How to Write Professional Text Messages Customers Will Love (Plus Templates)
You need to text your customers, because it's the number one way they prefer to communicate with businesses like you. But what needs to go into your text messages so customers actually respond to them?
This guide will teach you how to write professional texts that your customers love and engage with.
We'll cover lots of things, but if you’re looking for one subject in particular, use the table of content below to jump ahead!
Table of Contents
- What do people expect from a text vs. an email?
- The Anatomy of a Text Message
- 4 Texting Concepts to Keep in Mind
- Text Message Templates
- Final Words
People expect emails to be formal, stuffy, and verbose, but your texts should be casual, friendly, and concise. If emails wear ties and pencil skirts to work, texts wear polos and jeans. More importantly, texts reflect the way people actually talk.
This is one reason we believe text messaging is good for professional communication, whether you’re a small business, non-profit, or some other organization. Texting is a great form of communication to help cut through corporate jargon. Keep on reading to learn how to maintain your business texting etiquette.
Text messages are built on SMS and MMS technology and can contain:
- Up to 160 English characters
- Images (up to 5MB through Text Request, up to 1MB without)
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 a text message 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. Aim for short and sweet!
There is one exception, though - STOP messages.
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.
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.
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 text messages.
For example, let’s say you’re sending a group 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.
Note: Stop messages will not send with Autoresponses. They will only go out when you personally text a contact for the first time.
No one likes talking about compliance, but it’s much better than risking your business for an extra buck. A few things you should know:
- We’re not lawyers and this is not legal counsel
- To sell or market through text, contacts have to opt in to receive those types of messages from you
- Leads and subscribers have to be able to easily opt out of messages from you at any time they wish (which is why we include STOP messages)
Now on to other concepts!
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 right 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 left, 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.
The majority of the time customers just 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 what 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:
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 your 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 when sending professional text messages.
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 in the templates below that will work well across industries. Browse the examples, and take what you like from each!
A good sms marketing 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 sent a appointment reminder or service follow up text.
"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.
The 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 of 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"
Consumers would rather text you to start conversations, which is why allowing them to text you keywords is great!
A keyword is a word a potential customer can text to opt-in for promotions and updates. 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!
The best part is, even if you’re not immediately available to answer, you can set up autoresponses.
Autoresponses are pre-written replies that automatically send to anyone who texts in a keyword. They're also great for any time you aren’t instantly available, like after hours or when you’re having office meetings.
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, please call this phone 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"
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 finds 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.
You need to be paid for your services, but sometimes that can be easier said than done.
The reality is the number one reason clients don’t make a payment is because they forget.
You just need a quick way to remind them, and payment confirmation texts are the easiest way to do that.
Here are some examples.
Encourage customers to opt-in for payment plans with keywords:
“Thanks for opting in for our automatic payment reminders! Every time your bill is due, we’ll send you a reminder three days in advance.”
Schedule payment reminder in advance:
“Sam, this is a reminder that your next upcoming payment is due next Saturday. You can visit our online payment portal at: [Link]”
Request information to finalize payments:
“Hey Lila, we still need your card's expiration date before we can process your payment. Would you like to schedule a call to share it?”
Send mass updates to request overdue payments:
“Hi James, this is a reminder that your last payment was due Thursday. You can pay it here: [link]”
The hiring process is filled with back-and-forth communications, and that's why you should be texting for it.
Here are examples of the different parts you could text for:
Confirmed you received applications:
"Thanks for applying! Look for a message from us in 2-3 weeks. - Carole at Awesome Company"
“Hi Jan, we would like to schedule a phone interview with you. Does March 13, 2019, at 2:30 PM work for you?"
"Hey Sydney, we would like to schedule a second interview with you. Is there a day and time that works?"
72% of people won’t take a next step with a business until they’ve read its reviews.
Texting is one of the best method to gather the most reviews in the shortest amount of time, and some businesses that switch from email to texting for reviews have increased their amount of reviews by 58%!
Here are some examples of the best times to ask for reviews via text:
After product purchases:
“Jess, thanks for purchasing your new socks from Funky Feet! Tell us about your shopping experience at: [review link]”
After short-term services:
"Hey Jeff, how’d your trim go today? Tell us at: [Link]”
Asking long-term clients:
"Hey Sarah, it’s Howard. Could you leave us a review at: [Link]? We’re so grateful you've been with us for five years!”
After your company has reached a milestone:
“Matt, guess what? Blue Flame Grill is so close to reaching our 100th reviews. Want to help us out at: [Link]?”
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 templates, but you'll find the best results by using the concepts and principles from this guide to create 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.