by John Egan
Among U.S. smartphone users, texting triumphs over talking. According to the International Smartphone Mobility Report, released in 2015, smartphone users are sending and receiving five times as many text messages compared with the number of phone calls they’re on each day.
This new and ever-growing reality explains why text messaging (SMS) is gaining ground as a marketing tool.
“Text messaging is a communications channel that is now an important part of a consumer’s daily life, and because of this, it has the potential to drive deeper relationships with today’s attention-challenged prospect,” says Nick Hedges, CEO of sales acceleration software company Velocify.
At LeadsCon Las Vegas 2018, Hedges will lead a session, “Why SMS Is the Newest Rising Star in Sales,” that will delve into why text messaging should be part of a marketer’s tool kit.
“Though many marketers lag behind buyer expectations when it comes to using text messaging, the best are being strategic about how they incorporate SMS into their overall communication strategies,” Hedges says.
But before incorporating SMS into their communication strategies, marketers must be mindful of when to employ — and not employ — text messaging, according to Hedges.
“The key to success with SMS in sales is having good judgment and carefully considering the scenario and what channel of communication makes the most sense,” Hedges says. “For instance, a text might make sense to remind a prospect of an upcoming appointment. But when following up after that appointment, it’s probably more effective to send an email.”
Hedges says that email can include links and other follow-up items like attachments that a prospect can review and forward to others who are involved in a purchasing decision.
Aside from figuring out which marketing methods are appropriate, marketers must address when it makes the most sense to send text messages, according to Hedges.
New research from Velocify finds that sales prospects are most inclined to receive text messages about urgent and important matters, Hedges says. Actually, 44 percent of people surveyed by Velocify indicate it’s fine for a business to send a text whenever it’s timely and critical. And 21 percent of those surveyed prefer text over any other form of communication when a business needs to convey an urgent and important message.
A rising number of sales prospects expect at least some communication via text when they’re weighing a purchase, Hedges says.
While the popularity of marketing via text is increasing, Hedges says there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the use of SMS in sales.
“What works with one prospect might not work for another,” he says. “Lenders and other marketers need to make sure they’re experimenting with different strategies, incorporating SMS at different points in the purchase cycle to get a feel for what works with their target customer base.”
Additionally, he says, marketers must be sure they’re complying with federal laws and regulations along with industry standards before sending texts to prospective customers.
But once a marketer guarantees a texting strategy is on the up and up, this avenue of communication can pay off handsomely.
“Some of our customers are using text for after-hours communications with great success,” he says, “and some are leveraging SMS selectively after making a few unanswered calls.”
Another innovation revolves around SMS automation that enables marketers to send contextual, personalized messages on a broad scale, Hedges says.
“This supports the ultimate goal of getting all sales channels — phone, email, SMS, voicemail — working in concert to deliver the right message, via the right channel, at the right time,” he says.
Click here to register for LeadsCon Las Vegas 2018.