You’re ready to start texting with your prospects and customers. And you’re on the right track–90% of consumers prefer texting to traditional methods of communication when they engage with a business

The data around the benefits of texting don’t lie:

You want to start texting–but how do you get your prospects and customers to start texting you? Here are seven ways you can get started:

1. Turn on messaging in your Google My Business listing.

Turn on messaging in your Google My Business listing–prospects and customers will see a “message” button on your listing when they search for your business from a mobile device. This button will allow consumers 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.

2. Make sure your customers know they can text you.

If you want your community of prospects and customers to know they can text you (for appointments, questions, feedback, any communication), it’s your job to let them know. Add your texting number everywhere consumers may find you:

Website: Make sure it’s visible! Better yet, allow web chats to be converted to text conversations.

Social accounts: Add your number to your Instagram profile, Facebook page, YouTube profile, everywhere!

Emails: Add your texting number with a strong call to action (to text you at this number at any time) right in your email signature.

Product labels: If you sell physical goods, add your texting number to your product labels, invoices, etc. 

Advertisements: If you send direct mail, advertise on a local network, or send out a newsletter, add your texting number. 

Your place of business: If it makes sense for your business, add your texting number in your waiting area, at your front desk, and on your parking lot signs.

In your text messages: Make it clear that you aren’t texting from a do-not-reply number–add a CTA at the end of every initial text similar to text us at this number at any time!

3. Let them know you are a human, not a bot.

Many larger businesses have bigger budgets, bigger contact lists, and bigger advertising requirements with multiple channels. What’s the edge if you’re a local business? A personal touch–it’s one-to-one communication that will set you apart. Your texting with prospects and customers should be no different. Don’t be a bot and send mass messages. 

Let your customers know they aren’t part of a bulk marketing campaign–your texting should be seamless (even if they are automated) and it should be clear it’s a human on the other side of the text. Use friendly jargon and personalized messaging. If you do send a mass text, make sure it’s clear that when they respond, a human will respond back (hint: in real-time).

4. When you text customers, add value in every interaction.

Did you know that 75% of consumers want to receive text messages with offers? Add value to your customers by texting them what they want. Personalized offers, sneak peeks, insider information–all good options to add value to your texting conversations. Plus, mobile coupons receive 10 times the redemption rates than print coupons.

5. Have a real conversation—respond in real-time.

The average person responds to a text message within 90 seconds (via email, it’s 90 minutes). If you’re truly going to make sure they know you aren’t a bot, respond to your customers’ text messaging conversations in real-time. 

Do what works best for your business—route all messages to one person, dedicate specific hours to monitor the incoming messages, or find an integration with a notification platform to ensure you are notified every time a text comes through to your business. Have a real conversation with your customers that want to have a real conversation with you. Response time matters.

6. Deliver your text messages at the right time

Offer your texting number to your entire audience (even if it’s global), but make sure you aren’t delivering messages at inconvenient times. Personalized offers and messages will make your customers understand you value one-to-one communication, but not if you deliver those offers or messages at 2:30 a.m. Know your audience and be respectful of appropriate times for communication.

7. Go beyond the text.

Don’t limit yourself to text-only messages. Take advantage of the full platform. Own a real estate business? Send photos of your newest listing. Own an appliance retail business? Send a link to your product listing with an accompanying photo. Own a pest control company? Send a link to your scheduling website. 

Your customers expect the experience to be seamless, so include the information they want (links, photos, videos, etc.) on the channel they want.

BONUS TIP: Use texting to gather realtime feedback about your customer experience.

Businesses that offer text messaging to their customers have a direct advantage over those that don’t: gather real-time feedback about your customers’ experience. With real-time feedback, you have an opportunity to fix a poor experience as it happens instead of finding out later when you read a poor review online. 

With messaging in place, you can communicate in real-time with your customers about what is going well, what’s not working, and what needs to change. Customers that are already having conversations with you are more likely to deliver this feedback to you via text than they are to pick up the phone (or speak to you in person).

Brands that use texting successfully can reach 95% of their contacts. Be consistent. Add value. Offer the human element: one-to-one messaging.

Learn more about how to add texting to your business with The Ultimate Business Text Messaging Playbook.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Set up business text messaging for your company
  • Get your whole team on board
  • Increase repeat business with simple text hints

Download The Ultimate Business Text Messaging Playbook here.