The Psychology of SMS

The Psychology of SMS

Imagine you’re mindlessly scrolling Instagram on your phone when the familiar ding of a SMS distracts you. To your surprise, it’s a text message from a bank. You downloaded an application from their website to apply for a credit card. You love the benefits but the card’s joining fees is expensive. The text says:

“Hey [your name]! Thanks again for your interest yesterday. I know you’re on the fence, so we’re giving you a 50% discount on the card’s joining fees. Call XXXX XXXX XXXX to get started.”

Suddenly you’re fantasizing about the airport lounge at Mumbai airport you’ll access with this new credit card.

You call on the number and get going with your application.

How did you go from scrolling Instagram to getting a credit card in a matter of seconds? Today, I’d like to you think about SMS, how smart marketers are pulling 98% open rates by meeting customers where they spend most of their time.

As far as your brain is concerned, SMS isn’t just a convenient way to communicate.

Receiving a SMS starts a dopamine loop in your brain.

You get a rush of dopamine and endorphins, which make you crave more of these feel-good chemicals.

A text message from your favourite brand can actually produce as much dopamine as an orgasm. That’s nuts, right? But research actually says so.

We love chasing dopamine rushes which is why the ding of a new message can spark you to unconsciously pick up your phone before you even realize you’re doing it.

It’s no wonder that 1 in 3 consumers checks their text notifications within one minute of receiving a text. Or that consumers check their text messages more than any other app on their phones.

So what does this mean for marketers?

🧐 Inside Your Buyer's Mind

Texting is integrated into your buyers' lives in ways that other marketing channels aren’t.

Email marketing campaigns have a 20% open rate on average. But, SMS campaigns have a 98% average open rate.

As a marketing channel, SMS is still fairly new compared to channels like email or social media. Yet more than 50% of buyers have already opted-in to receive promotional SMS campaigns.

Text messages feel personal.

No wonder 96% of marketers using text messages said it helped them drive revenue.

When done well, SMS marketing can deepen brand love and drive more sales. But poorly designed SMS campaigns can backfire.  

If you annoy people, they’ll opt out of your texts AND from buying your products.

Let’s explore how smart marketers use SMS...  

🤑 How To Apply This

Alright, how can you do SMS marketing to sell more?  

Craft a welcome message that makes a great first impression  

You know first impressions count. But did you know that creating a positive experience in one area of your business impacts how people perceive your competency in other areas?

Behavioral scientists call this the Halo Effect.

For instance, when you walk into an Apple store it’s uncluttered, filled with warm light, and you’re immediately greeted by a smiling Apple employee who is ready to help you. Your positive experience with the store unconsciously makes you believe that Apple’s products will also be easy-to-use and delightful.

Much like how Apple shows customers what they can expect from their products with their store design, your first SMS message needs to teach buyers what to expect from you.  

Don’t teach them to expect spam.

The first text you send should showcase your brand’s personality and to immediately deliver value—like promotional codes or exclusive access.

Remove unwanted sludge from your onboarding or booking process

People are busy. If they need to call you or visit your website to book an appointment, they may put it off or buy from a competitor instead.  

SMS is a low-friction way to communicate with prospects and customers.  

Messages like this (below) make buyers feel like they have a personalized line of communication with your team and show you’re easy to work with.

Allowing buyers to ask questions or book via text simplifies the buying experience for customers and removes friction (aka “Sludge”).  

Nudge buyers with abandoned cart messages

Abandoned carts break marketers’ hearts. Especially after you worked so hard to get them to your website in the first place.

Give buyers an extra nudge to purchase with a special offer SMS. To create a sense of urgency, make it an expiring discount that people need to use fast or risk losing.

💥 The Short of It

Your phone is somewhere near you right now.

So are your buyers’ phones.

Meet buyers where they are by using SMS to create moments of delight, make them feel special, and remind them when their favourite products are available.

BTW, ValueFirst is pretty good when it comes to SMS. Hit us up at to get started today.