More and more small businesses are turning to SMS text messaging to interact with customers—and no wonder. It’s fast, efficient and cost-effective.
It’s also a way to increase the odds your messages get read: Studies have found that more than 90% of text messages get opened within a half hour of being received and that customers prefer receiving texts over email and other forms of communication.
“It’s an incredibly effective outreach strategy,” says Brandon Walsh, founder of Interly, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based digital marketing firm. “People consider text messages in a more positive light than other outreach tactics, especially email. SMS messages are easier to open, read and reply to. This makes engaging your audience much easier.”
That said, businesses must be careful not to overdo texting—as it’s also seen as a more intrusive form of communication since texts usually pop up instantly on their recipients’ mobile phones.
So, how can your business text customers in an impactful yet non-disruptive way? Here are three key tips:
Be respectful—and send texts for the right reasons
Messages that aren’t time-sensitive or don’t have another compelling reason to pop up on someone’s mobile phone should probably be sent another way‚ such as by email. Customers don’t want to feel crowded in their personal space, so refrain from bombarding them with unnecessary texts.
“Text messaging is an effective tool for engaging customers because the message can reach your audience within seconds after being sent,” says Shannon Steinberg, SEO manager of Allied Van Lines in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “But it is vital to time your messages well.”
Some useful ways to use texts:
- Notifying customers that their order is ready for pickup or will be delivered soon.
- Reminding them it may be time to schedule another appointment.
- Sending them discount codes, promotions or other information that would be convenient for them to store on their phones so they can access it on the go.
- Soliciting feedback on a recent interaction with your business.
Make sure to send texts at the times of day that people are awake—not too early and not too late—and receptive to receiving the information or question you’re texting them, Steinberg advises. She recommends including an opt-out link in every message so that customers can easily unsubscribe if they choose to do so.
Also keep in mind that under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, businesses are not allowed to send automated text messages to consumers without their express written consent. In other words, recipients must opt-in to receive text marketing messages and have an easy way to opt-out.
Personalize your messaging—but keep it brief
When someone receives a text from their friend, it’s personalized. It should be no different when it comes from a business.
“This means using the customer’s name, understanding their needs and crafting messages that are relevant to them,” says Kurt Uhlir, a marketing expert based in Roswell, Georgia. “Text messages should be engaging and interesting, not just a string of marketing messages. Make sure your messages are customer-centric and provide value.”
Messages should also be clear, short and on-point so that customers can quickly read and act on them. But make sure to include key details such as a promotional offer’s expiration date or a link to a website with more information.
Use the right tools
Businesses that want to make texting part of their regular communications with customers and prospects will want to have a tool that makes it easy for them to manage SMS text communications, whether when sending someone an individual text or sending bulk texts.
Spectrum Business Connect with RingCentral, a new unified communications platform available exclusively to Spectrum Business Internet customers, includes a tool for managing text communications both externally with customers and internally within your organization. It allows you and your employees to create texts and manage text-based correspondence from any connected device, whether a desktop, tablet or mobile phone, and it can be integrated with other tools, such as a CRM or marketing platform.
As you look to enhance your customer communications and engagement, text messaging may be the right move. But you want to make sure to do it well.
Want to learn more about Spectrum Business Connect and how it could help your business? Contact us at 855-299-9353.Print this article