Texting as a channel is a unique and important way for businesses to connect with customers. You can reach your customers instantly with texts, leading to an increase in customer engagement and faster service times. Text communications throughout the customer journey can benefit marketing, sales, and customer service as the decision process evolves into a purchase, and then becomes a customer conversation.
With increasing regulation and filters placed by network carriers today, it is more important than ever to follow SMS best practices to avoid being flagged by carriers and improve deliverability. Read on for suggested best practices for businesses that send text messages.
Integrating multiple channels
It’s important to meet your customer on the channel they prefer, before they reach out to a competitor, whether that be through a call or text. Our customers have experienced more engagement when using text in conjunction with other channels.
While customers appreciate the convenience of business text messaging, they also expect transparency and the ability to opt out. Businesses can use SMS marketing tools to increase response rates and evaluate campaign performance – while staying compliant.
- Establish text as an option: many customers prefer text over other channels and will choose to communicate via SMS if they know it’s available. If you’re using a landline, a text platform can help capture anyone trying to reach your business via text.
- Always ask for permission to communicate via text and provide clear instructions for signing up or opting out.
- Use text in conjunction with calling, like sending reminders before an established phone appointment.
- Send a text after leaving a voicemail to give your customer more avenues for responding. Some of our customers have found a 3x increase in engagement when reps use text in conjunction with what happens with voice calls.
Composing text messages
Texting is not email, and customers’ expectations of SMS etiquette differ accordingly. There’s a certain level of tact needed when texting as a business. Here are a few tips to use while composing business texts:
- Introduce yourself at the beginning of the conversation (but don’t include a signature) Instead of saying, “Hi, this is XYZ Company”, say “Hi, this is John from XYZ”.
- Be brief. Texts are meant to be short and to the point. Include only one question or call to action per message and give the recipient a chance to respond. This helps drive engagement and establishes a rapport.
- Be friendly! SMS is inherently more casual than email, and people are more likely to respond if you let your personality shine through. Messages that are too stiff may be disregarded as spam.
- Don’t be afraid to use emojis (within reason!). Creative and unique content can strengthen customer relationships and brand identity.
Text Calls to Action
According to Forrester’s 2021 B2C Marketing Predictions, optimized and automated campaigns enable “B2C marketers [to] get better campaign performance even while operating with reduced staff.” Although texting allows businesses to reach large groups of potential customers with little effort, avoid reaching out without a purpose. Here’s some tips on creating calls to action for your text campaigns:
- Have a clear purpose in mind. Messages that seem pointless are more likely to be ignored.
- Ask direct, but not narrow, questions.
- Limit each message to one call to action. Including too much content may confuse or distract the recipient. Historically, our data shows that those reps who ask one request at a time from consumers generally have a more engaged consumer that works with them more efficiently.
- Craft different messages for each segment of your customer base.
Things to avoid with texting for business
Personalization is key to business texting. It’s important that your messages don’t seem one-directional or automated. People are more likely to respond if they know there’s a real person at the other end. We’ve shared lots of ways to get the most out of texting; now here are some things to avoid:
- Avoid treating the channel like email with very verbose messages or a signature at the end.
- Don’t reach out unless you have a purpose in mind as a desired outcome from your conversation.
- Don’t overdo it. Constantly sending messages to customers can make them think of you more as a notification vs a conversation channel. The more direct your conversations can be, the more likely you are to receive a response.
- Try not to be too formal. You don’t want to come across as plastic or scripted in your communication.
Find the right text platform for your business
Much of the SMS marketing process can be automated with the right text platform. Look for a text message platform that can send highly customized messages and organize leads with minimal manual effort on your end.
A texting platform shouldn’t make you do the busywork, you can boost your productivity with automation. With AI-enabled texting bots, businesses can gather basic info automatically from a customer in the minutes after a first text is sent, gauge a customer’s answers, and route the inquiry to your sales team when it’s time to close.
Your text platform should have the ability to:
- Respond, score, and qualify leads automatically.
- Automate your campaigns and integrate them into your existing workflows to completely align with your needs and processes.
- Open a service ticket when a customer reaches out with a support question
- Send a text message after a failed phone call attempt
- Route a customer to the correct team seamlessly during an SMS conversation
Take advantage of everything the text channel has to offer your business by implementing a two-way texting platform like Marchex Sonar. Learn more.