Success of your SMS marketing campaign depends on your text copy. In 160-characters or less, you must be able to get a message across, convince your subscribers to take heed and, hopefully, make it interesting and appealing enough for it to go viral.

Here are some copywriting rules to live by to better text message marketing.

Stick to one message

Don’t cram all of your marketing messages in one text. It’s easy to confuse your customers with multiple messages, especially since they’re reading your marketing communications from a small mobile phone screen.

Here’s an example of what you should not do:

Bad copy: Buy a lunch entrée & get FREE drink on Tues. Dine with 2 friends & get FREE antipasti on Wed.

If your customers are meticulous, they’re likely to notice that the free drink and free antipasti are two different promotions running on two different days. But what if they only gave your message a passing glance? Imagine having to explain to your customers when they come in on Tuesday or Wednesday with 2 friends expecting a free drink AND a free appetizer.

It’s a lot better to stick to one message for each text, and save all the other promotions and deals you’d like to share on the next one.

Good copy: Come to our 1-day sale on Friday. 50% off on ALL items!

Or, if you’re running multiple deals happening at the same time, direct them to your website or social media page which contains all of the details.

Better copy: Enjoy our SALE weekend Mar 9 & 10! Go to for SALE catalogue!

Make it personal

Your subscribers enrolled in your SMS marketing list because they want some level of exclusivity—whether it’s being first to know about special deals and discounts, getting loyalty rewards or being offered a free token or a gift. Up the ante and make them feel even more special by addressing them by name in your marketing text messages.

Bad copy: Dear loyal customer, enjoy dessert at lunch for FREE!

Better copy: Hi Lisa, show this message and enjoy 50% off on mani-pedi services!

How to do it? Some text message marketing services provide mail-merge type of features that will allow you to do this. Have them set this up for you.

Don’t use text slang

Keep it short, but don’t use shortened text or web slang that only your 14-year old niece can understand. You want them to understand what you’re asking them to do—and not frustrate them for not being able to decipher a message that appears foreign to them.

Bad copy: Big SALE on Fri. Dnt B L8! C U soon!

Good copy: Show this text & enjoy 50% off on spa services.