How to text customers: 12 texting best practices

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Business text messaging is a versatile tool with a wide range of applications across your organization. Once you’ve decided how to incorporate texting into your communication strategy, the next step is to start sending messages effectively.

Because business text messaging is such a new channel, it can be difficult to know where to get started. Even after you learn how to send a text, you still have to ensure your texts will be effective.

Read on to learn how to message customers, then how to level up those messages through 12 texting best practices.

How to send business text messages

How can you send business text messages when you haven’t done it before? All you really need is a phone. But you’ll also need a way to tie SMS data to the rest of your communications data. In many cases, you’ll need to turn to a business text messaging app or a text messaging service for business for those capabilities.

Texting customers from a single business phone

You can use a dedicated business mobile or smartphone to text customers, but that can lead to some challenges. For example, only one team member can text at a time. You won’t have a reliable way to track metrics or compare them to your other communications data. You’ll also have limited ability to control the security of your business phone and the texts within it.

Texting from your landline

It’s easy to set up business texting if you have a landline, toll free, or VoIP number. All you need is help from a business texting services provider. They will text-enable your number after you make your request, separating SMS capabilities from your voice capabilities. Afterwards, when leads and customers message your number, their messages will end up in your SMS platform.

Using a business text messaging app

If you have a team of two or more people, using a tool gives you special features to seamlessly communicate with your customers. Business text messaging apps help you send, receive, and organize messages. They offer security features, like roles and permissions. Finally, they offer efficiency features that empower you to manage many incoming and outgoing texts.

How to get started with a business text messaging platform

Getting started with business text messaging is easy. There are five basic steps.

  1. Choose your business texting service

    First you need to choose how you’ll text customers. We recommend using a business text messaging app so you can capitalize on its team-centric features. Ensure the app lets you accept messages from a wide variety of messaging services. It should offer SMS security features and efficiency tools, too. Finally, the app should allow you to sync your SMS contacts quickly.

  2. Text-enable your landline (if necessary)

    If you already have a business line that you want customers to text, you need to text-enable your number. Your business texting services provider should take care of the details after you fill out a form or two.

  3. Publicize your messaging entry points

    Customers need to know they can message you before they can start conversations with your business. Place your messaging entry points, including your business SMS number and links to your other messaging channels (e.g., Facebook and Instagram Messenger), on your website and social media accounts. Include them on marketing newsletters and customer service emails. Remember to activate your Google Business Messages and Apple Messages for Business accounts.

  4. Set up auto-responses

    Your business texting platform makes it easy to automate texts. Within the platform, you choose a trigger, like a certain keyword or key phrase. Then, you choose the action, like sending an SMS template. When your platform detects the keyword, it will automatically send your text. Start by setting up a during-hours auto response that lists your average response time. You can also set up a different auto reply for after business hours that lets them know when your team is back in action.

  5. Start texting customers

    Once your customers know they can text your team, you’ll start receiving incoming messages in your shared inbox. You can also send mass texts to lists of opted-in contacts and create SMS campaigns.


12 best practices for sending texts

Once you’re all set up, it’s time to start writing and sending your messages. (Check out our business texting examples for inspiration.) Use these texting best practices to form stronger relationships and skyrocket engagement.

List of 12 business texting best practices

Get opt ins before you text

One of the best ways to build customer trust is to make sure they actually want to receive your messages before you send them. Ensuring recipients have opted in is also one of the TCPA’s main tenets. Carriers require you to have a documentable opt-in process, such as filling out a form. Your business texting software should offer opt-in management tools to help with this.

Take a deep dive with our SMS compliance ebook.

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Add an opt-out sentence to each message

Another tenet of the TCPA is that you need to let customers unsubscribe at any time. Carriers require businesses that text to include an opt-out message at least one time to every number they communicate with. The final sentence in this text is an example of an opt-out statement:

Only send relevant and engaging content

You can only send the kinds of texts your customers opt in for. For example, if a customer opts in by texting your customer service team, you can only text them about that initial question. If they opt into a spring SMS marketing campaign, you can only text them about that specific campaign.

Keep it snappy

Many customers turn to texting because of its brevity. Write short texts, saving complex content for emails. Don’t be too formal, either; texting is a casual channel. Use the same friendly and polite tone you’d use if you were talking to a new neighbor.

Personalize your texts

The more personal your texts, the more likely they’ll resonate with your recipients. Reference customers’ history if you’re answering a service question, and include their names in any SMS marketing messages. Even when you’re sending messages to a list, you can personalize mass texts with tools like templates. (More on templates coming up.)

Segment lists

Segment your contacts into SMS lists to the greatest extent possible. The smaller the list of customers you text, the better you can target your messaging. There are limitless possibilities—consider separating lists by location, loyalty status, and interest level.

Be conversational

Conversational messaging is a texting strategy that emphasizes one-on-one chats with customers. These chats help teams build stronger relationships with customers, leading to more loyalty—and conversions—over time.

Consider timing

The TCPA mandates some aspects of timing. For example you can’t text at odd hours—before 8 am and after 9 pm in your recipients’ time zone. Additionally, consider when your customers might be busy or less receptive to messages. (There’s a good chance they’ll be in traffic at 5 pm on a Monday.)

Use templates

SMS templates are a must-have for one-to-many texts; you’ll create a template, leaving spaces for custom fields, then select a list and send. You can also use templates in one-to-one conversations. They will help you respond to frequently asked questions faster.

Set up basic automations

Templates are a key ingredient in automations, too. The first automations you’ll want to set up are auto-responses. Both during-hours and after-hours SMS auto-responses set expectations with customers, letting them know when they can expect your team to get in touch.

Integrate with apps

Data is a hot commodity, and a critical ingredient in text personalization. Your business SMS platform should offer SMS integrations that let you share data and even create cross-platform automations with your favorite business apps, from Salesforce to Slack.

Try new AI tools

Enhance your SMS conversations with the latest AI texting technology. These tools can translate your pre-written messages in real time, alter their tone, or even auto-correct them—while preserving your authentic voice.

Long-term success with SMS

With these best practices for text messaging, you’re equipped to message your customers effectively. However, it’s important to remember that mastering the art of business texting is an ongoing process.

To continue improving, consider monitoring KPIs with your business texting platform’s built-in SMS reports. For example, you can track the open rates of two SMS marketing campaigns to compare strategies. You can also request feedback through chat-based SMS surveys. Customers will be happy to tell you what you can improve on—and their insights can provide valuable guidance on areas for improvement.

By embracing a mindset of continuous learning, you can ensure that your SMS strategy remains effective and engaging for years to come.

Explore more advanced business text messaging best practices on our blog.