For better or worse, most business professionals are glued to their mobile devices. Texting, calls, and social media make it easier — and exceptionally faster — to stay connected.
Which poses the question: Why not take advantage of it? (In the right way of course — and yes, there is absolutely a wrong way to do this.)
For decades, salespeople, content marketers, and other professionals used cold emails and drip campaigns to engage their target audience. Yet these approaches aren’t the most effective. Research shows that the average open rate for email is a mere 20%, leaving your efforts unnoticed four out of five times.
But you know what has an open rate of 98%? Text messaging.
SMS communications have one of the best open rates of all communication tools, making a text messaging service for business an absolute must. Plus, research shows that it takes the recipient just 90 seconds to reply to a text message — versus 90 minutes with email — thereby speeding up your communications.
But to truly capture the power of a business SMS service, there are many rules to abide by. Spammy texts are not only a nuisance, they’re illegal. Thanks to many marketers abusing this form of communication and sending unsolicited messages, carriers are cracking down, filtering out any texts that radiate spam.
Below, we’ll dive into the do’s and don’ts of business messaging, why an SMS service is completely necessary, and how to select the right service for your business.
Why Do You Need a Text Messaging Service for Business?
There are few — if any — communication tools that have a higher open rate than text messaging. Texting can be used to communicate with a wide pool of people (with loyalty programs or SMS marketing campaigns) or directly with the individual (with appointment reminders or swift follow-ups). Plus, it helps free up your team’s bandwidth and speed up response times.
Here are several reasons why you might need business text messaging:
- Keep the whole group on the same page: With group texting, you can message your entire department quickly, reminding them of your all-hands meeting. Or, you can quickly message your prospect’s team reminding them of your upcoming sales demo.
- Easily reply to common questions: With text message templates, you don’t have to respond to the same customer support questions 30 times over. Instead, you can send a single, consistent response and free up your bandwidth.
- Quickly respond to quote or demo requests: With text auto-replies, you don’t have to type out a long-winded email every time a potential client requests a sales quote or product demonstration. Instead, your text message service can send autoresponders on your behalf to move prospects down the sales funnel.
- Add text support to your site: If you want to encourage customers to text you, consider embeding an SMS link on your website.
- Offer appointment reminders: Scheduling meetings is one of the easiest (and dare we say worst) ways to clutter an inbox. With an SMS text service, you can schedule, confirm, and remind clients, vendors, and prospects alike of upcoming appointments.
- Stay on, even when you’re out: With SMS messaging, you can set up auto-replies for when you’re out of the office. For example, you can easily follow up on missed calls, missed voicemails, or even missed texts for after-hours communications.
- Ask for a review: If you have a happy customer, why not ask them to review you on social media or write a testimonial for you? With a text service, you can organize and implement customer feedback, making it easier for clients to respond to surveys, provide testimonials, or ask for new services.
- Leave CRM notes on your various contacts: One reason teams continue to use email as a standard communication tool is because it links seamlessly with their CRM platform. However, the best text messaging services do this as well — you can easily leave notes on contact lists, add custom properties (fields), and keep multiple team members up-to-date with a single contact.
Business Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts of Texting for Business
Text messages are one of the most casual forms of communication. We are all-too-familiar with writing in shorthand, sending emoji, and offering casual replies with friends and family members.
However, when you’re sending SMS messages to colleagues, partners, or clients, there are a few rules you need to abide by. Outgoing and incoming messages should remain professional, stay within business hours, and — above all else — receive consent from the other party.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts when using a text messaging platform:
- DON’T spam recipients: If you send spammy texts, carriers will block them from recipients. Therefore, spam isn’t worth sending because chances are your text won’t go through.
- DO ask for an opt-in: This isn’t a polite suggestion — this is a legal requirement. All text message marketing communications abide by the same laws as email communication — the recipient must opt-in to receive SMS communications.
- DON’T forget to proofread: Autocorrects are fine (and even humorous) when texting your former college roommate, but it can be a disaster when texting a client. Always, always, always proofread your texts (and auto-reply templates) before sending.
- DO stay on brand: Whether you’re sending mass texts or one-to-one communications, it’s important to stay on-brand. If your company uses emoji and GIFs when communicating via email, then that’s fine to use in a text message.
- DON’T text after-hours: While your client or colleague may have given you their mobile phone number, this doesn’t mean you should abuse it. Try to stay within reasonable hours, not late at night or before the workday (although, if a client texts you late, an auto-reply template can give the impression you’re “always on”).
- DO be concise: The point of texting is to provide efficient communications in real time. If a simple text goes beyond 140 characters, you should probably hop on a phone call.
- DON’T use abbreviations: Once again, two-way communication is completely different when you’re texting colleagues or clients instead of friends. Avoid any text abbreviations or short code that could get lost in communication.
What to Expect From Your Texting Service for Business
A business texting service is a cost-effective, swift communication tool with an incredibly high open rate. Unfortunately, not all text messaging services are created equal. When choosing the right option for your startup, small business, or corporation, look for these features:
- Integrate with other tools: You should be able to store, track, and write notes on texts sent from your cellphone to other platforms. Ideally, your service API will connect with Zapier to easily integrate with thousands of desktop and mobile apps.
- Offer shared phone numbers: With a business text service, you should easily collaborate with other team members. You should be able to share subscribers (contacts) with your colleagues and share an inbox for incoming messages (almost like having your own executive assistant).
- Make automation simple: With a texting service, you should be able to use auto-replies to easily follow up on missed calls, send snippets to speed up responses, schedule demos, or schedule appointments.
- Send anything: When people text, they send emoji, photos, videos, and GIFs — so you should be able to send these files over a business messenger.
- Offer reasonable pricing: A hosted messaging platform should, ideally, save you money. Search for a service where you can text and call toll-free within the United States, with reasonable international rates.
Texting is the quickest way to follow-up with colleagues and clients, and it has a far superior open rate than email. That’s why you should always use a business SMS service to connect with partners, teammates, and prospects.
When texting for business, there are a few etiquette rules to abide by. Try to stay professional, avoiding abbreviations, and don’t text outside business hours. In addition, you must always allow people to opt-in to text communications, as required by law.
OpenPhone is the best text messaging service for business because it’s easy to use and built for modern teams. With OpenPhone, all texts are free when sent within the United States, and you can sync seamlessly to thousands of apps and send automated texts through Zapier. In addition, automated workflows, auto-replies, and out-of-office responses make it easy to stay connected.
Ready to see how a business text message service can transform how you communicate? Create an account today to start your seven-day free trial.