A key element in any SMS marketing text message is a good call to action. It’s the difference between a text with a great click-through and redemption rate and a wasted opportunity. The call to action is the heart of the text message and you need to take great care in crafting it. Here are a few helpful tips for writing the perfect call to action for your text messages.

Make it urgent

If your call to action is left open-ended, in other words, if recipients feel like they can act on it at some future time, there’s a good chance they’ll put it off until they forget and they never will follow through with it. You can create urgency through word choice and tone. You can also create urgency by stating a deadline. Mobile-only offers, for instance, should have an expiration date. Even just using the word “now” can create a sense of urgency in your call to action.

Demand action, don’t suggest it

It’s not enough to suggest or encourage that your SMS audience take a certain course of action. You can feel free to demand it of them. Don’t worry about coming on too strong or offending. Research supports the claim that mobile consumers like being told what to do and are more likely to follow through with a course of action when they’re explicitly ordered to do so.

Keep it concise

This is true for the SMS channel in general but it’s doubly true for the call to action. It’s the most important part of the text message so it needs to stand out and a great way to do that is to use as few words as possible so that each one carries weight. Read over your call to action several times removing a different word each time. If a left out word doesn’t impact the clarity negatively, leave it out.

Say what’s in it for them

Either in your call to action or in a subsequent sentence, you need to tell recipients what’s in it for them if they follow through with a call to action. Instead of “‘Like’ our Facebook page” say “‘Like’ our Facebook page to get %10 off your next order.” Or, if you don’t want to make a monetary offer, you can offer value in other ways: “Like’ our Facebook page to find out about upcoming products before anyone else” etc…

Use a URL shortener for links

If your call to action contains a link that you want people to click on, it’s a good idea to use a URL shortener. Not only will this free up valuable characters so your text isn’t broken into two parts by recipients’ mobile service providers, it also improves the look of your call to action. You’ll see a higher-click-through rate when hyperlinks are kept shorter.

Experiment, test, and stick to what works

Over time, you’ll get a sense for what works and what doesn’t so long as you keep experimenting with new things and paying attention to the numbers. Keep an eye on click-through and redemption rates. If you’re finding that the inclusion of a specific keyword has a positive effect, make an effort to use it more in the future. If a certain mobile offer seems to generate more of a response than other kinds of offers, then keep using it or similar offers.