No one wants to get a vague, generic text from a brand. Here’s some crucial do’s and don’ts as you create and personalize your text messages.
Want to read the most annoying text I’ve ever gotten?
“We can’t wait to see you soon!”
Now, I realize that sounds pretty harmless. Let’s get into some context.
I take my dogs to get groomed every couple of months. When I book their appointments, I get a confirmation email and a couple of text reminders ahead of the appointment time.
Don’t get me wrong, we here at SimpleTexting encourage text appointment reminders, and I personally love them.
There are two reasons I found this message so annoying.
I don’t ever want your customers to read a text from your brand and roll their eyes or, worse, write a scathing blog post about you online.
To that end, let’s talk about how to personalize your texts — and, more importantly, how not to.
Let’s go back to this bad appointment reminder I received. Can you point out why I didn’t like getting that message?
If you guessed, “Because it’s generic and repetitive,” you’re right.
I don’t feel super warm and fuzzy about any brand that sends a vague, “We’re excited to see you,” or, “We’re so happy to have your business” text out of the blue. The reason being, they’ve most definitely sent that very same text to the thousands of people with appointments that day.
That’s a bad practice, and I can prove it. According to SmarterHQ’s Privacy and Personalization Report, 72% of consumers say that they will only engage with marketing messages if those messages are tailored to their specific interests.
That’s the kind of engagement you can’t miss out on.
In both my personal experience and my research, I find that the biggest culprit for bad or generic messaging is the dreaded sales or service script. You know, the ones that big companies direct their teams to use in every conversation.
Another of my least favorite interactions comes from yet another service I use for my dogs (I am, obviously, a devoted millennial dog mom). When I book an appointment with these folks, they always sign off the call with, “And tell your pets hi from me!”
It was super sweet the first time. After hearing it a dozen times, it begins to sound a little like pandering.
Don’t get me wrong, we love message templates around here, and we encourage our customers to use custom fields in their texts where possible. But the key is making sure your templates and messages with custom fields don’t sound robotic or forced.
The bottom line? Your customers will lose interest if you can’t or don’t show that you think of them as an individual.
Okay, enough harping on the bad examples. It’s time to talk about how you can personalize your texts the right way.
I’ve talked here about some brand interactions that I didn’t like, but I’d like to highlight a brand I know of who does personalization well.
When I call to make a boarding appointment for my cat, this is how the conversation usually goes:
Customer rep: “Can I have your pet’s name, please?”
Rep: “Oh, we can’t wait to see her! Is she losing any weight?”
Me: “A little! I know she can’t wait to see you!”
That may seem trivial, but the fact that this boarding establishment remembers my cat (and the fact that she’s a tad chunky) specifically and fondly actually means a lot to me.
Obviously, I’m referencing a phone call, but the same concept applies to your texts. When you text your customers, just one specific detail can go a long way. You can include:
It’s up to you. Thankfully, there are some easy-peasy tools you can use to include details like these. First thing’s first, you’ll need a way to collect some information on your contacts.
For that, you can use Data Collection. This is a way to send messages asking for pieces of data about each contact that can help you narrow down what you send them.
The sky’s the limit here, so get creative. If you’re a skin care brand, ask customers what their skin type is so you can better recommend products. If you’re in fitness, ask each contact what their number-one health goal is and send them offers and reminders based on that goal.
Then you can create your messages using contact segments based on the data you just collected. Segments are just groups of contacts that have something in common with each other.
When you send a campaign, you have the option to send it to a certain segment, whether that’s customers that shop at a particular location or contacts who’ve expressed interest in certain products. This is a great way to build a customer base that will stay loyal to your brand.
Do you use SMS for customer service or have a lot of one-on-one interactions with your customers?
If you do, the easiest way to document details that you’ll want to include later is to note them down as you talk to your contacts.
You can actually do this directly from your SimpleTexting inbox. When you open your inbox, you’ll see two buttons that say “Message” and “Note.” If you open the Note option, you can type in any detail you think is important to remember about that contact.
The best part? If another person on your team gets a text from that contact, they’ll be able to see the note you left and include that information in their message, so your customers feel valued no matter who they’re talking to.
There’s also a space in the far left panel of your inbox to note down the list that contact is in, their name, their birthday, how they opted in, and any other information you’d like to save.
It’s important to send customers the occasional reminder when they have an appointment, a payment coming due, or a record or test result available to view. This cuts down on no-shows and does wonders for your customer retention and even your revenue.
But I strongly caution you not to send more than one or two.
The best appointment reminders come down to good timing. Plan to send one confirmation message when they book with you, and one reminder 24-48 hours before they’re due to come in.
And, as always, include a personal detail like the customer’s name or service (or both) in your reminder text to keep it specific.
Lastly, make sure what you’re sending doesn’t sound like it’s coming from a robot. You don’t have to wax poetic and drone on, but do write your text like you’re talking to a colleague.
If you spend a lot of time sending texts to your customers, it can feel like an unnecessary step to include personal information about your contacts.
Trust me, it’s worth it.
At the end of the day, I always say that if you wouldn’t like receiving the message you’re about to send, don’t send it. Common courtesy and attention to detail can do a world of good for your brand reputation and turn your customers into your biggest fans.
Lily is a content marketing specialist at SimpleTexting. She specializes in making helpful, entertaining video content and writing blogs that help businesses take advantage of all that texting has to offer. When she’s not writing or making TikToks, you can find Lily at roller derby practice or in a yoga studio in the Seattle area.More Posts from Lily Norton
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