Writing great SMS copy is a unique art – and that’s because SMS is a totally unique marketing channel. It’s an opt-in marketing channel like email, yet it’s much more personal. And, since the copy is brief and succinct, the copywriter has to create an irresistible value proposition, build trust, and produce an urgent call to action in as few lines as possible.
There are plenty of ways your business can leverage SMS marketing to offer useful information, increase engagement with your brand, get customer feedback and build long term relationships, but perhaps the most important SMS marketing technique is still the classic promotional offer.
When done correctly, it produces a straightforward, measurable ROI and is remarkably simple to implement. Whether you’ve just started collecting mobile opt-ins or you’re a seasoned SMS marketer, creating a great offer and wrapping the offer in enticing copy is still the heart of SMS marketing.
Here’s a checklist you can use to optimize your SMS copy and increase responses to your offer.
Is Your Offer Presented Upfront?
Once you have an enticing offer, you have to inform your subscribers. In a print, email, or PPC campaign, you would include your value proposition in the headline to draw the reader into the rest of your copy.
But without a headline, the first part of your SMS message serves the purpose of enticing your readers. A common mistake made by novice SMS marketers is to craft their SMS copy like a normal text message, for example:
“Buy one case of Ultra Energy Drink at regular price and get your second case half off.”
Instead of presenting the offer, this copy qualifies the offer and only presents the actual offer itself as an afterthought. The offer is much more powerful if it’s expressed up front:
“Get 50% off a case of Ultra Energy Drink at regular price with purchase of one at regular price.”
Focus the first part of your text on presenting the offer, and only qualify the offer once you have the reader’s attention.
Does Your Copy Say “Show This Text”?
A well-crafted offer should always include a call to action. With a promotional offer, telling your subscriber to “show this text” not only serves as an effective call to action, but it increases the perceived value of the offer through exclusivity.
When you include this simple phrase, you’re no longer simply informing the subscriber that you’re running a promotion – you’re offering the subscriber access to an exclusive deal. This subtle difference makes your offer much more powerful and it also rewards your customer for opting into your list. Compare:
“Get 50% off a case of Ultra Energy Drink at regular price with purchase of one at regular price”, with:
“Show this text at Local Convenience for 50% off a case of Ultra Energy Drink at regular price with purchase of one at regular price.”
Of course, if your offer requires that your customer visit a website instead, then adjust your call to action accordingly.
Does Your Copy Generate Urgency?
A call to action tells your reader what to do, but it doesn’t tell them when to do it. It’s important to generate a sense of urgency that prompts the reader to take action. You can achieve this by limiting response times with expiration dates.
While expiration dates are a classic age old marketing technique, it’s just as effective in SMS marketing as it is anywhere else. Including “EXP 10/01”, or “First 25 Customers Only” at the end your copy will encourage your subscribers to quickly respond to your offer.
Are You Using Personalization Tokens?
If you have the names of your mobile subscribers, a great way to increase engagement and response to your SMS offers is to use personalization tokens. Personalization tokens can be inserted into SMS texts so that the subscriber’s name, email, or other information will appear. Personalization tokens can be an effective way to grab the reader’s attention and build trust.
Split Test & Optimize
Like with any form of direct response marketing, perhaps the most important element of maximizing response rates is to split test and optimize. Apply the framework above to write effective copy, but be sure to experiment with different offers and elements of your copy until you find a formula that generates the ROI you’re looking for.