Smart business owners know consumers have quite a love affair with their smartphones. So much so, that they’re now a powerful tool for businesses to communicate with their customers.

But for all the hype around smartphones, 65% of businesses don’t have text marketing strategies in place. Your business shouldn’t be one of them.

Is your text marketing leaving you feeling lonesome for more business? Check out these effective text marketing tips that’ll have your heart aflutter.

Ask permission before courting your customers.

Before you start texting customers, you need to get their consent. You don’t want to surprise them with unwanted offers out of left field, and frankly it’s against the laws of text marketing to do so.

Start by asking customers to opt in to getting texts from your business. You can do this by:

  • Running an email campaign
  • Posting your request on social media
  • Speaking to customers directly
  • Putting up signage, if you have a storefront

When asking customers to opt in, give them a good reason to do so. Offering them texts with the “latest updates” from your business is more likely to make them snooze than swoon.

  • Instead of this: “Text OPTIN to 6753 for the latest news and updates.”
  • Try this: “Text OPTIN to 6753 and receive a 15% discount off your next purchase.”

Sweeten your invitation with a discount, and you’ll increase the likelihood your customers will be sweet on it.

Get to the heart of your message quickly.

Text marketing, unlike email and social media, doesn’t give you much room to be flowery. 160 characters is the max for most texts. Anything more than that causes your customers’ phones to break up a single text into multiple texts.

Customers could incur charges for those additional texts if they don’t have unlimited text and data plans. Plus, it just looks unprofessional and could lead to them dumping you altogether. (Bummer.)

Here is a little secret to effective text marketing: Your texts don’t need to be wordy to be eye-catching. Skip the fluff, and keep your messages short and sweet.

Ways to save space in your text messages:
  • Choose a keyword that’s relevant to your business and easy to remember. 50FLOWERS is a better option than FLOWERS786342 if you own a flower shop and are texting customers about a half-off special.
  • Use SMS short codes. These are sequences of 5-6 numbers you give customers so they can communicate with you via text.
  • Use a URL shortener like Bitly or TinyURL when linking to your website in texts.

Make your customers feel like the apple of your eye.

If you want to keep your customers mad about you, sprinkle a little personalization in your text messages.

The trick to doing this well is to make customers feel special — even a little exclusive! Make them feel like you’ve only got eyes for them, and they’ll reward you with their loyalty.

How to personalize like a pro:
  • If possible, use their first names in texts. This makes a powerful impression and sets you apart from everyone else.
  • Send them special texts on their birthday, and invite them back in to celebrate with discounts off their purchases.
  • Try a customer relationship management software (CRM) like Thryv that integrates your text marketing and your contact list. This makes personalization easy by letting you group customers and target them accordingly.

Show you care by practicing good text scheduling.

Customers who get your texts at 4 a.m. when they’re sleeping won’t be charmed by your bad timing. So make sure you schedule text messages with your customers in mind.

A few useful timing tips:
  • Avoid scheduling texts during morning and afternoon rush hours. Most people probably aren’t checking their phones on their commutes to work (well, we hope not).
  • Text your customers a few days before a sale to give them time to plan their purchases. They might feel blindsided if you don’t give them enough notice.
  • Adjust your scheduled texts according to the right time zone so your customers receive them when they’re supposed to.

By scheduling your text marketing around the needs of your customers, you’ll earn their trust and a little place in their hearts!

Don’t shower your customers with spam.

When it comes to customer communication, spam is a no-no. It damages the trust customers give you, so part of an effective text marketing strategy should be to keep it spam-free.

Watch how often you send texts. Sending too many texts in a short period of time could make them seem spammy. And that won’t sit well with your customers.

Your texts should also provide value. If your customers don’t see a benefit right away, they’ll ignore your texts. Sales alerts, discounts and contests are just a few examples of ways to make your texts more valuable.

Pro Tip: Not every customer is going to be head over heels for your texts. Make sure customers know they can opt out if they choose, and provide detailed instructions on how to do so.