For multiple years now consumers have been practically begging businesses to use text messaging as their preferred method of communication. In fact, nearly 78% of consumers would like to communicate with a business via text.
With more and more consumers wanting to engage with businesses through texting, it’s obviously a smart way to communicate. However, it can also be a tool that turns off your leads and customers if you use it the wrong way.
Here are six tips to help you improve your business texting and ensure that prospects and customers alike keep choosing you.
Keep it personal
This is the age of personalization, when everything from Google Ads to Netflix knows what we like and tries to cater to us. If you want to see your response rates soar, keep things personal.
Personalizing a text message isn’t difficult. You have basic information about each customer stored within your CRM. With information like last purchase, favorite service, most recent check-in date, or even a spouse’s or pet’s name, you speak to the individual and not the masses.
Those subtle personal touches make a huge difference. Sixty-six percent of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if they are treated like a number instead of an individual. Building a reputation as business that prioritizes personalization benefits everyone.
With leads you won’t have quite the same wealth information, but you can at least find out exactly why they’re interested in your products and services. Start conversations with leads by speaking to that interest.
Respect people’s time
Text messages aren’t like emails. People actually want to read them. That’s why a full 77 percent of consumers keep notification settings on for messaging apps. That means that your texts, no matter when you send them, are going to make some noise. Literally.
Nobody wants to be woken up by a text at 5 AM or have their evening at home interrupted. Appropriate texting hours are during business hours — 9 AM to 5 PM to be safe.
This is especially important when you automate and schedule messages. Every Skipio account has a setting to prevent automated campaign messages from sending at odd times or on the weekends. Double check the sending settings on your texting platform to save yourself a lot of embarrassment and angry replies.
Avoid spammy messages and overly promotional language
Getting too many messages from a business is annoying. Period. Just like some businesses send way too many emails, some businesses send way too many text messages
Obviously it’s not a problem if you’re having a genuine conversation with someone and sending messages back and forth.
But you must carefully limit the frequency of automated messages, especially those promoting sales and deals. You don’t want someone to think it’s just a bot sending generic marketing messages full of sales buzz words. They’ll never want to respond and instead they’ll tell you to stop.
Watch your words
Business texting is personal and depending on your audience and industry you’re certainly able to be less formal. And though it’s important to get a customer’s attention with your messages, you don’t want to send sloppy, slangy, or inappropriate texts.
Texts with a simple spelling mistake, slangy language, or anything inappropriate (like swear words or politically incorrect language) will be ignored or viewed as spam. Expect opt-outs and maybe even lost business.
At the end of the day, these are your customers and not your close friends. It’s entirely possible to be personal and conversational in business texting without resorting to language that may alienate the very people who keep your doors open.
Proper digital etiquette dictates that you only send text messages to someone who has given you permission to do so. It’s also imperative that you remain TCPA compliant and adhere to local laws and CTIA recommendations, which protect consumers from unwanted marketing solicitation.
To entice your users to receive text messages containing special offers, new product updates, or other valuable information, you can request they opt-in via an online form or ask them to text a particular keyword to a mobile number. After they use the keyword you can get their permission to receive future texts.
Have a conversation and respond
Consumers want to have two-way conversations with businesses, so treat it like a conversation from the start.
“85% of people want to be able to not only receive a message from a business but also answer a message from a business.” — Agility
By sending a personalized text message immediately after someone reaches out to you, you’re making a connection with that customer and giving them the opportunity to engage. (This is why Skipio includes the Message Mentor.)
To keep the conversation going, keep responding as quickly as possible, ask open-ended questions relevant to the conversation, and utilize emojis.
All of those things help encourage people to respond because they can tell that there’s a real person on the other end. It’s human interactions like those that result in more sales and more loyal customers.
Just the beginning of business texting etiquette
Ultimately, business texting etiquette helps you focus on crafting professional, personal messages. That way you create connections and build relationships with your prospects and customers. I promise that as long as you are patient and thoughtful in how you communicate, your company will continue to grow.
This post was originally published October 18, 2019 and was most recently updated on October 13, 2020. Each section includes additional data and/or examples for the importance of business texting etiquette and better information for putting it into action.