It’s easy to believe that texting is too personal for businesses to try. After all, you aren’t just dropping into someone’s email inbox — you’re getting into their push notifications and popping up next to their partner, mom, and best friend.
But this is another one of those “don’t believe everything you hear” stories.
Here are a few shocking statistics from one particular study:
- 82% of people open every text they receive
- 70% of people like the idea of business texting
- 60% of people want to text businesses about support issues
- 43% of people initiate text conversations with businesses
You know what those statistics say? That business texting isn’t just an experimental way to communicate with your audience.
More than that, business texting is an under-used, high-demand way of improving customer engagement and developing relationships with people (and not just names in an email database). And by following the steps below, your business will be able to get the most from this “new” channel of communication.
Step #1: Business Texting As A Support Channel
The most obvious way to integrate business texting is about appointments or support tickets. This is also the path of least resistance, since most people sign up for this sort of information anyway nowadays.
If your business is in a service-based industry, then texting people about upcoming appointments, billings, and updates are standard fare, particularly if they opt into text messages. (Building that trust between you could make those people more likely to click other links in the future, but that’s too subjective to make any kind of guarantee about.)
But what about customer support? How could you leverage text messages to collect support tickets, work directly with customers, and — hopefully — close those tickets?
Your average mobile user expects fast turnaround times with text messages — more so than emails, clearly, but also more than returned calls or responses to social media DMs. While that can put pressure on your team to respond quickly, it’s also an instantaneous and personalized response without having to rely on chatbots and automated services.
In other words, there’s a new “best practices” system to learn if you want to take advantage of customer service via SMS:
Providing the same experience to customers who chat, call, email, or text is important because people may reach out via different methods over the course of their relationship with you. And one of the worst things you can do is disappoint them or fail to provide the help they need because one response time or format is different from the rest. Using SMS support is a smart move, but it’s not a simple service you tack onto an existing framework — you need to be strategic.
Integrate SMS into your support processes.
Letting your team use familiar tools and CRM apps gives them everything they need, while also freeing people up to engage a customer within minutes of receiving a ticket. Instantaneous replies are important: 95% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of being received, and customers expect that sort of response time from businesses too.
While we may have just downplayed the usefulness of chatbots, you can absolutely find an automated system for responding to customers. A chatbot can also make sure a specific customer problem is directed to the appropriate team member or department.
Step #2: SMS Marketing As A Sales Tool
How much engagement could you generate if you leveraged SMS for your next big sale?
You already use email — and probably social media — to generate leads or nurture them down your sales funnel. While you never want to spam someone’s text messages, getting them to opt into receiving text messages opens up a new engagement opportunity when it comes to spreading awareness about a sale.
According to MailChimp, the average email open rate is just over 21%, while the average clickthrough rate is around 2.5%. And depending on your business, those numbers might sound too good to be true. That’s because email marketing is hard, and the average consumer has become much more wary of marketing content.
But remember those amazing text message statistics? 82% of people will open every single text message, whether it’s from Aunt Sally or their annoying neighbor or that [insert your industry here] brand they just heard about.
And those numbers mean more people will hear about your sale (and see the discount code). SMS marketing boasts a 6.16% clickthrough rate, which is more than 2x the “best case scenario” for email marketing.
When you’re working hard to tell people about a promotion, don’t sleep on the power of text messages. They might be just the tactic you need to re-engage your lapsed leads.
Step #3: Text Messaging As An Engagement Hack
Personalized content, a verbal brand (across messaging), and a human connection matter. They’re some of the most influential pieces behind the digital marketing trends of today, and that matters because people expect that sort of stuff when they engage with brands.
Which, of course, is a perfect match for text messaging — even more than social media, in some ways.
Social media has grown to be the king of online engagement, but everyone we know still uses SMS apps on a daily basis. And while you can research online platforms to “be where your audience is,” you can make an easy bet that they’re definitely going to be sending and receiving texts.
That’s why integration is important. Business texting won’t become the macguffin that solves all your problems and catapults you to overnight success. But what it will do is give you a better, cleaner way to communicate directly with people who want to engage you.
By building SMS into the framework of how you engage with your audience, you’ll be able to do everything better: support your customers, convert your leads, and grow your audience.