Small business texting might be the most underutilized tool you already have. Everyone texts, and we text for a 101 reasons every day, including business!
Texting has been the most popular form of communication for a decade, and it might feel like a rather commonplace thing. But that ubiquity is exactly what gives it so much power.
So, how can small business texting grow your brand? How can it take your business from point $A to point $B?
We’ll cover exactly what small business texting is, and offer 9 powerful ways to grow your brand through small business texting. Let’s dive in!
What is small business texting?
You’re probably familiar with SMS marketing, where you get an automated text from 555-55 with some business’s latest discount. Well, small business texting is the opposite of SMS marketing in 2 ways:
- SMB texting uses long-code numbers. E.g. (423) 218-0111
- SMB texting focuses on conversations instead of promotions
As a small business, you care about the relationships you build with your community. Small business texting reflects these values, because it’s communicating with customers, prospects, and co-workers just like friends and family.
Normally, employees are already texting for work from their personal cell phones. Small business texting moves these conversations to a shared online dashboard, where they can all be managed under 1 roof.
In short, small business texting helps you fully step into the mobile-first age while remaining compliant and personable.
Now, here are 9 powerful ways to grow your brand through small business texting!
1. Get more online reviews by texting links to customers.
Not many people want to be a business’s first customer. Most want to work with an already established business, and so we look at previous customers to gauge the company’s value.
The idea behind this “social proof” is that you want someone else to confirm your decision. When we hear “Yeah, that company was great to work with,” we think it’s safe for us to work with them, too.
So how can small business texting get you more social proof? Whatever your specialty, there’s room to ask for feedback. You could be:
- HVAC or maintenance professionals
- Staffers or recruiters
- Business development professionals
- Agency owners
- Or anyone else
All you have to do is ask!
It’s likely part of your process to get each person’s cell number. After a sale or appointment, send that customer a text, like:
“It was a pleasure working with you! Would you share your experience on [Google]? goog.le/mybiz Thank you so much!”
It will be best for you to encourage reviews wherever people are most likely to look for you, whether that’s your Google listing, the App Store, Yelp, or somewhere else.
These positive online reviews will bring you more customers, because other people will see how valuable your business is. And over time, these simple texts will significantly grow your brand!
2. Close more sales by following up through text.
According to this year’s State of Inbound report by HubSpot, the #1 challenge salespeople face is getting responses.
Their biggest problem isn’t overcoming objections, or creating enough qualified leads. It’s reaching people who’ve already expressed interest! That’s where small business texting will help you.
Fist, here are a few relevant stats on texting and sales:
- 38% of salespeople say their biggest challenge is reaching prospects
- 35%-50% of all sales go to the vendor who responds first
- 99+% of texts are read
- Texts have an average response time of 90 seconds
- Texts get a 45+% response rate
- 90% of people would rather be texted than called
- Texts have a 205% higher response rate than phone calls
- Texts convert 295% more than phone calls
Together, this research shows that small business texting is a pretty important sales tool! And here’s what it looks like in practice.
People search for what your business does, and come across your website. Then they fill out a form or send you an email – they might even call you!
But that person is going through the same process with several other companies. So how do you stand out?
The first business to respond has the highest chance of closing the deal. And since texting is the fastest, most reliable way to reach someone, you should send a text to follow up with them.
This is a process you can automate.
You can set up your CRM so that any person who submits your contact form automatically gets sent a text. But chances are you’ll want to tailor your responses to each person.
Let’s say someone asks for a quote or estimate. Here’s a text you might send as soon as you see that request come through:
“Hey Jane, just saw your request! I have a couple of follow up questions. Do you have a moment to chat this morning? Thanks! – [Kim @ Company]”
What’s really powerful here is the text’s role as a wingman. Only 15%-20% of calls are answered, but a text gets your foot in the door almost every time!
9 times out of 10, you’ll get a response like this:
“Hey Kim, how about 12 or so? Thanks!”
And just like that, you’ve scheduled a call with someone you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach!
What’s more, we know that leads who text with you convert into paying customers at a significantly higher rate. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
These texts help you create conversations with leads before your competitors can, which inevitably helps you grow your brand.
3. Gain referrals through viral customer service.
When people have a great experience, they talk about it. They tell their friends over coffee, the bring it up at family dinners, and they share it with the entire world on social media!
Disney World’s a good example here. They could stop advertising today, and millions of people would still flood their parks every year. Why?
Because people love to talk about their magical experiences at Disney. And these customer advocates become powerful referral machines.
Or take Zappos. One Zappos representative stayed on the phone with a customer for over 10 hours! while making sure the situation was resolved.
That story has been covered more times than you can count, and that customer has told everyone she can about it!
Great experiences create memories to talk about, and just like Disney and Zappos, small business texting can help your business create these viral customer service experiences. Here’s how.
Far too many people abhor contacting customer support. In fact, 89% of customers want another support option!
And why shouldn’t they? When 86% of phone calls are placed on hold, emails take 6-48 hours to get a response, and no one has 30 minutes to spare for a live chat conversation. But a text cuts straight through.
When a customer texts in their need, they can just go back to whatever they were doing before! Example:
“Hey team, why am I seeing a $30 fee on my account? Makes no sense to me. Thanks.”
A few minutes later, your representative replies:
“Hey Matt, looking at your account. It seems the fee was mistakenly assigned to you. I’ll credit your account now!”
A few minutes later…
“Matt, I’ve just credited your account. Thank you for working with us!”
The customer replies with a “Thank you for being so quick!” And now you have an awesome opportunity to text him a review link (see powerful way #1).
To create great experiences people want to talk about, follow these simple steps as quickly as you can without sacrificing quality.
- Acknowledge the customer’s problem
- Tell them you’re going to make it right
- Actually make it right
- Offer something extra as your condolence
Small business texting lets you take something people hate – customer service – and turn it into something enjoyable! And since texting lets you handle several conversations at once, you can help more people faster.
4. Generate more leads through superior mobile engagement.
What would you do if you found out 2/3 of your customers were coming from 1 place? You’d probably put more resources into that 1 successful channel!
This is exactly what’s happening on mobile, and it’s why so many marketers, VPs, and CEOs are continually focusing more and more on mobile engagement.
A few years ago, mobile users accounted for 60% of all online traffic, and that number’s been trending upwards since.
Chances are, more and more people are finding your business through their phones, and texting is the primary way people communicate from a mobile phone.
Small business texting puts 2 and 2 together to help you generate more mobile leads in 4 different places!
- Your website
- Google My Business
How to get more mobile leads through your website
The Click-to-Text button is a powerful yet simple tool. Essentially, you place a piece of code on your website, and a text addressed to your business will open whenever a mobile viewer clicks that button.
Mobile viewers who come to your site will be more likely to contact you, because most people would rather text you than call someone else. All you need here is a number that can receive texts (which we can help you with).
Plus, people who text you are more likely to convert into sales.
How to get more mobile leads through Adwords (Google Ads)
For this to work, you need to be using Google Adwords, and you need a number that can receive texts. After you’ve got that, here’s the step-by-step guide to set up Click-to-Text on your Google Ads!
1. Login to your Adwords account.
2. Go to the Campaigns tab
3. Click the sub tab that says “Ad Extensions”
4. Click the red “+ Extension” button.
5. Click “New Message Extension.” Add your text number, call to action, and pre-filled message.
6. Ensure bids are turned on for mobile ads under Settings >> Devices.
7. Start receiving texts through your Google ads!
How to get more mobile leads through your Google My Business listing
Most small businesses have a Google business listing – it looks like this:
For those who don’t already have one, we strongly recommend you set up your listing! Follow these instructions to set up your Google business listing.
Once your page has been verified, follow these steps to set up your Google Chat (Messaging) feature.
1. Login to your My Business account.
If you’re listed as an account Owner, you’ll be able to see the Messaging option on the left side menu. (You should also see a Chat card when you scroll down your homepage.)
If you do not see the Messaging menu option, you are probably not listed as an Owner on the account. You can check this by clicking on the Users menu option. If needed, you can reach out to an Owner to change your permissions level.
2. Add your number.
Once you’re on the Messaging screen, add your 10-digit number that can receive texts (e.g. your current business number or Text Request number).
3. Enter the confirmation code.
Google will send a confirmation code to the number you enter, so make sure you have quick access to that number. After entering the confirmation code, you’ll be all set to start receiving texts through Google search results!
Note: When someone clicks on the Send a Message button, they’ll see a different number than the one you entered. This is OK. You’ll receive the message and the recipient’s phone number from a still different Google number.
Google made this part a bit confusing, but I believe they did this so they can track your response time, which will sometimes be shown in search results.
How to get more mobile leads through Instagram
If your business has an Instagram profile, here’s how you can add a Click-to-Text button to help you get more mobile leads.
1. Go to your business’s Instagram profile, and select Edit Profile.
2. Select Contact Options.
3. Add your phone number.
4. Choose the Text option.
5. Make sure you save it!
6. Now you can receive texts!
Texting is such a simple form of mobile engagement that you will inevitably convert more mobile viewers into leads through Click-to-Text. What brand doesn’t want that?
5. Keep more customers for longer by sending time-sensitive messages.
It’s common for customers to forget. They forget to pay you, they forget to update their credit card information, and sometimes they forget about your business entirely!
None of this is good, and it causes you to lose customers.
It costs 5x-25x more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer, and even a 5% increase in your customer retention can lead to a 20%-95% increase in your total revenue!
Clearly, keeping customers is important, but what can you do about it? Use small business texting to help you keep your customers from churning. Here’s how.
When a customer’s bill is due, or when their statement becomes available, send them a friendly text. E.g.:
“Hey Marissa, hope you’re well! Your bill is due on [DATE], and you can pay it here [LINK]. Thank you!”
Because 99% of texts are read, this reminder text will actually be seen by your customers! It’s also easy for customers to pay their bill from the message, which provides a great experience.
Through this, you’ll retain more customers, and increase your collections!
Another common cause for customer drop offs is when their payment information expires, and you can’t reach them to update it. A simple text will do wonders here!
“Hey Larry, your CC is expiring. Just go here to update it [LINK] Thank you!”
These steps are simple to add into your daily routine, and will drastically improve your bottom line. Take it from one of our users!
In 3 months we have seen an increase in sales by 17%, an increase in collections by thousands a week, and a 66% increase in customer retention! – Sarah, Healthcare National Marketing
6. Build stronger customer relationships through nurturing conversations.
People enjoy doing business with other people we have relationships with. And research shows that people do more business with these contacts as the relationship strengthens.
This is what you want – quality relationships that help your company grow. So how does that work?
It works through “lead nurturing,” which is the process of your brand building relationships with potential customers.
What’s really powerful is that nurtured leads – those who’ve built a relationship with your brand – will make 47% larger purchases on average than leads who don’t have a relationship with your brand!
Building relationships isn’t always easy, and lead nurturing includes many tactics, such as:
- Email marketing
- Promotional products, like ebooks and whitepapers
- Product videos
- And more
The best lead nurturing strategies include all of these tactics, but the one that stands out is conversations.
Texting is how friends communicate, share stories, and find time to get together. Why shouldn’t your business do the same thing?
Use small business texting to spark conversations, whether that means following up for sales, wishing customers a happy birthday, setting up a phone call, helping them get more out of your products, or even just chiming in to say “hello”!
Customers do a lot more business with brands they’ve built relationships with. Relationships are built through conversations, and those conversations happen through text.
7. Create repeat customers through ongoing engagement.
Brands often wonder why so many customers only make 1-time purchases, and why they don’t keep coming back for the same experience.
They make the assumption: “If we can get them once, they’ll enjoy it, and that will make them want to come back.”
The problem is, this assumption is wrong.
Thankfully, the solution is simple. If you want customers to keep coming back, you have to give them a reason!
Facebook sends you push notifications, Entrepreneur sends you newsletters with the latest content. The best brands are constantly doing something to re-engage their audiences.
There’s so much fighting for consumer attention that anyone will forget about you unless you’re constantly fighting for their attention, too. Small business texting happens to be a powerful way to grab someone’s attention.
Previous customers are a great source of sales opportunities waiting to be tapped. They’ve already worked with you, and they’re primed to work with you again. You just need to pull the trigger!
So whenever you have a new sale, a new promotion, a new product feature, or any other kind of opportunity, text all your customers! Maybe send a text like:
“Hey John, we’re offering a 25% discount on [XYZ] to all of our previous customers this week! Want in?”
This ongoing engagement helps you grab people’s attention and earn repeat business. Even the people who don’t bite will get a touch point from your brand, which always has its benefits.
It’s important that you provide ongoing engagement, because you need to keep reminding people about your value. Small business texting helps you do that.
8. Hold more appointments by scheduling more people faster.
Most small businesses need to set and keep appointments to bring in revenue, and there are 2 powerful ways texting helps you do this.
You’re probably familiar with the 1st way – appointment reminders. You’ve set an appointment, and you need to make sure that person doesn’t forget. What should you do?
You could email for confirmations, but the average working adult gets 88 emails every day (or more), and half of those are already spam!
But 99+% of texts are opened! So send a confirmation text, like:
“Hey Scott, still good for 3pm on Tuesday? Thanks!”
Or you might send:
“We’re excited to see you Thursday at 4pm! Please confirm your appointment here [LINK].”
You could send these texts manually, or you could automate the process. If you have questions about which is best for you, talk to us!
Text or Call Us at (423) 218-0111
Whatever you do, there’s no guarantee that 100% of your appointments will stick 100% of the time. And that’s where option #2 comes in.
Many appointment-based businesses have a list of customers who need to be scheduled again. You’re also going to have people who cancel on you last minute, or who just don’t show up. That’s when you turn to this list.
Start reaching out to these “overdue” customers! Send them a text like:
“Hey Sydney, hope you’re well! Just got an opening for [DATE/TIME], and I thought you might like to grab it. Want to set it up?”
Depending on the context, you could also include a reason for why you thought of them (e.g. since it’s about time for your 6-mo check up).
Messages like these are a very personable and considerate way to set and keep more appointments. They also provide an awesome customer experience. That’s the dream for growing a brand!
9. Overtake your market by outcompeting other brands.
Most people don’t care about working with the absolute best company in the world. What we care about is solving our problems quickly and working with people we can trust.
Small business texting helps you solve customers’ problems faster than your competitors, and helps you build better relationships than the competition.
More people text for more reasons more times a day than ever before. By adding small business texting to your communications, you will increase sales, provide better customer experiences, and beat your competitors!
So what’s stopping you?