Texting is incredibly commonplace in our personal lives, but it’s also a fine marketing tool. Let’s explore how companies maximize on this familiar and effective technology.
According to CFI Group’s 2012 Contact Center Satisfaction Index, texting has a 90 percent satisfaction rating as a contact method. This is the highest rating of all contact methods, including phone calls and email (both 77 percent).
Plenty of brands recognize this fact, and are incorporating texting into their marketing strategies. Of course, there is a right way, and a wrong way, to go about this.
A sales optimization study from Velocify found that texting a potential customer without establishing a relationship first can actually decrease the likelihood of future contact by almost 40 percent. On the other hand, waiting to text until after a relationship is established can improve conversions by 100 percent.
Further, sending more than one text message within an established relationship can positively impact conversions by more than 300 percent. Typically, no more than three texts should be sent in the interest of courtesy and responsibility.
So, businesses in the know will spend a little time developing a relationship before sending texts, and then send more than just one text. Velocify also recommends offering consumers the ability to opt out of text message marketing.
What’s the Appeal of Texting?
So why do people love receiving text messages? In 2015, Wired highlighted some of the great things about the seemingly outdated technology.
The primary reason for the text’s enduring popularity (the greatest among smartphone features) is its familiarity and ease. The rules don’t change and everyone can do it.
Texting is also an efficient way of sharing basic information—definitely more efficient than an automated phone menu. If text functions were to integrate with services like Lyft and Open Table, users could simply open direct messages, rather than navigate through separate apps.
Could text messages one day replace apps? Imagine if two people could have a text conversation about lunch, and one uses a Yelp bot for information. Even if the other person doesn’t use the Yelp application, they could see the details right in the text message.
This may or may not be the future reality, but the technology is only going to keep getting better. There’s a startup out there called Cola, and it’s a way to access all of your smartphone functions while carrying on a text conversation.
You can present of list of times you’re available for a meetup, share your location on a map, start a group to-do list and so much more and never leave the conversation. Cola even allows users to share these features with non-Cola users through standard SMS technology.
When to Use Texting with Customers
A lot of this might seem sort of abstract right now as we wait for technology to catch up with the ideas. Fortunately, there are some ways you can start using text messages with your customers right away.
Recently, we wrote about click-to-text message ad extensions in AdWords. This is a simple way for consumers to begin conversations with brands through one click right in the ad.
One travel company uses click-to-text to initiate reservations and has raised its conversion rate 41 percent. An auto insurer is experiencing a conversion rate that’s 80 percent higher with click-to-text than with other similar channels.
Once you’ve converted people into customers, you can continue using text messaging for great customer service.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that everyone from your phone servicer to your doctor sends you text messages. They know that, according to Mobilesquared, 90 percent of new texts are read within three minutes. Car rentals, cleaning services and even airlines understand that texting is probably the fastest way to reach a customer, and the most effective method of problem solving.
Paper coupons may still have plenty of popularity, but it seems likely that digital coupons will provide some competition. According to Inmar’s research, 51 percent of shoppers wished that all coupons were digital, and 55 percent of shoppers felt they would use coupons more often if they were more readily available online.
Texting: Part of the Reality of the Mobile Takeover
While many businesses still rely on phone calls to bring in customers, we know that mobile is dominating your customer’s online moments. We shouldn’t discount texting as a part of that, and must be open to marketing with it in new and creative ways at every point in the customer journey.