If you’re trying to grow your business or spread awareness, sending text messages to customers and leads can come in very handy. Unlike other forms of advertising, text marketing directly reaches your target through their mobile phone.

In fact, a mobile survey by the UK Direct Marketing Association found that 33% of Americans would rather receive offers via text. Effective forms of digital marketing are now more in demand than ever, with Maryville University predicting more than 19,700 new jobs in marketing will open up from 2014 to 2024 because of this high demand.

However, it’s easy to accidentally do too much, and instead of attracting new customers, begin pushing them away. To stay competitive in this industry, here’s a list of text marketing practices you should definitely avoid:

1. Don’t send too many messages

Spamming someone with text messages is a surefire way to turn them off your brand. It’s good practice to limit texting to only one message a week or even less to prevent any potential irritation. However, your overall frequency really depends on how you plan on using text marketing in your business and how much value you can provide. Overall, try to keep in mind that less is definitely more

2. Don’t send messages about things they didn’t sign up for

One tip from CMS Wire is to offer real value to your consumers, which means sending relevant messages. Conducting an initial survey to understand what the consumer wants you to send, whether it’s a notification for a special event or a major sale is a good idea. If you have a better idea of what they’re interested in, you’re more likely to get a positive response.

3. Don’t send messages that are too wordy

Entrepreneur suggests having a laser focus and being succinct when it comes to text marketing. All you really need are the key details of your offer, its benefits, and how it can be purchased. The longer and more elaborately worded your message is, the more likely it is to be ignored or outright deleted by your consumer. Keeping it short and simple is the best way to go.

4. Don’t send messages at odd hours

One of the worst things you can do is send a text message to someone in the middle of the night because it could lose you a customer for life. Lifewire recommends timing your messages right, because mobile phone users typically check notifications immediately. Because of this, it’s usually better to send a message during the late afternoon or evening, with weekends and holidays also being the perfect time for texting. Also, don’t forget to consider time zones before you send a message out.

5. Don’t send impersonal and overly promotional messages

If possible, it’s a good idea to personalize each message you send with the name of the customer. This makes them feel valued and they’re more likely to respond. Using too much marketing language like “amazing offers” can turn people off, however, as well as certain types of slang and abbreviations. In addition, giving them exclusive offers as opposed to those easily found on your website will help make them feel special.

6. Don’t send requests for any payments over messages

The primary purpose of text messaging is to create additional leads and target customers. However, generating a sale directly through texting shouldn’t be your main goal. Alfredo Salkeld writing for CMS Wire explains that “To protect consumers, AT&T no longer allows payment or donation links to be sent over text.” As a result of this practice, other telecommunications companies are likely to follow suit, changing the tone of purely promotional texts to a more conversational format.

7. Don’t forget to include your location in your message

If you have a brick and mortar location, it’s always a smart idea to target your customers when they’re close by. Through proximity marketing, you can detect when a potential customer is nearing your store and send them a message, making it more likely for them to enter your store. Alternatively, if you operate online, you can add a short URL to your website to make it easier for them to visit. This way, you seem more legitimate and they know where to reach you.

8. Don’t make it difficult to opt-out of your messages

There’s nothing more irritating than not being able to opt-out of messages from a particular company. Search Engine Journal states that by law in the US, you must let your customers know how they can stop receiving your messages, preferably making it an easy and pain-free process. Putting clear directions in your message, along the lines of “text STOP to opt-out” is a way of saying that you respect their freedom to stop subscribing to your service.

9. Don’t keep your branding inconsistent in your messages

To clearly establish your brand, it’s a good idea to stick to your brand strategy. Whether your tone is more formal and elegant, or casual and low-key, use a similar tone throughout your texts. Unless your metrics are taking a negative turn, you should try to keep it constant in terms of your scheduling and message type, through a content calendar. This way, you appear less intrusive to your consumers and you get to establish your brand more strongly.

10. Don’t just keep your messaging offers one-dimensional

While being consistent is a good thing, once in a while it’s good to mix it up in terms of what you offer. Business 2 Community describe various marketing tactics you can use to get your customers excited about your products, including “sending coupons with exclusive deals, conducting drip campaigns based on how long someone is subscribed, hosting fun contests that submit engaged users for a chance to win a prize, and running polls to learn more about your customers.”

11. Don’t forget to incorporate a sense of urgency in your messages

Lastly, to stand out from your competition it’s always smart to try to include a call to action if you can. If you create time-sensitive deals that have an expiry date, you’ll be able to capitalize on your customers’ fear of missing out. There’s nothing like the idea of scarcity to motivate them to take part in your campaign. Phrases like “limited time offer” and “while supplies last” should do the trick.

Ultimately, text marketing can be highly effective and help you achieve your goals when it’s done right. Because it’s one of the easiest and cheapest ways to connect with your customers, using it effectively will guarantee you returns on your investment. Just avoid the pitfalls above and your customers will definitely thank you for it!

Article contributed by Kelsey Thomas