Chapter 5

How to write stellar copy for your first SMS campaign

Last Updated: September 2019

Launch your first SMS campaign.jpg



How to manage the SMS character limit

When you write copy for your SMS campaigns, you need to be careful of your total character count.

That's because a single SMS message is 160 characters.

If you exceed it, you pay for additional SMS messages, up to a maximum of 4 SMS messages, for each recipient in your campaign. Your costs can rack up quickly if you're not careful.

SMS Character Limit
Number of SMS Character Count
1 160 characters
2 306 characters
3 459 characters
4 (max) 612 characters

In the table above, the math looks like it doesn't add up, but it's correct. SMS campaigns that exceed 160 characters get split and then concatenated by the receiving phone. Concatenated messages have a 153 character total.

Example: If you send a campaign with 190 characters, it gets sent as two concatenated messages. The first will have 153 characters, and the second will have 37 characters. To your recipients though, it looks like one SMS message.

If plan to keep your costs low, then you need to get crafty with your copy.

It's because legally, you must have a mandatory opt-out message, and it counts towards your character total.

Links count too. You may want to save space for it to help you drive traffic to your website or app. Keep in mind that we have a link shortener to help you reduce the length of your URLs and to track your click-through rates.




How to write stellar copy

Here are 7 tips to help you get started:

- Identify yourself. Include your company name in the text message if you don't identify yourself in the Sender ID. Your customers may not trust them otherwise.

- Provide value. Reward your customers with great offers, especially after they share their mobile contact information with you.

- Use common language. Avoid industry jargon or unfamiliar acronyms. Any confusion will prevent your customers from taking action.

- Send messages at the right time. Timing is everything. Avoid sending messages when they can't take action, like in the middle of the night.

- Have a clear call to action. Tell your customers exactly what to do, and make sure that it's simple and easy.

- Let them opt out. Nothing is more frustrating than an SMS message with no opt out. Tell your customers how they can unsubscribe.

- Be crystal clear. Avoid ambiguity and be specific about what you're offering.




SMS templates

Starting from scratch can be hard. Here are some examples to help you write effective copy.

Retail Example (123 characters):

“Hi Don,

SockFactory: We're having a 3hr flash sale starting now at: PROMO CODE: SPRING16.

Opt-out reply STOP”

Fitness Example (155 characters):

“Stay Fit Co.

Kent, we think you're amazing, so here's a gift: 1 Free Shredded Superman session. Show this text at the counter to redeem.

Opt-out reply STOP”

Appointment Example (152 characters): 

“XYZ Dental Appointment

Hi Mary, thanks for booking a dental hygiene appointment on September 22 at 1 pm.

Please reply ‘yes’ to confirm.

Opt-out reply STOP”


If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We're happy to help.
Happy sending!