Any time you send a text to a large list of customers, both your customers and your carrier are on the lookout for signs that this message may be spam.
Customers may unsubscribe from your SMS list if they think your text is spam, reducing your ability to stay in touch with them. If your carrier thinks your text is spam, they may even filter it out so it isn’t delivered at all.
To avoid writing texts that may be perceived as spam, there are some pitfalls to avoid—and some best practices to ensure you’re providing value in your messages. Let’s dive in.
What Are Spam Text Messages?
Spam text messages are simply messages your customers don’t want. More customers than ever are receiving texts they perceive as spam. The average American received 14.7 spam texts each month in 2020.
If customers don’t think your messages provide value or seem legitimate, they will probably unsubscribe. In addition, the TCPA protects customers from spam. It’s illegal to send them texts they don’t want. Carriers will often also take measures to protect customers, too, filtering out texts if they include what they consider markers of spam.
So how do you avoid writing spam text messages? Here are five key ways.
Nix the Ads and Coupons
When it comes to email lists, 17% of list members will unsubscribe from emails that feel “spammy or over promotional.” SMS customers feel the same way. They don’t want to receive more ads from a brand they’re already well aware of and have probably ordered from before. They want to make authentic connections with the brands they love. They also want to manage their orders and services through a convenient channel. That’s probably why they signed up for your SMS service in the first place.
To reduce the chances of your customers seeing your texts as over-promotional, don’t send customers any texts that mention:
- Coupons that list percentages off or use dates
- Ongoing sales, especially if it mentions percentages off
- Direct advertisements of products or services
Pay close attention to numbers or special figures (like percentage signs). Carriers’ algorithms are known to filter them out.
In some cases, customers sign up for communication lists because they’re specifically looking to access valuable content that teaches them something new. They may also sign up to take advantage of your excellent SMS customer service. That makes sense—it’s fast, convenient, and lets them connect with real people instead of bots. Prioritize answering all incoming messages, and make sure your outgoing messages provide real value.
Focus on sending:
- Customer service follow-ups (including order and ticket follow-ups)
- Chat-based SMS surveys
- Product tips
- Subscription or service updates
- Appointment reminders
- Delivery updates
These customer-centric messages won’t be mistaken as spam text messages. Make sure you address any customer responses with conversational marketing, a strategy that focuses on introducing customers to your products through authentic, person-to-person chats.
Make It Personal
SMS is a personal channel. It’s what customers use to connect with friends, family, and their favorite brands. If they sign up for your SMS service, that means they consider your brand as a trusted source that they know and love. If you don’t take this chance to personalize messages, customers may look unfavorably on your brand. Luckily, if you’re sending mass texts, you likely have access to some level of personalization features. Use your texting platform to personalize your texts so customers feel like you’re giving them the individual attention they expect from their other SMS conversations.
Personalize texts with custom fields like:
- Customer names
- Customer loyalty statuses
- Customer order or interest details
- Team member signatures or introductions
These small touches let customers know that an individual on your team is reaching out directly to them.
Mind the Details
You want customers to know your texts come from a reliable, trusted brand. If they include any errors or overly casual language, they may come off as unprofessional. Spam text messages often include these indicators that they’re from unreliable sources. Customers (and carriers) are good at picking them out.
When writing texts, be sure to:
- Check for correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation
- Avoid acronyms (unless you’re replying to a text in which customers used them first)
- Write in proper lower and uppercase (never use all caps except when listing opt in or opt out keywords like STOP)
These details may be small, but they’re important. Customers are particularly wary of abbreviations in texts from brands and exclamation points. If customers take a look at your text and think it looks spammy, they may delete it without ever reading it.
Text Customers the Way You’d Text Your Neighbor
The majority of customers prefer informal communications with customer service teams. This is especially the case with texting, which is a casual, personalized channel. Customers expect to connect with a person when they sign up for your SMS service. Be sure they know that each and every of your messages was sent from a (nice) person.
To create a positive, person-to-person experience, be sure to:
- Introduce yourself or use a signature in initial texts
- Include polite phrases (e.g., “thank you,” “happy to help!”)
- Write in a casual, yet correct tone, like you would with a new neighbor.
Crafting all of your messages like you’d write a text to a neighbor is a great way to ensure customers have a welcoming, positive experience.
The Bottom Line
Avoiding writing spam text messages doesn’t just help you sidestep carriers’ spam filters. It empowers you to effectively engage your audience, making lasting connections with them. Ultimately, with help from these five steps, you’re well on your way to successfully building strong customer relationships.
Want more tips to help you avoid writing spam text messages? Check out our blog.