Business Texting: 13 Ways Businesses Use SMS Texting to Reach Customers
Business texting is a powerful communication channel. So powerful, in fact, that it crushes the runner-up channel, email marketing, in average open rates by 345%. A recent study showed that 98% of texts are opened compared to just 22% of emails.
As you might imagine, organizations are finding creative ways to harness the power of business texting to engage their prospects and customers. In fact, eWeek reported that 80% of people use texting for business.
Like in any other marketing channel, business pros are innovating with both Simple Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging System (MMS) to deliver creative campaigns and substantial results.
13 Ways to Use Business Texting
1. Birthday and Customer Anniversary Messages
Birthday and anniversary greetings are a great way to build brand affinity for your business. Your contacts are usually in a good mood on these occasions, so tap into that goodwill and spread the cheer. An added bonus is that your text message won't get lost in the long list of Facebook birthday messages. Feel free to borrow a ready-to-send birthday MMS image from our free gallery.
Many businesses send customer anniversary thanks texts to show appreciation for their customers and remind them of just how long they've been meeting the customer's needs.
A business text service like EZ Texting can integrate with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system like Salesforce and automate birthday and anniversary sends at appropriate times and dates.
2. Payment and Billing Reminders
Many of your customers likely prefer online billing but may need a more attention-grabbing notice to remind them to pay their bills. Timely payments are in both of your best interests, so be sure to consider text reminder campaigns for those recurring or overdue invoices.
3. Appointment Reminders and Scheduling
Keep in mind that you won't be sending those billing reminders if you don't bill customers in the first place because they forgot about the appointment. Some companies rely on staff to make manual phone calls to remind customers of appointments but soon realize just how time-consuming (and expensive) that can be.
Your contacts would probably prefer to receive a text rather than a phone call anyway, so automating those reminders through a business texting service is a great solution to consider. Some contacts will also want to schedule appointments by text, so give them that option as well.
4. Job Opening Alerts to Job Seekers
Seasoned employers recognize that the best talent doesn't stay on the market long, so they want to make sure that those prospective employees apply as quickly as possible. Offering a new position opening text alert can speed up that process and help you get the best talent on board. Another bonus is that your message will stand out from the crowd, rather than getting lost on overpopulated job boards like Indeed. You can also use texts to alert existing employees to new career opportunities.
5. Text-to-Landline Customer Service
Texting can be an excellent way to enhance your customer service strategy. Many customers prefer chat or text to voice customer service. Many business texting service providers offer easy-to-use web-browser portals for customer support texting, or you can have texts forwarded directly to your mobile phone.
A business text messaging service provider will need to text enable your landline. There is a good chance your contacts are already trying to text your landline, so make sure to tap into this opportunity to give your contacts what they want.
6. One-Off Orders
Some large restaurant chains have succeeded with custom smartphone apps for online ordering, but these apps can be prohibitively expensive for smaller businesses to build and maintain. Other restaurants are using SMS marketing to promote new dishes and limited-time specials, announce company news, collect experience feedback, and take orders.
7. Customer Preference Polls
Successful businesses keep their fingers on the pulse of their customers to determine exactly what they want and deliver it. Many companies use texts to send text-to-vote SMS polls to gather these insights and segment their contacts by interest for better personalization in the future. By determining which contacts prefer outdoor portraits to indoor, for instance, a photographer can text only the indoor clients with in-studio promotions.
8. Event Reminders, Updates, and Promotions
Event planners and coordinators are successfully using text messaging to engage and delight their attendees. Event maestros send reminders before the event, updates in case of last-minute schedule changes, and gather feedback after the event ends.
Other marketing pros are using text subscriptions for creative promotion during events. At the 2018 BroadwayCon, a digital marketing agency used a clever text messaging campaign to promote the new Mean Girls musical. After texting "fetch" to get the latest gossip, contacts received a funny selfie of the star of the show and subsequent "gossip" messages throughout the event.
9. Workforce Coordination
Many companies are using texts to coordinate with remote workforces, as well as communicating with teams that are centrally located. Texts to employees work well for updates which need to go company-wide quickly, such as an office closure or other emergencies. Gathering the team together for announcements can be frustrating and time-consuming, which is costly in terms of working hours.
Creative marketers are conducting contests for increased customer loyalty. Participants can text a Keyword to your short code to enter in the sweepstakes. You might pick a random number out of a digital hat and send the winner(s) a prize that they can give to their father on Father's Day, for instance.
Always consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with state and local laws when implementing contests.
11. Order Confirmations and Delivery Updates
Consumers have come to expect order confirmation and delivery updates thanks to major retailers like Amazon. That doesn't mean smaller businesses can't deliver the same type of experience with text order updates. If your inventory shipment schedule is light, this could be a manual process performed at the beginning of each workday. If you ship a lot of products, inventory systems can be integrated with business text messaging services to deliver updates.
12. Referral Promotions
Many small businesses rely on word-of-mouth to grow but don't sit back and hope it happens. Proactive marketers ask their best customers to refer them to a friend and texts can be the most natural way to ask for that referral. "Refer us to a friend" text campaigns can be coupled with discounts or other incentives to drive an increase in the sales pipeline during critical seasons for the business.
13. Recurring Inspirational/Motivational Messages
Health and lifestyle companies are among the business segments that are using inspirational and motivational text messages to stay top-of-mind and increase engagement. 90% of texts are read within the first three minutes. That's one of the reasons business texting is the best solution if your message has to reach contacts at a certain time of day (such as early morning for a fitness gym). Your customers want and need to be inspired, so take the initiative to give them a regular dose of motivation with an attractive MMS message (and a reminder to use their membership).
How Will You Use Business Texting?
Text messaging has become a go-to strategy for many businesses who understand that consumer preferences have changed drastically over the last few years. The ways businesses are using text messaging to deliver content and promotions are beginning to solidify, but there are always new opportunities out there for imaginative companies.
Some of these 13 tactics can be used in almost any business, but don't be afraid to go beyond them and get creative as you engage your contacts. You may want to dig a little deeper with our free, downloadable resource Strategies for Successful Text Marketing.