Mobile is changing consumer behavior, and business texting can help you adapt successfully.
For reference, “business texting” is text messaging as a brand, with organization and a unified voice.
You might text with prospects, customers, employees, or subscribers. You might text using your smartphone or a management tool like ours.
But what makes business texting different from texting with your friends is that conversations are easily managed as a team, or as a business.
Texting is one of the most commonplace things you or I do, and it’s this simplicity that makes texting the most used, most popular, and preferred form of communication today!
The move to mobile can be a tricky switch, but these business texting strategies will help you adapt alongside consumers, and excel in a mobile-first world!
Strategy #1 – Use business texting to get more leads.
If you want to make sales, you need someone to sell to. And texting can help bring you more people, especially mobile users.
You’re probably familiar with Click-to-Call, where you can click a button or phone number on your smartphone, and start a call to that number.
What fewer businesses know they can use is a Click-to-Text button.
When a mobile user clicks this button, it opens a text addressed to your business. There are several ways this simple and effective strategy can help you.
- Studies show that people prefer to text you
- The majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices
- Texting increasse mobile engagement
- Most businesses have trouble converting mobile viewers into leads
- You can also ask desktop viewers to text you
Your targets find your website on their smartphones, and a call-to-action for them to text you will create more conversions than asking them to call, email, or fill out a form.
People today are mobile, and they’d rather text your business than call it.
How do you get started?
People need a reason to take action. So to get leads through text, you need to give viewers a reason to text you. Here are a few options:
- To get a free quote or estimate
- To schedule a demo, call, or appointment
- Opt-in for promos, coupons, etc.
- Ask a question, or general contact
Your call-to-action for text could be any reason you might ask viewers to engage with you. Now, for this to be a truly effective strategy, here’s what you need to do.
Click-to-Text → for Leads
Adding Click-to-Text to your website is as easy as copying and pasting a small bit of code. The questions to answer are:
- Where do you want to put it, and why?
- Do you have a designated business number for prospects to text?
(We can help you add text to your current business number.)
You can place your text number on your homepage, on your contact page, in your customer service portal, or anywhere you’d prompt people to contact you.
Opt-in Campaign → for Subscribers
Normally, opt-in campaigns either take more hands on managing of messages, or more money to automate the process. But it’s still a viable option for many businesses.
You can prompt people to text you in situations like:
- “For a chance to win!” at an event or trade show
- Table toppers at a restaurant for special offers
- Or myriad other ways
Opt-in campaigns function as “Text ‘X’ to get ‘Y,’” so you’ll just need to decide what to offer.
Once you have Click-to-Text on your website, and/or set up an opt-in campaign, business texting can become a passive lead generator.
To get leads, you have to have traffic.
It won’t matter how good your website is if no one sees it. Just like it won’t matter how awesome your advertisements are if no one passes them.
Business texting will not magically bring you more viewers, but it will help you turn more of the viewers you already have into leads.
Strategy #2 – Confirm leads through text, learn who’s worth your time.
An absurd amount of resources is spent on verifying leads, qualifying them, and turning them into customers. Texting can help streamline this process, and bring you a fantastic ROI.
Any time you get a prospect’s information, you need to answer 3 questions:
- Is this information accurate?
- Do this person care enough to take a next step?
- Can you communicate with this person when you need?
These 3 factors help you, your marketing team, and your sales team understand who’s worth spending your resources on. The better you are at answering these questions, the more efficient your business will become, and the more sales you’ll make.
Here’s where business texting comes into play.
For years, the good people at FranchiseHelp have tested texting with leads. Over their years of research, they’ve found a few consistencies that you can easily take advantage of.
It’s clear what leads prefer.
When given the option, about 90% of FranchiseHelp’s leads chose to verify their information and intent via text, while only 10% chose to verify via phone. That’s significant!
This wasn’t just a one-time thing. It happened consistently, month over month. And it shows how much leads prefer texting over calling.
Response and Engagement
After FranchiseHelp learned how each lead preferred to be followed up with, they tried to verify each lead.
Those who opted to receive a text, got a text. Leads could respond positively or negatively by replying “Yes” or “No,” respectively.
Those who opted to receive a phone call could respond positively or negatively by entering “1” or “9” on the keypad. Guess what happened?
Leads that were texted responded at a rate 209% higher than leads that were called.
Texts increased engagement by 209%!
But which method brought more positive responses? Which told FranchiseHelp who they should spend their resources on?
Leads who were texted responded positively at a rate 295% higher than those who were called.
In other words, texting with leads led to a 295% higher conversion rate!
What did the study prove?
FranchiseHelp’s research answered 3 questions.
- Is the lead’s information accurate?
- Are they worth spending our time on?
- Can we reach them when we need?
And for all 3 questions, texting leads was more effective at moving leads into the next stage of the funnel.
How can your business implement this strategy?
Thankfully, this information is easy to put into practice. When a lead comes in – through an email, a landing page, a call, a form, a text, or from anywhere else – send them a text.
This will confirm their information and intent, and open up the most effective line of communication between the prospect and your business.
Maybe you should text leads a verification code. Or maybe it’s a quick “Hey John, would you like more information on [X]?” You’ll have to decide the specifics for your business.
This business texting strategy will help increase engagement, better qualify leads and move them through your sales funnel, make people happier, and ultimately enable your business to close more sales.
Who wouldn’t want that?
Strategy #3 – Use business texting to follow-up and close sales.
It’s fairly common for businesses to make sales entirely through text. We know because we do it, and because our users tell us they do it, too.
Calls, emails, product demos, and more are still valuable. But texting can be highly effective without much effort at all!
What does the research say?
Did you know that 92% of leads never get more than 4 follow-ups?
This is inexcusable, because more than 80% of sales come after the 4th follow-up! Here are several reasons why salesmen might give up on a prospect early:
- The salesman might be incompetent, or gives up too easily
- Poor processes that cause “next steps” to fall through the cracks
- Salesman couldn’t reach the prospect
- Another vendor got to the prospect 1st
There are other reasons, too, but these tend to be the biggest causes of lackluster sales follow-up.
It’s not always simple to solidify your processes or to find talented salesmen. But it is simple to virtually guarantee that you’ll reach prospects, and that you’ll be the 1st vendor to reach them.
At least 99% of texts are opened and read. Texts have a 45% average response rate, and a 90-second average response time.
You might be nonplussed by these stats. After all, when you send a text, you expect to get a reply quickly.
Compare texts to emails.
According to MailChimp’s Feb. 2017 Email Marketing Benchmarks, the average email open rate across industries is 21.8%. Less than 22% of emails are opened, while 99% of texts are read!
Email engagement is even lower, at 2.6%, while text engagement is 45%!
Now think about timing.
The average email response time is 6+ hours. You might think that’s not too bad, but the average response time for a text is only 90 seconds!
That’s an incredible disparity.
What about phone calls?
From Strategy #2, we know that 90% of people prefer texts to calls.
Even crazier, only ~20% of people are willing to answer calls! Maybe that’s not a big deal to you. You can leave a voicemail, and they’ll get back to you on their time, right?
Only 18% of people check their voicemail within a week!
A few years ago, Coca-Cola removed voicemail from their corporate offices. A few months later, I ran into a Coke executive at an event. So I had to ask.
“Why’d you do that?”
He sort of chuckled and said, “Nobody checked it! Things kept falling through the cracks. It was not good.”
Phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication all have their places. But people’s behavior towards them has changed. And here’s why that’s so important for you to increase sales!
Depending on which study you look at, somewhere between ⅓ and ½ of all sales go to the vendor who responds 1st.
It could still take 5 or 10 follow-ups to turn them into a customer! But whoever responds 1st has a strong advantage over the competition.
It doesn’t matter as much how your products or services stack up against competitors. What matters is that you’re quick, and that you’re reliably quick.
Triggered emails and phone calls can be quick, but they aren’t always reliable. Business texting enables you to be quick, reliable, and to get ahead of your competition.
How can your business implement texting to follow-up and close sales?
Businesses have increased sales 100% or more by texting with prospects, and there are 2 main ways to add texting to your processes.
- Triggered texts
- Individual follow-up texts
Triggered texts could be a verification code, or any message that’s sent after the prospect completes a particular action, like filling out a lead form.
Triggered texts can still be personal. The only difference is that they’re automated.
For instance, CustomViewbook, a personalized digital viewbook product for colleges and universities, does a great job with sending triggered texts.
When a student prospect completes their viewbook, a text is automatically sent to them from their admissions rep, along with a link to their viewbook. Students can reply to continue the conversation with their rep.
It’s a very simple and effective strategy.
Follow-up texts would be in place of (or in addition to) your follow-up calls and emails. For instance, you might send a text like, “Hey John, got your message. When’s good to talk? – Kim @ [Business].”
Down the road, you might even include a “Hey John, let’s get you signed up today! :)”
When you start communicating with leads via text, you’ll start to see a lot more success in your follow-ups.
Strategy #4 – Schedule, confirm, and reschedule appointments through text.
Another way to save time and increase your bottom line is to text for appointments, calls, and meetings.
You’re probably familiar with automated text confirmations. But if that’s the only way you think texting could be used here, you’re severely limiting yourself.
Scheduling appointments, calls, and more through text.
When you want to go on a double date or grab coffee with friends, how do you set it up?
You probably pull out your smartphone, send them a text, and find a time and day that works for everyone. Business texting works just like texting with friends!
You and the prospect are both still human, after all. So text with prospects and customers to schedule whatever you might need! Here are a few situations where it would be good to text:
Scheduling a sales call or demo:
Example: “Hey [Mark], saw where you were interested. Do you have a moment around 2 or 4 today to talk? – [Sarah @ Company]”
Scheduling a house visit or servicing:
Example: “[Mrs. Smith], will 10am next Thursday work for you? We’ll already have a crew in your neighborhood that morning.”
Filling last minute appointments:
Example: “[Bryce], we just had 2 people cancel at 1pm and 2pm on Monday. Would either of those times work for you?”
Triggered or automated texts:
Example: “Thanks for registering! Follow this link to schedule your [demo / first appointment]. mybiz.com/schedule”
All of these examples are super easy to implement, effective, and save you time from constantly calling and emailing people.
Scheduling appointments, calls, and more through text can help your business increase sales, because everyone’s going to read your message quickly (see stats in Strategy #3), even if they’re at work where they wouldn’t take a call.
Confirming appointments through text.
Confirmed appointments are more likely to keep, which adds up to increased sales and more money in your pockets. There are several ways to confirm appointments through text, such as:
- Automatically, through time-triggered messages
- Personally, to a group (BCC group text, or text blast)
- Personally, to an individual
To send automated or triggered messages, you need to set up events in your CRM or POS, which any developer should be able to do.
You’ve probably received automated text confirmations from someone like your dentist, which is a good example of what this option would look like for you.
Example: “Still good for 2pm today? Reply ‘YES’ to confirm or ‘NO’ to Reschedule.”
To send a personalized message to a group (small or large), you’ll need to send a BCC group message. This allows you to send the same message to multiple people individually.
If someone texts you back, it will come in as an individual message instead of going to everyone in the group. (Text Request makes this easy for you to do.)
This way, you can add a personal touch, save time, and continue the conversation with anyone you might need. A lot of businesses prefer this method (it’s normally cheaper, too). Here are a couple of examples:
Home service appointment:
“Quick reminder, we’re coming by to [purpose] today. 🙂 Let me know if anything changes on your end! – [Kim @ Company]”
Call or demo:
“Looking forward to our call tomorrow! Talk to you then.”
For home services, you can also save appointments more easily if you happened to get locked out of the house, or need something from the owners. People don’t answer calls, but they quickly answer texts.
There’s also the option of the individual text, which takes the place of a phone call or email.
Instead of spending hours on the phone trying and failing to reach your customers, you can just send them all a text.
Rescheduling appointments through text.
There’s a misconception that text messages aren’t an effective way to reschedule appointments. You have a lot more power to reschedule someone if you can get them on a call, so the theory goes.
But research shows us prospects are more likely to reschedule through text than they are to even answer your call!
So when someone can’t make an appointment, just say “no worries,” and find another time that works.
All in all, texting for scheduling, confirming, and rescheduling appointments is an easy strategy to implement at your business. And one that’s very effective, too.
Business texting will help you save an outrageous amount of time (which brings you more revenue), keep more appointments (which increases sales), and streamline your operations.
Can you afford to go without it?
Business texting isn’t difficult to use or implement, as each of these strategies show. In fact, business texting might be the simplest and most effective tool you could add to your business today!
To ensure your business texting strategies are effortless and effective, you’ll want a way for you and your team to manage all of your conversations. That’s where Text Request will help you.
Text Request makes it easy for you to manage live, 2-way text conversations. We give your business a reliable way to reach who you need, when you need, and for those people to reach you, too.