The Do’s & Don’ts of Text Message Promotions

The Do’s & Don’ts of Text Message Promotions

Every day more businesses are utilizing text messaging to bring their customers back time and time again. Texting is an undeniably effective way of instantly communicating promotions and offers to your customers while they are “on the go”. In fact, 98% of text messages are opened and 83% are seen within just 3 minutes. The statistics are exciting because it means that a great majority of your customers will actually see your promotion and therefore are more likely to take advantage of your offer. But you must also ensure your message to them is well thought out and clearly conveys all the crucial details you want them to know.

The next time you are sending a text message promotion, try running through this checklist of DO’s & DON’TS. Doing so may make the difference in losing customers or retaining them.

The Do's & Don'ts of Text Message Promotions


Send at a Relevant Time

It’s easy for me to ignore and forget a Happy Hour promotional text message that’s sent to me at 8 am. Why? Because I, like most people, am thinking about everything I need to focus on when starting my day – not Happy Hour. You know your customers, so think of when they’re most likely to respond to your message based on your business.

For example:

  • Restaurant promoting lunch? Try 11AM, when stomachs are grumbling.
  • Bar / Restaurant promoting Happy Hour? Try 4:45PM, when employees are finishing up their long day.
  • Nightclub promoting a live music event for Saturday? Try Thursday at 6PM and again the day of, around noon.

Know Your Audience & Make it Exclusive

The more customized your message is to your audience, the better. For instance, if you received a text message promotion about makeup, but you’re a male, you would probably immediately unsubscribe. If you’re able to target specific people in your customer database and design your campaign specifically around them, they’re more likely to respond and visit your business.

If you send the same promotions that you offer every day or every week, the value of your text promotions drops to near zero. If customers see no additional value in being on your text messaging list, they will likely unsubscribe and you’ve lost potential business. So make sure the offer is for members of your text list only to elicit better redemption and retention.

Tell Them Who You Are

It seems simple and obvious, but it happens more than you would believe – Businesses sometimes forget to include their name in their promotions and instantly lose all value that their promotion could have provided. Double check every time you send and if you have enough characters left in your message, consider including a short-link that has directions to your business.

Grab Attention with Your Offer

The main purpose of sending a promotional text message is for your customers to return to your business and spend money on your product. So to give them the push they need to come back, your offer has to be enticing. Don’t forget to make sure the offer is still profitable for you, though!

I know it is fast and easy to send the same daily specials or offer the same free addons, but avoid this practice at all costs because the customer will be jaded. Ultimately, if customers get the same information and nothing special they will unsubscribe because you are offering them no value with your promotions.

As be cautious to not use capital letters, or repetitive marketing keywords such as “FREE” – as your message will either be flagged as spam by filters and if it’s not, your customers’ “spam filters” subconsciously will kick on leading to your message to be ignored.

Create Urgency

Don’t be afraid to tell your customers exactly what you want them to do, and when. For example, “Valid Today only, so visit us before 9pm.” This is effective because the customer knows exactly what to do to take advantage of your offer. If you leave the offer open-ended, customers have no idea when the promotion begins or ends or if they need to do anything special to redeem. This confusion usually leads to inaction or unhappy customers that try to redeem promotions that are no longer valid.

Professional Language and Mistakes

Again, it may seem obvious but check for spelling, grammar and never use slang. Having spelling or grammatical errors in your business’ text message promotions reduces your credibility and makes for an unprofessional image. Plus having a clear, error and slang free message avoids unnecessary confusion.

Short and Sweet

Text messaging gives you just enough space to get a great promotion to your customers if you avoid unnecessary details. Try focusing only on the following:

  • Who – the offer is for (Exclusivity – i.e. “Text VIP’s Only!”)
  • What – is your offer (Grab attention – i.e. “50% off”)
  • When – is your offer valid (Urgency – i.e. “Today Only”)
  • Where – is the offer valid (Business name – i.e. “Burger Brothers”)

After a few times of running through this checklist, the process will become second nature and you can be confident that your text message promotions are solid each time you click “Send.”

Rob Woodward III

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