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Why and How To Send Personalized Text Messages

Make your business stand out by using personalized text messages for your marketing campaigns. Send personalized texts to match your customers' preferences.

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Overly general texts like, “Hey you, shop our sale this week!” do one of two things:

  1. Solicit an immediate eye roll.
  2. Get deleted without being opened.

Or, if they’re particularly irrelevant to the recipient, both.

But you still have to send your text message campaign to potentially thousands of contacts at once. So, what’s a business owner to do?

Even if you’re sending bulk SMS campaigns to thousands of people, it’s still possible to give each message a personal touch.


Kick underperforming marketing channels to the curb #onlinemarketer #businesstips

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It only takes a moment to insert a first name, last name, or custom field to your SMS messages. This doesn’t just make your audience feel valued, it also boosts the effectiveness of your campaign. 

We’ll give you the full breakdown on how to send personalized text messages and why they deliver better results than more general messages.

Why Send Personalized Text Messages?

Even when they’re not personalized, SMS messages are one of the most effective forms of communication.

In fact, 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of being received, and 45% of them receive a response. These impressive engagement rates are even higher when the text messages are personalized.

Forbes has reported that consumers are exposed to around 10,000 brand messages per day. That’s a lot of background noise, meaning your audience is more likely to interact with a message that feels like it was written specifically for them.

Personalized messages can range from small touches, like adding a name, to messages based on the interests of a specific group of people, to texts written with one specific person in mind.

By sending a personalized text message or custom SMS message, you can not only give your customers a better experience, but also promote better performance for your marketing campaigns.

When texting one-on-one, as in the case of customer service, your messages should naturally be more personal. However, if you’re sending a mass text, it can take a little more creativity to make recipients feel like the text is meant just for them.

What Are the Benefits of Personalized Text Messages?

Personalized text messages can do wonders for your marketing campaigns.

Benefits range from an increase in click-through rate (CTR) to increased ROI, and even a big boost in customer satisfaction.

Here are some facts and figures to know:

  • 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name.
  • Based on our own research, we found that the average click-through rate (CTR) for messages including the first name custom field was 71%.
  • Non-customized messages only had an average CTR of 55%.
  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who provide relevant offers.
Image for sending MMS
Hello Lisa! Just to let you know your favorite shorts are back in stock. They’re going quick, so be sure to grab a pair before they’re gone!

Personalized Text Campaigns – Key Terms To Know

If you’ve never sent a personalized text message before, there are a few important terms you should know before diving in.

Data Collection

Data Collection is a tool that lets you send questions to your contacts and record their responses in a custom field.

Custom Field

A custom field is a piece of information about a contact. All SimpleTexting accounts include default fields such as:

  • Phone number
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Birthday
  • ZIP code
  • Gender

You can also add an unlimited number of custom fields specific to your contacts.


A list is a group of contacts, along with their custom fields. You can store your contacts in one master list or create separate lists for different types of contacts. 

For example, you may want to have one list for customers and another for employees, or separate lists for each location your business owns.

How to Get Started With Personalized Text Messages

Not sure how to start sending your custom texts? Here’s the step-by-step.

1. Import Existing Customer Information

First things first, you’ll need details to help you personalize your texts. There are two ways to get this information—you can either import it or collect it.

If you already have customer data, perhaps from your existing CRM, you can easily upload it to our platform. If you don’t have any current info about your contacts, you’ll need to gather it. We’ll cover how to do this in the next step.

It’s important to note that you must have explicit written consent from your customers before you text them. We’ve taken care of this requirement for you by setting up a free compliance message to send with your campaigns. Learn more about compliance here.

2. Collect Additional Information

It’s easier than you think to gather information from your contacts. All you have to do is ask! For some inspiration, here are three of the most popular ways text marketers collect phone numbers.

Keyword Data Collection

Using our Data Collection tool, you can send customers questions and record their responses automatically. As soon as a new customer joins one of your lists using your keyword, they’ll receive your auto-confirmation message along with a series of prompts to collect the info you need.

Web Forms

You can also use a web form to collect customer names, numbers, and other relevant information like zip codes. These fields are crucial for businesses like The Warehouse Sale, who use a web form to collect customers’ zip codes and personalize their messages based on each customer’s location.


Already have a list of phone numbers who have given you permission to text them? You can integrate your CRM with SimpleTexting through Zapier! You can learn more about our Zapier integration here.

3. Segment Your Audience

This is an important, albeit optional, step. Separate your customers into lists based on the information you gathered using the Data Collection tool. 

If you run a gym, you might segment your audience based on exercise preferences or fitness goals like weight loss.

4. Create and Send Your Personalized Text Messages

Now comes the fun part. Compose your message and click on the custom field you’d like to add.

Each field corresponds to a merge tag, which is a piece of text that looks like this: %%mergetag%%. Our platform will automatically replace this tag with the information stored for the corresponding field.

In the example above, the merge tag %%firstname%% will be swapped out for each individual’s first name from your list.

Examples of Great Personalized Texts

To help get your creative juices flowing, here are some templates you can use to see the benefits of personalization yourself.

  1. Hello [Name], your upcoming piano lesson is confirmed for [Date] at [Time]. Can’t wait to see you there!
  2. [Name], we noticed you recently sent a customer service support request. Did we resolve your issue? Please reply Y or N.
  3. [Name], I hope you’re enjoying the [Product] you ordered last month! Would you take a second to leave a review? [Insert link here]
  4. Your free trial of [Service] is about to end. Would you like to upgrade, [Name]?
  5. Hi [Name], it’s been [X Months] since your last [Service]. Let’s get you scheduled for another: [Insert link here]
  6. Hi [Name]. It’s time for [Pet/Person name’s] checkup! Schedule your appointment here: [Insert link here]
  7. With summer around the corner, you’ll be in need of [Product]. Here’s a 10% off coupon to get you set before you sweat. [Insert link here]
  8. Hi, [Name], did you enjoy your reservation at [Restaurant name?] If you could, please leave us a rating and review.
  9. Hi [Name], great news! Your order [Number] just shipped! It should be delivered by [Date].
  10. Hi [Name], we just restocked [Favorite product category] in-store. Show this text at checkout for 15% off!
  11. [Name], we saw that you didn’t complete your [Signup/Purchase]. No worries, you can do it now. Just click here [Insert link here]
  12. Hi [Name], we haven’t seen you at [Location] in a while. Ready to stop by for a visit this week?
  13. Thanks for submitting your review [Name]! We’ll follow up if you’re this week’s raffle winner.

Common Custom SMS Message Mistakes To Avoid

Personalization helps your customers feel special. However, clumsy attempts at personalization can tank your campaign’s performance.

Nearly 60% of consumers said that getting key information about them wrong, especially their gender, can give them a negative impression of your brand.

Here’s a few common mistakes we’ve seen (and how not to make them) to help you avoid some of these common snafus.

Over-personalizing Messages

Have you ever had a not-very-close acquaintance bring up specific details from your Facebook? It’s creepy.

Be sure to limit your personal details to high-level information they’ve shared with you, like which of your locations they frequent or their birthday.

Also, be sure not to over-personalize your messages with too many fields. This can sound like a robot wrote your texts, which defeats the purpose.

Letting Records Lapse

An easy way to sabotage your personalization efforts is to leave information untouched for years. Think of how many times your last name, phone number, or favorite Starbucks has changed.

Don’t let too much time go by between a new contact joining your list and updating their information.

Side note, this is actually a great opportunity for re-engagement. Messaging your contacts to confirm that their information is current is a great way to keep your brand top-of-mind.

Skipping the Double-check

Before sending any personalized campaign, be sure to double (maybe even triple) check that your fields have populated correctly. There’s no reason they shouldn’t, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Start Sending Personalized Messages Now

Now that you’re an expert on sending valuable, personalized messages to your contacts, you’re ready to get started.

Sign up for a free 14-day trial and send your first text message.

Alfredo Salkeld
Alfredo Salkeld

Alfredo leads the marketing team at SimpleTexting. In addition to writing about SMS, he also talks about it—literally. He narrates our how-to videos.

More Posts from Alfredo Salkeld

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