If you haven’t explored SMS for your business yet, there are many reasons why you should consider it. Business texting helps to increase sales, boost engagement and build brand loyalty. This article explains how, and describes some ways that businesses are already using this powerful communication channel.
What is business texting?
Business texting, or SMS for business, allows you to send texts to customers from a business phone number or using brand name, instead of a personal number. There are many advantages to business texting, starting with SMS being the most accessible communication channel around.
According to BankMyCell, 4.88 billion people worldwide use a phone with text messaging capabilities. In 2019, 2.1 trillion text messages were exchanged by Americans alone (an increase of 52 billion from the previous year). These statistics indicate that SMS is familiar to most people and that SMS usage is growing year on year.
Secondly, SMS is reliable. Compared to email, it has a high deliverability rate; for instance, emails can often get syphoned off into the junk folder, even if they’re genuinely not spam. Although some phones have spam filters, there’s much less chance of your SMS message getting blocked.
Lastly, SMS is extremely effective in terms of engagement and results. Open and response rates for text messages are considerably higher than those of email, in part because of their direct nature. Furthermore, certain text alerts are welcomed by customers. For example, almost half of U.S. internet users prefer to receive loyalty-related messages by text instead of other channels.
Ways to use business texting
You can use SMS to deliver marketing, transactional and business-critical messages. It works particularly well when integrated into existing business systems, like CRM software or accounting applications. Some SMS providers offer an API to enable you to do this. Here are five specific examples as you how you might use business texting:
1. Order confirmations and delivery updates
If your business sells physical goods, you can use SMS to confirm order details and let customers know when their item has been despatched. With a little development work, you can automate this process and set up messaging flows to trigger each message following an action (e.g. payment received, order shipped and order delivered).
2. Phone number verification and 2FA
User verification - making sure the customer is who they say they are - is a process that many businesses need to undertake to add an extra layer of security for accounts. Phone number verification is the safest way to do this because it’s difficult for fraudsters to fake a phone number or hack into existing numbers. Email verification, on the other hand, isn’t as secure.
Through SMS, you can send a unique pin code straight to the customer’s mobile device for account verification. SMS is also ideal for two-factor authentication (2FA); where you need to add a second step to account logins or confirm transactions or account usage.
3. Marketing campaigns
A popular way to use business texting is for sending out promotional offers. Once you’ve got opt-ins, you can notify customers about flash sales, loyalty discounts and new product launches. And, with smart data insights, you can use SMS for upselling and cross-selling opportunities too.
4. Appointment and billing reminders
If your business is service-based and relies on appointments, sending out reminders can reduce revenue loss caused by no-shows. Beauty salons, medical centres, dentist surgeries, car dealers and sales teams are all examples of businesses that could benefit from this.
Accounting departments in both B2C and B2B sectors can also use business texting to send invoice reminders and claim outstanding payments. It’s possible to include a shortened URL within a text message and point the recipient to an online portal to make a payment.
5. Customer feedback
An SMS survey is a great way to gain insights into how your business and products are currently valued and how you can make improvements. According to an article by Customer Think, SMS is 209% more effective in getting responses than other channels like email, Facebook, and phone calls.
Important considerations for business texting
To get the best out of business texting, and to ensure your SMS practices are legal, there are several points to think about:
Permission - it’s now law in many countries that subscribers give their express written consent to receive SMS marketing messages from a business. This can be done via a signup form online or offline, or by encouraging people to text a number to opt-in.
Content relevance - to avoid annoying customers and reduce your number of opt-outs, only send highly targeted and relevant text messages, especially for marketing campaigns. To improve customer engagement and satisfaction, you need to provide value.
- Measure performance - the click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rate for your SMS campaigns are two essential metrics to track. Also, analyse your opt-out rate to identify what’s working and what isn’t.
- Timings - think about when your customers are most likely to respond to your text messages. Don’t send them during ‘Do Not Disturb’ hours, which according to the TCPA, is before 8 am and after 9 pm.
How to get started with business texting
Business texting can help strengthen and grow your brand. You can use it to send out promotional offers, transactional messages and business-critical information like 2FA pin codes.
To start using SMS for your business, you first need to choose a reliable SMS platform that’s capable of delivering the range of messages you need. At Messente, we can help you send reminders, pin codes, marketing campaigns, transactional messages and much more, all via our easy-to-use online dashboard. Our powerful SMS API can be integrated into your existing business systems to help you deliver more targeted, relevant messages that offer real value to your customers.