From generic to personal: The art of personalized text messages

8 min
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Picture this. You’re having a coffee with friends in your favorite cafe. And suddenly, someone shouts your name. You’ll likely turn your head toward the noise to see why someone called you — even if only to find out they were speaking to someone who shares your name.  

While you can’t walk around coffeehouses calling for your customers, you can use their names and relevant information to get their attention and leave a lasting impression in other ways. 

One of those ways? Personalized text messages. You can send an SMS containing a customer’s name and relevant details about their last interaction to convey that you value them. 

Let’s see how valuable personalized texts are in marketing and how to customize text messages effectively to achieve the desired goals.

What is personalized SMS marketing?

Personalized SMS marketing refers to a marketing strategy that involves sending customized text messages to target customers based on their interests, demographics, and other relevant information. 

In other words, you don’t send generic texts, like: “Mid-Summer Sale! FLAT 30% OFF on VIGOR Collection. Time to add versatility to your wardrobe.”

Instead, you send customer-centric texts, like: “Hi [Recipient’s Name], Ready to upgrade your style? Your favorite [Items Recipient Frequently Buys] are FLAT 30% OFF. Shop now at …”

Given that 56% of customers will become repeat buyers of a business if they receive a personalized experience, these extra-specific text messages align your marketing efforts to the new present — especially since customers spend about one-third of their waking hours on their phones. 

Personalization makes customers repeat buyers, according to a Segment report.
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Benefits of personalized SMS marketing

While personalizing text messages is a start, that’s not all this marketing channel offers. You also benefit from:

  • Improved conversion rates: SMS marketing boasts a 98% open rate. With personalization, you can translate this into higher conversion rates, as well. Instead of “Dear User,” you send personalized messages containing [Recipient’s Name] and drive subscribers to convert. 
  • Increased customer loyalty: A 2022 study found 67% of mobile users unsubscribe from a brand’s SMS marketing campaign due to overly frequent texts. Customized SMS prevents you from overwhelming or spamming your customers’ inboxes. Instead of messages promoting all the sales, you only tell them about the sales relevant to them and do on-point cross-selling and upselling.
  • Higher customer retention: With personalized SMS tests, you can send timely yet engaging reminders, confirmations, and feedback requests to create positive customer experiences that lead to longer-lasting relationships. 

How to personalize bulk text messages?

1. Collect customer data

You can only customize text messages for your customers if you have the relevant data in your CRM. For instance, you’ll need customers’ names, interests, purchase histories, cart histories, and relevant demographic details to craft messages that appeal to them. 

However, with so many data privacy laws, you must collect this information with explicit consent. In other words, tell customers why you’re collecting their data and let them decide whether to share it. 

One way to do so is to create landing pages where customers can voluntarily provide their information, opt in to receive text messages, and get a discount coupon in return. Similarly, you can ask customers to complete surveys to enter a giveaway event. 

Landing page templates in GetResponse’s landing page creator.

2. Segment your customers

Say you own a large ecommerce store that sells both high-end luxury items and affordable jewelry. In that case, you’d want to segment your customers by demographics to promote budget-friendly items to people looking for cost-effective jewelry.

Similarly, depending on your business, you can separate your subscribers into different groups via:

  • Demographics: Create customer segments based on age, gender, location, and occupation. 
  • Special occasions: Create segments for birthdays, anniversaries, and other events to send personalized texts with special discounts.
  • Purchase history: Use customers’ previous purchases to decide on upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 

3. Establish clear goals

Your success with personalized messages depends on your goals. They can include increased sales, higher website traffic, or lower cart abandonment rates. 

Define the key performance indicators (KPIs) depending on the goal. For instance, to increase sales of your latest stock, track metrics like the average order value and conversion rate. 

Once you have the metrics, make your goals measurable by setting certain targets. For instance, you may want to increase the average order value by $4.50 or the conversion rate by 3%. 

4. Craft relevant content

With the customers segmented and goalposts in place, create compelling messages for each group. 

While your content creation efforts will vary, consider including the following key elements:

  • Recipient’s name: While it’s cliché, Dale Carnegie, the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, rightly says that a person’s name is the sweetest sound to them. Even in the busiest coffee shops, if you call someone’s name, they’ll likely hear it over all the other noises and turn to look at you. You want similar results in their inboxes, as well. 
  • Personal touch: With their names, you engage customers. With personalization, you can make them stay. Sprinkle in a reference to their interests, hobbies, or previous purchases. 
  • Offer/Discount: Share what you’re offering — whether it’s a discount or free shipping.
  • Call to action: Tell them exactly what they need to do to get the offer. If they need to head to your website, mention the exact URL. 
  • Brand name: Mention your brand name at the start or the end so they know who’s messaging them. 
  • Chance to opt out: While it’s not important for personalization, adding an opt-out method at the end is a great practice to comply with relevant SMS regulations, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and avoid being marked as spam. 

Example: Birthday message

Jennifer Miller Jewelry sends a special discount to its customers on their birthdays.
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Jennifer Miller Jewelry, an American jewelry store brand, sent a happy birthday discount message to customer Jessica. Let’s break it down:

  • Brand name: Jennifer Miller Jewelry
  • Recipient’s name: Jessica
  • Personalization element: Birthday
  • Discount: 10%
  • CTA: Use the code within 7 days on the linked website 
  • Opt-out: Text STOP

That said, you don’t need to remember the birthdays of every Jessica to offer a similar promotional offer. Instead, with an SMS marketing tool, you can let birthday message templates and custom fields do the work for you. 

5. Set up behavioral triggers

Besides sending customized texts to promote a sale or congratulate a customer on their anniversary, you’ll also need to craft SMS templates surrounding everyday customer actions, such as cart abandonment, successful purchases, and out-of-stock queries. 

An abandoned cart message from OSEA, a skincare ecommerce store, to Donald.
Image Source

For example, check out the abandoned cart message from OSEA, an American skincare brand, above. It includes the recipient’s name, offers free shipping, and directs them to action via a link. 

With the right SMS tool, you can automate message triggers to send similar texts to customers in real-time.

6. Time your text messages

Please don’t send mass text messages at 3:00 in the morning. 

Instead, time your messages by the recipient’s time zone by setting up schedules according to location. 

Alternatively, GetResponse MAX lets you use Time Travel to incorporate customers’ time zones into your messaging automatically. 

For instance, suppose you’re offering a flash sale for 12 hours based on the recipients’ time zones. In that case, you’re better off sending last-hour reminder notifications according to their time zones instead of sending the same message to all recipients. 

7. Test different variations

Should you use emojis in your personalized text messages? 

The answer can be yes or no, depending on the audience. 

The best way to find the exact answer? Use A/B variations — send variation A containing emojis to one half and variation B without emojis to the other half — to test things in action. See what works and improve your messaging using the results. 

8. Track performance

Finally, it’s time to assess how your personalized SMS marketing strategy performs. While the exact assessment will depend on the KPIs you choose in the third step, there are a few general metrics worth tracking:

  • Delivery rate: Percentage of delivered SMS texts.
  • Click-through rate: Percentage of customers who click the link in the SMS. 
  • Unsubscribe rate: Percentage of customers who opt out of the messaging campaign. 
  • Conversion rate: Percentage of customers who complete the desired action after clicking the link.

Personalized text messages: Best practices

Here are some best practices to get your customized messaging right the first time. 

  • Use relevant data: Personalization only works if your customers like it. And a big part of that is how you use their data. For instance, research found that 67% of customers are creeped out by location-based ads. In contrast, 79% of customers find recommendations based on their previous purchases “cool.” 
What customers think of personalized ads, according to a Marigold report. 
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  • Be mobile-friendly: Stick to the 160-character limit and opt for conversational language instead of robotic, generic words. Besides that, use mobile-friendly links and landing pages. 
  • Prioritize privacy and consent: Let customers know why you’re collecting their personal details and what they’ll get from it. And if a customer wants to opt out of your SMS campaign, make it easy for them by including an opt-out link at the bottom of the message. 

Send a message of care with your messaging

And with the right tools, you can befriend thousands of your customers and keep tabs on their interests, purchases, and preferences. 

If you’re looking for one such tool with integrations for your favorite software stack, check out GetResponse MAX. It helps you segment customers, sprinkle personalization in the content, and automate all text message interactions.