Copywriting is an area of business that is often given very little attention. Companies generally cover the basics (e.g. core grammar and readability), but otherwise consider the quality of their copy to be questionably important. This is a mistake. Beyond simply determining comprehension, the language you use matters to your customers, whether you’re speaking to them out loud or addressing them through the written word. It shapes how they view you.
This is particularly clear when you consider the demanding state of modern customer service. It’s often multi-channel (or even omni-channel), with brands interacting with their customers through numerous available methods, and every part of that process needs to be optimized — because every part presents an opportunity to enhance (or diminish) the customer experience.
Texting is one method of interacting with customers that is gaining popularity. Despite the presence of numerous high-tech alternatives, texts remain one of the most powerful and reliable tools to shape customer experiences, so you need to make the most of it. Here’s how you can write better texts:
Completely avoid hyperbole
Don’t we all expect some exaggerations in the text of marketing emails? Despite its ubiquity, it doesn’t tend to annoy, because we’re used to viewing our email inboxes as containing vast quantities of content — with that content offering mixed quality and usefulness. In the end, it’s the emails that really stand out (regardless of how they manage it) that get our interest.
And while it’s somewhat different with customer emails (order updates, feedback queries, etc.), that marketing skew never quite goes away. With texts, though, you can’t hide behind slick presentation or take advantage of huge amounts of free space to get away with this type of thing — and even a slick marketing spiel can look silly when contained in a 600-character text message.
Keep in mind that text messages are high priority for most, so you need to be delicate if you’re going to venture into that territory. The best tack, then, is to completely avoid any hyperbole and stick to the facts of the matter. Your customers will appreciate it.
However possible, cater to context
I mentioned multi-channel service, and it’s part of a general move toward multi-channel operation — which means that multi-channel buying is a key concern at this point. Customers used to just buy from brick-and-mortar stores, but now things are more complicated: they can also buy from online stores (with all the complexities of the online journey being factors), and even buy from pop-up stores using the hybrid retail model (online and offline).
What does this mean for your text content? Well, it means that you should aim to consider context whenever possible. If you know from contextual clues like geotagging (GPS coordinates picked up through your mobile app, for instance) that a customer is close to one of your physical stores, you can send out a text message that offers them a discount if they make a purchase that day.
And if you know from your POS system that someone has just purchased an item from one of your pop-up stores and has never visited your website, you can include a website link in your text message to increase the likelihood that they’ll end up buying from you online as well. Context-aware copywriting just gives you more opportunities to drive sales.
Focus on clarity above everything else
Have you ever received an unclear text message from a business of which you’re a customer? It might have said something like “Your order has been dispatched” without actually confirming which order, or even offered up a vague marketing prompt such as “Hurry! Offer ends soon!” without ever introducing you to said offer. It’s always annoying, and has even sparked the development of AI tech to parse the vagueness.
Text messages are supposed to be succinct and straightforward so the recipients can read and acknowledge them very rapidly. Anything vague or unclear in your text messages will turn your customers against you, leading them to wonder why you bother sending anything at all.
Thankfully, due to the rise of automation tools and smart scripting, you don’t need to create text messages on an ad-hoc basis — you can create them well in advance, giving you plenty of time to proof them and make alterations to ensure maximum clarity.
Texting is a fantastic way to cut through the noise and keep in touch with your customers, whether you’re marketing or just adding to your customer service, but you need to work on your wording. Follow these tips to improve your copy and make it more relevant to your customer’s situations, and it should help your business.