By: EZ Texting
With an average open rate of 98%, it's no wonder that so many organizations are looking for business text messaging apps to reach their contacts. There is no better way to make sure your prospects and customers get your message.
So what's the best solution for your business? The truth is there is no "best" business text messaging app. You'll need to evaluate multiple tools until you find the best fit for your needs.
With that said, we'll outline some of the features we feel are must-haves in a text messaging solution.
13 Integral Business Text Messaging App FeaturesThere are a lot of options when it comes to text messaging features. Here is a list of what we think are the most useful features with some tips on how to use them to accomplish your organization's outreach goals.
Short codes and Keywords work together to provide an easy way for contacts to subscribe or respond to a message list. Short codes are five or six-digit codes which can be dedicated to an organization or shared by several groups. Keywords are single words or short phrases which trigger a list subscription or other action in the messaging service.
Retail businesses often use short codes as part of their mobile marketing strategy. Companies advertise a special deal on a billboard, TV, magazine, etc., and invite consumers to send a text to take advantage of the offer.
- Text 'OFFER' to 313131 to get a free beverage with your next pizza order.
- Text 'DISCOUNT' to short code 313131 to receive a discount voucher for your local store.
Short code texting can also be used by other commercial and non-commercial organizations to engage with an existing database of members.
- Text 'HOUSE' to short code 313131 to find out more about a home you have seen advertised.
- Text 'DONATE' to short code 313131 to contribute to a faith-based charitable work.
2. Dedicated Short Codes
Keywords can transform your marketing and customer outreach strategy, but if you use a shared short code with other organizations, you will have to use Keywords which are not already in use by others. For instance, another organization using your short code may already use "discount" as a Keyword, so you will need to use "discount donuts" as a Keyword which connects to your database.
To get around this added complexity, you can use dedicated short codes. Dedicated short codes are numbers used exclusively for your organization. With a dedicated short code, you can use any Keyword you like because it will only be sent to your short code. This service is particularly useful for marketing agencies that want to run texting campaigns for multiple clients.
3. Signup WidgetsSignup widgets can reduce the already-low friction of Keyword-to-short code subscriptions. Using a signup widget on your website or Facebook page can substantially increase your subscription conversion rate. Another option is to use a link in an email or tweet which leads to the widget. The best business text messaging apps have signup widgets which are easily customizable to match your online branding. If your website is on Wordpress, some services have text messaging subscription plugins which are easy to install.
4. Drip CampaignsBusiness text messaging drip campaigns can be a great way to create engagement, lead prospects through the buyer's journey, increase conversions, and boost after-purchase upsells. Text drips are preprogrammed to deliver personalized messages at specific intervals after a trigger such as a subscription. For instance, two days after a contact subscribes to get in-store discounts, you might send a message encouraging the contact to like your Facebook page to boost cross-channel engagement.
5. Text ForwardingIf your contact list is extensive, you will probably prefer to manage responses through a web browser interface. But for smaller lists, you may prefer to monitor replies using your own cell phone or email address. Text forwarding automatically relays incoming texts to your email address or mobile phone.
6. Recurring TextsRecurring Texts allow you to compose a text message that will be sent out on a regular basis – daily, weekly or monthly, with all sorts of scheduling options. They're great for messages such as recurring meeting reminders or weekly sales calls.
7. Appointment Reminders
Missed appointments can be a significant cause of lost revenue for medical practices or specialty services like hair salons or financial advisors. And manual outreach to confirm appointments can be a significant drain on staff resources.
Appointment reminders by text automate the confirmation process, reducing the manual labor costs, and often make for a better customer experience than intrusive phone calls. Customers often prefer to use text to reschedule appointments if necessary.
8. Text to Vote & SMS PollsIn addition to providing you with valuable insight into customer preferences, polling is a great way to segment your contacts into lists so that you can make your messages more personalized and engaging in the future. Text to vote Simple Message Service (SMS) polls are also great for determining Net Promoter Score and gathering experience feedback for your organization. Some of the common text poll question types include:
- Multiple Choice: "What is your favorite type of pizza topping? (1=pepperoni, 2=sausage, 3=mushroom, 4=plain, 5=onions)"
- Essay: "What type of pizza would you like to see added to our menu?"
- Number Range: "On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best), how would you rate your most recent experience at our establishment? Reply with a number between 1 and 5."
- Yes/No: "Would you recommend us to a friend? Reply with 'Yes' or 'No.'"
- True/False: "I am always satisfied with the quality of my meal when visiting X Pizza Shop. Reply 'True' or 'False'."
9. MMS Picture Messages
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) for business can be a great way to add some flavor and interest to your text campaigns. Typically an MMS message can contain up to 500kb of data - enough for a 30-second audio or video file.
Adding images, audio, or video is a more immersive experience which can be added for effect in the right circumstances. For instance, real estate agents might use MMS to give potential homebuyers easy access with a yard sign which reads "Text [street address] to 313131 to see interior pictures of this home."
10. Chat via Text-to-Landline
A recent VentureBeat study found that traditional voice calls for customer support were expected to decline by 35% over the last couple of years. In fact, chances are that customers and prospects are already texting your landline number, but you’re missing those messages.
Business text messaging app services offer a chat solution which can be used with the same phone number you use for voice calls through what is called a text to landline service. The app online interface segments customer support texts for simple notifications and real-time interaction.
11. Tracking and ReportsYou've heard the adage, "What gets measured gets improved." That certainly rings true in the text message marketing world. Your app must deliver tracking and reports which are easily accessible and digestible. Make sure the service provides view stats about texts sent, messages received, and overall up-to-date contact counts. Look for spikes in engagement, analyze campaign results, refine your future sends.
12. Link ShortenersWhen you send an SMS text message, you only have 160 characters to work with, so it's important to maximize text real estate. The top text messaging services have automatic link shorteners which not only reduce the link size but provide valuable tracking statistics on clicks and even downstream conversions from those clicks.
13. IntegrationsA great business text messaging app works seamlessly with marketing software so that you can operate at peak efficiency. Look for texting platforms which integrate with other services you use in marketing such as Constant Contact, Zendesk, Pie Sync, MailChimp, AWeber and more.
The Most-Overlooked Feature: Simplicity
As amazing as any of these particular features may be, if they're hard to use, you won't use them. And if you don't use them, you'll waste money and lose potential revenue.
If you're on a small marketing team, you have a lot on your plate. That means you don't have time to learn and manage complex text messaging systems. Look for a service which is easy to use, so that you can work efficiently and get back to the 100 other things you have to do.
At EZ Texting, we've made ease of use a top priority with these features:
- Send a message in 3 easy steps
- Store your contacts in one convenient place
- Track your progress on a simple dashboard
- Check your campaigns on-the-go with our mobile-friendly site
Now that you understand some of the most useful features of top-notch text messaging apps, learn more about how to use texts to grow your organization with our Free Text Marketing Guide.