The Challenge of 160 Character Messages

posted by Chris Valentine

Business SMS  is the way forward for companies that want to market in a unique way. However, getting a list of numbers together is just the first step of the process. Next, you need to know how to deal with the fact that you can only write a 160 character message, and you want to get a lot in there. How do you do that?

Starting with the Positive

Although you may feel that it is impossible to get a lot of information in 160 characters. However, if you are capable of writing a Tweet, you should be able to do it. In fact, a Tweet is only 140 characters. And what about radio advertising? You have to get a message across in just 30 seconds. Most of the times, there are less than 70 words in those advertisements as well. So yes, it is hard and you have to think about your message, but it can be done. Here’s how.

How to Write a 160 Character Message

The way to see a business SMS message is as an article headline. What you want to do is create something that gets people excited, making them want to know more. That is what you would do with an article as well, which has to have a great title. Below are five ways in which you can do this.

  1. Think of an Arrow, not a Shotgun

With a shotgun, you shoot in a general direction. An arrow, however, has a very specific, singular target. The aim of any type of marketing message is action, and preferably within no more than 20 minutes. This means you have to be grab the attention of your reader, make it very clear what you want them to do, and make it very easy for people to do that.

  1. Forget Features, It’s all about Benefits

If you have ever been involved in sales, you will know that what attracts people is not the list of features, but rather how something is going to make their life better. A business SMS doesn’t create demand, it ensures that people who already want something know where to get it. You don’t have the space in 160 characters, to add a call to action as well.

  1. A Short Call to Action Is what Is Needed

Your entire message should be a call to action, and if you keep that specific, it can be very short. For instance, start your message with “Call 800-555-5555 now!” This is a very obvious message, and it only takes 21 characters. This means you still have 139 characters to fill in. Starting by writing your specific call to action, which HAS to be included, means you know exactly how much space you have left.

  1. Don’t Abbreviate

Don’t try to be cool with the kids and use “lol”, “idk”, “fml”, or any of those abbreviations. Also, do not write “2” instead of “to”, “u” instead of “you”, or “tnx” instead of “thanks”. It doesn’t make you look professional at all.

  1. Test and Test Again

Always write the same message in different ways, and send it out to different people. This tells you what approach people like best, making your next campaign even more successful.

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