Cold calling is great, but what happens if the prospect doesn't answer the phone? Or if you do connect, but you want to follow-up across multiple mediums?
Sales texts are a fast, highly visible and versatile way to communicate. And there are so many opportunities to use them.
For example, you could send a text:
- When on a live call to confirm appointment times/location
- To request docs to be sent back while on the phone (to confirm eligibility for a program)
- To send a donation link
- With a link to a website form (perhaps to work on together)
- To complement a voicemail - “I just left you a voicemail”
- To remind someone of your demo in 15 minutes
But there are a lot of important things to know about sending sales texts. In this post, we'll break it down to make sure you do it right and get great results. Specifically we'll cover:
- Why sales SMS is effective
- How sales texts work and ways to send
- 12 types of messages that you should be sending
- 8 best-practices for good sales texts
Why Sending Sales Text Messages Is Effective
Why add text messaging to your already-long to-do list? Are there advantages compared to other mediums? Absolutely. Here are some compelling reasons why sales-related texts are so effective.
First of all, visibility.
A whopping 98% of text messages are read. Why? Less competition for starters. While the email inbox is crowded and the social media newsfeed is non-stop, text message inboxes are comparatively empty. (SMS messages don’t get lost in the spam folder, either.)
This is substantiated by open rates.
While email is important for any sales campaign, visibility may be lower than you think. Around 80% of emails are never opened. By contrast, only 2% of text messages are unopened.
Secondly, better response.
Getting getting leads to actually open an email is just part of the battle. The second part is to hold their attention long enough and convince them to click through to your call to action. The click-through rate for email hovers around 3.2%, while SMS click-through is 19%.
A majority of texts are read within 3 minutes of receipt. This is because most people are within a hand’s reach of their cell phone, and will see the notification right away.
Something else to consider is that most people don’t answer phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize. Even if you've spoken to a prospect, chances are they won't recognize your name or number on subsequent calls. Even when they do, they may not answer. This is why over 70% of phone calls go to voicemail.
SMS messaging is an effective touch-point because messages are comparatively easy to access and the channel is less inundated with marketers. Don't exploit this...
... but rather, use it responsibly to your advantage.
As such, while it’s possible you could build a trusted relationship with your prospects via text, a text should not be the first point of contact. Rather, save it for after you’ve had a real conversation with the prospect, or for when you’re unable to do so. Cold-texting tends to be less effective, and you’ll get more mileage if you already have a foundational relationship.
How Do Sales Text Messages Work?
Now that you’re convinced about the efficacy of sales SMS, or text messaging, let’s discuss how it works and how to get started.
SMS is the abbreviation for “short message service.” In short, an SMS is a text message. SMS sales refers to the process of sending sales-related text messages to your prospects and customers.
If you’ve ever opted in with your phone to get a coupon from a restaurant or shop, you’re already familiar with the concept of SMS marketing. However most sales professionals don't have a list of people who have opted in to receive promotional texts, making text blasts to a large group of people the wrong strategy for many sales folks.
So, how can and should you engage in sales-based SMS? Personalized one-to-one messages and follow-ups is the answer.
A great way to do this easily is with the help of PhoneBurner. Our end-to-end dialing platform includes a robust text messaging feature that sales agents can access right from the dialer or CRM to complement calls, voicemails and emails.
Here’s a common scenario:
You make a sales call that results in voicemail. You can choose to leave a voicemail, or you can shoot over a text message (or you can do both, which works even better than either in isolation). This text message can be personalized based on what you know about the contact. For example, "Leslie, just got your voicemail. Anything I can do to help you get the most out of your free trial?"
Because business texting has such a high open rate, your contact is virtually guaranteed to see it.
Here’s another scenario:
You’ve had a productive sales call and want to follow up with your prospect. Use texting to share important follow up information, such as a link or appointment confirmation, or to express gratitude.
Here’s a third scenario:
You want to stay in touch with your current customers, but aren’t getting great results from email or social media. Use text to inform your customers on sales, news, and other information that they care about. Text is also great if you have a last minute sales event and need to share the message right away.
Through PhoneBurner, you can keep an archive of your text messages with each contact. Because all of your contact’s information and message history are stored in the same location, you’ll be more effective at communicating with your contact in the future.
Learn more about PhoneBurner’s SMS Text Messaging feature here.
12 Types of Sales Text Messages to Send
We scratched the surface on the types of sales SMS messages you can send to your audience. Whether promotional or transactional, behavior-triggered or customer support, texts may come in a variety of forms, but they all do one thing: Keep contacts engaged and build rapport.
To get the ideas flowing, here are some "buckets" of text messages that can work really well in sales.
Common Business Message Types
- Sales promos - Sales and specials are the perfect content to share via SMS. Let current prospects know if there's a deal that might interest them.
- Value content - Publish a blog post, video, or case study that would be of interest to certain contacts? Shoot off a quick text with a link.
- Purchase reminders - Is it time to re-purchase a product or service? Send out a quick reminder.
- Payment problems - Credit card declined or expired? Send a text to notify and get a fast response.
- Cart abandonment - Reach out to customers who’ve left items in their cart and haven’t purchased. Your cart abandonment messaging can persuade folks to come back to your site to complete their purchase.
- Happy birthday/ holiday/ anniversary - Let your customers know that you care about them by sending a quick text to celebrate the special occasions in their lives.
- Appointment notification - Reduce no-shows by gently reminding your customers of upcoming appointments.
- Order confirmations - Use texting to help customers keep track of their order status.
- Surveys - Ask customers for their help in improving your service.
- Customer service - Reach out to customers who’ve encountered a problem with their order/ service.
- Company news - Share pertinent information about your company, including events.
And our favorite...
- Outreach related - Texting is the perfect complement to phone outreach. Whether you get someone's voicemail and send a "hey, just left you a voicemail, was hoping to connect about X" text, or you follow a successful call with a "it was great to connect, if you have any questions about X feel free to shoot me a note" texts are a great way to boost engagement, callbacks, and conversions.
Best Practices for Business Text Messaging
Now that we’ve looked at the various texting message types, let’s discuss best practices for creating effective ones.
First, Get Permission
Don’t run afoul of the law.
You’ve heard of the “Do Not Call” list? Well, it also applies to business texting, making it illegal in some jurisdictions to send unwanted texts regardless of how you acquired the phone number. You may have some flexibility when it comes to sending an individual follow up text to a contact, but it’s best to err on the side of caution.
It pays to understand how the Telephone Consumer Protection Act applies as well as appropriate guidelines for the locations you’re messaging from and to.
Before sending commercial messages (especially to cold leads), make sure you get permission. The best way to do this is by having leads opt-in on your website by providing a phone number, or texting a keyword to your number.
Once you’ve received permission, it’s vital to:
- Identify your company name
- Explain the purpose of your text
- Offer help
- Give people a way to opt out
If you don't comply with these rules you can be fined, so text responsibly.
Send at the Right Time
Because your recipient can opt-out of receiving your texts at any time and for any reason, it’s in your best interest to keep them happy. A few examples:
- Don’t send after 9pm.
- Avoid sending on the weekends.
- Don’t send too frequently (i.e., every day).
In general, it's best to keep it to business hours to avoid irritating your prospects and burning your list.
Keep It Casual
Your text message shouldn’t sound like it was written by a robot. Text messages, by nature, are casual. Your message should be informal and personal.
Make It Valuable
Don’t send a text message that has no bite. Always send text messages that can immediately benefit your recipient. (Otherwise, you can save it for email. Text is for quick and important messages or conversational notes.)
Keep It Short
No one wants to read a lengthy text message. If you get wordy, your recipient may delete the text and never take action. The goal is to keep them engaged and move them along a path to a decision. Do that by getting to the point right away. And remember, you're generally limited to 160 characters, so keep that in mind.
Grab Their Attention Right Away
Adopt the inverted pyramid method used in journalism. In this structure, you lead with the most important info first. This captures the recipient’s attention. Then you can use the middle to share follow-up details.
Another useful approach is to ask questions, especially questions your prospects are likely to answer. Beginning with a question can be a VERY effective hook.
Because text messages are informal, the content can be casual. Add emojis to inject fun, relatability, and context. Or not, depending on your audience and message.
End Your Sales Text Message With a Call to Act
Always end your sales texts with a CTA. Make it clear what your recipient should do next. Should they reply with an answer or question, take a survey, visit a link, call you back, etc.? Be direct and make it easy for the recipient to know what to do in response to reading your message.
Texting has some pretty compelling applications for sales, including some major advantages over other mediums. That doesn't mean you should stop calling, emailing, and leaving voicemails. Rather, SMS is a vital ingredient to a comprehensive outreach strategy. Am omni-channel approach that includes texts is the best way to nurture your contacts, turn more leads into trial accounts and customers, and increase value to existence clients.
See how PhoneBurner blends phone, email, and SMS outreach here.