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The Ultimate Guide to Texting for VoIP

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Over one billion people have VoIP phone services and 48% of businesses text customers.

You keep hearing that VoIP and texting make the perfect dream team, but how can you use the two together? And what are your options?

Luckily, we’ve put together this all-in-one guide to the different strategies you have when texting from VoIP numbers.

Let’s get started!

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It’s a technology that allows you to make voice calls with a broadband internet connection. Your service provider manages the software and hosts it in the cloud.

It works by converting your analogue voice signals into digital signals, and then sending those signals as data over the internet (which is way cheaper than sending signals over traditional landlines).

VoIP systems also offer a ton of useful features that have been found to increase office productivity by 30%, like:

  • Automated attendants
  • Automatic call transfers
  • Voicemail to email transcription
  • Remote access
  • And texting

PC: Finances Online

Why is texting from VoIP numbers useful?

If VoIP is the go to communication method for increasing productivity and saving money, then texting is the go to for increasing leads and customer satisfaction.

Less than 15% of emails are opened, and only 10% of first time voicemails are opened—but everyone checks their texts.

Remember, 89% of people want to text business. And that’s because:

  • Texts have an open rate of 99%
  • An average response time of 90 seconds

This lightning fast speed can increase conversion rates by over 112% if you send your prospect a text after initial contact.

PC: CrazyEgg

How do you text from a VoIP number?

If your VoIP provider offers texting, it’s usually through an app you can use on your cellphone and desktop.

When using the app on your cellphone, your personal messages will remain separate from your work, and every business message you send will go through and be saved on your company's account with the provider.

As a result, even if a contact already exists in your phone, you will need to re-save them in the app because it acts as its own storage space for both your messages and business contacts.

Most providers will also offer helpful features to streamline your texting, like:

  • Autoresponses
  • MMS
  • Account management tools

It’s important to note that not all VoIP services offer texting.

In those cases an additional software that provides one-on-one SMS communication will be needed. Some VoIP texting services can also miss out on handy tools like group messaging, merge messaging, keywords, etc. (we’ll touch more on how Text Request can help with both of these things in a bit).

So, how do you use VoIP texting features to increase sales?

1. Generate more leads by encouraging customers to text you from anywhere.

Most customers are in a rush to solve a problem they have. So when they search for services online, they’re going to immediately be drawn to a number they can quickly text.

You can advertise that your business texts by including a call to action on your website header, search ads, and business listings.

PC: City Tire

Online graphic design tools, like Canva, can help you create these eye catching ads for free.

2. Be the first person to respond to your customer.

50% of sales always go to the first responder. And since texting is the number one preferred form of communication, you're more than likely to get an upper hand on your competitors if you can instantly get your prospect's attention.

A service with autoresponses can even allow customers who reach out after hours to receive an autoresponse that lets them know their message has been received—and that you’ll personally follow up once you’re back in the office. (We’ll talk more about how Text Request offers a specific feature to help with this later.)

3. Increase customer engagement with pictures and emojis.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s why MMS increases customer engagement by 15%.

In some industries, texting emojis has been found to quadruple the chances of a prospect responding, because they can make your customer service feel much more personable and welcoming.

PC: Inside Intercom

MMS can also speed up communication in industries that require you to have visuals to best help your leads. For example:

  • Realtors can text pictures of a house to interested visitors.
  • Mechanics can send images of new parts to showcase their condition.
  • Plumbers can receive pictures of damage to see the problem before they even visit the home.

4. Make follow ups quick and painless.

Playing phone tag can be a nightmare—especially if your business depends on getting people in and out quickly (think doctor offices, auto shops, etc.). But with texting, the average response time is reduced to 90 seconds, so you can schedule and confirm appointments within minutes.

This also makes follow ups, payments, and requests for reviews a cinch. Most of the time people need a little nudge, and texting is the perfect way to reach out because:

The key is just asking.

5. Get the feedback and online reviews you need to thrive.

You need online reviews to increase sales and survey feedback to learn how to improve.

The good news is that 70% of customers will leave a review if you ask them directly, and 45% will fill out a survey if it takes five minutes or less. The key is making sure the link is easy to find, and texting is the perfect way to send it.

Free link shortening services, like Bitly, can be a great tool to make these links presentable for your texts.

What does Text Request give you that your VoIP doesn't?

Text Request pairs with your VoIP provider by using the SMS side of your business phone number to send messages.

We also provide a handful of tools that pair well with the traditional VoIP texting features mentioned above.

1. Use SMS Chat to better your chances of being a first responder.

SMS Chat is the best way your business’s website can advertise you text. It’s a widget you place on your homepage that allows customers to directly text your business number with a customizable call to action like, “Text us any questions!”

This keeps customers from feeling like they have to scour your site for information—and turn to your competitors instead.

2. Customize your escalation settings so you never miss messages.

This feature sends an alert if you haven't responded to a message within a certain amount of time. It pairs great with the autoresponse feature some VoIP providers offer (and if they don’t, Text Request also provide autoresponses)!

Why do you want to use the two together?

Say a customer messages after hours, and they receive an autoresponse letting them know you’re going to get back to them in the morning. An escalation message is useful in case the customer’s text becomes buried within the time you return to the office. It’s the ultimate way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

3. Target specific customers with keywords and group messaging.

Your customers have different products and services they’re interested in. And with keywords, they can opt-in to the promos, ads, and newsletters they’d like to see the most from you.

Likewise, you can organize these customers into different groups for mass messages of news and updates they may find useful.

Best of all, our group messages work like BCC email, meaning that the customers you text won’t be able to see everyone’s numbers and replies. This is great if your VoIP provider only offers regular group texting.

4. Keep your team updated with a user-friendly dashboard.

Our dashboard, which can be used on both desktops and cellphones, timestamps every message so your entire team can easily keep up with conversations. If one employee heads out for the day, another can immediately take over the thread.

All messages are also saved, so there’s a permanent record of who said what when to make sure things stay compliant.

5. Use merge messaging to schedule follow ups.

Remember those follow ups and late payment reminders we talked about earlier? Merge messaging can make personalizing them easy.

This is great for keeping your reminders both regular and scheduled in advance. At the end of every month you could send a message like:

“Hi [Amy], just a quick reminder that your bill is due on [11/30]. Pay online at Textrequest.com or call us at this number. Thanks!"

Or.

“Hello [Dave], we noticed you never made it to our online checkout. Would you like to finish buying your [microfleece pajama pants]?"

What’s the next step?

No matter which VoIP provider you use, Text Request can streamline the productivity of its pre-existing texting features by adding a few of our own.

Check to see if your number is eligible, and schedule a free demo.