Dos/Don’ts & Text Marketing Ideas

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You can win big or fail epically when it comes to a text message strategy. The guidelines are simple but too many businesses overcomplicate or undervalue their text message marketing. We’ve provided the best practices when sending marketing texts and helpful sample messages. Use these tools to capture thousands in additional revenue.

How to build an effective text marketing strategy:

While there is plenty of room for creativity and customization, all good text marketing follows a similar pattern of “must do’s”.

  • Be direct. SMS texts are defined as less than 160 characters. Going over costs more. With that limitation, get right to the point. Avoid abbreviations, slang, ALL CAPS, and emoticons. Less is more. So instead of sending “Text the word ‘Yes’ to 654321”, try “Text YES to 654321”.¹
  • Call to action. Send a limited-time-offer to instigate spontaneous action. Use language advised by marketing consultants such as: “show this text”, “click here to learn more”, “click here for directions”, “click here to see our online menu”, “text-to-win”, “text-to-vote”, “order now (insert number/link)”.² A call to action makes the text relevant, useful and effective. Use Ovation promos to actually track redemption!
  • Make exclusive. Give subscribers something unique. If you only offer them what every customer can get then there is no need for texting. Send out your upcoming menu item to subscribers first, give them a special discount, or send news of an upcoming event you’re hosting.
  • Timing. No one wants too many messages or messages. A good guide is to stick between 1-4 a month, spread out. Less than that will cause a high unsubscribe rate. You want to be sure you’re sending useful messages frequently enough that customers remember who you are.¹ Only send messages between 9am-9pm. A customer base can change dramatically so experiment with differently timed messages and measure the response. Always put an end date to your offering. This will create an urgency and an influx of customers.
  • Segment. Be as personal as possible. Build lists of happy customers, customers who came in during a seasonal deal, upset customers etc. Ovations service makes it easy to filter customers by date, satisfaction, and actions. You can text those with a bad experience to resolve issues or reward your biggest fans with a sweet deal. Anyone leaving a rating of 4- or 5-stars are the best candidates to include in your text message marketing.
  • Be creative. You can send links to social media, think up creative offerings and deals, link to a video, host an exclusive contest, send surveys–so overall, be tempting.


  • Short and Simple
  • Send from 9 am – 9 pm
  • Give a deadline
  • Call to action
  • Hold a contest for subscribers
  • Giveaways
  • Offer exclusive deals
  • First to know updates
  • Send 1-4/month


  • Make an offer found in other places
  • Send unremarkable discounts
  • Send more than 2/week
  • Make empty promises³
  • Announce contest winners (announcing they are losers)
  • Send to unhappy customers
  • Use slang, ALL CAPS, or abbreviations²

Here are some successful sample texts you can use as an outline for your business. Ovation automatically includes legal verbiage and your company name so you can focus on marketing content. You can find many more examples and templates online.⁴

Sponsored Event:

  • Come to Example Park for our Springtime Event. Going on now until April 30th. Click here for directions.

Limited Time/Seasonal Special

  • Book a reservation for Valentine’s and get 30% off with your special someone. Call 855-333-8925 to book.
  • Gobble, Gobble. Get $5 off any turkey sub from 5-8pm Thanksgiving Night!
  • During December, we’re awarding our loyal customers. Show this text for a free large drink.
  • Hurry! We’re having a deal through the end of the week. Buy a large coffee, get 10% off your next order

New Product Offering

  • Now serving breakfast! Show this text between 8-10am for a free side. Find the nearest store here

New Feature/Services

  • You can now order through our new Coffee Tent app. Download here and get your first order 50% off.
  • Nick’s diner has a brand new website so you can make reservations or order online. Check out our online menu here.

Subscriber Exclusive Promotion

  • Feeling hungry? Give promo code “Munchies” to get 15% off your next meal.
  • Show this text for a free side of breadsticks!


  • The next 50 respondents to our survey wins a free drink as a thank you for your feedback
  • We’re curious. What’s your favorite menu item? Answer our survey and we’ll give you 60% off any sides.
  • Which burger is best? Vote here for the burger of the month. If you vote on the winner get 50% entrees
  1. Sema. “8 Tips for an Effective SMS Marketing Campaign.” SemaGroup 10 Awesome Direct Marketing Examples Comments, 16 Nov. 2016,
  2. Tammeorg, Brit. “7 Tips to Leverage the Power of SMS Marketing.” Convince and Convert: Social Media Consulting and Content Marketing
  3. Krumins, Carl. “5 High Performing SMS Marketing Strategies.” The Hub, 19 Apr. 2017,
  4. Evan, Samuel. “SMS Marketing: 60+ Text Message Templates and Case Studies l Mobile Text Alerts.” Mobile Text Alerts Blog, 30 May 2018,

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