How to Send SMS that Aren't Annoying... [2024]

April 16, 2024 | By Sam Pelton
Two women texting

TL;DRSMS can be a highly effective tool to reach your audience, but in order not to annoy your recipients, you’ll need to:

(1) Get a clear opt-in from your recipients

(2) Offer unique value that they won’t be able to find through other channels

(3) Write copy that really focuses on and speaks to audience’s feelings and desires

(4) Make sure you don’t send too many messages

You can see the potential for texting to reach more people.

After all, people are much more likely to see and read their texts than, say, email.

And that higher read rate is because SMS is much more personal and direct than other communication channels.

But that raises the question—will people get annoyed to receive my texts?

Well… yes, they will. If you do it wrong.

Don’t misunderstand me—the vast majority of consumers seem interested in receiving text messages from brands, according to one report.

But you want to make sure to do it in a way that your audience actually finds valuable.

So this article will walk you through some ways you can make sure you’re doing SMS right—so that you’re not being annoying.

  1. Get a Clear Opt-In

The first step to making sure you’re not being annoying is to get a clear opt-in from your recipients.

If people clearly opt in to your messages, they will expect to receive them.

And if they’re expecting to receive them, they’ll be less likely to be annoyed when your message shows up on their phone.

  1. Offer Real Value—Beyond What You Provide in Emails

With SMS you have a direct line into someone’s personal phone.

As mentioned, this is much more personal than other communication channels.

So you should take the privilege of showing up on someone’s phone and use it to provide real value to that person - so that it’s worth it for them to continue to receive your texts.

One Reddit user put it this way:

“Texts that have a sense of direct urgency I think can be effective. But if you’re just offering me discounts I can (and will) get via email…. Meh. Or new products that I will see in other ads. Meh. If a customer is letting you in on their phone (slide into their DMs if you will) then reward them with something cool and special.”

What could that “something cool and special” be?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Exclusive discounts that aren’t available elsewhere
  • First access to limited-stock products or limited-access services
  • Inside access to something

In other words, make your text messages really worthwhile to your recipients.

  1. Write Copy that Showcases Your Audience’s Needs, Desires, and Feelings

Marketers have a problem.

We want to fall into the age-old marketing trap of writing copy that talks all about ourselves and our product or service.

“We help businesses do xyz…”

“Our features include…”

“We offer XYZ…”

Sometimes that’s OK. But it’s better if our copy focuses on the audience—what they want, what they feel, what they get.

If your SMS copy is hyper-focused on your audience, based on real research you’ve conducted on the voice of your customer, it will resonate better with your audience.

And so it won't be annoying.

  1. Don’t Oversend

You usually can’t get away with sending a lot of SMS.

Because SMS is more personal and more direct than other communication channels, it can also be more intrusive.

And in most cases, people don’t want to receive a lot of texts from brands—no matter how much they appreciate the brand.

I have a personal anecdote about this that may be a helpful illustration…

I am obsessed with accumulating books on Christian theology and Christian living (sometimes to my wife’s chagrin as we’re running out of space in our bookshelves).

So naturally, when a major online Christian book retailer offered free shipping if I signed up for their text alerts, I signed up.

And at first I appreciated receiving notices on my phone when there were sales and discounts.

But the texts kept coming. And coming. And coming.

While we at Mobile Text Alerts would generally recommend sending 2–4 texts per month, this brand will regularly send 5–6 texts per week.

Normally, I would be the perfect target to receive these types of texts. But this cadence is just too much, and unfortunately does not make me excited to receive their texts.

Although I haven't gone as far as unsubscribing, I muted notifications for their texts and barely notice the messages anymore.

So the point of the story is… if you don’t want to annoy your audience, don’t oversend.

What Steps Can You Take to Make Sure You're Providing Value?

So which of the above best practices resonates the most for you?

Do you need to refine your opt-in processes? Offer unique value in your texts? Shift to an audience focus in your copy? Limit your sending cadence?

Pick one of those areas and make an effort to grow in that area this month.

And stop worrying about being annoying.


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