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5 Tips for Using Psychological Triggers in SMS Marketing

BONUS MATERIAL: The Psychology of SMS Marketing

By now, anyone with a smartphone is familiar with SMS. In fact, if we walk into any public gathering place, we will see heads bent over, faces nuzzled into phones, and fingers typing away, as they send messages.

Messaging has become a dominant means of communication, at least among millennials and Gen Z’ers, with Gen X’ers close behind. Even grandma has come to use messaging at least some of the time.

With this kind of popularity, it was only a matter of time before businesses began to see the value of using SMS to send short marketing messages to their audiences. And the operative word here is “very short.”


These are not typical content marketing tools – blog and social media posts, emails, direct ads, and such. These are little “teasing” snippets that will motivate a reader to visit you and see what you are offering.

Because you are so limited in a number of characters, you have to make every word count. This will require a lot of creativity and the perfect choice of words if you intend to get a good response.

What are the Benefits of SMS Marketing Messaging?

First and foremost, SMS messaging is cheap. As well:

● There are many SMS software providers that can automate messaging for businesses, whether for internal communication, to notify customers of shipment arrivals or other key information, or for marketing purposes.

● They are not intrusive. The audience gets a “ping” notification that a message has been sent but can choose when to open that message. There is thus no interruption when someone is busy and cannot open that message at the moment.

● Messages can be sent from any number of devices – PCs, laptops, tablets, and other phones, as well as from the Internet itself.

Now, of course, businesses must look at how to craft those messages to get the highest response. For this, they need to look at key psychological triggers that will motivate recipients to take action and how they can incorporate those triggers into their messaging

Psychological Triggers that Prove Effective in Marketing

Every human has what is called psychological biases – they are automatic and occur at a sub-conscious level. People do not even know that they are responding to a trigger that is deep-set in their minds. There are some biases that are common to most people, and these are the ones you will want to use in your SMS messages.

1) Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

None of us likes to lose, and we will try to avoid it whenever possible. We don’t like losing a bid on an eBay item or at an auction; we hate it if someone outbids us on a house we want to buy; when we see a store running out of an item on its shelves, particularly now during this health crisis, we stock up even if we already have plenty (as much as is allowed, that is).

We purchase sale items even when we may not need them, simply because it’s a great bargain – someone can use it, right? We are sorely tempted when we see an ad on our Facebook feed that says, “only 20 left” or “special price for the next 24 hours.” Often this is called “loss aversion” because we just don’t like the feeling.

SMS messaging is the perfect venue for this psychological trigger because you can put those triggers so easily into a very short message. “Three days left to take advantage of our 40% off sale,” “Two-for-one sale for the next 24 hours.” The idea is the make your audience believe that it will lose if it turns down your offer.

2) Resistance to Change

When people are comfortable, they want to maintain the status quo. They don’t like change and will, in fact, resist it. This is why people tend to buy the same products and brands all of their lives (when is the last time you changed laundry detergents or deodorant brand). The point is we are creatures of habit and we feel secure in that space, especially when things are changing rapidly all around us.

 Use this resistance to change to stay in touch with your current customers through SMS messaging. They have already purchased your product, are happy with it, and will continue to buy it, as long as you continue to remind them to do so. If, for example, your product is a consumable, it may be time to remind than to purchase a replacement; if a subscription is expiring, a short reminder to renew is a must.

3) The Need to Compare

When consumers are looking for a new or replacement product, they will often compare prices, even if they have purchased from you before. Again, they want to believe they are getting a “deal.” So, when you offer a product at a specific price, even a sale price, they will often look at comparable products from your competition.

Here is how your SMS messaging can address this: rather than letting the customer do the comparisons, you head that activity off by giving them the comparison upfront. So, you can say things like, “We beat the best competitor by 20%,” or “Show us any competitor’s price, and we will match or beat it.” When you take care of the task of comparison for them, customers are “relieved” that they will still get a good deal from you.

4) Turn Fear into a Positive Framework with a Solution

By fear, we do not mean fear of total disaster like a horrible accident with no insurance. There are small fears that people deal with every day – running out some small necessity, for example.

Dollar Shave Club makes use of this in a great way. They offer a subscription service to razor blades, delivered once a month so that no one is ever left with an old, dirty razor as their only option. If you have a consumable product, play upon this fear of running out.

The sending of these messages can be automated, based upon purchase dates, with the right software. Whether it’s a face cream, batteries, or products that may only be in need of replacement a year from now, schedule those reminders that contain a little bit of fear. “How’s your sock supply? We’re running a great two-for-one sale right now!” You have now placed a potentially negative circumstance in a framework of an easy solution.

5) Using the “Herd Mentality”

This is not the best verbiage to use, perhaps, but it is true. Every one of us is part of a group. And we feel comfortable within our “group,” even if we do not know all members of that group. We are in groups based upon gender, ethnicity, age, and socio-economic status. And each of these demographics has a language that is preferred.

For example, if you provide a luxury product, your audience will probably not be young college kids. And the language of your SMS messaging will differ accordingly. As well, you want your potential customer to know that so many others just like him have already purchased your product. “Join thousands of others just like you who are loving these socks!” “Hey, bro, here’s the most comfortable underwear you will ever wear.” “Dazzle your friends with this exquisite bracelet available in yellow or white gold.”

We are All Impressionable

We are the products of our environments and our experiences. And these have been indelibly imbedded into our subconscious minds. They result in what is often called “cultural biases” that influence our behaviors. These five psychological triggers relate to those biases that most people have. Using them in marketing only makes sense, and SMS is a great venue for doing just that.

Author Bio: Helene Cue is a senior writer, editor, and content writing pro for the online writing service, Essay Supply, responding to continuous calls to “do my paper for me” from anxious students and ensuring that they get the help they need from expert researchers and writers. When not overseeing the satisfaction of clients, she creates marketing content.

Helene Cue
2020-08-25 00:00:00 UTC
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