Business Texting Etiquette: 14 Rules for Your SMS Campaign

Sharon Hurley Hall February 2, 2023
Business texting etiquette: woman reading a text

Whether you're reaching out to customers, partners, or employees, business texting allows you to connect quickly and efficiently.

But with all this convenience, it's essential to ensure that you follow basic texting etiquette. After all, good texting habits build stronger business relationships. 

53% of small businesses and 56% of consumers want to text each other more frequently. – Source

This article shares 14 guidelines for respectful texting that will help you avoid common pitfalls and communicate confidently.  Let's dive in!

1. Get permission before texting

To follow professional texting etiquette, you must obtain written consent from your recipients before sending any SMS communication.  

The easiest way to obtain permission is by having your recipients opt in to receive communications from you. Only send messages to customers who have consented and provide a way for them to unsubscribe easily should they want to.  

This also applies to group texts. Group messaging can quickly get noisy and annoying, so make sure you have permission to add people to a contact group before you send the first text. This guide from the Huffington Post shares some valuable tips on group chat etiquette.

2. Always sign your messages

Signing with your name and initials in every SMS is crucial to text message etiquette. If recipients don’t know who you are, they might ignore the message. Here are a few ways that you can sign your texts: 

  • Add a personal touch to your texts by signing off with your name, initials, or company name; 

  • Clarify the sender information by reserving an SMS sender ID for your business. Whenever your customer receives a text, they will immediately know who it's from;

  • Add SMS signatures to your texts to help recipients quickly identify you. You can also add your job title, alternative contact details, or other relevant information to text signatures. To keep costs under control, ensure the text doesn't exceed the recommended character length. 

Using the SMS sender ID to verify company info

3. Use formal greetings and sign-offs

According to the most basic rules of texting, you should always use proper greetings and sign-offs. We recommend starting your texts with a polite greeting such as:

  • Hello {Name};

  • Good morning/afternoon/evening;

  • Hey, I hope you are doing well today!

  • Greetings, {Name}.

Adding your recipient's name to the text to make it feel more personal. This can be done automatically using SMS software. Your texts should also end with a polite sign-off, such as:

  • Thank you;

  • Take care;

  • Best regards;

  • Looking forward to hearing from you.

Screenshot of SMS signature for business texting etiquette

It's also a good idea to consider your relationship with the recipient(s) before customizing your greeting. This helps you follow text message etiquette and improves two-way communication with customers.

4. Only use appropriate abbreviations

If you’re sending single texts, you only have 160 characters to convey your message. That’s probably why most people use text abbreviations. There are a few issues with this:

  • In some situations, abbreviations are considered too casual or unprofessional;

  • Some recipients (especially if they're much older) may need help understanding the abbreviations;

  • Certain abbreviations may not cross cultural boundaries, which is an issue if you work with a multilingual team.

To follow proper texting etiquette, make sure you don’t overuse abbreviations or shortened versions of words (e.g., using 2GTBT instead of too good to be true, gr8 instead of great, etc.). 

Stick to commonly used business abbreviations like T&C, TBA/TBD, ETA, EOD, etc., and type out words with obscure ones.

5. Keep your messages short and to the point

Time is a valuable commodity. No one wants to spend it deciphering a lengthy text message. When texting for business purposes, it's essential to be concise and clear in your messages. This shows recipients that you respect and value their time.

Avoid writing complicated texts, as they can overwhelm the recipient and lead to misunderstandings. Instead, focus on one key action or message you want to convey. Cut out all unnecessary words from your text.

Hey Ana, just a quick reminder about your upcoming appointment with Sparkle on Friday, at 6PM. Can you make it? Reply RESCHEDULE or CANCEL.

6. Maintain a consistent tone

The trouble with typed messages is that it takes a lot of work to convey tone. It's even more challenging with business texting.

Take some time to craft your message, so you end up saying what you need to say. A consistent tone across all communication channels builds trust with recipients. It shows them that you are approachable, professional, and dependable. 

Check out our list of tried-and-tested business business SMS templates. These templates are designed with business texting etiquette in mind.

While you’re at it, avoid typing in all caps. As in email and social messaging, this is perceived as shouting and will only annoy your recipients.  

7. Use emojis only when appropriate

Businesses can use emojis in their texting to appear more friendly and approachable. However, misusing emojis can make you look unprofessional. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Use emojis sparingly. While emojis can help convey emotions and tone, using too many will make your message appear too casual. Check beforehand which emojis are commonly used within your industry.

  • Understand the meaning behind each emoji you use. Not all emojis have the same meaning across different cultures or age groups. For example, the "✨" (sparkles) emoji is usually associated with positive sentiments but can also indicate sarcasm or irony. Refer to a reliable emoji dictionary to ensure your message is interpreted correctly.

  • Match the tone of your message. The tone of your message should always match the tone of the emoji you use. 

  • Consider the recipient's age, culture, and personal preferences. Some people might find emojis unprofessional or inappropriate for certain situations, so it's essential to proceed cautiously.

By using emojis appropriately and in moderation, businesses can convey emotions and tone in their texting without breaking texting etiquette.

Emoji text in mobile phone

8. Check spelling and grammar

Business texting requires business speaking. It's not a casual affair. Watch your spelling, grammar, and punctuation when composing text messages for business purposes. Misspelled words and poor punctuation create a negative impression.

Proofread your message to eliminate errors before you hit send. Pay particular attention to autocorrect and autocomplete fails. Re-read your texts to make sure that what you are typing is actually what you mean to say. Save time by saving successful messages as templates for future SMS campaigns.

Similarly, check each message before sending if you're texting by voice, as there's no guarantee it will be correct. Always strive for error-free business communication, whether you're writing a letter, an email – or a text message.

9. Double-check the recipient

Always check that your message is going to the right person before you send it. 

Ensure that you target the correct group of people when sending relevant information to a specific audience segment. There is no need to mass text your entire list. If you need to do so, you can do this with the help of distribution lists.  

That way, you will save money and avoid accidentally sending inside information to the wrong person. If you do end up accidentally sending a text to the wrong person, you should immediately up with an apology or clarification. 

10. Make sure SMS is the right channel

As much as we love texting, sometimes there are better ways to convey information. If a particular issue requires an email, then send an email. And if it’s better to make a phone call, pick up the phone and call in response to a text.

There are also some types of messages you shouldn't send by text. Avoid using texts for sending sensitive information, firing someone, providing a performance review, or anything negative. That kind of feedback is best delivered face to face.

You should also avoid using text messages to change meeting times or venues last minute. Such changes are easy to miss. 

That said, there are many situations where a text message is the perfect form of communication. For example, texts are excellent for emergencies. 

11. Avoid texting too early or too late

The etiquette around appropriate texting hours dictates that businesses should only send SMSs between 8 am and 9 pm.  

Ever had a work email when you were in the middle of enjoying your evening or weekend? Did it throw you off balance? If you answered yes, you're not alone. That's why it's essential to limit business texting to office hours only.

Believe me, if your marketing texts arrive in the middle of the night, your contact will soon block your number. Schedule all your texts to avoid this issue.

Schedule texts to avoid breaking texting etiquette

12. Be patient but responsive

Polite texting also means respecting response time etiquette. After you send a text, wait for the other person to reply instead of sending further messages. If they have yet to respond, it just means that your recipient is busy.

What about acknowledging and responding to texts? SMS is about real-time communication, so you don't want to keep your customers waiting. Use a business texting software, like TextMagic, to share your SMS inboxes and route incoming texts to your team members. This will ensure you'll always respond at the right time. 

13. Don’t text during meetings

Avoid texting when you're supposed to be paying attention to what's happening in the room. 

Whether in a face-to-face meeting or watching a presentation, hunching over your phone to send a covert text message is just plain rude. 

You would be offended if people did it while you were presenting, so don’t do it to anyone else.

14. Clearly communicate expectations

If you receive a message outside business hours or cannot keep up with high volumes of texts, you can configure auto-reply texts. Make it clear when they can expect a response and offer other options for getting in contact. 

With TextMagic, you can configure autoresponders based on your business hours or common keywords. Auto-reply texts are excellent for customer service requests. To ensure that you stay within business etiquette rules, follow up on your promises.  

Final thoughts on texting etiquette

A few simple rules and awareness of the nuances of SMS etiquette will help you become more effective at business communication. Remember, professional texting etiquette is not just best practice—it’s essential to the success of your business. 

Send the right text at
the right time with TextMagic.

Sharon Hurley Hall

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger who has previously worked as a journalist, editor and journalism professor. Her work has been published on IBM Pivotpoint, CrazyEgg, Unbounce, Search Engine People, Search Engine Journal and elsewhere.

You'll Probably Also Like:

Sending message
Use Business SMS to Keep in Touch with Your Field Staff
Alexa LemzyJune 1, 2016

Efficient communication is essential for any successful business. In fact, 97% of workers believe that communication impacts workflow. Miscommunication and delayed messages can cause disruptions in the completion…

Read more
The scammer sends a text message
7 Signs of a Text Scam: Spot SMS Fraud and Stay Safe
Alexa LemzyJune 1, 2020

Text scams are much less common than email scams, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the possibility of receiving one. Smishing (SMS Phishing) is an increasingly common…

Read more

Try our fully featured business texting platform today