5 Tips for Writing Great SMS Messages in the Financial Industry

Crafting the perfect SMS message is more than chipping away at a few lines of perfect text. For financial service providers to write a great text message, they need to follow industry rules and regulations, know their audience, align the message with brand and strategy, and understand the role that timing plays.

1. Stop! Opt-in first.

Your customers want to engage with you over SMS, as proven in this study¹, where nine in ten customers preferred text messages over phone calls when dealing with a business. Before you jump in and start crafting your first text message, obtaining the correct form of consent from a client based on messaging intent is essential. Failure to receive customer consent can result in heavy fines and penalties.

Regulations set by industry gatekeepers (CTIA, TCPA, and wireless carriers) keep SMS spam rates incredibly low at 2.8%.² There are three types of consent: implied, express, and express written.

  • Implied Consent: When a customer initiates a text message conversation, consent is implied if the business only responds to each request with information relevant to the discussion. This form of conversational, customer-driven SMS does not require additional verbal or written permission.
  • Express Consent: If your financial institution intends to message a customer about account-related matters, such as appointment reminders, statements, text pay notifications, welcome texts, etc., you will need written consent. The customer gives the financial service providers their phone number and asks to be contacted in the future. Capture consent via text message, website form, or verbally. 
  • Express Written Consent: Any sales, marketing, or promotional SMS require express written consent, which can be captured via signing a form, checking a box online, contracts, or other instances where the business collects written information.

SMS respects privacy, follows clear boundaries, and creates a reliable communication channel as a customer-first tool. By following the rules and guidelines set by industry gatekeepers, clients have complete control of their messaging preferences with financial service providers. This control builds trust and fortifies the direct line of communication between the service provider and client. Along with collecting consent, clients should be provided with terms and conditions and made aware that they can opt-out at any time by responding STOP. 

For more information on SMS compliance, check out our SMS opt-in guide. 

2. Know your audience.

Now that you’ve opted-in your client, it’s time to learn more about who they are and what makes each unique to create a personalized SMS experience. Only 53% of marketers are confident in implementing personalization and targeting in their strategy,³ even though it was ranked the second-most important marketing tactic. Personalized SMS messages connect with customers and drive conversation. Financial solutions are not a one-size-fits-all solution for your entire customer base; your SMS approach shouldn’t be either. There are countless ways to personalize text messages for clients, including:

  • Starting with the client’s name. 75% of customers⁴ are likelier to act on a business’ offerings if that business addresses them by their name.
  • Review past transactions experiences, and communications a client may have had with your business to make recommendations for services and products. Personalization is vital in providing top-of-the-line customer service through SMS. If you’ve had any prior SMS communication threads with the client, the Solutions by Text software makes it simple to review past conversations no matter who on the team was engaging with the client.

3. Follow the content formula.

With limited characters, finding the right words can feel like a puzzle. Space is valuable, and when in doubt, keep it simple! Every text message should include a personalized element, a call to action, be easily identifiable as your brand, and contain relevant content. Those are the key ingredients to constructing a well-thought message.

  • From notifying a client that a monthly statement is available to introducing a new financial product ideal for their situation, a clear call to action leads your client where you want them to go. 
  • Can your clients pick out your brand’s message in a sea of black and white text? Even if a client does not recognize the short code, SMS messaging can aid in building brand recognition as a financial service provider. A fundamental way of achieving this is by utilizing a library of message templates that your entire team has access to use. Give your text messages one strong, unified voice tailored for each customer journey stage. Not only does this aid in building brand credibility and trust, but it also gives your team the power to provide seamless customer service. Templates also serve as a safety net to keep messaging compliant with regulations. 
  • Not every text message will be prose that delights your clients, but it should be relevant to the parties receiving the communication. While the average opt-out rate for SMS is less than 5%,⁵ sending messages that are of no interest to your clients is one of the quickest ways to diminish your platform.

4. Exceed character limits with SmartURL.

SMS’ speed and high rate of deliverability make it a powerhouse for getting information to your clients instantly, which makes it great for sending more than just a string of characters. For those messages that exceed the character limit or need to include additional resources, SmartURL™ is your best friend. SmartURL™ is a versatile, multi-channel tool that allows you to create, customize, and track shortened URLs directly in the SBT software that can be used across all platforms. These branded, shortened URLs give instant recognition and trust to the content on the other end of the link. Send clients to content-rich landing pages, deliver monthly statements, provide documentation, and manage account updates by including a Smart URL™ directly in the text message. Say goodbye to the days of not knowing if a client received their statement, bill, or documentation. It’s a paperless tracking solution that allows you to monitor a client’s actions in real-time while saving money by cutting out printing and postage costs. 

5. Timing is everything.

Paying attention to timing is another factor that needs to be considered when crafting text messages to your financial services clients. Scheduling messages in advance helps businesses follow professional etiquette and be mindful of time zones. A significant benefit to scheduling SMS is understanding how the timing of the text message might influence a client’s behavior. Strategic messages can be scheduled for delivery around upcoming payment due dates, paydays, and based on previous client actions. Not only does this help your team’s workflow, but it also serves the clients by offering solutions when they need them most. Scheduled SMS is also vital for omnichannel communication. It drives message cadence across all platforms, giving clients the best chance of engaging with your communication.

A well-crafted text message campaign in the financial industry will always be the one that focuses on meeting the client’s needs. Providing excellent service, products, and resources to clients should be the goal of every financial service provider. You will write a great text message with clients as the driving force—every single time.

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