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You need customer attention, and text messaging is one of the best ways to get it. Most texts are read instantly and typical response times are a few minutes. No other channel has this kind of consistent engagement.
Once you have customer attention, there are myriad things you can do to improve your Sales and Marketing and grow your business. Below is a breakdown of five:
1. Capitalize on inbound marketing and lead generation
You spend time and money driving people to your website or physical location. Make sure you can turn these people into paying customers.
Website visitors tend to have questions they need to answer before they can buy, and they’d often rather ask someone than do the research themselves. An SMS chat (web chat widget for texting) solves this problem.
The visitor starts a conversation on your site via chat and your response is sent to their text messages. This gives you their cell phone number – great for future follow-ups – and also keeps the conversation going once they leave your website.
Besides text chat, you can invite customers to “text us at this number”. Providing a keyword that customers can text for a benefit or discount also works well, both in-store and online (e.g., “Text FREE to Number to get…”). This will bring you customers for the first time and prepare you later for SMS promotions.
Related: What growth metrics are really important for startups?
2. Follow up before competitors to win more sales
Prospects tend to contact multiple companies when trying to buy. The company that responds first wins most contracts. Texting helps you reply first.
Ask for a prospect’s cell phone number on any web form and send an automated text message confirming you received their request upon submission. This is a great customer experience and opens up SMS as a communication channel when your rep has a moment to respond personally.
Depending on your selling motion, you may be able to schedule a meeting, provide an estimate, or close the deal entirely via text. If you need more information first, text to find a few minutes for a phone call. Texting is also great for getting quick updates on prospects’ decision-making process and getting them to take action so you can finalize a deal.
Related: 3 steps to setting up sales KPIs that actually work
3. Reach old customers with new, seasonal and additional offers
SMS promotions tend to give any business a quick boost. Use them to sell existing customers, bring back old customers, and re-engage cold leads. New products, additional services and seasonal discounts are all great offers to promote.
Pull your customer list or a particular segment of customers you want to reach. Your customer relationship manager (CRM) or SMS service can already make it easier for you. Keywords, mentioned in point one, also help you build an ongoing subscriber list.
Send a message explaining the offer and how to take advantage of it. Include an image or website URL to give it an extra boost. For example, a retailer might say, “Hello [first name], we are organizing our end of season sale. Get up to 70% off summer clothes at www.ourwebsite.com! Find the perfect fit before it’s gone. A monthly campaign tends to offer the best balance between high ROI and minimal opt-outs.
Related: 5 Steps to Creating Successful Marketing Campaigns
4. Turn happy customers into online reviews to attract more customers
Potential customers check online reviews before buying. Businesses with the most positive reviews stand out, and texting will bring you more reviews online. Simply text customers asking for a review and include a link to the review site of your choice.
To automate these requests, you need an action in your CRM, Point of Sale (POS), or other software system to trigger the request. This can be after a purchase or after a service has been marked as completed.
At any time, you can manually text customers requesting a review, either individually or through mass texting, such as a text promotion mentioned above.
5. Collect more payments with fewer headaches
Every business needs contactless payments and SMS gives you two options. First, you can text a customer asking them to pay and include a link to pay online. Text them a reminder if needed. This will significantly speed up your payment process, compared to sending paper or email invoices.
Second, you can connect your corporate SMS number to your payment processor for “text-to-pay”. This way you can get paid securely, in real time, entirely by SMS.
The first payment request asks customers to enter their payment information through a secure online portal. The following requests ask customers to simply respond with a confirmation code. This confirmation code triggers the transaction. It also works when existing customers’ credit cards expire and you need to get updated information.
Start by using a texting service to enable text to your work phone number(s). It creates some work-life balance, so you don’t always use your personal mobile number, and it also gives you a lot more features – like bulk texting, automations, payments, multiple users, etc.
Choose a use case to work on as you go. Then apply more if you are comfortable. Before long, you’ll be wondering how you ever managed sales and marketing without texting.