How to create a high-converting SMS Message

In this article we'll walk through some core strategies for creating effective SMS messages to use in your SMS marketing. With SMS messages having a near 100% open rate, as a merchant you have a great opportunity to create a high-converting experience for your customers recovering their carts. Read on to get the full scoop on how to write messages that convert to sales!

Are you new to SMS? Read our getting started with SMS guide to get set up.

Core strategies

Here we'll take a look at some of the core messaging strategies you can use in your SMS campaign. Each store is different in terms of tone and style, but these best practices are the keys to high-converting messages.

Offer discounts

Provide an incentive for your customers to click that checkout link and complete their purchase. Discount codes are a great way to recover lost sales. Who doesn't love a discount? Add one in automatically by using the "Edit discount" feature on the automation dropdown. Alternatively, you can create your own in Shopify—consider adding an expiration to create a sense of urgency. If you do attach a discount, clearly state the offer in the message.

Include a call-to-action

A clear call-to-action (CTA) drives engagement and boosts sales. Use a command verb and create a sense of urgency with your CTA e.g. 'Buy now', 'Save 20% today'. The reader should know exactly what next step you want them to take and what to expect when they click on that checkout link.

Keep it short and sweet

A standard SMS is 160 characters long. Try to make the most of the shorter form. Grab the reader's attention immediately with your CTA. Stay on point with a clear and succinct message—the reader should know exactly what the message is about at a glance. Remember, the customer already has your products in their cart, they just need a little nudge to cross the finishing line.

Make it personal

Customers respond much better to content aimed directly at them so add a personal touch by including their name. This is a simple but effective way to nurture your customer base and build brand loyalty. Use a conversational tone and friendly emojis to strengthen that relationship. Try to limit emojis to one or two per message, adding too many clutters the message and may appear spammy. Consider adding the product image to the message as well, a visual reminder of what they've left behind will encourage the reader to complete their purchase.

A well-written SMS recovers lost sales

Using variables

These handy placeholders are a great way to instantly create a personalized SMS message that's ready to send out to all of your subscribers. We recommend opening the message with either your store name using the {{site_name}} variable, or with a personalized greeting using the {{first_name}} variable. Opening with your store name lets the recipient know what the message is about before they even open the message and it allows you to lead into your CTA and your discount if you're offering one. A classic, personalized opener e.g. Hi {{ first_name }} ! is another great way to boost engagement. Even if you don't open with this kind of personal greeting, try to include their name somewhere in the message, as naturally as possible. When a customer subscribes, this means they want to hear from you—they'll respond much better and remain engaged with content if it's tailored specifically for them.

Proven examples

Below are some examples of effective, high-converting SMS messages. Use these for inspiration or add them as-is to your own campaign! It's up to you whether to include a discount or not with your message. One good strategy would be to send a 'reminder' message after a few hours—without a discount—gently encouraging the customer to complete their purchase. Then, if they still have not completed the order, follow up a day or two later with a discount offer.

{{site_name}}: Looks like you left something in your cart {{first_name}}. If you'd like to complete your order, your cart is waiting for you: {{checkout_url}}

Hi {{first_name}}! 👋 You left something in your cart! Need a hand ordering? Here's 10% off to complete your order: {{checkout_url}}

{{site_name}}: Save 10% today! You left something in your cart {{first_name}}. Claim your discount now before it expires 💸 {{checkout_url}}

Hi {{first_name}}! We noticed you left something in your cart at {{site_name}}. Buy it today to get 15% off: {{checkout_url}}

{{site_name}} has a gift for you 🎁 Your item is still in your cart and because it's BFCM we're giving you $10 off! {{checkout_url}}

{{site_name}}: An item from your cart is almost sold out {{first_name}}. Save 10% today with code SAVE10 before it's gone {{checkout_url}}
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