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8 Common Text Messaging Mistakes That Can Cost You Clients

8 Common Text Messaging Mistakes That Can Cost You Clients

Renata Liubertaitė

Although text messages are something that we’re all familiar with and, likely, use daily, sending SMS for business purposes isn’t really the same.

You’ve probably heard about its outstanding open rates (just a quick reminder in case you forgot – it’s 98%!), which ensures that the majority of the messages you send are going to be read. However, as great as this sounds, that’s not your main goal, isn’t it?

You want people to act on them, yet for this, you have to know how to do this right.

When it comes to text messages, it’s a pretty easy channel to slip on due to the lack of knowledge or a conscious decision to ignore SMS marketing best practices and rules you have to follow, which can result in some serious long-term damage.

Continue to read this article to learn what common text messaging mistakes businesses do every day, and what can you do to avoid them before you press “Send.”

1. Ignoring SMS opt-in rules and complicating the opt-out

SMS opt-out rules

Let’s face it, more often than not, promotional messages aren’t everyone’s favorite to receive. And if this happens without the user's consent, it only gets worse.

According to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), anyone who wants to send marketing messages to consumers must get their written consent first. It can either be signed by hand or somehow obtained digitally.

Moreover, following SMS opt-out rules is equally important and users should be able to easily withdraw themselves from the subscribers' list whenever they want.

Failing at this and leaving your consumers annoyed is not the worst that can happen if you decide to break these conditions. Not following the rules for SMS marketing compliance is actually a serious violation, which makes it probably the biggest text messaging mistake a business can ever make.

This doesn’t sound like a goal that you’d like to achieve, doesn’t it? Before sending your first SMS to your customers, make sure to get familiar with all the relevant text messaging regulations and follow them to avoid any data misuse or violation of privacy.

2. No clear brand identification

No brand identification

What are the chances that you’re going to answer a strange message from an unrecognized sender? Now, what if the same message had your favorite brand’s name attached to it?

Forgetting to identify themselves is another mistake some businesses still make when sending SMS messages to their customers. A bunch of numbers don’t really build trust and definitely don’t encourage a reader to act on the offer. Besides, such businesses are missing an opportunity for better brand recognition while also increasing the chances of their messages being perceived as spam.

Make sure to let your customers know that it’s you who’s texting them, and it’s you who would like to build better relationships and earn their loyalty. This way, they will be more likely to respond, and you will get closer to the goals your business aims for.

3. Taking a call to action (CTA) for granted

No call to action

A clear call to action is one of the most important parts of your SMS message. It is the moment when you tell your customers the exact purpose of reaching out and what you would like them to do next.

Forgetting this basically means you’ve just wasted an SMS since your readers most likely won’t be willing to take the initiative and look for the right landing themselves. Moreover, you'll be failing to provide them value, and repeating this mistake can even encourage them to unsubscribe.

A clear CTA tells what is the next step you’d like your readers to take. Use these tricks to make it more effective:

  • Use a strong command verb, such as join, learn, get, buy, visit, etc., to imply the specific action you want the reader to perform.
  • Evoke emotion with your offer (“Book your dream holidays today!”).
  • Offer real value.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Don’t forget to include the link to send them to the right place.

4. Lack of personalization

Personalized messages

No matter the marketing channel, the use of personalization often increases the effectiveness of the message. Naturally, text marketing is not an exception, and not paying enough attention to this matter can leave you behind those competitors who actually do.

In its simplest form, we usually understand personalization as addressing customers by their names, maybe relying on their location, or possibly sending birthday wishes once a year. If you’re doing this already – great. Yet it’s also important to learn their behavior, their likes and dislikes, and even take the devices that they use into consideration to be able to provide

Remember that targeting everyone as one rarely works. Don’t waste your messages and traffic, get to know your subscribers better, and use that information to avoid making this one of the most common SMS mistakes.

5. Texting at all the wrong times

Wrong timing

Besides the high open rates, SMS is also known for being read almost immediately, usually within the first 3 minutes of receiving it. This is one of the reasons that makes the timing of marketing messages so important – the text you send is likely going to be read right away, yet if it’s sent at the wrong time, it can have some negative outcome.

The universal agreement for the best times to send text messages is working hours, and never early morning, late in the evening, or during weekends (unless there’s some exceptional or urgent case).

What’s also important to note is that the understanding of “timing” should not be limited to the specific time during the day – the overall context is always something to consider, too. For instance, national holidays or, well, the pandemic. Worst case scenario – irrelevant offers will reduce your brand’s credibility or make an impression of sending outdated material, encouraging them to unsubscribe. A little bit better, but still bad – deals that people can't use right away can only make them upset.

6. Trying too hard to sell

Too sales focused

Although selling your product or services is the end goal of most of the measures you take, including text marketing, focusing on it too much can bring you the opposite result from the one you seek.

Instead, be creative and nurture relationships with your customers not only by providing various incentives and asking for their money. Try keeping an engaging conversation using different approaches, which is much more appealing and can still boost your sales, without being so direct about it.

For instance, you might offer valuable advice on something related to your products. Let's say your store is all about yoga equipment, you'd like to push the new yoga mat that's just arrived, but you already sent a message about yoga socks three days ago. Take this as an opportunity to share your expertise with your customers - make a list of tips on how to choose the best yoga mat there is, and send them a link to that post. You might enjoy the outcome!

7. Going overboard with abbreviations and slang

Slang and abbreviations

Using slang doesn’t bring a business “closer to the customer” – the opposite, it can actually drive a customer away.

Although it might be common in everyday speech, slang and various abbreviations in business communication can make you look unprofessional. Even worse, using too many abbreviations just to be able to fit in 160 symbols carries the risk of being misunderstood by your subscribers.

The reason why SMS is so effective probably lies in its simplicity and the time it takes to get the main idea. But abbreviations and slang are not the right way to keep it this way, besides, they can actually require too much unnecessary effort. Just pass your message as you normally would – using clear and concise language to say only what’s really important.

8. Spamming

Spam

Any unwanted text message can be classified as spam, and it is considered as one of those bad practices of text messaging. Yet it’s not the main reason to avoid it at all costs - spam does appear in different SMS marketing rules as another violation that can get you into legal trouble.

To avoid any misunderstandings, use your first welcome message to clearly state how many texts can a customer expect weekly/monthly. Those who sign up for weekly updates can be truly annoyed by receiving a message every single day. If you're planning to do this – just say so. If once per month is completely enough for you – let them know as well.

In this case, your subscribers will not be surprised with the number of SMS you send them, therefore, you will be able to keep their trust and prevent your business from losses related to this matter.

Conclusion: what have we learned?

SMS is a pretty simple, brief yet effective channel, but like any other channel, it requires to follow the best practices to get the best out of it. There are many things that you can do to boost your sales using SMS, however, there are many ways you can ruin it as well.

Due to text messaging being so direct and personal, it’s also surrounded by many different SMS marketing rules that legally protects customers from being bombarded with irrelevant marketing material. Legal matters aside, text marketing mistakes presented above are often noticed in business communication and can even cost clients.

Use those common mistakes as a guide to poor text marketing and improve your own strategy by focusing on the opposite. SMS is a channel of great potential and, when done right, can be a huge help in achieving your marketing goals.