Whether your business is big or small, less than a quarter of your customers are opening the emails you send them. Only 4% of your Facebook followers are actually seeing your non-paid posts. And, thanks to spam calls, nobody picks up the phone anymore.
So how should a business owner—on a modest budget—get in touch with customers? (Hint: You, your mom, and maybe even your grandma, do it every day.)
You text them.
Text my customers?
Yes! Text your customers. The ones you have and the ones you’d like to have.
And, while they may not be actually answering their phones, they’re definitely reading their texts. Unlike those unopened emails you’re sending, text messages (also known as SMS) have an open rate of 82%, with 74% of people reporting they respond to texts from businesses within an hour.
How to use text messaging for your business.
Hopefully you’re sold on texting for your business But how do you incorporate it into your regular communications and marketing? Here’s a quick rundown of just some of the ways you can use it.
Texting is a great, quick way to find out if your business did a great job or if it could use some improvement.
- Customer support.
When your customers need to reach you, texting is a fast, convenient method for them to do it.
- Appointment reminders.
Many of us appreciate an appointment reminder. And texting is a painless way for all parties—you and your customers—to send and receive them.
- Limited-time discounts.
Fast-moving sales warrant urgent communication. Texts are the perfect way to tell customers about big sales that won’t last long.
- In-store deals.
Texts also help get customers in the door, especially if they have to show the message to a cashier or server to receive a discount.
Best practices for texting customers.
Before you start blowing up your customers’ phones, get familiar with some basic best practices so you don’t irritate recipients, or, even worse, wind up in trouble with the government.
- Get their permission first.
It’s illegal to text customers without their consent. So read up on applicable laws so you don’t wind up in hot water (with angry customers to boot).
- Use sparingly.
Yes, use text messaging very sparingly. In other words, don’t spam your customers. You may lose them for good.
- Text during normal business hours.
No matter how big the discount, no one wants to hear about a flash sale at 2 a.m. Sticking to business hours is your safest bet. (It’s also the polite thing to do.)
- Don’t over abbreviate.
Use abbreviations sparingly as well. Over abbreviating makes u look rly unprofessional—2day, 2moro & always.
- Always include a way to opt out.
Sometimes customers change their mind about receiving texts from businesses. Always include an easy way for recipients to opt out.
- Provide value.
Make sure your texts always offer something of value for your customers. If you’re not doing that, then you’re doing it wrong.
How can I text customers?
So now you know why to text customers, how to use it to your advantage, and best practices. But how do you actually go about doing it?
Cheaper than traditional business phone service—and packed with great features— small businesses often opt for internet-based phone systems (also referred to as VoIP, or voice over internet protocol). One of those features is typically texting, which comes standard with many plans.
VoIP service not only keeps your business texts separate from your personal texts (we probably don’t need to tell you why that’s a good thing!), it offers timesavers like voicemail to email and call forwarding.
So go forth and text! Then sit back and enjoy the open (and response!) rate.