Are you writing your first SMS campaign?

Beginners tips on how to control the most powerful marketing channel.

Text messaging offers businesses one of the best means of communicating. Response and conversion rates on SMSs are impressive compared to other marketing channels and this is why many companies are choosing it over the other channels like email and social media posts.

SMS might be super effective and super simple but it comes with a cost and there are a few things to take into consideration before writing and launching your first text message campaign.

Do you want to know the golden rules of SMS? Here are some simple advices on how to write effective text messages:

Keep it short and simple.

A SMS can occupy up to 160 characters. If your message is longer than those 160 characters, you will be charged for more. It is essential for your pocket to keep your text messages short (after all SMS stands for Short Message Service). For cost effective campaigning you need to choose your words carefully and only include the most important information. Get to the point straight away and present clearly the benefit or reward of your campaign.

State who you are

It might sound strange, but if you do not clearly state your brand name in the ‘from’ field of your message, many of your recipients will not understand from whom the text is from.

Timing is important

Program your marketing texts to be sent during business hours and preferably in the morning time as people are more relaxed at the beginning of the day. Keep in mind that nobody wants to receive marketing messages after 10 at night.

Do not use capitals

USING CAPITALS IS LIKE SHOUTING AT YOUR RECIPIENTS AND A BIG TURN OFF FOR THE MESSAGE YOU ARE TRYING TO CONVEY. For your campaigns, you should stick to normal text except the one or two attention grabber words you are going to use.

Make a hook

Check this out! Finally! At last! Hooray! Amazing offer! It’s always better to start your message with a hook that will immediately attract and hold recipients attention.

Focus

Try to draw attention on the basic information by marking the key words of your message. It is the only time you are allowed to write in capital letters: SALE, DISCOUNT, SPECIAL OFFER, etc.

Call to specific action

Call us now, subscribe today, see the offer before it expires, etc.

At the end of your message call for some action. Make it urgent and with clear instructions. If there is no urgency, the recipient may leave it for later. If this happens there is a good chance they could forget about it and never come back.

Do not use text speak and abbreviations

Hw r u? Gr8 deals r out. Lol b4 cu l8r. Text speak, abbreviations and emoticons apart from being confusing to some people, sound unprofessional. In your messages try to be thankful and show respect for your customer. Stay classy and do not overuse exclamation points and question marks (!!! ???).

Shorten your links

Sometimes with a text message you want to drive people to a landing page, make them submit a survey or a poll or use an electronic coupon or voucher. When you do so, try to shorten your links using a link shortened service if your SMS marketing platform is not offering this service.

Pay attention to laws and regulations

Do not bombard your recipients by messages that are not useful to them. Make it clear that they can stop receiving texts from you at any time by always offering an opt out path on your messages. An easy and obvious opt out mechanism protects your reputation, makes your company look legit and saves you money by not wasting texts.

Make it personal and exclusive

Humanize your SMS to boost engagement. Include in your SMS the name of the recipient or any other relevant personalized information.

Size matters

You should be careful with your SMS size as you will be charged for it. For cost efficiency we recommend to only use the Latin alphabet and here is why:

By definition, SMS messages can contain 140 bytes (140 bytes * 8 bits / byte = 1120 bits).

Short messages can be encoded using a variety of alphabets. Depending on which alphabet the subscriber has configured in his handset, the maximum individual SMS size is restricted to 160 7-bit characters, 140 8-bit characters or 70 16-bit characters.

GSM 7-bit alphabet support is the industry standard and is mandatory for the GSM handsets and mobile networks. Through this encoding you can send up to 160 characters with one SMS. Keep in mind that the |, ^, { , }, € , [ , ~, ] and \ characters are taking up twice the space (16 bits).

Characters in languages such as Greek, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or Cyrillic alphabet languages (Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, etc.) are also taking up 16 bits. This is happening because those alphabets must be encoded using the 16-bit UCS-2 character encoding known as Unicode.

Long messages will get segmented into 153 GSM (or 67 Unicode) character segments and sent individually. Every segment will be charged as a different SMS.

Check below how this is translated into actual sms size and cost (the second SMS is in Greek).

Bottom line is that Cyrillic, Greek, Chinese, Arab language marketers should be alerted as your text messages can cost and look different than what you were intending to.

Sanitize your list

Most probably your mobile number list will contain stale or non existing numbers. If you send a SMS to a non existing mobile number you will be charged for it from your SMS bulker.

A fresh and sanitized list means that you send less SMS. And when you send less, you pay less. Keeping your mobile number list 'real' is really good for your pocket.

SMS and Tellody

In Tellody we are sensitive about your pocket. We trying to protect you from writing non efficient SMS that will cost you a lot.

In our platform we are not allowing SMSs that are containing Unicode encoding. You will have to write your SMS using only the GSM 7-bit characters. By doing this Tellody ensures that your SMS will be 160 characters long.

Especially for the Greek language, Tellody is transforming all characters to capitals (capital Greek is part of the GSM 7-bit encoding and will not cost you extra) and removing all accent marks in order to construct the SMS in the most cost efficient format.

You write this (costs 3 SMS if you send it in a Greek supporting encoding):

We send this (costs only 1 SMS):

On top to the above, we will help you sanitize your recipient list.

Our algorithms block text messaging to mobile numbers that are proven invalid or non existing. In this way you send SMS only to real people. Your list is smaller, you send less SMSs and when you send less, you pay less.

It Tellody we shorten your SMS links to a minimum, trying to make your whole SMS shorter. Tellody SMS links are of this format: http://101.tld.vc/u/8tig.

Learn more about Tellody's SMS capabilities.

Test it before you send it

Check for typos and unintended auto corrections. Before blasting the text message to your contacts, send it to yourself to see how it is delivered, especially if you are not using the Latin alphabet.

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