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Why You Need to Stick with 160 Characters for Your SMS Marketing Content

April 18, 2017 10:50 am by

There are many factors involved in developing dynamite content for your texting campaign. You need to have the precise words that detail the right message so that you get the response you want. However, this can be difficult because it is a short-form communication channel.

With text messages’ limit of 160 characters or less, you might feel as though you do not have enough space to convey your message. However, with the right focus and practice, it is possible to send out strong content that elicits the response you want.

Why the 160 Character Limit?

Text messages have a long history of sticking to the 160-character limits.

When text messaging emerged as a communication channel, the amount of data determined as ideal for sending through this method was equivalent to 160 characters. This made it easy to fit within the tight bandwidth limits for cell phones at the time while still being sufficient to get across a message. Today, technology has evolved, but the size of a single SMS message remains the same. Each message is sent out in 160 character chunks, no matter how large it is.

But Don’t Cell Phones Send Long Messages Now?

Newer cell phones, especially smartphones, appear to have the capacity to send longer messages, so some businesses feel as though they can disregard the character limit. However, the data is still sent out in chunks of 160 characters. Although it might not seem to matter whether a message is sent as one 160-character chunk or more, since smartphones show the larger message, there might be problems with messages over the character limit.

The biggest problem? The pieces could be sent in the wrong order, especially if there is a glitch of some kind during the sending process. This can easily create confusion for the recipient. As a business, you want to avoid this not only because it might not make sense to your customer, but also because it appears unprofessional.

Why Is the Limit Still Important?

Sticking to the limit is not just about avoiding glitches and confusion; it is also about respecting your subscribers. Not all of your subscribers have unlimited texting and data plans, which means that some of them might have to pay for every message they receive. Therefore, you do not want to send them any more messages than they expect.

Additionally, texting has a reputation as a short-form channel. Although you might get away with sending long texts to friends and family members, it is still thought of as a medium for quick and easy messages. Therefore, people expect businesses to send them short messages when they sign up for an SMS marketing program. They may be shocked to receive long messages from you, and this might turn them off of the program — and maybe even your business.

Tips for Creating Short Text Messages 

By following a few key guidelines, you can easily create short and sweet messages that work.

Creating short messages probably comes more naturally to you than you think, thanks to the popularity of Twitter and other short-form marketing channels. Follow a few key guidelines to help you to create strong content that remains within the 160-character limit:

  • Focus on one subject
  • Use active speech
  • Know the objective of the campaign
  • Avoid text speak and abbreviations
  • Stick to the information only — no fluff!
  • Do not forget a call to action
  • Use shortened links

When you develop your content for your texting campaign, do not try to do too much in each message. Instead, focus on one message and one objective. This will help you to be able to keep the message short. Additionally, cut out any fluff, but make sure you still have a strong call to action. Your CTA might actually be the majority of the message — and this is fine. That being said, you also want to leave some room for personality and style, just make sure it follows your brand voice. The content should be attractive and motivating, but with a strong focus on the barebones details. You can always include a short link to a webpage for additional information.

When you create your messages, avoid relying on abbreviations and text speak to stay within the 160 characters. This not only appears unprofessional, but it can also confuse some of your customers. Some abbreviations, like state names, might be appropriate, but for the most part, you want to write out the whole word.

You will find out once you start writing text messages that 160 characters is enough room to create the content you want. It might take some practice to pare down your message so that it is short and sweet, but it is well worth it once you see the returns from a strong texting campaign.

Try GroupTexting for free and start developing your short-form content for your text message marketing campaign.

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