Psychological tactics to put into campaigns

Did you know that 95% of buying decisions are made subconsciously? Probably not, but that explains those overly priced cowboy boots at the back of the wardrobe, that magic mop that isn’t doing much magic and that chocolate bar sitting in your fridge full of salad. Marketing is full of psychological tactics that get customers to convert, and SMS is no different. Today, we’re learning more about SMS psychology and the tactics you can implement in your marketing campaigns. 

The psychology of SMS marketing

Psychological persuasion is an art used by some of the world’s most successful brands. But, before we get to the psychological tactics used, first let’s take a quick look at the psychology of SMS messages themselves. 

SMS messages have a phenomenal open rate - 350x that of email - and are a hugely successful marketing tool. Psychology has a lot to do with this because:

- Receiving an SMS message is out of the ordinary, which attracts the brain’s attention and prompts immediate action;

- Receiving a personalised SMS denotes familiarity, which leads the mind to trust the sender; and

- SMS messages require little effort to read, being only 160-characters long, which the brain loves. 

You can supercharge the psychology of your SMS messages by using certain tactics to bypass logic, appeal to emotion and get your audience to click, buy or recommend you.

SMS psychological tactics you can use

So, what are the best psychological triggers to use in your next SMS marketing campaign? From our extensive research, we recommend the following:

1. Ease

Humans like the easy option - it’s why microwave rice is a thing. Choice paralyses, decisions overwhelm, and information flusters. Utilise this in your SMS campaigns with:

- One clear and easy-to-follow call to action;

- An easy way to get in touch or opt out using SMS shortcodes and keywords; and

- Concise and to-the-point content. 

Hey Arnie! Our summer sale is now on - head to for up to 50% off. 

2. Value

Who doesn’t love a bargain? Detour the conscious mind (“do we really need this!?”) by offering the subconscious mind something of value (“but it’s only £9.99!”) You can achieve this with discount codes, information, free gifts and more. 

Hi Gordon. Grab yourself a panini maker for only £9.99 with the discount code RAMS37!

3. Scarcity

You’ll no doubt be familiar with the fight or flight response. While we advocate no harm in your SMS messages, we do recommend injecting some urgency into your content. Use words that indicate scarcity, prompting your audience to take action. 

Reese - our summer spoon sale has nearly sold out. Head over before you miss out. 

4. Aversion

People don’t generally like taking risks, and they certainly don’t like missing out. In fact, our subconscious mind hates it, which is why risk and loss aversion work well at converting audiences. Create loss aversion by sending time-limited offers and build risk aversion by offering guarantees for peace of mind. 

Hi Boris - our summer bike sale has just 24 hours left. Purchase something today, and you’ll receive a free 2-year warranty. 

5. Help

We have an inherent need to perform reciprocity - rubbing backs and giving and taking. When you help a customer, either through customer service SMS, information or SMS appointment reminders, they subconsciously want to help you back. This could be in the form of purchases, loyalty or recommendations. 

We’re here to help. If you’d like to speak with a customer service agent, text HELP.

6. Consistency

Known as the mere exposure effect, people’s preference increases with exposure. In other words, if you regularly communicate with your customers via SMS, they’ll come to trust your brand and think of you when they next need to book a hair appointment, recommend a hotel, or buy miniature office plants. 

Top tip: avoid bombarding your audience with irrelevant SMS messages by using SMS shortcodes and keywords to segment your audience. 

SMS psychological - key message

But, perhaps the most important tactic of them all is to go easy. People don’t mind being helped, persuaded or even guided to make certain decisions; they do mind being pushed, misled or manipulated. Be ethical with your use of psychology by following our suggestions and helping, not tricking your customers. You can open your eyes now.