your company to improve and keep serving them better. When customers reply to your messages asking for more information, throw a few more goodies their way. This will invite more communication with your customers and understand them better.
Likewise, try to create a parallel from the “Unsubscribe” button in the newsletters, If the customers don’t want your SMS messages in their inbox, give them an option to leave the list. Include instruction on how the customers can opt-out of the messaging list. A simple word like “STOP” should be enough. Keep this message clear and simple because it instills confidence about your brand that you are not a spammer.


1. Avoid Text Slang and Abbreviations

Unprofessional language can harm the perception of your company brand. Due to the limited space of 160 characters per SMS, many companies take advantage to send texting in slang and abbreviations. These methods are risky as not everyone can understand texting slang and abbreviations and might even risking your customers to feels confuse. If your audience has no idea with what you are talking about, they will simply ignore the message, or even worse decided to unsubscribe. Professionalism in SMS marketing communication has to stay on a certain level.
Never send bulk SMS bursts to your customers especially at late night and early morning marketing at inappropriate times as it is never welcome by customers.

2. Don’t Forget to Identify Yourself

SMS marketing communication is the same as in any other situation in life when you are meeting someone new, the first thing you do is introducing yourself. It is important to make sure your subscribers know who is texting them because this is of key importance for your brand recognition. Your message will immediately become relevant and engaging once you have clearly identified yourself to your audience. Likewise, your messages might be considered SPAM if you are texting as anonymously.

3. Don’t Forget to Include a Call to Action.

It is important to make sure that your audience members know exactly what you wanted them to do. You are not just texting them just to ask “How are you?”. Instead, you are trying to accomplish something from them and that’s was through marketing text. For instance, you could tell them to use coupon code for redemption for a special date or you could also inform or remind them to save up for a date for a fun events or promotions coming up.
A useful tip is to keep the 5Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and 1 H (How) are the best foundation for your call-to-action (CTA). For instance, WHY – to get your coupon, HOW – by texting the keyword to a shortcode.

4. Don’t Send Everything to Everyone

It is important to segment your audiences or subscribers in groups with as much in details as possible and then send relevant information to each of the groups. Generally, mobile is considered to be more personalized than email. Recipients or customers that received irrelevant messages will be more irritated and annoyed than by receiving irrelevant email. Likewise, since that SMS average open rate is close to 100%, contents that are relevant and send to the right segmented customers’ can bring exceptionally high result.

5. Don’t Explain Everything

Due to word limits per SMS, sometimes marketers try to squeeze in way too much information in single SMS. Because of that, it results in skipped letters, grammar failures and lack of logic. In SMS marketing less is more. You are advised to be more focusing on clarity, directness and easy to understand messaging. Eventually, people will seek out additional information if the wording and call to action are eye-catching. With the rising smartphone era, now you can easily add a short link to your text message, which guiding recipients to your web page for them to get more information.