As a small business owner who wears many hats, including the marketer hat, you’re always paying attention to marketing trends.
You often wonder, “What’s working and what’s not working these days?” “Where should I shift my focus?” And “How do I adapt so my business can thrive?”
It’s no secret that one of the marketing trends that has been gaining momentum over the last couple of years has been using text messaging, or SMS, to reach out to leads and clients.
Email as an effective form of business communication is still going to be relevant for years to come, but it’s dangerous to ignore the influence of text messaging, and how it can impact your business as an additional channel to communicate with your leads and clients.
Dimension Data’s Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report of more than 6,000 respondents showed that 89% of consumers would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses, but only 48% of businesses are equipped to connect with customers through a message.
As of 2019, the average email open rate across all industries was 17.9%. Compare that to open rates as high as 98% with SMS. On top of that, response rates are much higher with SMS. It typically takes 90 minutes to respond to an email, while it only takes 90 seconds to respond to a text.
If you’re relying on email alone, you’re probably experiencing pains like leads missing your webinars, consult calls, promotions, or offers because they aren’t checking their emails quickly enough or your emails are landing in spam and promotion folders.
Or you might be experiencing pains like an increase in upset clients or losing clients because your product or service isn’t communicating as quickly or efficiently as the competition.
The problem isn’t that your leads and clients don’t want or need your products or services. It’s that you’re trying to reach them through a channel that isn’t as quick as SMS.
This is why engagement is low. While consumers still use email, there’s an increasing preference for text message communication.
So, the question isn’t really about if you should use SMS to increase engagement, but how you can incorporate it into your communication strategy, and what it will take to get your business SMS-ready.
Examples of how you can use text messaging to increase engagement
Text messaging, or SMS, is a versatile tool every small business should have in their marketing toolkit, but here are five places you can start implementing it.
• Send helpful updates to your clients that a product has shipped or service has been scheduled.
• Notify yourself when a client signs up for a product or service so you can give them a call or welcome them to your business.
Sales and Marketing
• Keep your clients updated on your latest releases.
• Give them exciting ways to pre-order or reserve a spot.
• Send them a link to an order form so they can easily purchase a relevant product or service.
• Send them an SMS encouraging them to sign up for a demo or consultation.
The possibilities are endless.
• Give clients the ability to text your support team and get 2-way support. It’s a game-changer for many businesses—39% of consumers prefer using text messaging for support over any other method.
Access and Security
• Make it easy for clients to change passwords or access membership sites.
• Reduce appointment no-shows by reminding leads and clients about their appointments.
• Make it frictionless to confirm, or reschedule if necessary.
How to get your business ready to implement text messaging
If you’re already using a marketing CRM, you’re off to a great start.
Unless you’re a skilled programmer, and you’re willing to put in the time to create and maintain your own text messaging integration, your next step is picking an SMS service.
There are many to consider and choose from, but one of the advantages of using PlusThis as an SMS service is that it seamlessly integrates with Keap, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, Drip, Ontraport, and HubSpot. In addition, PlusThis includes 50+ other tools, there’s no markup on your text fees, the costs are as low as $0.0075 to send a text, and PlusThis is capable of doing each of the strategies mentioned above.
Here’s how it works.
1. Pick a PlusThis plan to start your free 30-day trial.
PlusThis gives you access to using SMS with your CRM right away. In addition, you get access to all of the other PlusThis tools included in the campaign toolkit.
2. Start a free Twilio account
One of the advantages of PlusThis is that it takes advantage of Twilio’s technology to bring SMS to over 180 countries at an affordable price. Most SMS services in the market also use Twilio to send and receive texts
A differentiator for PlusThis SMS is that they keep your costs low by adding zero markups to Twilio’s SMS prices. That means when you send or receive texts in the U.S., it costs just $0.0075 a text. When considering an SMS service, keep this in mind.
3. Set up your SMS sequences in PlusThis
When you start your free trial of PlusThis, we’ll help you connect PlusThis to your CRM and Twilio.
We’ll walk you through a launch call while you set up your first SMS campaign.
This could be anything from setting up a webinar reminder, a text to opt-in, a text notification for a purchase or anything else you have in mind.
At the end of a free launch call, you’ll have your first SMS campaign launched and ready to go.
To wrap up, here’s an example of what SMS look like when it’s integrated with your CRM.
1. Someone schedules a call: The CRM registers a new consultation by applying a tag to a contact after they request a consultation. This sends the contact consultation and follow-up reminders before the consultation appointment.
2. Reminder sequence with SMS: This sequence’s job is to remind the contact of their upcoming consultation. In this example, an email is automatically sent from the marketing CRM confirming the contact’s appointment.
Then, a second email automatically goes out the day before the appointment to remind them again. Finally, an SMS reminder message goes out (through the PlusThis integration in your marketing CRM).
The SMS message they receive can be as simple as, “Hey (first name), your consultation with Bryce is at 1:00 pm Pacific tomorrow. Are you still available to attend? Please respond with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to this message.”
3. Apply automation based on consultation confirmation: Filter contacts to the appropriate follow-up based on how they respond.
4. Send appropriate follow-up: Send reschedule links to people who confirm they can no longer make their appointments. Anyone who doesn’t confirm continues to get follow-up reminders. Contacts who confirm will be ready to meet with you.
Automation like this can be implemented quickly and have a significant impact on saving you time doing manual follow-up and increasing sales with higher show-up rates.
What are the costs?
The cost of adding SMS into your marketing mix should be a worthwhile investment that generates a return either through increased sales or time saved.
PlusThis is the tool that will connect and power your SMS messages with Twilio through your CRM. PlusThis includes a free 30-day trial and starts at $39/mo.
Twilio is the SMS provider that sends your SMS messages. Twilio accounts are free. Instead, you pay Twilio $1/mo for a phone number and $0.0075 for every text you send or receive (using U.S. pricing as an example, you can see pricing for other countries here).
So, for example, if you send 1000 texts/ month, your total costs would be as follows.
$39 for PlusThis + $1 for your Twilio number to send the texts + (1000 x $0.0075) for your texts. That works out to $39 + 1 + $7.5 = $47.50/month.
Not bad. If that’s the difference between one more person becoming a client or not, you’re probably already starting to make a return on your SMS investment.
Ready to try out SMS with PlusThis?
Start your free trial by picking the right PlusThis plan for you.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.