Texting For Businesses: What Every Business Owner Should Know
Technology has completely revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. From the early days of telemarketing to today’s vibrant internet marketing scene, modern businesses have had to adapt to new methods and strategies to appeal to a better informed and more tech-savvy market.
One of the biggest changes in the modern business landscape is the emergence of mobile technology. The mobile age is defined by instant communication, extreme interconnectedness, and on-demand services. People are busier and more impatient than ever. Fast and simple modes of communication like texting and instant messaging are quickly overtaking emails and calls.
As people become busier and busier, texting is slowly overtaking email & calls.
And texting is no longer just for personal conversations with your friends and family; it’s now a powerful communication tool for businesses. Text messaging allows you to stay in touch with customers while they’re on the go which makes it a whole lot easier, and more likely, for them to respond.
Using a business texting service to add texting to your business communication strategy is one of the best moves you can make in 2019. Read on to find out how you can make this happen.
Business Text Messaging: What Is it? And How Can It Benefit Your Business?
While most people use texting to stay in touch with their social circles, businesses are able to tap into the tech and use texting in a different way and for different purposes. Businesses use the texting platform to send updates, schedule appointments, build customer relationships, close sales and communicate with staff.
Today’s texting practices are characterized by convenience and speed. You can send short bites of information to large groups or targeted individuals whenever you want to. However, unlike the spammy mass texts of the early-to-mid-2000s, business texting is now expected to be value-driven and personalized to the customer.
Why You Need To Incorporate Business Texting Into Your Communication Strategy
If your business already has a solid communication strategy involving emails or cold-calling, then you’re probably thinking why you should bother with business texting. Well, the benefits are clear, but here are some of the biggest advantages you get when you use texting as an outreach tool for your business.
Business Texting Allows You To Open Up Your Business To New Customers
You might think it far-fetched, but you are potentially losing business because you don’t have a texting option. Some people may be interested in your particular service or business, but not enough to make the effort to call or email to inquire.
Almost 9 out of 10 customers want to engage via text, and less than half of all businesses actually offer it.
Adding this new communication channel will knock down barriers to engagement, allowing you to reach people more than ever before. It may seem very simple, but it can definitely broaden your potential audience and help you edge out the competition.
Business Texting Demands Your Existing Customers’ Attention
Today’s customers are very familiar with old-school marketing tactics like online ads, sponsored posts, and email blasts. These techniques were once innovative and attention-grabbing, but we’ve become so accustomed to them that they’re practically background noise. As a business, you should be looking to break through the barrage of traditional advertisement in a way that is easy, simple, and accessible to your customer.
Texting is one way to appeal to cynical consumers. Even if the execution is unpolished, business texting boasts an incredibly high read and response rate. In our busy modern lives we might miss a call or let an email slip through the cracks, but we pay attention to our texts; in fact, text messages have a near-perfect read rate at 97%. (1)
The response rates are also extremely telling. Voicemails and emails have a low response rate of about 1-3%. In comparison, text messages have a significantly higher response rate of 35-45%. (2)
Create Effortless, Instant, & Meaningful Experiences For Your Customers
Phone calls and emails can demand a lot of time and energy. Calls interrupt your customers’ day and toes the line between helpful and annoying. Emails are often long, dull, and bothersome to read/respond to. On the other hand, texts are short, informal, and very easy to answer at their own convenience.
Business texting services help you reach out and respond to customers when you want, how you want. You can send valuable information to customers in a way that feels human, authentic, and thoughtful. Plus, if they have any questions or problems come up after the initial communication, unlike a once and done phone call, they can easily open up dialogue again.
Work With Your Current Methods & Tactics
Texting isn’t meant to replace phone and email communications, it’s meant to support them. Texting opens up new channels to communicate with your customers, taking the burden off your phone lines or email inboxes. You can maximize how you communicate in each channel by playing to their strengths; texts are best for short and quick communications or to plan more substantial communication in the future.
Business Texting Saves Both Time & Money
As a business, your main concern is your bottom line. So how does texting actually cut costs and increase profits?
Businesses that rely on traditional methods of communication (i.e. calls and emails) can waste a lot of time and resources chasing after customers. With texting, you don’t have to worry about missed calls or buried emails. If you can’t reach the customer, you can simply shoot them a text and reach them directly.
Business texting can help reduce your business’ costs and increase profits.
This automated and casual approach saves so much valuable time and effort, which could be refocused into more productive things like streamlining your operations, fostering good relationships with your customers, and growing your business.
Business Texting Myths
As a relatively new technology in the world of marketing and business, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths about using texting for professional communications. Below are some of the most common hesitations business owners have when it comes to text messaging as a business service.
Myth # 1: Business Texting Is Unprofessional
This myth may have been true when texting first came out and was widely used in personal communication, but that is no longer the case.
In 2019, it’s not just accepted but encouraged to use new forms of communication such as social media, instant messaging, and texting to reach new markets and strengthen relationships with your consumers.
What we’re learning today is that it’s not necessarily what platforms you use but how you use it that determines your professionalism.
Myth #2: Business Texting Only Appeals To Millennials
This particular myth doesn’t hold up in 2019. Texting was widely used and popularized by the millennial generation. However, it isn’t just millennials who are avid texters; over 97% of smartphone owners text, and that includes people who are hitting their 50s, 60s, or even older. (3)
It’s a common misconception that millennials are the only ones using their phones to text.
Besides the fact that people of all ages are using text to communicate with each other, there’s another flaw in this argument. The term “millennial” is quite misunderstood; many people think it’s a catch-all identifier for young people. But millennials in 2019 can be anywhere from their mid-20s to late 30s. This is a huge (and very important) market to cater to for businesses in any industry.
Myth #3: Only Big Businesses Need Business Texting
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from having a direct line of communication with a customer through texting.
Small businesses often cannot compete with big business’ marketing budgets, but texting seems to be a good equalizer; texting doesn’t have to cost a lot to make a significant impact on your customer service and reach, making it an incredibly cost-effective tool that works for everyone regardless of capital or size.
Whether you run a small business or a large corporation, a business texting service allows you to create a direct line of communication with your customers.
Myth #4: Business Texting Takes Too Much Time And Resources To Implement
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t drain a lot of your time and resources to get in on the texting trend. Implementing any business or operational change will take a little bit of getting used to, but it’s not an impossible challenge especially since many on your team probably already text in their day-to-day lives. Learning the basics of SMS marketing and relationship building will be easy for those who are already familiar with texting—and who isn’t these days?
Costs are another major concern for business owners, but texting is one of the cheapest yet most effective communication methods you can implement. In fact, you can start communicating through texts with virtually no additional costs. All you need is a phone.
For those with a little more room in the budget, you can invest in a business texting service. These services automate a lot of the processes, making business texting even easier for you and your team.
The Different Ways To Use Texting In Your Business
One of the greatest things about business texting is just how incredibly versatile it is. You can use it to bolster internal communications or broaden your communications with your customers. Once you open up this pandora’s box the possibilities are endless! Here are 7 different things you can look forward to starting doing once you’re using business text messaging.
Share Valuable Information To As Many Customers As You Want
Texting is a great way to share short bites of information with your customers, whether they’re event announcements, company updates, or just resources they might find interesting. Since almost all people own smartphones, you don’t have to stick to plain text; you can add photos, videos, and links to articles on the internet.
You can quickly and efficiently send a message to one, dozens, or even hundreds of people at the same time. Many business texting services offer a group broadcast feature that allows you to send mass texts that still feel personalized for the person receiving them.
Follow Up With Customers
Text messaging is perfect for customers who need a short and fast answer to a question. They get a simple yes or no answer or collect information like email addresses or contact numbers through text. You don’t need to go through complicated channels, and you can even set up an automated message for even faster follow-ups.
Confirm & Schedule Appointments
For service-oriented or by-appointment businesses, scheduling can involve a lot of back and forths. Texting makes it much easier to reach people to book and confirm appointments. Make the most out of texting by automating the confirmation process. With patient management systems like Weave, you can send a customized message with all of the important information (date, time, location, etc.) days before a client’s appointment.
The more sophisticated softwares have smart communication systems that can recognize the positive or negative language. So when a customer responds “okay!” or “sure!” to one of your confirmation texts, the system will automatically confirm the appointment or notify you to make the necessary adjustments.
Set Up A Phone Call
Most people don’t like it when businesses call them without warning. Because of texting, cold calling is now a thing of the past. If you need to speak with your customers on the phone, you can show that you respect them and their time by shooting them a text message first. If they’re not free at that moment, you can schedule a phone call for when they’re more available.
Texting helps you communicate with your customer at the best possible time, leading to a better relationship and smoother experiences for both parties.
Foster Good Business Relationships
Texting can be used for official business communications or urgent information, but it can also be used in a more personal way. You can send text messages greeting your customers on the most important occasions, such as holidays or birthdays. Being kind and treating them as humans (not just your profit source) goes a long way in making your customers feel cared for.
SMS is a great way to ask for reviews when it matters the most: right after your customers have purchased goods or services from you. You can text customers after they’ve visited your establishment or bought something from your store, asking for feedback and a review. This can improve your online rating and your overall reputation.
Communicate With Your Team
Business texting isn’t just useful to connect with your customers, it’s also useful in uniting your staff. Strong internal communications are the backbone of any successful business. Quickly schedule meetings and get work updates, whether your staff is onsite or working remotely.
Business Texting Rules And Strategies
To help you get your business communication strategy into the 21st century, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips and tricks for business texting etiquette.
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Short And Simple
This old adage definitely applies to business texting. Texts are built for brief and quick communications only; save the lengthy paragraphs for email. A short text message has a much higher chance of being read and responded to. The shorter it is, the less it demands of your customer. Get to the point, and make sure you communicate what you want your customer to do about your text.
Do you want them to confirm something?
Do you want them to click a link?
A quick call-to-action or simple yes-or-no questions work great.
Keep It Casual & Light
Text using a tone that is friendly, polite, positive, and professional. Avoid pretentious words or complicated sentence structures; this is a text message, not an academic paper. Simple texts require less effort on the part of your customers and increase the likelihood they will respond.
Don’t be scared to inject wit and humor into the text, but be wary of anything that is too jokey, rude, or offensive. Emojis are more and more acceptable (especially for younger, more hip businesses), but keep them to a minimum. Avoid abbreviations or shortcuts like “lol”, “idk”, or “u” that make you look too casual.
Keep It About Them
This isn’t the time for your sales pitch. Your message needs to grab their attention, and the best way to do that is by addressing them and their needs directly.
Focus your text on how they can benefit from the information you just provided, not on you or your brand. This shows that you care about their pain points and challenges and that you understand the kinds of solutions they’re looking for.
Keep It Timely
With marketing, when you communicate is almost as important as what you communicate. Timing is everything if you want to make the most out of your texts. Send out texts at a time and day of the week when your customers are most likely to see and respond.
Depending on your customer base, this could be anywhere from early mornings on weekdays to weekend nights. Experiment and find the schedule that works best for you.
Also, make sure that you send notifications and confirmations with enough lead time. For major events, alert people 1-2 weeks prior to give them time to clear their schedules. For regular appointments, send a confirmation text a few days before.
Business Texting Is Essential For Any Business
Constant communication is essential in making your customers feel heard and keeping you at the forefront of their minds. But there is such a thing as too much. Use a business texting responsibly with business texting service platforms like Weave and you’ll quickly build customer trust and loyalty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I text my customers?
Yes, you can text your customers. You will want to allow your customers to opt-in to receiving text messages, but most of your customers will prefer to receive texts anyway.
How should businesses use text message marketing?
Text message marketing is something that you definitely don’t want to abuse, or you will end up having your customers opt-out of receiving your texts. If you are planning on using text messages for marketing purposes, make sure that they are targeted and that the offer is specific for your target audience. Pushing out mass texts on a frequent basis will likely do more damage than good.
What percentage of text messages are read?
According to research, 98% of text messages are read. (1) This is one of the reasons that texting has become so popular for businesses.