The minutes consumers dedicate to shopping are increasingly valuable. Convenience is the new name of the game and if you save your customers time, you win repeat business. 

But how do you save your customers time? How do you remove roadblocks to actually speed up transactions, respond to messages in real-time, and make their buying journey seamless? 

And your time is just as valuable. So we’ll cut to the chase: You have to meet customers where they are right now. Their phones.

Consumers today spend more time on their mobile devices than they do watching TV, nearly four hours a day. We know that 97% of consumers send or receive at least one text per day and an incredible 82% of them open every. single. text. they receive. Usually it’s within a few minutes.

Did you know that the open rate for emails hovers around 20% while the open rate for text messages is 98%?

Messaging on mobile devices is your key to adding convenience and speed (and removing roadblocks) to your customers’ buyer journey with your business. 

Let’s take a closer look at how text messaging is the right tool for every job in the buyer’s journey:

BUYER STAGE ONE: THE PROSPECT STARTS THE SEARCH

If search is where the prospect starts, your first priority should be to make your business as easy to find as possible. If you don’t already know, optimizing your chances of getting found on a Google search result (and getting into the top three to five, which is where 75% of all clicks go), boils down to several factors. Google serves up results based on the combined rating of relevance, distance, and prominence. And in the last two years, searches for “near me” that contain some variant of “can I buy” or “to buy” have grown 500%.

Even if your business is farther away than the typical five-mile radius that consumers often stick to when selecting a search result, Google can prioritize your business based only on your relevance and prominence ratings. Let’s look at the definitions for each:

Relevance – with correct information in your Google My Business listing, Google has a better chance of knowing how relevant your business is to each new search. Make sure your information is correct, complete, and detailed so it’s clear what you offer and Google can match your business to potential customers.

Prominence – Google ranks your prominence based on how well-known your business is. Popular landmarks or store brands are likely to have a high score for prominence, but the score is also based on all of the information Google can gather about your business online. Your review count and review score are included (with more positive reviews likely increasing your ranking) and links, articles, and SEO best practices can improve your prominence rating

If you need help getting your Google My Business listing up-to-date, check out this eBook.

How does messaging come into play here? 

With the right messaging solution, you can directly text customers and ask for a review (improving your chances of more reviews for your prominence score) and get alerted when a poor review is posted (and then take immediate action to solve any issues).

Focusing on your reviews will not only improve your rating with Google, but also impact consumer decision-making. Nearly 88% of consumers read reviews to determine the quality of a local business (especially one they’ve never worked with before). And 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more than they would have otherwise. 

The right messaging tool for the job: Podium Reviews.

Send review invitations via text and get responses within 30 seconds. Respond to reviews in real-time (removing roadblocks for your customers), track your rankings, and post reviews where they matter the most (Google, Facebook, etc.).

BUYER STAGE TWO: THE PROSPECT REACHES OUT TO YOU 

As a consumer searches for a business like yours and they find your listing, it’s likely they will be searching on their mobile device (since 58% of all site visits come from mobile devices) and that they will attempt to connect with you within 24 hours (88% of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device reach out within one day).

It’s imperative that your business offer as many communication channels as possible to consumers who want to talk with you, including texting. 

Yes, your listing should also include a phone number for traditional phone calls, a link to your website, and your physical address, but 90% of customers would prefer to engage with a business through texting or another messaging app.

By turning on messaging in your Google My Business listing, consumers will see a “message” button on their search results. This “message” button allows them to text you directly. You can answer questions, send links, and provide a personal experience to those searching for your products or services.

It’s important to remember that once you turn on messaging and you receive a new message, it’s best practice to respond quickly. Google will deactivate messaging from accounts that don’t respond to consumers within a 24-hour period consistently.

For more detailed instructions on how to turn on messaging, click here.

The right messaging tool for the job: Podium Messaging. 

One simple inbox for texts and messages from Facebook, Google, and more. It’s the fastest way to get in touch, stay engaged, and become your customer’s go-to business. 

BUYER STAGE THREE: THE PROSPECT VISITS YOUR SITE

Your prospect will visit your site to learn more about you (especially if messaging isn’t an option directly from your Google listing.

Connect with customers immediately on your website by adding a webchat feature. Customers and prospects can click the chat bubble and ask their question immediately. With the right solution, your webchat will allow prospects and customers to add in their phone number so a customer representative can text them with a response. Now they can leave the site, or even their computer, knowing their question will be followed up with via text, no matter where they go.

The right messaging tool for the job: Podium Webchat. 

Save your visitor’s name and number when they send a message. Respond via text — giving you the flexibility to keep the conversation going. 

BUYER STAGE FOUR: THE PROSPECT MAKES A PURCHASE

Did you know that 78% of local searches result in an offline purchase, usually within hours? With texting, that close rate is even higher. 

Here’s an example of a customer making a purchase via messaging within minutes:

Hi, this is _______. Can I help with any last minute gifts for the holiday? 

Maybe. Lol.

How about the matching necklace and earrings.

Sample link.

Sample link.

Best price? 

The earrings and necklace would be $2,550 out the door. 

How do I pay and how fast can u get them to me? 

I will send you the link to pay for them and I’ll send the package overnight for Friday or Saturday delivery.

Thumbs up.

Sample link.

Podium message: _____ paid $2,550

Within a matter of minutes the consumer found the right product, requested a payment link and delivery date, and made a purchase. Adding texting to the purchase stage adds convenience and speed (and increases your close rate!).

With 50% of US consumers completing a purchase after receiving a branded text, messages that offer purchase or payment options are the way of the future.

The right messaging tool for the job: Podium Payments. 

Send payment or purchase requests with customizable links via text. Customers can make purchases and payments without entering your store or speaking on the phone.

BUYER STAGE FIVE: THE CUSTOMER HAS FEEDBACK

Whether you hear about it or not, every one of your customers has feedback about their experience with your business. Allowing them to directly give that feedback to you at any point in their journey (via text!) increases your chances of solving issues, removing roadblocks, and delivering a positive experience before they leave a poor review or tell their friends. 

By offering real-time feedback options to your customers, you can gather insights into what your customers love about your business, why they’re leaving, and what you can do to improve.

The right messaging tool for the job: Podium Feedback. 

Determine your customer satisfaction score through two automated texts. No links, no lengthy surveys—just real-time responses and insights.   

BUYER STAGE SIX: THE CUSTOMER LEAVES A REVIEW

The buyer journey begins and ends with reviews. But most customers don’t take the time to leave a review of their experience. So how can you increase the odds that they’ll actually do it? 

Many companies send review requests via email, but with an open rate of 20%, they’re really just asking 20% of their customers to leave a review. By texting your request for a customer to leave a review, your odds skyrocket to 98% (the open rate of texts!). 

Send a review request via text. 98% will open it. And 45% will complete the ask (45% of consumers complete the desired action in the text they receive). 

The right messaging tool for the job: Podium Reviews.

Send review invitations via text and get responses within 30 seconds. Respond to reviews in real-time (removing roadblocks for your customers), track your rankings, and post reviews where they matter the most (Google, Facebook, etc.).

That’s the end of the journey, right? Try again. You don’t want customers — you want customers for life. 

Add your business to your customers’ messaging contacts. With the right messaging tool, you’ll be at the top of the list.

Learn why Gartner named Podium a Cool Vendor in conversational marketing. Read the report here