There's a lot of confusion out there about how text message marketing works. That's why we've created this SMS marketing checklist.

Experts at Emotive have been researching the text message marketing industry and partnering with clients to track which tactics work and which ones don't. So here's our full list of the dos and don'ts in text message marketing.

SMS Marketing Checklist: 25 Dos & Don'ts of Text Message Marketing

SMS marketing is fast becoming one of the most reliable ways to engage consumers. Because of our smartphone-oriented culture, text messages enjoy a 98% open rate on average, compared to email where open rates rarely exceed 20%.

That said, we don't just want consumers to read texts - we want them to engage. Marketers using an SMS marketing strategy should carefully think about the kind of engagement that will generate the strongest ROI.

Source: Anchor Mobile

Your organization can use this SMS marketing checklist to launch or calibrate your text message marketing approach. If you have questions at the end, don't hesitate to reach out to one of our agents.

10 Don'ts of Text Message Marketing

In the early days of SMS marketing, spammers and scammers created controversy over the legitimacy of text messages to promote a brand or cause. Thankfully, content marketers have been able to study scammer techniques to understand what consumers like and dislike about the medium.

Here is an SMS marketing checklist containing the ten "don'ts" of text messaging.

#1 - Don't use shared short code.

SMS short code is a common approach to text message marketing. With dedicated short code, organizations can reliably send text blasts to thousands of texts at a time.

However, dedicated short code is expensive. To hack the cost, some businesses are reverting to shared short code. Providers share a single 6-digit number with multiple clients to distribute the cost affordably.

But shared short code risks having your 6-digit number blocked by some or all mobile carriers. If one brand using the short code violates marketing regulations, authorities will shut your number down entirely.

#2 - Don't use gray routing methods.

Gray routing sounds good initially because you get to use a standard long code number (10-digit number). Using 10-digit numbers provides consumers with a more personal feel than do 6-digit short codes.

But cell phone carriers have two SMS highways - one for person-to-person (P2P) and the other for software-to-person (A2P) messaging. Text message marketing uses a software platform to create and send texts to recipients.

Gray routing uses standard long code and sends your messages on P2P (rather than A2P) channels. While gray routing is not technically illegal, it is a shady technique that deceives carriers and recipients.

#3 - Don't text customers without their permission.

Digital marketing in the 21st Century is shifting to a customer-centric philosophy. Targeted messaging and opt-in-based platforms are critical to connecting with audiences.

As such, your marketing team must take opt-in, opt-out standards seriously. Sending text messages to customers without their permission could result in soured relationships and fines.

#4 - Don't buy phone number lists.

Despite the advancements in SMS marketing laws and techniques, list builders still dupe clients into buying phone numbers. Unless you are telemarketing, these lists are bad news for your text message marketing - our advice is to steer clear of third-parties selling phone number lists.

#5 - Don't make your texts always about sales.

High open and conversion rates in your SMS marketing can tempt you to focus solely on generating sales. However, you can bore or annoy your customers if all you do is hustle them for money.

#6 - Don't send messages without a link and a call to action (CTA).

Tracking your text message marketing success means you need to make it easy for recipients to respond. A critical piece to your SMS marketing checklist is always to include a traceable link and a clear call to action (CTA).

#7 - Don't use SMS marketing without establishing clear goals and key performance indicators (KPI).

Some marketers jump into a new channel without defining their goals. In comes as no surprise that those same marketers abandon perfectly good tactics.

Marketing objectives help you measure ROI and effectiveness. Establishing your goals and building KPIs to achieve those goals is critical for text message marketing.

#8 - Don't overuse SMS blasts.

With today's SMS technology, there's no need to send text blasts every time. Consumers can tell the difference between a personalized text and a blast. Mix up your mass texts with some 2-way messaging.

#9 - Don't ignore abandoned carts.

For most e-commerce brands, abandoned carts are your "low hanging fruit." If you optimize your website to collect phone numbers, you can immediately reach out to customers who abandoned their carts to find out what happened.

Personal messaging tells you if a web visitor has questions about a product, shipping concerns, or a declined payment. Text follow-ups on abandoned carts can result in significant revenue boosts for your e-commerce business.

#10 - Don't abuse the text messaging medium.

Greed can sometimes cloud our judgment when we achieve success on a particular marketing channel. Keep your customers' wants and needs in mind as you scale your SMS marketing program.

If you see your conversions begin to shrink, it may be because you are harassing or annoying your customers. Investigate the issue to find out if you need to refine your tactics, messaging, or frequency.

Source: Smart Insights

15 Dos of Text Message Marketing

The success of a text message marketing strategy leans heavily upon tactics that are proven to work. Here are the top fifteen "dos" to add to your SMS marketing checklist.

#1 - Do use 10 DLC numbers for texting customers.

10DLC is the new preferred method for wholesome text message marketing. This A2P, 10-digit format allows you to send personalized messages that carriers are less likely to block.

#2 - Do optimize your website for text message opt-ins.

If a consumer is not ready to buy, they are often willing to submit a phone number for more information. Including phone number entries for purchases, newsletters, and free accounts will optimize your website for SMS marketing.

#3 - Do integrate your SMS marketing with social media.

Social media is a free and effective way to engage your target audience. By integrating your SMS with your social media marketing, you can create more ways for your customers to connect with your brand.

#4 - Do use 2-way personal messaging.

Personal messaging combines the best of AI and the human touch. We know that you don't have time to answer every question over text. But partnering with an SMS platform like Emotive will help you provide that white glove feel while saving you time and money.

2-way messaging allows you to ask and receive questions from your customers. They can redeem abandoned carts or alert you to UX design issues on your website.

#5 - Do use your text message marketing to create user-generated content.

Marketing ROI encompasses more than just sales. User-generated content (UGC) is critical to reaching more audiences online with authenticity. Using your SMS marketing to stimulate UGC (hashtags, social media posts/tags, shares, reviews, etc.) will break up the sales-driven approach and create excitement among your customers.

#6 - Do use promo and coupon codes.

When you are driving sales with your texts, promo and coupon codes are among the best ways to do so. Shrewdly incorporating coupon codes can not only drive more sales, but it can also increase your average transaction.

#7 - Do use recipient feedback to refine your products/services.

Thanks to 2-way messaging technology, you can collect feedback from customers that informs your developers. Consumer feedback can help you refine your deliverables and make your brand more accessible.

#8 - Do use recipient feedback to refine your SMS marketing strategy.

By measuring the quantity and quality of responses to your text messages, you can test different approaches and messaging. Analytics opens your eyes to critical feedback that will help you improve your text message marketing over time.

#9 - Do make sure that it's simple for recipients to opt-out.

While curating an extensive list of phone numbers is one way to measure success, your recipients must be able to opt-out easily. 

You want to send messages to those that want to hear from you. Annoying or harassing consumers is a great way to lower brand sentiment.

#10 - Do use contests and giveaways.

Text messages inviting consumers to participate in social media contests or product giveaways are great ways to increase engagement.

#11 - Do use text message conversations to guide your content marketing.

If you're looking for ideas to expand your web content, 2-way messaging can tell you which topics to target in your blog and social media posts.

#12 - Do measure engagement over vanity metrics.

On social media, vanity metrics are those numbers that do not intrinsically signal authentic engagement. For example, just because an influencer has thousands of followers and likes doesn't mean that those fans are engaged.

In SMS marketing, your vanity metrics could be things like the size of your number list and your text message open rate. By looking beyond these vanity metrics to measure text responses, link clicks, and user-generated content, you can get a more realistic view of how well your customers feel connected to your brand.

#13 - Do optimize your SMS marketing for improved deliverability.

Text message deliverability could be impacting your results. Using the right SMS platform, as well as taking extra care to collect the right numbers from consumers, can improve your deliverability.

For more information on optimizing deliverability, check out our guide, "An Overview of SMS Deliverability."

#14 - Do incorporate text message marketing into your omnichannel strategy.

Today's retail approach is increasingly more omnichannel. An omnichannel strategy means that your customers can find you everywhere all the time. Incorporating SMS marketing will enhance your omnichannel approach.

#15 - Do choose your SMS API carefully.

When selecting the right API for your text message marketing, pay attention to what kind of numbers (short code, long code, or 10DLC) your provider uses. Additionally, make sure that the API will properly integrate with your e-commerce technology.

Conclusion - Refining Your SMS Marketing Checklist

These "dos and don'ts" of text message marketing will help you take your strategy to the next level. We encourage you to add these suggestions to your SMS marketing checklist for maximum ROI.