Combining text messaging and email outreach is a powerful strategy for converting inbound leads. Used separately, text messaging and email are effective ways to communicate with potential customers. But when used together, the potential impact on conversion rates is huge.
A simple follow-up text asking “have you read our email?” can help increase email open rates by 20%-30%.
Not sure how to add texting to your current email outreach and follow-up? Let’s walk through the steps to effectively combine email and texting to increase your chances of converting inbound leads.
Texting vs emailing use cases
Text messaging and email each give unique advantages for sales outreach and follow-up. Text messaging is a quick and direct way to reach someone, while email is more formal and allows for more detailed information to be shared.
First, know what each channel is best used for so you know how they support each other. By using text and email for different types of follow-up, you take advantage of the strengths of each one and increase your chances of converting inbound leads.
Taking this targeted approach to follow-up ensures that you use each channel in the most effective way possible. You then create a more streamlined lead nurturing process that leads to conversions.
Text messaging is great for:
- Making first contact and introducing yourself
- Following up quickly to guarantee your message is seen
- Sending appointment reminders
- Sharing simple promotional offers
- Responding to time-sensitive customer inquiries
Email is great for:
- Sending detailed information about plans, products, or services
- Looping in other decision-makers or stakeholders
- Sharing relevant PDFs, ebooks, etc.
- Providing case studies or long testimonials
- Following up with substantial explanations or documents
Steps to start implementing a combined text messaging and email outreach strategy
1. Ask for mobile numbers to segment your leads
Surprise! Not all leads are the same. Different types of leads will respond better to different types of communication.
When gathering contact info, ask for both a mobile phone number and email address, but also give people an option to mark their preference. Make it clear that by giving both forms of contact, they give you permission to text and email them. This opt-in must happen!
Segment your leads based on not just their preference for emailing or texting but also factors like:
- Previous intent to buy
- Completed purchases
- Website activity
- Job title
The clearer your segments are from the start, the easier it is to tailor your follow-up communication to the specific needs of each segment.
2. Review and adapt current email follow-up sequences
Remember that the goal is a multi-channel approach. Review and evaluate which existing emails should instead be adapted for texting. (The next section covers specific tips for text message outreach.)
Use emails to send longer, detailed messages about your products/services and answer any related questions leads or customers may have. That often includes:
- ebooks and one-pagers
- plan/service comparisons
- slide decks or presentations
- case studies and customer testimonials
- proposals and contracts
It’s much easier to read those messages as emails rather than texts. Plus, those messages often need to be shared with others, and email forwarding is more convenient.
With each email, send related text messages. For instance, when you email a price comparison a lead asked for, send them a text and let them know to check their inbox.
3. Outline complementary text messaging sequences for quick messages and follow-ups
After looking at your existing email outreach and follow-up sequences, decide what could be texts instead. Texts average a 98% open rate. Meanwhile, emails average just 21.5%. In other words, if you want a message read quickly, send a text.
The best texts are short, to the point, and read quickly. As previously mentioned, texts work great for reminders, special offers, and general follow-up. But they also work great for sending urgent information, video meeting links, and billing notifications.
Overall, use text messages to catch leads’ attention and start a conversation while they’re still thinking about your business. Send texts for your initial outreach, and if needed, send related emails for more detailed information.
Customize these example templates for your text message follow-ups with leads:
Follow-up after sending an email: Hey [First Name], just sent an email about (topic). Let me know if you have any questions or need further information.
Follow-up after lead shows interest but doesn’t reply: Hi [First Name], still interested in talking about (specific product/service)? I’ve got openings on (days and times).
Follow-up after scheduling a call: Hey [First Name], confirming our call scheduled for (date and time). Text me if you need to reschedule. I’ll email a specific agenda the day before.
Follow-up after a call: Hey [First Name], great speaking with you today about (topics of conversation). Let’s keep in touch about (next steps). I’ll reach out again in a couple of days to see how you’re feeling.
Follow-up after sending a quote/invoice: Hi, [First Name]! I sent your (quote, invoice, contract) like we talked about. What else can I answer for you before accepting?
4. Set up automations for both emailing and texting
Implementing a combined text messaging and email outreach strategy is unsurprisingly time-consuming and difficult to manage manually. Since most teams use email automation already, create similar automations to streamline your text communication. That way you ensure your leads receive the right messages at the right times.
The exact process of automating your text message outreach of course varies by messaging platform. But typically each platform provides integrations and syncs between software to make it easy to trigger messages. Skipio connects with CRMs, calendars, and more (especially if you use Zapier). These integrations allow you to automatically import new leads and contacts and send specific text messages at scheduled times.
Regardless of the email and text messaging platforms you choose, follow this general outreach sequence to start using email and texting together. The goal of this sequence? Get someone to engage in a conversation to schedule (or buy).
Initial Text: Send a personalized text message to a new inbound lead immediately after they provide contact information. Introduce yourself and give a brief overview of your product or service as it relates to what they expressed interest in.
WAIT 5 MINUTES
Initial Email: Send a follow-up email within a few minutes of the initial text. Provide more detailed information about your product or service and include a call-to-action to schedule a call, consultation, or demo.
WAIT 1-2 DAYS
Follow-up Text: Send a follow-up text after the first email and text to get the lead to at least reply or hopefully schedule
WAIT 2-3 DAYS
Follow-up Email: Send a follow-up email another 2-3 days after the first follow-up text to provide additional context or resources such as case studies or video demos to further show the value of your product or service.
WAIT 5 MINUTES
Follow-up Text: Send an accompanying follow-up text after the follow-up email with additional resources. Ask a specific question to see what concerns or problems the lead has. The goal is simply a reply..
WAIT 1-3 DAYS
Follow-up Text: Ask a highly specific open-ended question to encourage a reply. Remind leads what they showed interest in on your site.
WAIT 2-4 DAYS
Follow-up Email: Send a short email with links to a relevant article, video, etc. Basically, give leads something of pure value without a strong ask.
Follow-up Text: Send an accompanying text along with the email, including your scheduling link at the end. Again, ask an open-ended question that gets a lead wanting to reply.
Following up with leads is all about timing. Adjust the delays between each message to fit this follow-up into your ideal customer’s buying journey.
Also, if a lead responds to any of the texts or emails, make sure you take them out of the sequence so they don’t continue getting follow-up messages. That’s a big red flag to potential customers, especially if you keep texting them to do something they’ve already done.
Fortune is in the follow-up
Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: Use texting and emailing simultaneously. By leveraging the strengths of both, you reach your prospects where they‘re most likely to engage. That increases the chances of converting them into paying customers.
When you want to see how automating text messages might work with your existing follow-up, take a look at Skipio’s interactive tour.