How to Write Professional Text Messages Your Customers Will Love
You need to text your customers, but you aren't sure of what to say. That’s okay! This guide will teach you how to write professional text messages that your customers - or any other audience - will love.
If you’re looking for one thing in particular, click that point in the outline below to jump straight to it. If you want to learn everything, keep reading.
- What’s the difference between emails and text messages?
- The Anatomy of a Text Message
- 4 Texting Concepts to Keep in Mind
- Examples of Text Messages You Should Send to Customers (and Others)
- Final Words
Technically, there are lots of differences. Practically, it comes down to expectations.
People expect emails to be formal, stuffy, and verbose. They expect texts to be casual, friendly, and concise. If emails wear ties and pencil skirts to work, texts wear polos and jeans. More importantly, texts are what people say they want.
This is one reason we believe text messaging is good for professional communication, whether you’re a business, non-profit, or some other organization. Texts cut through corporate jargon to let people communicate with other people.
Texting feels much more personal, and it’s often more effective, too.
Text messages are built on SMS and MMS technology. You can see our SMS 101 guide for details, but basically it means all messages can contain:
- Up to 160 English characters
- Images (up to 5MB through Text Request, up to 1MB without)
For non-English characters and images larger than 5MB, see our SMS 101 guide. Now, before we jump into examples of what your texts should say, there are a few more things we think you should know.
A text can hold up to 160 characters. If your message goes over 160 characters, you’ll actually be sending multiple texts.
It’s fine if you send messages with more than 160 characters - they’ll look the same to everyone as if you only sent one - but those extra texts will count towards your monthly message total. So it’s best if you pay attention.
Our recommendation is that you keep your messages to 160 characters or fewer. It’s a good framework for keeping messages concise, and for keeping your billing in check.
There is one exception, though - STOP messages.
Our recommendation is that you keep your messages to 160 characters or fewer.
Whenever you text a contact for the first time, Text Request adds a STOP message to the end of your original message.
The message reads Text STOP to opt out. This makes it easy for you and your organization to stay compliant (see our SMS 101 guide for details).
What you need to consider, though, is how the STOP message can affect your character count, which can affect how many total texts you send. Also, watch this video about STOP messages. 👇
The STOP message will add 21 characters to your original message.
If the STOP message can fit inside one text, along with your original message, everything will send together as one text. For this to happen, your original message needs to be 139 characters or fewer.
If the STOP message will not fit in the same text as your original message (i.e. if your original message is 140 characters or more), the STOP message will send as a separate text. Here’s a chart for reference:
|Number of Texts||Number of Characters||Stop Message Included?|
Keep this in mind whenever you’re sending messages to new contacts, creating signatures (we cover this in a minute), and especially when sending group messages.
Note: Stop messages will not send with Autoresponses. They will only go out when you personally text a contact for the first time.
Group messages can be extremely valuable, but make sure you pay attention to your character count. A few extra characters can cause you to send extra messages that count towards your monthly usage.
Let’s say you’re sending a message to 1,000 people, but your message is 161 characters. Since your message is over 160 characters, it will send as two texts to everyone in your group. Instead of sending 1,000 texts, you’re actually sending 2,000 texts.
The same concept applies to STOP messages. Let’s say you’re sending a message to 1,000 people, but 500 of them have never received a text from you before. A STOP message will go out to those 500 first-time recipients.
If your original message contains more than 139 characters, the STOP message will send as a separate text to those 500 first-time recipients. Instead of sending 1,000 texts, you’re actually sending 1,500.
These details don’t matter to your contacts. Everything will seem perfectly normal to them. But they can affect your billing and usage. (For recommendations on billing and usage, view our Upgrading and Downgrading Plans page.)
One reason people text is they want to communicate with another person. So how do you make your business sound human?
The best way is to keep messages quick, pleasant, and full of expression - just like you would with friends and family. Here’s an example.
Notice the message on the left reads like an email. It’s “professional,” but feels like the two people have never met, much less exchanged a smile. There’s so much needless information in it, too. If you had to guess a personality type, you might say stiff.
The message on the right, however, feels much friendlier - much more natural. You get a sense the person you’re texting with is energetic and capable. You might enjoy going to lunch with them. You can also feel that they’ve got a lot going on.
999 times out of a thousand, customers want to text with someone like the person on the right.
That’s why grammar and syntax exist - so your readers (customers, clients, students, subscribers, etc.) can clearly understand you mean to say. If someone doesn’t understand you, it’s likely because of the words or punctuation you’ve used, not the medium.
If written communication is not your strong suit, that’s okay! You’re not alone, and you've got a few options. You can:
- Let someone else handle outbound communications
- Create Saved Responses for common situations
- Follow the examples in this guide specifically
- Or pick up a few helpful resources like:
Emojis can also be an effective communication tool.
Our brains process images (especially facial expressions) far faster than words. Emojis can help you convey more with fewer words, and do it more clearly - which helps you keep messages to under 160 characters. 👍😁
What's great is that you can quickly pull up an emoji keyboard on you computer, whether inside Text Request or anywhere else online. If you're using a Windows computer, click the Windows key and period to open the emoji keyboard. If you're on a Mac, view this guide.
Your customers have been sending dozens of text messages a day for decades. They get it. They’ve also been part of the evolution from T9 texting (pressing 9 three times to get y, or 2 two times to get b) to Qwerty keyboards and touch screen smartphones.
Along the way, most have stopped using “txt speak” and abbreviations. Instead of typing disjointed words and acronyms, they spell out everything and use complete sentences. You should do the same.
Your business will look better by using complete sentences, instead of intentionally misspelled words and broken sentences.
Signatures are so important that we created a whole page just for them (our Queuniversity Signatures page). The main thing to remember is your text signature needs to be minimal. Here are a few other important notes:
- You only have 160 characters in a text (longer signatures cost you texts)
- Avoid listing all your contact info like you might in an email
- When you’re having a conversation with someone, you don’t need to include the same signature every time (they know who you are)
Remember, even if you're texting from a computer, text signatures are not the same as email signatures. Texts need to be concise, and your signatures - if you choose to use them - need to be concise, too.
Here are a couple of good and bad examples.
Bad Example #1:
Thanks! - Trisha Yearwood, firstname.lastname@example.org, 9324 Concord Rd, Brentwood, TN trishayearwood.com
Good Example #1:
Bad Example #2:
Timon from T&P Pest Control Solutions, tppestcontrol.com, 2100 Riverside Drive, Burbank, CA 91506 (818) 560-1000 Hours: 8-5 M-F
Good Example #2:
Timon @ T&P
There are lots of phrases and elements below that work well across industries. Browse the examples, and take what you like from each!
A good promotion does four things well. It:
- Gets you excited (It’s that time again!)
- Promotes an offer (Buy one get one at Payless Shoes)
- Creates urgency (This week only)
- And tells you what to do with the offer (come get your free shoes today!)
You can craft good promotions to text your customers, too. We’ve seen ROIs of 50X-100X for these promotions, and I’ll give you a handful of examples across industries.
Keep in mind that people generally like promotional messages less than one-on-one messages, so you might have more opt outs (STOP replies) than if you were sending an appointment reminder or service follow up text.
Also, never text someone without their consent. For more details, view the compliance section of our SMS 101 guide. Now for those examples.
July 4th sale this weekend only! 30% off everything! Come by Saturday and Sunday 10-8, or shop online at ourstore.com.
Teeth whitening sessions are 3 for 1 if you book your first whitening before 6/18! Reply to this text to schedule your appointment.
Happy Memorial Day! Celebrate in comfort with a new air conditioning system. All new units 25% off, free installation through Friday. Text back to get yours!
Great news! All members will get 20% off their package when they bring in a friend. Invite your friends to Our Weight Loss Clinic today!
Tired of lukewarm showers? Get 40% off new water heaters and free installation! Text or call us today for your new unit! - Jim’s Plumbing & HVAC
TVACU turns 45 this month, and we’re celebrating with you! Refer a friend, and you’ll both get $500! See tvacreditunion.com for terms and disclosures.
Are you going to Local Event? We are! Come see us from 12-4. Enter to win a free iPad while learning how we help our community. See you there!
Guys, first one to get five new sales this week gets lunch on me. Let’s do this!
Consumers tend to shop around before deciding who to buy from, work with, or give their money to. That can work in your favor if you know what to do.
Up to 50% of sales go to whichever vendor responds to the prospect first, so it’s important that you reach out to or follow up with people quickly. This is easy to do through texts, and I’m going to give you a handful of examples. But first I want to make sure you understand a few things.
1. You shouldn’t text someone unless you have consent.
We detail consent in the compliance section of our SMS 101 guide, but the gist is that a contact needs to willingly give you their cell number before you contact them. The examples below apply mostly to new leads and existing customers you might want to upsell.
2. You don’t have to pitch people via text for messages to be valuable.
Actually, it’s often better if you don’t. Sometimes you should continue the conversation through text. Other times the most effective texts are simply Saw your request. I have a couple questions, do you have two minutes to talk?
3. Autoresponses and scheduled messages help your sales communications flow more smoothly.
You can choose to send the same message to every lead that comes in, schedule follow up texts for later, or mix the two.
Now for some examples.
Setup a Call:
Hey Caroline, I’d love to help you with that. Do you have a few minutes to chat? - Bryan @ Some Business
Provide a Quote:
Thanks for reaching out! Our average cleaning is $150-200. Do you have pictures of the space, or the know the sq ft? That would help.
Answer Their Question:
Great question! Normally we can process everything in a few days. Would you like to go ahead and start the process? - Penelope @ That One Place
Hey! Yeah, Text Request is an online texting service for businesses. I can show you how it works whenever you’re ready. Grab a time at textrequest.com/demo.
Hey LeBron, are you still wanting a new unit? I can have someone out there tomorrow to install it. Let me know. Thanks!
Phone Call Follow-Up:
Quick recap: You like us but you’re still researching. We est. it’ll cost $3,500. I’ll touch base next week. Here’s a guide for reference mysite.com/why-we-rock
Thanks for reaching out! We’ll get back to you ASAP. You can also setup a call at mycalendar.com/book-now
Autoresponses are pre-written replies that automatically send to anyone who texts you. They’re great for keywords, because you can share information instantly whenever someone texts in a keyword.
For example, a realtor can setup a keyword for MapleStreet, and send listing info to anyone who texts that keyword. It’s great for generating leads.
Autoresponses are great for any time you aren’t instantly available, like after hours or when you’re having office meetings.
The best autoresponses either give people the info they’re looking for, or tell them when you’ll be able to get that information to them.
Here are a bunch of examples:
Real Estate Keyword (e.g. Maplestreet):
Hey! Here’s the listing for that house. mls.com/home-you-want Text or call me at this number if you have questions or want to see inside. - Kristie @ KW
Retail Keyword (e.g. Sales):
Thanks for signing up for sales updates from Chic Boutique! We’ll send new discounts periodically that you can use in store or at chicboutique.com.
Non-Profit Keyword (e.g. Donate):
Thanks for donating to Our Non-Profit! You can enter your payment info here: ournonprofit.com/donate
Staffing Keyword (e.g. Construction):
Thanks for opting in. You’ll now get daily updates on new construction jobs from Top Staffing Agency. Let us know if you have questions!
Service Company After Hours:
Hi! We normally respond to messages from 8-5 M-F. We’ll get back to you ASAP. If it’s an emergency, call this number and press 6. Thanks!
Individual Rep Out of Office:
Thanks for the text! I’m OOO until 6/25, but feel free to text or call Jamey at 423-218-0111.
General Business During Hours:
Hey! We normally respond to messages within the hour. Someone will be with you shortly. Thank you! - General Business Name
Thanks for contacting TVACU customer service! We’ll need the last 4 digits of your account number to get started.
These are all triggered messages, but they still feel like a human is sending them. They’re also great fillers that tell people we’re paying attention to you while your staff find a moment to handle the request between their other tasks.
Customer service texts might be the easiest to get right. The person texting you already knows who you are and what you do, so the odds are in your favor. But you still want to do the right thing.
The best customer service involves five steps, which you can use in your texts:
- Confirm the issue or need.
- Empathize with the person (if they're upset).
- Tell them you’re going to do everything you can to solve their issue or need.
- Actually do everything you can to solve their issue or need.
- Throw the customer a bone for any their trouble (e.g. a discount or freebie).
The best customer service texts are also conversational. Instead of sending one text with several questions and apologies, ask one question at a time - like you would if you talking to them in person. Now for some examples:
Hey Janet, I’m sorry we missed that room. We can get someone to your home tomorrow morning to make it right. What time’s good for you?
I’m happy to check on your bill. I’ll need to call to get a few details, though. Is now good? Thanks! - Linda
Good morning! Give me one sec and I’ll pull up that account balance for you.
Thanks for the pic - and your patience! Looks like he forgot to put a part on. We’ll send him back to fix it, and take 15% off your bill for the hassle.
Hey Jeremy. No, I haven’t heard anything back yet. If they haven’t called by tomorrow, I’ll touch base.
Hi Darcy, not sure why your premium went up, but I’m happy to take a look! Give me a few minutes, and I’ll let you know. Do you have a picture of the policy?
Thanks for your message! Yes, we can do that, but it will cost a little extra. What are you trying to accomplish? - Our General Business
Hi! Can you be more specific? I want to help, but I’m not quite sure what you’re looking for. Thanks!
Conversations and relationships are what make us human. They make a business or brand feel relatable and personable, too.
And if you don’t care about that, you should know that nurturing leads and customers (or clients or patients, etc.) leads to larger purchases, larger lifetime customer values, and more referrals.
Texting helps you build those relationships and boost your bottom line, which should make everyone happy. The question is When should you text someone? When should you start that conversation, or nurture that relationship?
There are lots of everyday situations you can put to good use, no matter what your organization is or who you work with. Here are some examples:
Hey Timmy, happy birthday! I hope it’s a great one. 😁🎉 - Carol @ Local Insurance Agency
Rebecca! Did you know you’ve been a member with us for 3 years now? Wow. Thank you for the loyalty! Let us know if we can do anything for you.
Hey Julian, how was your service last week? Is everything the way you wanted? Could we do anything better? Thanks! - Kimberly, Hark Pest Control
New Content (Blog Post, Newsletter, etc.):
Good morning! We just posted this new guide: Should You Refinance Your Home? Give it a read! localcreditunion.com/blog/should-you-refinance-your-home
Hi Katey. We got [a new product in]. I thought you’d want to know since you enjoyed [this related product]. Let me know if you want it or have questions. - Rob
Hey Carolynn, we’re trying to get more online reviews for Ace. Would you be willing to help us out? If so, I’ll send you a review link. Thank you! - Casandra
Jill, talked to Harry yesterday. He said it was such a joy to work with you. Thought you’d want to know!
We’re hosting a charity dinner for Local Organization next Thursday. We’d love for you to come. Let me know if interested, I’m happy to share more details.
Hey Cynthia, just emailed you the proposal you asked for. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!
A lot of these conversation starters should feel like one friend thinking of another and reaching out. They’re personable, good-spirited, and help to keep your business or organization top of mind.
For more suggestions like these, check out our guide: 15 Unique Conversation Starters to Drive Customer Communications.
We've given you a bunch of example texts in this guide that your customers - or anyone else you text with - will enjoy getting from you.
You can copy and paste these examples into your own Text Request messages or saved responses, but you'll find the best results by using the concepts and principles from this guide to form your own messages.
When you do that, messages will feel both personal and unique to your business or organization. It will give your communications a personality, and your customers will really love that.
Now just make sure you share this guide with everyone on your team. It's great for you to learn and implement these concepts. It's even better if you all get on the same page and do it together.