8 Ways to Make Your SMS Call-to-Action More Effective

SMS call-to-action

The most important element of any text message campaign is your SMS call-to-action. A well-planned text message call-to-action is required in order to get people to do what you want them to do. Do you want your audience to download your mobile app? Fill out a form or take a survey? Donate money? Opt-in and subscribe to your text message blasts?

If you are just beginning to put together your text marketing campaign or you have launched one already and want to improve your results, check out these tips.

1. Select a memorable keyword

An SMS keyword is a unique word chosen by your organization that people can text in order to opt-in to your text subscriber list, retrieve information or initiate a text conversation. A memorable keyword is one that is short, one word and relates to your brand or campaign.

Select one word like “PIZZA” instead of multiple words like “JOESPIZZARESTAURANT.” With multiple words, phones might auto-correct and add spaces in between.

2. Highlight your keyword and your short code when you promote

When promoting your call-to-action, make sure your keyword and short code are either bolded, all caps, or highlighted in some way. Avoid using quotation marks around the keyword, since your audience may actually text them as well!

Goodwill Southern California SMS call-to-action

Goodwill Southern California Text CTA

3. Give an example

Make it as easy as possible on your intended audience to take action. If you can, give an example or show a screenshot to illustrate how to text your call-to-action.

Torrance Transit Text CTA Instructions

Torrance Transit

4. Add a compelling offer or incentive

Why should your audience text in? What’s in it for them? If you want to capture their lead information or drive them to take action, give a reason to do so. Texting for “more information” is fine, but texting for more information PLUS a free giveaway, a big discount or even a chance to win? That gives people reason to respond right now.

Alamo Drafthouse SMS call-to-action

Alamo Drafthouse Text CTA

5. Integrate your SMS call-to-action into all your marketing channels

You will likely see more people responding to your text call-to-action when SMS is integrated into all your marketing channels. Add a text CTA and a number to call on your radio and TV ads, in-store signage, billboards, direct mail and podcasts. Adding a different keyword per channel can also help you track which one is more effective!

6. Make sure your calls to action are visible

Take a look at your advertisement and check out the placement of your text call-to-action. Does it stand out? Can people see it? Or is it buried in small print at the bottom of the page? If you are doing a video, keep your CTA persistent throughout. Or if you are creating a radio spot, repeat the call-to-action, in case they miss it the first time.

7. Add a sense of urgency

A common best practice for direct responses campaigns is to create a sense of urgency. Add phrases like “Don’t wait!” or “Hurry, offer ends soon!” to your promotion. Create a perception of limited supply, or let your audience know your offer will soon expire.

8. Follow CTIA Guidelines

The CTIA is an association representing the U.S. wireless communications industry that periodically audits short code text messaging programs. For this reason, we recommend reviewing the  CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook for best practice guidelines on what to include when advertising your SMS call-to-action. Below is an example from the handbook of a television advertisement promoting  a call-to-action for a recurring message program:



Interested in learning more about effective calls-to-action for your text marketing campaigns? Contact TextMarks at 800-696-1393.



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