Creating marketing messages with only 160 characters might seem daunting. But, getting good at it can happen with just a little practice. Creating a process that you use to get the messaging right also helps.

Write Out the Message

First, write out your message without worrying about characters, including a CTA and the factual elements that make the reader want to follow the CTA.

Edit the Message

Check to find out how many characters are in the message before editing. You might be surprised that it’s already under 160 characters as is. If it’s longer, take out extra words that don’t change the meaning. Then change verbs into higher-impact words.

Stick to the Point

It’s important to remember the point of the message, or the goal of the message, as you create it. The goal informs the call to action, which is why it’s so important to know before you start writing any messages.

Include CTA

Every message should include a CTA, otherwise your audience will just read it and do nothing else. Ask to share; ask to buy; ask to click; ask to do something based on the message.

Study Headlines

One way to get better at writing SMS messages is to read news headlines, which are very short. However, avoid trying to be clever in any message even though some places are doing it. Puns don’t translate well to SMS. Instead, be honest and direct.

Use Short Links

You don’t have very much space so if you have long URLs, use short links instead. You can create short links by using a service like or a WordPress plugin that helps create short links such as Shorten & Cloak Links

Edit for Clarity

Whenever you write the message (even if it’s the right length from the start), always edit for clarity too. Do the words mean to your audience what you want them to mean? Could your audience take what you said wrong? Don’t risk it. Always edit. Let it sit, the edit again before sending.

Avoid Symbols

Don’t use symbols and slang within your SMS messages. People view that as very spammy even if you don’t mean for it to be. Yes, it draws attention but it’s the wrong kind of attention.

Don’t Abbreviate

It is tempting to use childish text speak with abbreviations, avoiding using vowels, and so forth. Don’t do it. Spell out all the words you use so that it’s not confusing, and only use acronyms if your audience totally understands them.

When you follow these rules and steps, you will be able to create the most effective SMS messages. Incidentally, you can use this skill for other areas such as tweeting as well. When you make every word count, it’ll show up in a greater return on investment.

Making the Most of Your 160 Characters
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