Rule #1: Ask your customers

Unlike in email marketing, you cannot buy phone numbers to populate your text subscriber list. In text marketing, you have to build it yourself.

The first rule to building your opt in list is to ask your customers to opt in. And never enroll anybody’s phone number to your list without his or her permission. Because most people keep their mobile phones close by, receiving unsolicited text messages is considered unwelcome and intrusive.

Rule #2: Be interesting

Maintain the size of your SMS list by sending interesting and engaging text messages. Send out texts on a regular basis—you want your brand to always be in your customers’ minds. But do not send them too often or you run the risk of annoying your subscribers.

Do not spam. Don’t alienate your customers by sending out trivial and unimportant text messages that they find no use for. Never send the same message twice.

Here’s a text message marketing idea: Customers are more likely to continue subscribing to your marketing SMS when they know that it’s a gateway to exclusive information, offers and discounts. Let them be the first to know about upcoming sales or send them exclusive text vouchers. Make it interactive by providing them with a special SMS short code they can text to get these special offers. Your text marketing provider can set this up for you.

Rule #3: Be simple and direct

Text marketing messages have a 160-character limit. This means that to get your customers’ attention, your messages need to be simple and direct.

It’s best to use action words to create the most impact. Don’t just give out special discount vouchers or inform your customers about a new product—tell them to SAVE, GRAB and BUY!

Rule #4: Let them know if it’s costing them

There are advantages to an interactive text marketing campaign. However, it can be a source of bill shock, which may cause subscribers to opt out and your list to whittle down. It is your responsibility to let your subscribers know how much each text to a short code will cost. Always include the cost of using these codes at the end of each text.

Rule #5: Allow them to opt out

Be fair and respect the privacy of your subscribers—allow them to opt out of the service whenever they want to do so. Each of your marketing texts should include an opt out command.