How to use texting to differentiate your small business
Communication has changed beyond belief over the past couple of decades. In the past 15 years, USPS mail volume has fallen 34%, largely due to email and texting providing a quicker and easier alternative to handwritten letters. And if society is changing the way it communicates, businesses need to follow suit or risk being left behind.
Of course, there’s no single “best communication channel” to pour all your time, money, and energy into. The most successful businesses, regardless of size, use various channels to communicate with customers. This makes sense. Older generations may appreciate a letter through the door, but this will likely miss the mark with the youngest in society.
That’s why small businesses increasingly need to embrace the power of texting. Let’s take a closer look.
Why is text messaging so powerful for small businesses?
According to a global study conducted by Twilio, 89% of consumers would prefer to communicate with businesses via text than any other channel. And it’s now the preferred method of communication the world over. This is hardly surprising given that there are more phones than people today, and U.S.-based adults spend an average of three hours and 35 minutes each day glued to their mobile devices.
Phones are eminently portable — practically everybody carries their mobile phone around with them wherever they go. And when you receive a buzz or hear a text alert, what do you do? You check it, almost instantly. It’s estimated that 90% of people open and read a text within three minutes of having received it. If you want to make sure people actually read your messages, then sending a text is your best bet.
There are multiple reasons why this is the case. First, they aren’t siphoned off to a junk folder, never to be seen again. Second, you don’t need WiFi to receive them. Third, people generally perceive texts as being more conversational than other forms of communication. Emails filled to the brim with colorful marketing materials can be off-putting, making consumers feel like they’re being sold to. Texts, on the other hand, are short and sweet. Sometimes you even welcome them. Have you ever received a text from your favorite pizza place alerting you to a special 50% discount? If you have, you’ll know what we mean.
The following statistics demonstrate just how powerful text messaging marketing is:
- 64% of consumers would like businesses to SMS message them more often than they currently do.
- Text messages have a jaw-dropping 98% open-rate. Compare that to email, which languishes at around a 20% open-rate.
- 74% of respondents in one study started viewing the business that texted them more positively than before.
- 45% of people reportedly respond to branded text messages that they receive.
How you can use texting to set your business apart
Alerting customers to special coupons/deals
There are 1,001 ways to use texting within your small business, so it’s time to get creative! The most obvious one is to text customers alerting them to special coupons and/or deals. We all love hearing about flash sales or discounts, and sales prospects who receive text messages reportedly convert at a 40% higher rate than those that don’t.
By texting customers whenever there are special deals or coupons that you want to distribute, ensuring that they never miss out on the latest sales — and they’ll begin to anticipate your next text.. In fact, 89% of marketers believe that SMS marketing is more effective than corporate websites and display/banner ads.
Sending personalized alerts or recommendations
Imagine you’re an independent sneaker store. There’s one customer in particular who’s spent years building up their Nike Air Jordan collection, and they’re always on the prowl for their next purchase. If you get their number and gain consent to contact them, then you can let them know as soon as any fresh new Air Jordans come in stock. Or, if you ever decide to run a special focus group to inform your stock-buying going forward, you might want to shoot them an invitational text to see if they’d like to participate.
Abandoned cart recovery
Texting is a powerful tool for all businesses, but especially when it comes to eCommerce. As well as providing personalized recommendations, you can also use texting to reattract lapsed prospects — leading to a reported 45% increase in abandoned cart recovery. It’s frustrating seeing customer after customer make their way to the checkout page, only to lapse for some reason and never again return to your site. By sending them a quick reminder that they have items left in their basket, you can transform your abandoned cart recovery rates.
Confirming a purchase, appointment, or registration
After a purchase, you can send customers a confirmation via text? While you can always send an email, you run the risk of it going straight into their spam folder — leaving your customers confused about whether or not the order actually went through. Text reminders also work wonders for confirming appointments or communicating any last-minute changes (like if your dentist is running a few minutes late for your appointment).
Asking for feedback
Once the product has been purchased or the service rendered, you could then follow-up with a short and sweet text asking for feedback. This can be as simple as “Rate your appointment out of 10”, or you could provide a link where customers can offer up more detailed qualitative feedback. Customer feedback is crucial in helping companies improve their offering, so you want to make sure that your feedback requests aren’t going unnoticed. By sending off a text, you’ll ensure that this is never the case.
Text messaging can augment your existing customer service efforts. Consider the fact that 68% of consumers would like to use text messages to contact a company regarding their billing questions or concerns. With the youngest generations specifically favoring texting over any other communication medium, you can ensure that your customer service best serves your customers.
Announcing company/industry news
Lastly, texting is a great way to keep customers informed. Perhaps they’ve opted in to hear more industry insights, or they want to stay on top of your latest company news. If you present at a large conference, consider sending over your slides or speaker notes. If you’re changing your hours, message your most loyal customers to let them know. If there are any sudden changes in your service more generally, then shoot off a text to keep customers informed. Not only is it a convenient and cost-effective way of communicating the news, but this personal touch will likely also increase customer satisfaction.
How CallRail can help
- Send texts using CallRail tracking numbers.
- Use the CallRail mobile app to deliver next-level customer service from the palm of your hand.
- Track text messages like clicks.
- Create response templates for quicker and easier follow-ups.
- Handle all texts in the Lead Center. Send and receive new messages, respond in one click, and access a comprehensive timeline of all communications with each individual customer at a glance.
Send texts using CallRail tracking numbers
If you’re already using call tracking numbers, you may not have known that they could also be used for texting — after all, we’re called CallRail, not TextRail. Simply send a text message from the CallRail interface and it’ll appear to the recipient as though you texted them from your phone, with the local tracking number appearing as your Caller ID. Simple! Plus, we’ll save a complete history of your text conversations, meaning a colleague can dip in at any time and take the reins if you’re unavailable.
Deliver next-level customer service from the palm of your hand
One of the main reasons why texting is so effective is because it’s portable. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to only let you text prospects and customers when you’re sitting in front of your computer and using the CallRail interface. Thankfully, you can use our app instead. Get mobile push notifications that pop up straight onto your home screen, allowing you to close deals faster than ever before, no matter where you are.
Create response templates for quicker and easier follow-ups
To make this process even faster and easier, you can create templated responses — helping you reduce the time it takes to type out each individual text. Create standardized responses to common queries, send out templated follow-ups post-purchase, or shoot off appointment reminders and promotions without rewriting the copy from scratch.
Track text messages like clicks
CallRail allows you to track all texts as if they were clicks. This means that all your text conversations will include details such as the marketing campaign that drove the prospect/customer to text, relevant PPC keywords, and the lead qualification for every conversation you have.
Manage all texts in the Lead Center
Our text activity log in Lead Center allows you to take both a macro-level view of your company’s overall texting strategy or drill down into the nitty-gritty details if necessary, viewing a customer’s text activity alongside their call activity. But Lead Center doesn’t just give you the data. It allows you to seamlessly export it into your other marketing platforms via CallRail’s native integrations (including Google Analytics, Microsoft Advertising, and Unbounce).
Text your way to success
Small businesses might not be able to compete on price or convenience, but they do generally excel in one area: customer service. With modern consumers glued to their phone for hours every day, seven days a week, it makes sense to utilize the power of texting — whether this is for customer service, to announce special sales, or to confirm appointments/orders.