No-one likes spam in their email inbox. And what’s true for emails goes for text messages too. Even when users have opted in to your SMS list, certain types of content look more spammy than others. There are a few major telltale signs that text messages might be a waste of customers’ time, and they all come down to use of language. Avoid these language pitfalls and you avoid turning your customers off once and for all:
Hype. In 2014, consumers – especially young consumers – are sophisticated at spotting the sort of empty, platitudinous superlatives favored by less savvy marketing departments. Words like “awesome” and “unbelievable”. Phrases like “unbeatable offer” and “best in the business”. This type of language just looks like spam to your customer, so if your latest discount or promotion is truly “awesome” (i.e. holds value), let it speak for itself. Instead of overstating your case through the use of hyperbole, try some good old-fashioned sincerity. Think carefully about your word choice. You can even try polling your customers to find how they prefer to be spoken to, and then tailor different messages to different lists of people, according to their language preferences. Provide value, and communicate it clearly – they won’t believe the hype.
Abbreviations. In the world of business, it can be very easy to get caught up in the abbreviations you use daily to save time, and forget that the vast majority of the public don’t talk the same language. Keep the abbreviations inside the office, as they will only cause confusion and, ultimately, lower conversion rates. The rule of thumb in text message marketing is: be concise but clear.
Jargon. Similarly, a great way to alienate customers in the space of a single SMS is by adopting the sort of jargon only understood by industry insiders. Stick to the conventions of widely-understood English and you won’t lost customers unnecessarily. Jargon is not only confusing, it can come over as unprofessional. Choose your words carefully, show respect towards the customer and you will be more likely to retain their business.
A good way to remain alert for common language pitfalls creeping into your content is to conduct a testing campaign. Run a trial text campaign to get feedback. Ask receivers if they have trouble understanding your message, or are in any way turned off by the choice of language. Once you’ve pooled this data, conduct another campaign with your adjustments. Don’t dive off the deep end – be patient and it will pay dividends. You may have to go through several versions of your text campaign before you’re ready to launch your final campaign, but it will remove the guesswork out of content creation and let you know which type of text is the most effective.