According to research, more than 50% of consumers believe businesses need to fundamentally transform how they engage with customers. However, many brands believe the traditional methods of email, phone calls, and in-person visits are sufficient. 

Today’s modern customer needs and wants more. 90% of consumers prefer to interact with a brand via text message and open rates for text messages are reported at 98% while email still sits at 20%. The reason? We expect each text messages to be personal—and personalized communication is what your customers crave from brands.

Text messages make staying connected with your customers easier at every point in the customer journey. Read on to learn how.

What is Text Message Marketing?

Text marketing is the practice of using text messages to convert leads and keep customers engaged. As a rule of thumb, text marketing messages are usually around 160 characters or less and require prior permission from your customers to send.

These text messages may include a number of multimedia elements such as pictures, videos, GIFs, and links, and senders must abide by their country’s rules and regulations, as well as those of the recipient. Often, local businesses will use an SMS marketing service to help them send messages to their customers at the right times.

The Power of Text Throughout the Customer Journey

Customer Journey

The customer journey is paved with critical touchpoints. From discovery to purchase decision to referral, the opportunities to connect, convert, and create a relationship with your customers are frequent and incredibly important.

In addition to allowing you to stay connected at every customer touch point, text messages allow local businesses to take their customer experience to the next level. 

Allow us to explain how. 

10 Ways to Use Texting to Level Up Your Customer Journey:

1 – Allow prospects to text you directly from search. Add a textable number to your Google Business Profile so it shows up directly in your consumers’ search results. By doing this, you make it easier for prospects to reach you (and for you to connect with them). Don’t have a textable number? You might consider converting your existing landline

2 – Convert web chats into text conversations. 50% of all mobile website visitors expect your website to offer a live web chat option. But when the conversation is cut short when the prospect needs to step away from their computer, the convenience of a web chat falls flat. Convert your web conversations to text threads. It’s a better way to communicate and a great way to follow up with more details for prospects on the go.

3 – Pitch personalized product offers. 75% of consumers want to receive offers and upsells relevant to them directly on their mobile device.  If you can customize those offers further with their name and context about their history with your business, you’ve got an even more personalized way delight your prospect. 

Personalized Product Text

4 – Close the deal (and collect payment). Nearly 1/3 of your customers prefer a mobile payment option,  yet only 26% of businesses use text messages to collect payments.  Meet your customers where they want to be met (with minimal barriers and incredible convenience)—in their text message inbox. 

5 – Set appointments via text. Use text messaging to create a personalized approach to appointment setting. With texting as an option for appointment setting, you can offer multiple options and confirm the time slot in real-time. 

6 – Confirm delivery in real-time. Your product will be delivered by a real human, so let that real human interact via text the moment the delivery takes place. Getting a text from the delivery driver (instead of an update from a computer) offers a personal touch that can set your business apart from the competition.

Confirm Delivery Text

7 – Gather feedback. Offering messaging throughout your customers’ journey and making sure they’re communicating with an actual human gives you the power to ask for—and respond to—feedback in real-time. If you’re utilizing text messaging correctly, customers will be more likely to tell you what’s not going well, what’s working, and if anything needs to change, because they’ll be used to communicating with your team this way.

8 – Offer personalized promotions for return visits. Earn repeat business with personalized promotions that promote return visits. Sending a customized text reminder that it’s time to get oil changed or schedule pest control humanizes the offer and helps strengthen customer relationships.

9 – Generate more reviews. Reviews are critical for future prospects. Nearly 88% of consumers read reviews to better understand if they want to work with or buy from a brand. Make sure your ask for a review isn’t static, likely to be lost in an inbox or pushed aside as unimportant. Make the review invite personal by texting your customer directly. After all, 45% of consumers will complete the desired action in a text they receive. 

Review request text

10 – Ask for referrals. Just like asking for feedback or for reviews, asking for referrals is most effective when done with one-on-one communication. This is a great opportunity to thank your customer for their business and offer them something in return. Instead of detailing your program in an invoice or follow-up email, transition your ask to a text message.

Advantages of Texting for Small Businesses

It’s no secret that implementing text has major advantages for small businesses. But what, exactly, are those advantages? Let’s break it down. 

→Texts have higher read rates. 

As we’ve already mentioned, text messages have an open rate of up to 98%. On average, 95% of messages are opened within 3 minutes. Text also has a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook. 

→Texts speak their language.

Texting is the method your customers use to communicate. In fact, consumers are actually about twice as likely to prefer texting to any other communication method. 

→Texts keep your business relevant.

Did you know that 65.6% of consumers think texting makes working with a local business more convenient? And 40.5% of consumers say they are likely to switch to a different business because they offer text messaging to communicate. 

→Texts reduce response time.

Texting also gets your customers to respond to you faster. The average response time for a text is only 90 seconds

Choosing an SMS Marketing Solution

As you know, SMS messaging successfully means balancing a lot of moving parts. Local businesses have to effectively route conversations to representatives on the ground, customer service teams, and reception or service areas. They have to configure automations, send responses, and keep up individual threads—all while making sure no messages slip through the cracks. For multi-location businesses, teams also have to map conversations to the right locations for responses. 

All of this can be quite challenging for any team to take on—especially if they’re having to juggle multiple platforms to do it. That’s why SMS messaging successfully starts with choosing the right SMS marketing service for your business. But as you know, there are a million and one text message marketing platforms out there. How do you decide?

To choose the right text message marketing software, check out The Ultimate Guide to SMS Marketing: Choosing an SMS Marketing Service here.

Jono Andrews
Jono Andrews Group Manager of Product Marketing
Jono is a Group Manager of Product Marketing at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers.  He loves to help local businesses see success in creating the best customer experience.

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