Personalised SMS marketing: Guide to sending personalised SMS

Topic: How-to guides, SMS
graphic of a people and phones to represent SMS alerts

Personalised messages bring you closer to customers and can increase sales by as much as 10%…

SMS is one of the most immediate and direct marketing channels there is, and personalised SMS brings you even closer to your customers – helping you improve their experience, build relationships and increase sales by as much as 10%. Read our guide to learn why targeted SMS marketing is so effective, plus our top strategies for success.

What is personalised SMS?

SMS is a popular way for businesses to reach their customers with order updates, appointment reminders and promotions, among other things.

Personalised SMS is just what it sounds like – a text message containing key customer information, such as a person’s name, location or order number.

Used as part of your SMS marketing activities, it offers a simple and scalable way to connect with customers on a more familiar level. You could be sending a generic message to thousands of people but, with the addition of a first name alone, it will immediately look more engaging and trustworthy. 

Different types of personalised SMS

When it comes to different ways to personalise SMS messages, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Adding a first name is just the start, and you can get more creative depending on the customer data you hold. Messages that speak directly to a recipient’s needs, preferences or past interactions will usually perform well. 

Examples include:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Discounts sent around customers’ birthdays
  • Product recommendations based on purchase history
  • Reminders for products added to basket but not yet purchased
  • Alerts for products that are low in stock or newly available
  • Alerts based on location, such as a new branch opening or in-store event
  • Priority new season or sale access 
  • Discounts sent to tempt back lapsed customers

If you’re ready to supercharge your SMS, personalisation can help you to go a step further. RCS messaging (that’s rich communication services messaging) offers a more interactive mobile experience with greater functionality, including images, carousels and videos. Another exciting option is directing customers to a mobile-first SMS landing page that’s fully customised for them and branded for you.

Why SMS is an effective channel for personalisation

SMS messages are more likely to be seen by your customers than other channels like email, backed up by its 98% open rate. We’re all busy, but not too busy to check our phones: according to one report, we’re currently spending an average of 4.8 hours a day on our mobiles. 

Learn more: SMS Vs Email Marketing

Further, studies show that 72% of people will only engage with personalised messaging, viewing the content as more important and relevant. So it’s important to personalise your messages for your intended audience, too. 

Another factor to consider is time. Text messages can be sent instantly and, unlike emails, are generally opened within three minutes, making them ideal for time-sensitive information or promotions. The short format also makes them easier to skim-read and respond to. 

What are the benefits of using personalised SMS?

Anyone in any doubt as to the value of targeted SMS marketing just needs to scroll through the stats: text messages have high open rates and are read within minutes. 

This high level of engagement translates into revenue, too. A special offer or exclusive sneak-peek creates a sense of urgency and can drive a one-off sale – and if your communications are consistently useful and relevant, you’ll build long-term loyalty too.

The more personalised marketing is, the more cost effective it will be. Rather than spending your marketing budget on reaching a broad audience, you can focus on sending the right messages, at the right times, to the people most likely to respond.

Besides being highly targeted, text messaging has further benefits for marketers. Content requirements are simple, especially when templates are used, and campaigns can be deployed quickly. It’s also easy to track and report on engagement within your communications platform.

Personalised SMS best practices 

If you’d like to talk about the role personalised marketing SMS could play in your next campaign, get in touch – we’ll be happy to share our ideas and recommendations. In the meantime, here are three basic best-practice rules to follow when getting started.

Keep messages concise 

We’ve touched on this already, but the brevity of the text format is part of its appeal. You’re aiming for 160 characters or less, so get to the point quickly, keep the tone light and friendly and don’t forget a clear call to action, such as ‘Shop now’ or ‘Reply yes’. For inspiration, take a look at our template library.

Easy opt out

Getting customers’ explicit consent before sending SMS – and giving them the right to easily opt out if they change their mind – is non-negotiable. Several regulations apply in the UK, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act (DPA). It’s best practice to include an opt-out message in every text to remind customers they can unsubscribe at any time by replying with the word ‘STOP’ or ‘UNSUBSCRIBE’. 

Learn more: SMS Compliance (UK): A Guide to SMS Marketing Regulations

Send during business hours 

Again, this is a case of compliance as well as good manners. In the UK, brands can’t send SMS marketing messages after 8pm or before 9am. Research showed that the best time to send marketing SMS in the UK is between 1pm and 5pm.

Should my business use personalised SMS?

Personalised marketing equals a better customer experience and a higher ROI. And, with our reliance on mobile phones, there’s no better way to reach someone than by delivering a short, targeted message directly to the device they’re holding in their hand or carrying in their pocket. 

If your business isn’t using personalised SMS yet, it could be an effective and affordable way to connect with your customer base and amplify your marketing messages.
Ready to learn more? Read our guide to SMS marketing or talk to one of our experts.

Author Avatar
Emily Herbertson

Emily is a marketing executive for Esendex UKI and has worked in a variety of content creation and strategy roles in both B2B and B2C.