Text Marketing Best Practices

Adhere to these basic guidlines for SMS marketing and you'll be golden.

Text message marketing, also known as SMS marketing, is an incredibly powerful method for communicating to your audience and reaching large amounts of people. It's proven itself to be one of the most effective tools in an organization's marketing arsenal. It is important, however, that you abide by certain guidelines when using mass text messaging as the laws are different than other forms of communication.

Because there are many regulations and laws pertaining to text marketing, we've consolidated them all into this list of best practices. If you're interested in learning more about these regulations, check out our SMS Marketing Compliance Guide. Follow the guidelines below and you'll be in great shape!

1. Get Permission

You must have permission from subscribers in order to send them text messages. There's no way around that. If you don't have their express consent, not only will you be breaking laws and possibly be subject to legal penalties, it will also cause you to look spammy, create a bad name for your organization, and annoy your subscribers.

So what is permission? How do you get it? If your subscribers are opting in by texting to join, then you already have permission. If you are manually uploading a list or adding your contacts one by one, you'll need written consent. This is the foundation for maintaining a compliant text marketing program.

If you're confused about permission, you can contact our team for more info.

Text marketing opt-in example

2. Pay Attention to Frequency

Don't be sending texts all the time! Nobody wants to receive an excessive amount of messages from your business or organization. We recommend no more than 2 – 4 text messages per month. Any more will annoy your subscribers.

You also need to make sure you let them know how often you'll be texting them. This is important! You need to be crystal clear about how many text messages they can expect to receive on a monthly basis.

An example would be adding this to the initial auto reply of your text marketing program: "Receive up to 4 msgs/ month".

Best practices for messaging frequency

3. Include Disclaimers

The CTIA is an international nonprofit trade association that represents the wireless communications industry. They provide us with many of the best practices used in text marketing today. They require you to include things like "Msg & Data rates may apply" in your auto reply messages. Because these disclaimers are so important, our text marketing service adds them by default in the correct places so you don't find yourself in any trouble.

Note that your subscribers will only see this once! Only when they first join your list—not every time you send a text message.

text marketing best practices for messaging disclaimers

4. Provide an Exit

Your subscribers need to know that they can opt out of your text messaging program at any time. This is another thing that SlickText does for you by default in your auto replies.

When someone signs up for your SMS marketing list, in addition to "Msg & Data rates may apply", we also add "txt STOP to cancel" to the end of your auto reply.

Again, this is included ONLY in your auto reply. They will not see this in every text you send out.

Text Message Marketing best practices - providing an exit

5. Text During Normal Hours

You should only send text messages during normal / expected hours. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Be courteous to your subscribers. We're sure they won't enjoy waking up to your texts in the middle of the night. Also, think about how counterproductive it is to message them outside of your optimal hours.

One of the many benefits of text marketing is to inspire immediate action from your subscribers. It's unlikely that anyone will take action in the middle of the night, for example.

Texting during normal hours is a basic best practices

6. Use Common Language

Use text messaging shorthand as sparingly as possible. There's no law associated with this one. It's just more of a suggestion. Although it does save you precious characters in your message, it can also look very unprofessional. You don't want your texts sounding like they were written by a 12 year old. Like OMG!

If you need to save characters by using shorthand, start with the most obvious words first and try to keep them to a minimum!

SMS marketing best practices - don't use sms shorthand

7. Provide Value

Make sure every text message sent is one that's valuable to your subscribers! If they are willing to give you explicit permission to text them, make sure you give them something worthwhile in return.

Also, if your text program is used for marketing, make sure to keep things fresh and exciting for your subscribers. They should feel excited to be part of your "special text program." If you're not giving your subscribers something valuable every time you send a message, chances are, it's not worth it for them. It's then likely they'll unsubscribe.

Providing value is a core best practice for text marketing

Next Steps & Resources

If you've made it this far, excellent job! Following these best practices for text marketing really isn't that hard. Especially if you're looking to do this correctly and get the most out of it. Now that you have these guidelines on lockdown, we have some other excellent resources that you'll find helpful.

If you haven't read our SMS Marketing Guidebook yet, it's an absolute must. It lays a solid text marketing foundation and takes you step by step through setting up your entire program.

Our SMS Marketing Learning Center will really help you level up your knowledge and grow your skills. You'll find all of our guidebooks, links to informative infographics and helpful articles.

We cannot express enough how serious we are about customer education. Our goal is to make you an outstanding text marketer and our resources give you tools to get there. As always, we are here to help so please don't hesitate to reach out to our team with any questions you have!

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