How to Generate More Leads with SMS, Text Messaging
You probably want more people reaching out to you about working together. This kind of inbound strategy is more enjoyable (and successful) than an outbound strategy. So how do you bring more people in?
Below I’ll show you how to generate more leads (and inbound communications in general) with SMS text messaging. Most of these recommendations involve only small changes to things you’re already doing online, and are highly effective.
Why do we want more leads?
If you’re like me, you often think “more leads = better,” but it helps to spell out why.
With more leads or prospects, you can keep your same ratios and still close more accounts. This leads to more revenue for your business or organization.
If you can generate more inbound leads, then you can increase revenue without spending more on advertising or outreach. This brings you more profits, higher “earnings per employee,” and allows you to scale up more effectively.
5 Reasons SMS is a Good Channel for Getting Leads
1. Text is the most used form of communication.
Research by Pew, Gallup, Statistic Brain, and others shows us that people are choosing to send more texts and make fewer calls. Simply put, texting is what people would rather do, which creates a great opportunity for generating leads and other inbound communications.
2. Text messages have very high engagement rates.
- 99% of texts are read
- Texts are read within 5 seconds of being sent
- 45% of marketing texts get responses
- Links in texts have a 36% click through rate
- 9/10 would rather get a text than a call
When you get a lead, you still have to follow up with that lead. Email open rates average 30% or less, with a click through rate of about 3% (if you're doing well).
Around 20% of people are willing to answer calls from numbers they don’t instantly recognize (if they’re available). And people rarely listen and respond to voicemail anymore.
Comparatively, texting is a great option that’s been shown to increase conversions by anywhere from 100% to 300%.
3. All phones accept SMS messages.
SMS messaging is a standard feature on all phones, and most messaging apps also accept SMS. This means you don’t have to worry about your technology keeping up with the latest apps just to function properly, and your customers don’t have to download anything to communicate with you.
4. People say they want to text businesses.
89% of consumers say they’d like to message a business for communications like this. They also say they’d rather text than call.
5. Mobile is dominant.
In 2017, 77% of internet usage in the U.S. came from mobile devices, and well over half of all Google searches came from mobile devices.
Text is also the most used feature on a smartphone, so using text messages to generate more leads brings all of this together into one actionable step - let people text you.
How exactly should you do that? You’ve got options.
8 Ways to Generate More Leads with SMS, Text Messaging
1. Adwords message extensions
Adwords is Google’s advertising platform, most known for the ads you see when you search for things on Google.
Adwords also provides options for your call-to-action on each ad, which they call extensions. The message extension shows only to mobile users, and allows them to text you (or your business) directly from the ad.
Often, viewers would rather text you a question than click through and navigate your website. You can also use your ad copy to prompt viewers to text you (e.g. “Text us for a coupon code!”).
For more details, view our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google Adwords Ads
2. Keyword signups
A keyword is a word people text you to opt in to information or updates related to that keyword. It’s like a subscriber list for text messages.
You’ve probably seen these for organizations like:
- Universities (“Text LEEU for campus updates”)
- Boutiques (“Text STYLE for exclusive discounts”)
- Real estate (“Text INFO for details on this home”)
- And more
Keywords can be used in myriad ways to generate more leads and subscribers from your website, print materials, and other marketing channels. For more details, especially if you’re already a Text Request user, view our Keywords page.
3. Google business listing messages
Google My Business lets you (or your agency) create a free listing for your organization that shows up in search results. Now mobile viewers can see the option to Message your business from that listing.
Consumers would often rather text you than call, so that’s what they do! For more details, view our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing
4. SMS chat
Website live chat options are great for answering viewers’ questions - if you’re able to respond instantly. Otherwise, those viewers are stuck waiting, and many bounce.
With SMS chat, this is a non-issue.
Viewers enter their phone number and message in the chat bubble. The message comes into your dashboard or app like any other live chat conversation. The difference is that your responses go back as text messages to that viewers’ cell phone. From here, they can handle the conversation as they wish without being glued to a particular webpage.
People are mobile. Why shouldn’t your live (SMS) chat be mobile, too? If you’re interested in this, contact us for details.
5. Website text link
A “text link” is hyperlinked copy (words) that opens up a page or some function when clicked (like the guide at the end of this section).
Text links can also work with SMS. All you do is link the text with: sms:1[YOURNUMBER]. So if I wanted you to text Text Request, I would link “Send us a text!” with sms:14232180111. Like this
You can add as many text links as you want all over your site. They make for great calls-to-action on your home, blog, and contact pages. Note: SMS text links only work with mobile devices.
For more details, view our guide: What is Click-to-Text, and How Can My Business Use It?
6. Website embedded button
This option is similar to the one above, except you can create a full Click-to-Text button instead of just a text link. You can embed this button anywhere on your site you think appropriate, like on your home or contact pages.
You can also add your own colors, fonts, and Analytics tracking to the text button. If you’re already a Text Request user, view this guide for more details: Click-to-Text Integration. If not, contact us for more info.
7. Website floating text button
Sometimes people want to contact you as soon as they see an ad or view your website. Other times, they need to read and scroll through your site. In both case, a floating text button can be added to your website that hovers at the bottom of the page - just for mobile users.
Whenever a mobile viewer is ready to contact you, your Click-to-Text button will be there waiting. If you’re already a Text Request user, view this guide for more details: Click-to-Text Integration. If not, contact us for more details.
8. Instagram contact
Instagram can be a great platform, even for businesses. If you aren’t already marketing on Instagram, it’s at least worth looking into. If you are using it, you can turn your Instagram followers into leads and customers with text messaging.
Every Instagram business profile lets you choose how you want people to contact you. Simply select the Text option. For more details, view our guide: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Instagram Business Profile
How to Follow Up and Close the Deal
1. Be first.
When leads come in, they’re often shopping around and comparing different options. Studies show 35%-50% of sales go to whoever responds first. So when you get a lead through SMS, text them back ASAP.
2. Be friendly and helpful.
Be quick to reach out, but also be human. Text with your leads the same way you would text with your friends, and try to help your leads accomplish their goals. For more details, view our guide: What Does it Mean to “Text Like You Text Your Friends”?
3. Don’t stop (until they ask).
80% of sales come on or after the 5th follow up, yet 44% of salesmen quit after the first. Getting leads with SMS and texting them back does give you an edge, but you still have to follow through.
4. Give leads a reason to come back to your site, purchase.
Constantly contacting someone without offering any value is harassment. If you want leads to convert, give them a reason why.
- Answer their questions
- Share helpful content
- Provide discounts and other incentives
- Go out of your way to help your leads accomplish their goals
When you do all of this, you’ll close more deals more often.
How to Start
For Text Request users, just use one (or all) of the eight options given above to generate more leads. Let us know if you have questions or would like recommendations for your specific needs. Contact us here.