What makes a great text message?

Here are a few best practices that will help you create the most effective text message campaigns possible.

  1. Always Say Who the Message is From: The most important part about sending a text to customers is to make sure they know who the text is coming from! Without telling the contact who is messaging them, they will often be unsure about why they are getting your text, and will have no way to act on the messages call to action.
    1. For example:
      1. Hey (Recipient's Name) this is (Your name) from (Your business)!
      2. Hi (Recipient's Name), (Your business) here!
  2. Pretend you are texting a friend: Personalize each message you send with custom fields like the contact's first name. This increases engagement on the text message, improves the experience of the recipient, and helps you make sure texts go through.
  3. Make sure it's a text you would like to receive: Make sure the message doesn't seem spammy by using proper grammar, not using CAPITALIZED words, or unnecessary amounts of punctuation (e.g. !!!!). We recommend using exclamation points rather then periods to keep your messages exciting, however, don't go overboard here!
  4. Keep it short and sweet: Some carriers and phones split up messages at 160 characters (US cellular is one). So if you are concerned about spacing make sure you have 155 characters to allow for a margin of error. Emojis and special symbols may look like one character to us, but some carriers read them as multiple characters so if you are using them you want to leave room for a margin of error as well.
  5. Send memes, gifs, and images: Messages that contain media are more likely to engage your contacts than pure SMS messages. This doesn't mean you have to send an image every time, but including them frequently is a best practice.
  6. Always Include a Call to Action: This is one of the most important parts of crafting a great text message. Without a call to action, the recipient may not know what action you are wanting them to take. Here are a few examples of good calls to action:
    1. "Click the link below" - If your message contains a link, always ask your recipients to click it. Otherwise, they might not know that there is more information in the link.
    2. "Come see us at {user.location}" - If you want your customers to come see you at a physical location, a great way to do this is to include your address as a part of the message. You can do this simply by configuring your current account location in settings, and using the custom field "Current Account Location" in your message, which will display in the message as {user.location}.
    3. Ask a question - One of the best ways to boost your response rates and to engage your contacts is to ask them a question in the message you send. This will let your recipients know that they do have the ability to text you back and get their questions answered. Here are a few great questions to ask:
      1. "Is there anything you need help with?" - Help with customer service.
      2. "Do you have any questions for me?" - Answer any questions about your products or services.
      3. "Do you think you'll be able to make it in today?" - Works as a double call to action, asking them to engage back by answering the message, as well as asking them to come see you in person.

Things to avoid

  1. Writing words in ALL CAPS 
    While ALL CAPS WORDS grab peoples attention, it's a tactic that is commonly used by SPAMMERS so it's best to not use them when sending a Wave
  2. Too many symbols, emojis, or special characters

    Carriers flag messages that don't mimic normal human behavior. Using too many emojis, dollar signs ($$$) or exclamation points (!!!!) have been found to trigger spam filters, so make it a point to avoid overusing them. The normal character limit per a text is 160 characters, but certain symbols and all emojis change the way carriers encode message, meaning that instead of having 160 characters to work with, you only have about 70. This means that even a 100 character message that contains an emoji will cost the equivalent of two 160 character messages, which increases the volume of messages you are sending by a vast amount, making your messages more likely to be identified as spam.

  3. Sending identical messages
    Make sure you include a custom field like the contact's first names, their favorite products, or any other information you can use to make the message more personal. Also, make sure the messages you send out are different from day to day. While you may have a sale going all week, changing the messaging will help you improve engagement, increase deliverability, and give you more success overall.
  4. Long messages
    The idea is to mimic human behavior. One person wouldn't be able to send a really long text to a bunch of people in such a short amount of time. Also- if you have a long message and the only difference in each one is a name, the carriers might consider it an identical text.


For more in depth explanations and suggestions here are a few articles on SPAM while some are written for email, they still apply to texts. 

188 Spam Words to Avoid: How to Stay Out of Spam Filters

924 Spam Trigger Words to Avoid in 2020