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Text Message Lead Generation: The Ultimate Guide

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You want more leads, but you can’t just snap your fingers and generate more leads out of thin air (as disappointing as that is).

What you can do is follow a few tried and true methods to create more demand for your company's products or services, and to capture a higher percentage of those interested prospects. That’s what this guide will help you do.

Specifically we’ll focus on generating new leads through text message, because (a) that’s kind of our schtick, and (b) texting is the #1 channel for customer engagement.

If you want to generate more leads for your business without breaking the bank or taking up all of your time (which is probably why you’re here), then text messaging is the perfect place for you to start. Let’s dig in.

Why text for lead generation?

It's all in the data. Here are a few stats to help you understand how important texting is (view more here):

  • 9 in 10 people want to text with your business
  • 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent
  • Text message leads are 600% more likely to convert than email or form submission leads

Texting captures demand and increases conversions fast. That can have an incredible impact on your business. So how can you take advantage of it?

A Note on Compliance (Sorry)

No one likes talking about compliance, but it’s much better than risking your business for an extra buck. A few things you should know:

  • We’re not lawyers and this is not legal counsel
  • To sell or market through text, contacts have to opt in to receive those types of messages from you (we'll work through this below)
  • Leads and subscribers have to be able to easily opt out of messages from you at any time they wish (Text Request has an automated opt-out function to make things easier)

Now for the fun stuff!

5 Ways to Increase Lead Generation with Texting

1. Convert website viewers into leads through text.

Every person who visits your website has at least one question they’re trying to answer. If you want to convert more website viewers into leads, make it easier for them to get answers.

How does texting help?

Generally, people would rather have someone else give them the information than to dig for answers themselves. And most people would rather text your business than call, email, fill out an online form, or wait for a live chat agent.

So to convert more website viewers into leads, make sure they can text you from your website to ask questions and get into your funnel. You’ve got two options: Click-to-Text, and SMS Chat.

Click-to-Text

Click-to-Text is simple. Just hyperlink a button or text on your website with “sms:1your10digitphonenumber.” If we wanted you to text Text Request, for example, we’d say “Send us a text!” and hyperlink that call-to-action with “sms:14232180111” — like this:

Send us a text!

This lets mobile website viewers click the link to text your business, and become a hot lead. You can also use Click-to-Text to open a form (like below). Details for doing this are in our SMS Chat user guide linked under SMS Chat.

Related: What Is Click-to-Text, and How Can My Business Use It?

SMS Chat

SMS Chat is a widget you add to your website. It looks like a regular live chat widget, but the difference is messages come into your business as texts, and your replies go to those contacts’ cell phones as texts.

Why do this?

Because (a) people don’t want to wait on your website for a live chat agent, they’ve got things to do, and (b) this gives you a direct line to prospects’ cell phones that’s proven to also increase conversions.

You can’t beat that!

SMS Chat is a Text Request specific product. All you have to do is:

1. Customize your chat settings inside Text Request

2. Add the SMS Chat code to the footer of your website

3. Click “Publish” inside your Text Request account to make the chat live

Related: Text Request SMS Chat User Guide

 

2. Re-engage email subscribers (and build a more powerful list).

You've likely spent years building your email subscriber list. The problem is it's gotten stale, and engagement is low compared to what text offers.

A strong email list sees open rates around 40%, with click-through rates around 4%. An average email list sees 15% open rates with 1-2% click-through rates. Meanwhile, SMS subscriber lists see open rates of about 99% and click-through rates of about 40%. 

What's interesting is you can have the same subscriber on both SMS and email lists, and they'll be more likely to engage with your texts than your emails. So here's how you can turn those email subscribers into text subscribers, and re-energize your lead generation flow.

All you need is three steps:

1. Offer something new (and free) to email subscribers.

2. Give it to them through text.

3. Create a process for turning those fresh leads into new business.

Here's an example:

You provide an offer that people have to text you to get. That lead gets an autoresponse with a link or details to take the next step. The next day, a sales rep follows up via text in the same thread to see if they want to convert.

Just like that, you've got fresh leads!

3. Start conversations from Instagram.

You spend a lot of time building your following on Instagram, and you want to turn that into new clients or increased sales. The problem is you need followers to take a next step, preferably one that will also create engagement outside of Instagram (like with your website or subscriber list).

So how can you get followers to take that next step?

Have them text you.

Did you know followers can text you straight from your Instagram business profile? You just need to give them a prompt.

In your posts and stories, you can always say “Text us for more information,” or “Text us to schedule your visit!”

One popular option is to text for a coupon or discount. Let’s say you work in fitness training. You can set up a text autoresponse, so the lead gen flow would be something like this.

1. You post a before and after photo of a client.

2. Your call-to-action says, “If you want similar great results, text FIT to [your number] to get three free sessions! Just use the button on our profile.”

3. They text FIT and receive directions on how to redeem their free sessions in an autoresponse, such as “Congrats on taking your first steps to getting fit! Schedule your first session and use the promo code FIT30 at calendly.com/training”

“We can’t say enough about the lead-generating power of automated texting. Of the 2,000+ fitness studios we work with, the ones using automated text campaigns have by far the highest show-up rates. Instagram and Text account for so much of people’s attention, that making Instagram-to-Text Automation is an absolute MUST for every fitness studio!” — Patrick Cundiff, Partnerships at Loud Rumor

The same concept works in any medical office, marketing agency, and even retail (you’ll just offer a discount on items instead of free sessions).

How to Add Text to Your Instagram Business Profile

1. From your Instagram business profile, click “Edit Profile”

2. Choose “Contact Options”

3. Add the phone number where you want to receive texts

4. Choose “Text”

5. Make sure to click “Save”!

4. Turn event attendees into leads through text.

It’s common to speak at conferences and events with the goal of gaining exposure and new business. The problem is most of the new business you generate comes from one-on-one conversations with attendees after your talk.

But you only have enough time to talk to a few people before they have to leave, even if everyone is interested in learning more from you. So how can you turn strangers in the audience into warm leads?

Encourage attendees to text you throughout your talk.

You might say at the beginning, “You’re probably going to have questions while I’m talking. I want to make sure I address those, so please text this number whenever a question springs to mind.”

Then have your number posted on your slides throughout the talk. This way, even if you don’t have time to answer every question or shake every hand, you will have key contact info to follow-up with those attendees later.

There are a few other good options you can use to make the most of any talk, too.

1. Have an autoresponse for anyone who texts you a question that says, “So I can be most helpful, please leave your name and business,” or something to that effect. This helps you identify the person texting in.

2. Have people text a keyword, like the conference’s name, to get your slide deck. Then follow up with those attendees as subscribers, or in any other way that may be appropriate for you. We do this at Text Request and it works very well.

3. Have attendees text in a keyword to get a survey, which they will get a reward for completing (like free swag or a major discount). Twilio does this successfully at their events.

“Gathering attendee survey data is imperative for creating engaging and awesome future events. One way we've found works well is by asking attendees to fill out our survey by text (built using Twilio), and in exchange we give them a pair of our branded socks!” — Lauren Kelly, Field Marketing Manager at Twilio

All of these are simple to start and manage. You just need to choose your call-to-action and how you’ll respond.

5. Prompt store visitors to opt in for perks.

Ecommerce is huge, but it still only accounts for 10% of retail sales. In-person shopping is very much alive—people want to see and feel things in person. The problem is you get too many window shoppers, and you need them to buy.

So, offer a helpful prompt to get them there.

How?

The easiest way is to post signs around your store that say “Text [keyword] for an extra 20% off!” Window shoppers text in, an autoresponse gives them a coupon code to use at checkout, and suddenly someone who was “just browsing” is now willing to buy from you.

Even better, and one reason this is such a powerful lead generation tool, you now have a subscriber with whom you can share future discounts and other promotions (like holiday open houses).

It costs up to 7x more to bring in a new customer than it does to resell a past customer, so re-engaging past customers like this is key.

If you want to get fancy with this, you can have different keywords for different types of products in your store, or even different brands, like “Home” or “Magnolia.” Then you can send tailored promotions to them later, like:

“We know you like our Magnolia collection, so we thought you’d want to know about the new Magnolia Table cookbook! Get your copy today at bit.ly/magnolia, and take an extra 10% off at checkout with TABLE10.”

How do you start generating leads through text?

This guide is all about generating new leads through text messaging, and we’re a text messaging solution that helps thousands of businesses of all sizes do that every day. Text Request will help you do everything that’s mentioned in this guide, and a lot more.

Not only will you get great features like SMS Chat, keywords, mass messaging, and autoresponses, you’ll get others like our Chrome extension, scheduled messages, group management, automated opt-outs, templates, and integrations.

You’ll also get a central place where you can text using your business phone number and manage those conversations as a team. And on top of all that, you’ll get the world famous Text Request support staff at your fingertips—people who genuinely care about your success and actively help you achieve it.

If you’re interested in generating more leads, and you think texting is a good option, then the next step is to grab a time for a quick demo to see exactly how you’ll make that happen.

While you’re here, you can also check your business phone number to see if it’s eligible to use with Text Request.