SMS is the New Business Essential
Text messaging is the new business essential. While phone and email definitely aren’t dead, they’re hopelessly oversaturated. Email inboxes are overflooded. Customers and businesses both will often miss emails. Meanwhile, businesses often find themselves playing “phone tag” with their customers, when looking to add phone service to your business, check this post about the 8×8 Phone cost. That means they leave you a call and get voicemail. Then you leave them a call and get voicemail. It’s not a particularly enjoyable experience for either side.
With texting, you can avoid all of these problems and reach the customer right away. Here are a few stats showing the importance of text.
- 98% of text messages are opened, compared to 40-50% for emails.
- 89% of customers prefer to interact with businesses via text message rather than a phone call.
- 1 in 3 consumers have tried to text a business and never got a response back.
How are businesses using text messaging?
A few years ago, almost no business was using text messaging. It was seen a casual medium that was only used between friends. But the landscape has shifted. Studies have shown that 39% of businesses now use text.
Of course, not every business is using text in the ideal fashion. It’s been estimated that around 88% of businesses use personal cell phones to text their customers. Unfortunately, this often leads to fragmented customer experience. A customer might look up your business and see a landline number that’s totally different than the one they’ve been interacting with. This causes confusion.
Even worse, if a customer does call you on your landline, you won’t have a record of their previous interactions readily available. That means you may not be able to answer their questions as well as you could. Luckily, there is a way out of this problem that we’ll address later.
Marketing text messaging best practices
Before you fire off texts to your customers, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make Sure that Your Customers Can Opt-Out
- Time Your Texts Carefully
- Add Relevant CTAs
- Use URL Shorteners
1. Make Sure that Your Customers Can Opt-Out
Remember, nobody likes getting unsolicited texts. Plus, almost all countries have anti-spam laws that state that you should only send texts to people who opt-in. Make sure that you are only texting customers who have opted-in to receiving communication from you via text.
Be sure to include an opt-out method in all of your messages. All your customers have to do is just click the button so they won’t receive any more messages.
2. Time Your Texts Carefully
Texts are more intrusive than emails. If you send a promotion text offer at 3 AM, your customer will not be happy. Make sure you time your texts during normal ‘awake’ hours. We’ve seen that different times of the day work for different businesses. Experiment with different times and figure out what works best for your business.
3. Add Relevant CTAs
Remember, the whole purpose of text message marketing is to motivate your customers to take relevant actions. To do this, it’s important to have a call-to-action at the end of your text. This can be something as simple as “Buy Now” or “Leave a Review”. Just make sure that your CTAs are short, to-the-point, and immediately understandable.
4. Use URL Shorteners
In your texts, you can send your customers to review sites, social media profiles, and your business website. However, sometimes these URLs can be absurdly long and will take up a ton of space. To make these URLs more convenient for your customers, use a free URL shortener online. Services like Bitly can create free short URLs for your business.
9 ways you can use texts to grow your business
Here are some examples of the different types of text messages you can send to customers.
- Promote discounts and sales – if you have a sale or a discount coming up, let your customers know.
- Inform your customers about updates – is your business going through a change? Maybe you have new operating hours or maybe you have a new service to announce.
- Ask for reviews – collect reviews on sites like Google and Facebook by sending texts to your customers with direct links to your business’s profiles on different review sites.
- Send personalized offers – sending a personalized offer based on a customer’s unique needs works differently for different industries. However, it can do more for your business than sending a mass text message.
- Continue web conversations on-the-go – with a webchat offering, you can stay connected with your website visitors via text message. When they send a message on your site, you can continue the conversation via text.
- Confirm appointments – got an appointment with one of your customers coming up? Send a reminder text so they remember to show up on time.
- Confirm delivery times – if you’re delivering products to your customers, you can send a message to make sure that your customers are ready for you.
- Ask for referrals – remember, people trust recommendations from their social networks. Ask your customers if they’re willing to recommend your business to family and friends in exchange for a discount.
- Text-to-answer polls – want to get a better idea of how you can improve your customer experience? Send text-to-answer survey questions to your customers.
Why you need a business texting software
If you’re using text messaging to regularly interact with your customers, consider using a business text software. There are a number of software solutions out there that can help you manage all your conversations on text, website chat, and Facebook Messenger in one unified inbox.
In addition, you don’t need to send messages from you or your employee’s phones. These software solutions integrate with your existing number so that your customers can easily recognize who they’re talking to.
PTC Computer Solutions has you covered. A simple consultation and audit of your website will quickly help us identify what’s needed so you can get on par with the rest of the world. Contact us directly and we’ll ensure you have the best consultants working for you available anywhere in the world, and we’re all here locally in the United States.
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David WB Parker is a principal of Parker Associates of Jacksonville, Florida, marketing consultants to the real estate industry; President of PTC Computer Solutions, IT Specialist, and an active real estate sales professional with Barclay’s Real Estate Group based in Jacksonville, FL. He can be reached at 904-607-8763 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.