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SMS Marketing Best Practices to Follow in 2020

 BONUS MATERIAL: The Psychology of SMS Marketing

Being compliant, having a clear message, tracking conversions, and a partner that allows you to track messages are the key things for successful text message marketing campaigns. But there’s a component to SMS marketing that should be followed carefully – the best practices.  

Learn more about SMS marketing in our expert's guide!

So, here are the essential best practices to follow for SMS marketing success.

Have a conversation and respond in real-time

By sending a text message, you’re making a personal connection with your customers - allowing them to respond and give you valuable feedback on your products. They may tell you how much they love your brand, act on a coupon to make an immediate purchase, or start a productive conversation. To keep them engaged, you’ll want to use an autoresponder to instantly and automatically send personalised, follow-up text messages

With new OTT tools, you might also need to have a chatbot that can enable you to keep longer and more complex conversations going or have a real person on the other end who can help with the requests.


While some might advise against texting “too much”, instead think of not sending more messages than your customer expects to receive. If you are quiet for a long time, no long-term customer loyalty is cultivated. 

While the best practice is to send 2-4 texts a month, your business might send multiple texts each week, or perhaps even daily. The most important thing is that you are transparent with your subscribers about the frequency of your texts. Then stick to it. 

Make sure the frequency is known during the opt-in process to mitigate future opt-outs. Tune your campaigns and autoresponders to act accordingly.

Consider a unique, brand-friendly shortcode

Shortcodes are precisely that: a five or 6-digit phone number specifically made for commercial use and mass mobile communications — and you’ll typically want one when using SMS for larger-scale marketing purposes.  

Examples of dedicated shortcode SMS sender IDs

These codes are shorter than typical phone numbers, so they’re easier to remember and type. Best of all, these numbers are optimised for marketing - they are individually approved by wireless carriers for marketing, so your messages won’t be blocked.  

And you can send messages at a much faster rate than from regular mobile phone numbers. So especially for time-sensitive offers, having the throughput of a shortcode is critical. 

There is a caveat though - they are rather expensive to set up, maintain and use. So, the ROI depending on the specific market needs to be carefully calculated and measured continually to ensure the shortcode justifies itself.

Use power words

Some words drive us to act more and emote strongly in association with a brand. “You, new, free, because, instantly” etc., can all be used to create a stronger impact in your messages and get your customers to act. Make sure that the messages don’t become cheesy though, use 1-2 power words, no more, since more might become a bit over the top and insincere.

The DON’Ts

  • Don’t use too many emojis, one or two is fine, but littering the text with a bunch of them will make it hard to read, scammy and a bit immature.

  • Don’t use uncommon abbreviations to save message space. The issue here is that if the abbreviations used are unknown to the user, the text also loses its impact and the message isn’t acted upon

  • Don’t use text-speak. “Gr8 news!” - you might be saving two characters, but it isn’t worth it. Make the messages clear, easy to read and clean.

  • Don’t go wild with exclamation points, question marks and words in capital letters. “Are YOU ready for the DEAL OF THE CENTURY?!?!?!” - not a good way to go.

Always include the opt-out

An option for opting out of marketing messages is mandatory. Otherwise, the operators will block your messages from reaching the customers and might even fine you for it. Make sure to include it.


There you go. By following these best practices, you can lay a solid foundation for many successful SMS marketing campaigns to come.

Marcus Kallavus
2020-01-16 00:00:00 UTC