The team at Podium share helpful insights on how to start effectively communicating with your customers using text messaging.
Seven ways to start texting your customers today
Is your business ready to start texting with your prospects and customers? If so, you’re on the right track – 90% of consumers prefer texting to traditional methods of communication when they engage with a business. If you hadn’t considered texting as a marketing tool, it’s a great opportunity.
The data around the benefits of texting don’t lie:
- 91% of adults keep their smartphones within arm’s reach
- 82% of consumers open every single text they receive, usually within a few minutes
- The open rate for text messages is 98% (much higher than email at 20%)
- 45% of consumers complete the desired action in the text they receive
- 50% of US consumers that receive a branded text go on to make a direct purchase.
You want to start texting, but how do you get your prospects and customers to start texting you? Here are seven ways you can get started.
Turn on messaging in your Google My Business listing
By activating messaging in your Google My Business listing, prospects and customers will see a ‘message’ button on your profile when they search for your business from a mobile device. This button will allow consumers to text you directly.
You can answer questions, send links, and provide a personal experience to those searching for your products or services. It’s important to remember that once you turn on messaging and you receive a new message, it’s best practice to respond quickly. Google will deactivate messaging from accounts that don’t respond consistently to consumers within a 24-hour period.
Make sure your customers know they can text you
If you want your community of prospects and customers to know they can text you (for appointments, questions, feedback, any communication), it’s your job to let them know. Add your texting number everywhere consumers may find you.
- Website: Make sure it’s visible! Better yet, allow web chats to be converted to text conversations
- Social accounts: Add your number to your Instagram profile, Facebook page, and YouTube profile – on every account you have
- Emails: Add your texting number with a strong call to action (telling customers they can text you at this number at any time) right in your email signature
- Advertisements: If you send direct mail, advertise on a local network, or send out a newsletter, add your texting number to the advert
- Your place of business: If it makes sense for your business, add your texting number in your waiting area, at your front desk, and on your car park signage
- In your text messages: Make it clear that you aren’t texting from a do-not-reply number–add a call to action at the end of every initial text, such as ‘text us at this number at any time’.
Let them know you are a human, not a bot
Many larger businesses have bigger budgets, bigger contact lists, and bigger advertising requirements with multiple channels. What’s the edge if you’re a local business? A personal touch –it’s one-to-one communication that will set you apart. Your texting with prospects and customers should be no different. Don’t be a bot and send mass messages.
Let your customers know they aren’t part of a bulk marketing campaign. Your texting should be seamless (even if they are automated) and it should be clear it’s a human on the other side of the text. Use friendly jargon and personalised messaging. If you do send a mass text, make sure it’s clear that when they respond, a human will respond back (hint: in real-time).
When you text customers, add value in every interaction
Did you know that 75% of consumers want to receive text messages with offers? Add value to your customers by texting them what they want. Personalised offers, sneak peeks, and insider information are all good options to add value to your texting conversations. Plus, mobile coupons receive ten times the redemption rates than print coupons.
Have a real conversation – respond in real time
The average person responds to a text message within 90 seconds (via email, it’s 90 minutes). If you’re truly going to make sure they know you aren’t a bot, respond to your customers’ text messaging conversations in real time.
Do what works best for your business. Route all messages to one person, dedicate specific hours to monitor the incoming messages, or find an integration with a notification platform to ensure you are notified every time a text comes through to your business. Have a real conversation with your customers that want to have a real conversation with you. Response time matters.
Deliver your text messages at the right time
Offer your texting number to your entire audience (even if it’s global), but make sure you aren’t delivering messages at inconvenient times. Personalised offers and messages will make your customers understand that you value one-to-one communication, but not if you deliver those offers or messages at 2:30a.m. Know your audience and be respectful of appropriate times for communication.
Go beyond the text
Don’t limit yourself to text-only messages. Take advantage of the full platform. Have you employed a new technician or started offering a new service? Send your customers a photo and include a link to your scheduling website so they can easily book a service.
Your customers expect the experience to be seamless, so include the information they want (links, photos, or videos) on the channel they want.
Bonus tip: Use texting to gather real-time feedback about your customer experience
Businesses that offer text messaging to their customers have a direct advantage over those that don’t – it gives the opportunity to gather real-time feedback about your customers’ experience. With real-time feedback, you have an opportunity to fix a poor experience as it happens instead of finding out later when you read a poor review online.
With messaging in place, you can communicate with your customers about what is going well, what’s not working, and what needs to change right now. Customers that are already having conversations with you are more likely to deliver this feedback to you via text than they are to pick up the phone (or speak to you in person).
Get started texting your customers with Podium
Podium is a communication platform that enables local businesses to drive online reviews as well as send and receive SMS text messages with customers. They are headquartered out of the United States and opened their Australian office in Melbourne in 2019. The 50 Australian employees who work from the Melbourne office ensure the best support and customer service for Australian and New Zealand businesses.
Visit the Podium website to learn more about how Podium’s efficient mobile process can help your business collect up to 15 times more online reviews than traditional platforms. This will, in turn, improve local SEO and ultimately boost revenue.