Are you using every tool at your fingertips to achieve your business goals? Open communication lines between you, your clients, and your employees are vital. Your business success relies on it. When people are communicating clearly, the business will run more efficiently, and needs will be met on every level of the supply chain. You’ll know about incidents before they become problems. But how? The most efficient tool in your arsenal for communicating quickly and effectively is business text messaging.
In the U.S., we send more than eight billion personal and professional text messages each day. And that’s just in the U.S.! Worldwide, we’re looking at 18.7 billion PER DAY. That’s a whole lot of people checking their phones. Texts can instantly reach your target audience and help you share essential information in real time. Further, with a marketing response rate of 45 percent, texts offer an engagement factor that far exceeds the influence of print or email correspondence.
However, you’ll have to take the right approach if you’d like for your text messages to impact your communication strategy within your business and with your consumers. The following information can be used as a guide for implementing test messages as a professional communication tool for your small business.
Internal Correspondence through Text Message
You want to know the secret to why text message has become the go-to form of communication for the younger generations? Why your Grandma has even upped her game and gotten a smart phone? It’s no secret: communicating via text message is QUICK! Our society has spent the last few centuries rapidly finding out how to make daily tasks more efficient: from the sewing machine to high speed internet. We’ve come to expect a certain level of brevity in all aspects or our lives. People want communication tools that reflect their needs: time conscious, brief, and to-the-point.
Though computers and phones can both be used to send emails, inboxes can quickly become filled with spam and junk mail. The average person receives eighty-eight emails PER DAY. With all of that coming in, it can take a while for your employees to filter through what is and is not important. There’s a risk of missing your most important business messages altogether as the inbox clutter increases. What a terrible thought!
Though it’s the employee’s responsibility to have the correct filters in place in their email to have plenty of time to make it through their emails, there is still need for an even faster, more direct form of messaging than email. This has made text messaging a better option than email for shorter messages.
Use Text message to relay information to your team about:
- Project updates
- Emergency alerts
- Production metrics
- Team deadlines
- Employee accolades
- Event schedules
When you send texts directly to your employees, you can assume the message is received. In fact, ninety percent of all text messages are read three minutes after being sent.
Internal correspondence through text is not a one-way street, either. You can stay informed about your company operations and events. While in meetings, away from your desk, anywhere! Projects will keep moving forward as expected, and you can stay on top of it. The text format demands the use of succinct wording. Therefore messages will that sums up the information in a neat package for your immediate consideration.
External Correspondence through Text Message
Using text messaging for external communications is a proven way to engage your current and prospective customers. Consumers open and read a stunning 98 percent of text messages from companies they follow. Since consumers activate the messages themselves, and have the ability to cancel on demand, your messages often have an increased ability to convert to actual sales over traditional marketing methods. In fact, the conversion rate rises to over 300 percent after sending, or trading, at least three marketing messages.
Therefore, it is wise to use text messages to send a variety of marketing messages, including:
- Promotions, including coupon codes
- New product or service announcements
- Event notices
- Loyalty rewards
Consumers read the brief content in texts rather than skim. Because, in case you didn’t know–that’s what they’re doing to your marketing emails. Skimming them. So, what’s great about text message is that your brief, succinct marketing message will fall directly on the eyes of the csutomer you’re targeting. NICE.
Consumers have even taken to text to find a solution for their product or service complaints and concerns. In fact, up to sixty percent of customer service centers are projected to add SMS support to their line of services by 2016. The text message format is more convenient and accessible, which allows consumers to quickly resolve their issue in between other daily tasks.
Every extra second spent during the problem solving process devalues your company’s reputation a customer’s opinion. So, direct and rapid messages would be best to get the job done. Text seems like the easy answer. Being able to quickly relay information to a customer as they troubleshoot, rather than standing by. This allows a customer service representative to use their time more efficiently, too. Customer satisfaction’s high, employee time is being used more efficiently. It works! Resolving issues through text message is a new way to look at customer service, but early adopters will likely be praised.
B2B vs. B2C Correspondence
When it comes to external communications, you must really know your audience to have a lasting impact. Business-to-business correspondence, for example, often demands a different approach. Start by refining your messages for your target. The message should grab the attention of company decision makers. You want business owners and top level managers reading them, after all.
A casual message in tone and structure works well for consumers, but you may want to take a different approach when dealing business to business. B2B marketing requires professional, yet brief, memos with clear objectives. Pay attention to purchase patterns to create personalized messages for each of your clients. Address the messages to your clients by name to instantly grab their attention and provide an air of exclusivity.
Benefits of Text Messaging for Small Business
Texts effectively transmit pertinent information internally and externally without delay or high operation costs. Because of this, your business can start seeing payoff immediately when you integrate text messaging into your daily operations.
You can eliminate many forms of costly correspondence by redirecting your efforts to text instead. Unlimited text messaging is provided by most cell phone accounts, so you likely won’t have to adjust your current phone plan. There are options, also, if you’d like to hire a dedicated messaging service. They’ll create and send marketing messages on behalf of your company. This is a great option.
Text and email have a similar delivery rate, but recipients tend to read and respond to their texts much faster than email. As mentioned earlier, up to 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes of their delivery. Emails, not so much. They have a longer read and response rate. And, many messages sent during high traffic hours are overlooked and deleted without opening. Sending high speed messages internally will increase productivity.
Unlike generic mass email messages, personalized text messages have a direct appeal that instantly engages the recipient. You can customize your text messages using your client’s purchase history, business needs and other pertinent information to make the biggest impact. You can add interactive elements, such as links and coupon codes, to give your messages even more value.
Text messaging feels like a direct conversation with the sender. Your texts will open up a dialogue with your recipient to dramatically increase engagement, which is difficult to achieve with email alone. Most text recipients will respond to the messages within 90 seconds after reading or interacting with the content. For internal communications, texting creates a running dialogue that you and your employees can refer back to while working on a long-term project.
Return on Investment
Text message campaigns maximize your return on investment. How do we know? because comparatively, they have a much higher engagement and response rate. Yes, even when compared with costly alternatives. The time you put into crafting and sending personalized text messages has the potential to give you a return rate of 64 to 1, or 6,500 percent. In comparison, the return on investment for email campaigns tops out at about half that figure. The ability to simultaneously manage your employees and projects from afar can provide a huge payoff by maximizing your productivity metrics across the board.
Potential Disadvantages of Texting
Despite the benefits of using text messaging for internal and external business correspondence, there are several serious drawbacks to consider.
To send a message suitable for the medium, you’ve got to keep it brief. That means staying within a 160 character limit. You don’t want your message being a thread of three messages. Trust me, not only will the message not be direct and to-the-point, their phone will go off multiple times in a row. When you want to sell, that’s definitely a no-no.
The 160 character limit applies to the message you are sending as well as the links you include. Avoid shorthand speak, but do utilize short links. The easiest way to go about this is by using a website like bit.ly. This website creates a shorter link to your website for applications that have character limits. Shorthand writing words like rly, u, and misspelling words will make your business come off as unprofessional, but short links will help you use those characters where they count.
A tight character limit doesn’t allow for a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to messaging. With brief messages, it’s easy to come off as being “short”–you know. The rude kind. Miscommunication can happen a little more often, so be wary. Short messages also run the risk of being too vague. You can’t let a character limit cause your message to be unclear. Make sure the purpose and instructions of the messages are obvious. Edit your messages to ensure they come through loud and clear the first time around. Otherwise, you may need to send in damage control techniques to fix issues that crop up from unclear memos.
Nobody wants to find themselves in any kind of trouble, but financial trouble is some of the worst. Or, legal trouble! Yikes, we stand corrected. To make sure neither of these problems become yours, you must follow some rules. Namely, the text messaging regulations established by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. With the amendment added to this act in 2012, you must acquire express written consent before sending your clients text messages. Violations of this act can open up your company to lawsuits by consumers through the state or federal court system.
Demographic differences, play a huge role in the way your text messages are perceived by your target audience. Not everyone is an early adopter. The elderly, in particular, are less likely to pick up on your new way to send out coupons. Consider your target demographic’s texting practices. Their tech skill level, too. Otherwise, your text messages could completely miss the mark. Millennials, for example, may send over 100 texts a day. You must make your messages punchy and eye-catching to demand this audience’s full attention. Seniors may not be fully comfortable with interactive elements. Links and additional web-based activities could go unfollowed.
Luckily, you can take a measured approach in order to mitigate these disadvantages and make this communication method work for your company.
Best Practices for Sending Business Messages by Text
Adopt a Cohesive Structure
The recipient should be able to recognize the message is from you. Right away. That’s good branding. Have the right tone that matches the product or service you provide. Pay attention to the formatting. Use emojis, if suitable for your brand. Use links and coupon codes. People love coupon codes! If they love your company enough to subscribe to your marketing messages, they want to save money at your place of business. We guarantee it.
Create a Company Voice
To make a great impression, establish a clear, distinct voice for all of your text messages. Your voice should be professional, friendly and charming. Make sure to watch your tone as well. Don’t USE ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME, of course. Avoid slang. Keep it classy, keep it in line with your branding, and keep in consideration email etiquette. Because some of the same rules apply here.
Limit Message Frequency
Consumers and businesses both won’t want to receive marketing messages all the time. Stick to about two times a month or less. Sending text messages more often than that can make your correspondence look like spam. In that case, the recipient will likely opt out. For internal communications, limit your texts to ensure your urgent messages offer the appropriate level of impact. Otherwise, your most important messages could end up lost in the fray when you need a response the most.
Apply this to your small business
Create a Full Range Company Communication Plan
Cell phone use is already such a huge part of every day life. Text messaging is as well. if you want to stay ahead of the curve as business transforms, it’s wise to pay attention to this type of communication. Remember, there was a time in which email was not yet the norm for business communication. You will be ahead of the competition if you make text messaging a part of your communication plan for your small business. This’ll add to your growth and success as time goes on. You know what else will? Hiring an answering service. You will quickly see a clear improvement in your company operations and marketing success after developing a full-range communication plan for your business.