Text Message Marketing: What is it for? Is it legal? How do I do it right? Where do I get mobile leads? How can I set it up?
And perhaps most importantly: Does it work?
In this Text Message Marketing webinar for beginners, SalesNexus CEO Craig Klein discusses some of the basics when it comes to sending out text messages to your customers. Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in using text messaging as part of your marketing strategy. And it’s not as daunting as you think! If done correctly, it has an effective response rate to get you engaged with your customers.
The text message marketing part of SalesNexus is something that we’ve had for over a year now. We’ve been using it ourselves. We also have been working with our customers to learn how to do it right. Yet, there are still a lot of customers that have not used it. I think it’s mostly because people are a little unsure and uncomfortable about what’s appropriate, how to use it, and other questions like that. So that’s what we’re going to address here.
First and foremost: Does it work?
Benchmarks for Email Marketing
Let’s begin with the benchmark numbers for email marketing. You’re going to get a 20% open rate in the email world is what we call it. And a 2% click rate. So that means, you send out your email to a list of a thousand customers and, 200 of them are going to even look at it.
I’m not going to get into why that is. It just is. 2% will look at your email and read it and click on whatever it is you’re wanting them to do. Go to your website, sign up for something, go to your Facebook page, whatever that is. Only 2% are going to actually do what you’re hoping they will do. Ultimately, that means you gotta have a really big list to do anything significant. You have to determine the use of text message marketing.
Depending on the business you’re in, that can be hard. You may not be in the kind of business where there’s just, you know, 50,000 customers out there. Email marketing is its own animal. Those are the typical industry benchmarks.
Benchmarks for Text Messaging
Then you look over here at text messaging, 98% get viewed. I mean, right there, that’s a win! And 15% get clicked again. So no, it’s not a hundred percent. Realistically, you can’t think of this as, “Well, I have a hundred new customers this month and I want to text them about this special offer. Therefore, I’m going to get a hundred orders or a hundred upgrades.” That’s not the way it works. You’re going to get maybe 15 upgrades or orders or sales. But that’s a lot better than two, right?
Now, when you combine these two things, text and email, that’s when things really start to work.
Uses of Text Message Marketing
There’s a lot of ways to use text marketing. This depends on the kind of business you’re in.
As consumers, we’ve seen instant coupons and rewards and things like that. There’s a reason people do that. It’s because it works. So if you’re in the kind of business such as a retail business, an e-commerce business, or something in that field, this is where you should put some energy.
Reviews After the Sale
This is also a super straightforward and super powerful way for people to use text marketing. Think about it like this. When you’re closing a sale, you might be all over that customer. You’re sending them lots of emails. You’ve got salespeople calling them, you’re covering them up. All of a sudden they sign up. They may have often also gotten a little bit fatigued from all the emails you’ve been shooting at them. So you send them another email after the sale and ask them to review you. Well, you’re, you’re only going to get a 2% response rate on that, best-case scenario.
Use a text message instead. You’re going to get a lot more reviews, and we all know what that can do for your business.
Obviously just staying in touch with customers is a great way to use text message marketing. Let them know new products you’re rolling out, events you’re doing, ask for reviews. For customers that have kind of gone cold on you and haven’t ordered anything in a while, text messages can be a way to reconnect.
For B2B sales, salespeople need to get customers on the phone and a text message can be an excellent way to do that.
Ultimately, you’re going to get a better response rate. You’ll get better responses to your text messages than you do to your voicemails. For sure. Think about it. You’ve got somebody sitting there on the phone all day, just making outbound calls, making hundreds of calls a day. Well, if you teach them to stop leaving voicemails and then set the system up so that it sends everybody a text message, say the next morning, you’re saving them time.
Moreover, you could probably double the number of calls they make, and you’re going to get more responses.
Why aren’t you already using Text Message Marketing?
It seems like a no-brainer, text message marketing has proven to be responsive and effective. So why aren’t more people using it? Well, it’s the big part of it is you’re afraid that you are going to really piss off your customers by sending them all these text messages.
Aren’t we going to annoy our customers?
That’s what we hear a lot from customers. Well, I think the easiest way to answer this question is to ask yourself: Is it annoying to you?
When you are interacting with some vendor, some brand when you buy something, and they send you text messages, does it annoy you? I mean, we all have our own answer to that question.
Personally, it can annoy me, but most of the time is, it doesn’t. In other words, I just spent some money with you. So, if you want to send me a text message and say, “Hey Craig, what’d you think? Is there anything we can help with?” I’m not annoyed by that. That’s helpful. Because that’s the concept of text message marketing.
If I’ve never heard of you before and you send me a text message, that’s a little different story.
I think it’s all in context. You see the number there, 77% of customers have a more positive perception of businesses that are using text message marketing. It won’t really be seen as annoying unless you are really just abusing the privilege of having somebody’s mobile number and sending them a text message. With text message marketing, the impression you’re making on your customers is that you’re better than your competitors because you’re using text messages. You are more sophisticated. You are more focused on them and communicate with them. So it is a positive thing.
Is Text Message Marketing Legal?
Now the other question is that might be holding you back is, is it legal? What are the legal aspects of all this? Which is important, of course. Frankly, it’s pretty simple at a practical level. It’s the same principles apply as apply in the email world.
However, the laws that govern it are different. And you can find a lot of people out there that the kind of, for lack of a better way to say, they try to scare you. They make you think it’s really fraught with all these legal tradeoffs and liability and everything else. And really that’s because they’re trying to sell you something. It’s not.
You can go look at the law. If you want. It’s called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Google it, read through it. It’s not super long or crazy or anything. There’s a lot of stuff that’s not really related to, “Can I send my customer text messages?” there is more technical stuff involved.
It’s not super long or crazy or anything. There’s a lot of stuff that’s not really related to, “Can I send my customer text messages?” there is more technical stuff involved.
But this just goes to say, text message marketing is completely legal.
In terms of just practical, sending your customers a message, what it really comes down to is you’ve got to get their consent. So that’s the fundamental difference. Legally speaking between email and text. With email, the law does not require you to have an opt-in. That’s kind of a best practice, of course, but it’s not legally required. With email, you’re legally required to make it easy for them to opt-out.
Text Message Marketing Opt-out
So that’s the kind of thing that in the SalesNexus system, it does automatically. Customers and leads can click the unsubscribe button. With text messaging, legally speaking, you cannot send them a text message unless you have their written consent. When I say that you can’t send an automated or mass text message, obviously just sending somebody a text message on your phone. That’s a different story.
You can be subtle about it, or you can be more upfront about it.
Either way, legally speaking, you’re covered as long as they somewhere agree to receive text messages from you. And then you’re good to go. So in general, with customers, it’s not a problem. With people that come to your website and fill out a form to sign up for something, it’s not a problem texting them going forward until they say stop. And once they say “Stop,” you honor that. So that’s where emails and texts can work together. Send them emails to get them to opt-in and then you start texting them.
If you’re buying lists and things like that, that’s where it’s an issue.
How else can you use text message marketing?
Here are just some examples of text messages and what you might do.
Place a coupon code that customers can put in your shopping cart system on your website to get a discount. Here’s a text message about getting a review. It’s just a link and when they click it and it takes them to some review portal and they put in their review. You can see in the text the option of, “Hey, if you want to stop, here’s how you opt-out.”
Here’s an example of a B2B text message. What texts are great for is for I’m trying to get somebody on the phone to talk to them. “Hey, I just called you. Couldn’t reach you. When’s a good time for me to call?” That’s my favorite way to use this because people just respond right there. Especially if they want to talk to you, they have an interest in your product or service. It’s just, you call them at a bad time. So it’s convenient for them to just quickly say, call me tomorrow at 3. Boom. Oh, okay. Got it. I will. You know, simple.
The other thing you can do is you can actually put a link in your text message to a Calendly type system. That’s what we use, which is one of these scheduling things and integrates with your calendar. It will let them book an appointment with you at a time that you’re currently open on your calendar. So that’s super convenient for everybody concerned. That’s a great thing to try.
What are ways to acquire mobile phone leads?
Mobile phone numbers are ultimately the magic ingredient to success for text message marketing. So where and how do we find these? Well, it depends on the industry. In some industries, there are great sources of information about those customers. But other than those specific industries. For instance, if I’m in the mortgage business, buy, sell to realtors or even to mortgage brokers. Then I can go to a couple of different industry places and get lists that are really accurate and all kept up to date and all of that. But in general, we work with RampedUp. We’ve been doing this for almost 20 years now. Not the texting, but emailing and selling. For almost 2 decades we’ve worked with all of them on Zoom Info, InfoUSA, discovery.org – all of them.
The reason that we’re working with RampedUp now is that they validate their data in a couple of different, really important ways.
Number one, they’re keeping the data up-to-date by monitoring all the contacts’ LinkedIn profiles. They’re going to see when you take a new job, you’re going to see your title change or the company you work for has changed, and that triggers them to go do the research and update their database.
Number two, they’re validating the emails when you download them. RampedUp does have mobile numbers. It’s not a hundred percent coverage or anything like that. That’s the bottom line again, if you’re not in one of these industries where there’s like a specific source for that industry, you’re not going to get a hundred percent coverage.
That’s why you got to have a multimedia strategy.
For some people, you might only have their email. For others, you might only have their office desk phone. And for the rest, you may have their mobile phones. You got to be able to communicate with all of them.
There are ways that we can make a list that you have now and infill mobile numbers for the people who, for at least some of them. I would say typically it’s going to be, you know, a 30 to 40% hit rate with mobile numbers. That’s not bad. Thinking about the fact that you’re getting a 15% you know, click-through or response rate, 30% or 40% of your list adds up to some serious business.
Text Message Marketing Best Practices
A few things that you just want to keep in mind when you’re creating your text messages.
Less is more – keep it short
Number one less is more. That’s true with everything email, especially and text message. Don’t send them a book. Don’t send don’t copy and paste something out of an email even and say, “Okay, I’m just going to text the same thing.” It’s too long. 140 characters should be your limit. You want to, you don’t want to put big, long URLs in there cause that’s, you know, you don’t have a lot of screen space to work with there.
Use URL shorteners like Bitly, or something like that. And you know, you want to keep it really focused.
In terms of tone, I think that’s the part that people struggle with a little bit is, when you send someone an email, you want to be very professional: Dear Mr. So-and-so. You’re using excellent grammar and all of that.
You might end up being a pretty long email as a result.
But then at the very least, you have start to apply the concept of text message marketing. And that’s appropriate in some cases. With a text message, it’s just a different medium, and people don’t want a lot. The whole beauty of text messages is that it’s short and sweet.
That’s why people read it. And respond to it because it’s easy for them. The reason we dread looking at our email inbox is that there’s all this stuff we got to read. And who’s got time for that? So don’t do that to their text message inbox. You know, respect the fact that it needs to be short and sweet.
If you’re trying to get somebody on the phone to talk to you, say that and give them a way to make that easy. If you’re trying to tell them they can sign up and get a discount on something, just get right to that point. Don’t tell them how wonderful the product is.
Just say, “Hey, do you want a discount on this product? Here’s your quote go.”
Start with company name
The other thing you can try is, use your company name in the email. I think the instinct is to make it personal by trying to make it seem like you’re sitting there on your phone texting them. So you’re texting more as an individual. But sometimes what’s lost for the customer is “Okay, Bob. Who do you work for?” You know, so make sure you’re making that clear.
And then use videos. In one message, you can mix it up. You put some texts and then link to say a YouTube video.
It’s going to show up as a moving video on their phone. So that by itself is a nice little branding impression. Plus people like videos, and they’re going to watch videos. They’re going to click on videos at a much higher rate than they will just a general link to some page on your site or something. So it’s worth using.
B2B Online Lead Response
I did a little research in preparing myself just to see what other people recommend as good sequences and things for B2B leads. And one of the ideas that I really liked the most was making it really granular like this. So these are individual messages. This is not all one message that we’re going to send them all at once. “Hey Adam, I saw you signed up for I’m putting together my schedule…”
You know, that would be my instinct. I’m going to put all that in one simple message. The idea that I saw a lot of people talking about, and I really like it and I’m going to be trying it, is just say, “Hey, Adam.” And you wait for them to respond. So you’re going to send out, you know, maybe a thousand text messages.
Nurture Leads with Text Message Marketing
Well, we’re talking about leads. So if you’ve got a thousand leads every day, good for you, you probably don’t need my help. But, let’s say it’s 10 leads a day, right? So you send out 10 texts, “Hey Adam, or Hey, Mr. Customer.” And you know, maybe two-thirds of them, half of them respond and say “Hi!”, or “yes”. Or, you know, “What can I do for you?”
Leads and text message marketing go hand in hand.
And then the next message “I saw you signed up for so-and-so and so-and-so.” And then the next message after their response is “I’m putting together my schedule and here’s my Calendly link” and all that. Or “Are you still interested in…” And so it’s more like a conversation. Not just one big message.
I think that that makes the most sense. It creates more of a funnel with your text messages. So not everybody’s going to go all the way through the whole sequence. So you lose their attention, lose interest, but the people that go all the way through this conversation with you and have four or five texts with you. Well, that’s, that’s some serious engagement. So now, here are the people I should really get focused on.
More Text Message Marketing Best Practices
A few more best practices. We talked about this a little bit earlier, but you know, just get to the point and speak to their needs.
Don’t talk about yourself
Don’t tell them, “Hey, I’m with SalesNexus and we’re a CRM software and marketing automation system and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Hopefully, the fact that I’m texting them in the first place, they already know that. What I want to say to them is “I know you’re looking for ways to text your customers.” Or “Are you looking for ways to text your customers?” You know, in other words, speak to their problem, their need, not what I’m selling or doing.
Here are some examples of that: “We’re offering 20%.” Everybody likes a discount. “Your next vacation just got 20% better.” That’s a little bit better way to say it. Because we’re offering a 20% discount on a hotel stay or something like that. Because we’re putting them in the mind of their experience of the product, not what the transaction that we want to have.
How to select a texting tool
A few things for those of you who aren’t already using SalesNexus. When looking for a tool, here are some things you need to keep in mind.
Number one is, can you easily manage multiple segments and lists? And can those be dynamic? I might have a list of people that signed up on my website this month and I want to start texting them. Okay. That’s pretty simple.
You have a list and you need to consider it.
Applying the list and text message marketing will work together, consider it.
It’s one list. But as soon as I start texting, that list will turn into several different lists. I’ll have the ones that responded and in some positive way, I’ll have the ones that said leave me alone to ever text me again. I’ll have two or three things in between. Then, I need to then have different sequences for those different little segments.
And then I got new leads coming in the next month and all of those lists keep ebbing and flowing and changing and growing.
And the system needs to be able to keep up with that without it turning into a full-time job for somebody on your team, who sits there moving people from one list to another. That’s the problem that you run into with a lot of systems.
They make it seem really easy. You can load in a list and get a text message out. So if you’re trying to send a blanket, text out to raise money for some politician or something like that. A lot of tools out there that are great for that. But if you’re actually trying to have a relationship with a customer and a conversation with them, it gets a little more complicated and you need a tool that’s going to support that.
Mail Merge to Automate your Text Message Marketing
You want to be able to mail merge. Then, personalize it so your text message, doesn’t say, “Dear Mr. Customer”, it says, “Dear Bob,”. You want to be able to use dynamic and trackable links. Also, some systems kind of have their own link-building thing within them that has its own limitations.
You want to be able to build your own links, how you build them, how you like to track what’s going on on your website and use a little shortener and put the link in there and be able to track the traffic to your website that comes from these text messages in the same way you would track, track all the rest of your traffic.
And you want to be able to automate things in customizable ways.
The way I might want to automate things if I’m trying to raise money for a politician is going to be different than if I’m trying to automate a lead process for a business — A B2B sales process.
When you sign up for a web or you sign up on my website, I might send you a text message, right away. But I also probably am going to send you an email and I might also have a sales guy call you later that same day or the next day or whatever.
Automating things is one of text message marketing’s ways.
If the sales guy gets you on the phone and he learns a whole bunch about you, well, that information that he learns needs to change the text messages that the customer is going to receive. Cause you don’t want the customer to get a message the day after they spoke to the salesperson that says, thanks for becoming a customer and treats them like, we don’t know anything about them. You want it to reflect that now there’s a relationship. We know some things about you and we’re using that information to customize the communication that we’re having with you.
There are a few things that SalesNexus can do, and there are other options out there. What we’ve done is we’ve selected the tools that we feel are the best. They may not be the cheapest always, although they’re not the most expensive by any stretch. But they’re the best you’re going to get the best results.
And that starts with accuracy. Whether it’s emails or texts or mobile numbers or anything else.
There are tools that we use to cleanse your lists so we can validate email addresses and things like that and identify the people that you know, that that email is no longer good. Text message marketing makes use of these tools.
So that means probably they don’t work there anymore. And all of your information about that customer is invalid. Unless you have a mobile number, in which case they probably still have the right or the same mobile number. But the other thing that we can do that’s relevant.
The most important thing relevant to this discussion is that we can take an existing list, whatever you have, the emails, not emails, whatever. And we can do what’s called an append. We’re going to try and match it up to the RampedUp database. And add missing information to your list.
So if you don’t have their physical address for those that we match, we can provide that, or their office phone, or their LinkedIn profile or their Facebook profile, their title, the revenue, the company, their mobile number. And then the other thing that’s can be really powerful is you take your list of say customers.
And so these are the people that like what you do and are willing to pay for it. And we load that into RampedUp and it analyzes it and it will fill in that list with missing information like we just talked about, but also it will then come back and say, “Hey, also we have 10,000 people in the database that fit the same exact demographic profile of your customers.” That’s a super valuable list. A lot of them will have mobile numbers. So that’s a reality if you haven’t if you’re a SalesNexus customer, and you haven’t done this yet, it’s time to do it cause it’s a no-brainer.
I’ll show you what I mean here. Here’s your list. I got a first name, last name. Sometimes I got the company and the title and I got emails. I don’t even have phone numbers. Maybe this is a bunch of people that signed up for a webinar that you did, or they signed up for something on your website, where all you were asking for was their name and email.
You know, so what can you do?
You can’t call, text, or see them. All you can do is email. Well, you take that list. We load it into ramped up and we do the append that we talked about a minute ago and it comes back like this. Now I know all of their companies, all of their titles. I know if the emails are valid or not, I sometimes get their personal email as well.
Now I got their mobile number. You see here, direct dial phone number. And then what kind of number is it? Sometimes it’s not always the mobile number, but in this case, it’s all mobile and I got their LinkedIn profile and a whole bunch of other stuff that we won’t get into here.
Now here’s an example of a sequence that one of our customers is. He’s in the real estate business and he really uses the heck out of all the campaign capability in SalesNexus.
And you can see their sequences, its multimedia. So they’re sending out text messages and they got tasks for, somebody to go and check on things and they got scheduling meetings and calls and all kinds of stuff.
Step one here might just be, create your first text message campaign.
It’s just one text that’s sent to a short little list of people and you just kind of see what happens and get familiar with the process. Number one, and, you know, see what kind of results you get because your customers are different than mine.
Text message marketing is surely helpful.
But once you are walking and you’re ready to start trying to run a little. Where you really get things to the next level is where you have a sequence that’s, you know, emails and texts and calls. You’re reaching out to these people in all kinds of ways. And then you eventually learn which people want to be communicated by text message and which people want to be communicated with by emails. And you treat them that way.
When you respect the way people want to be communicated with, that’s when you’re really building a strong relationship with the customer.Craig Klein
Text Message Marketing Example
So now I am going to really quickly pull up SalesNexus and show you an example.
To get right to the meat of the matter, I want to create my first text campaign. So I go up here to campaigns and I say, create a campaign and I give it a name. I go down here and right here where it says email, instead of choosing email, I just choose SMS, then I hit add.
And just like with emails, you can choose who the text is going to come from. So you might have, you know, a separate account for each of your sales reps. And, you know, if I want the text to come from the sales rep of that customer, then I just choose this here, the contact record manager. So that’s the record manager is the owner of that customer.
And then here, I’m setting the sequence, you know, so if it’s a multi-step campaign, then I might want this to come on the fourth day.
Now I can create a new message or I can use existing messages.
You can create a lot of different campaigns and reuse the same text message. That’s an easy way to kind of broaden the funnel so to speak, but you see it works. Otherwise, it works a lot like the email templates. When you’re putting text in your emails, you have your mail merge fields and your text, and that’s really all there is to it.
You can also choose the mail merge fields.
You can personalize it a little bit. If I want to put a link in the text, I just paste it in there. You may also use text message marketing.
When it’s sent and received, you know, the person who receives it will see that link, hyperlinked. On the other hand, if it’s a video like we looked at earlier, we’ll see the actual video. It’s pretty simple to create the message and then save it. And now that’s in your campaign sequence and you save your campaign and you’re ready to roll.
So here’s one where I’ve already fleshed it out a little more and it’s more of a multimedia sequence. Text message, then an email, then the sales rep gets a reminder to call, and then another text, and another email. And you see the sequence here. So if this is for a new lead on your website. Right away, they’re going to get a text message, and right away, they’re going to get an email.
Two days later, your sales rep gets all they gotta do is be logging on and check their tests, their task lists in SalesNexus.
They’ll see it’s time to call this new customer. And then after that, the day after the customer gets another text, and then the day after that, they get an email.
Of course, this sequence can be whatever you want it to be. Now where this all, this is all great. Again, step one walk before we run, let’s create something like this. Maybe it’s just one text message and just send it out to a short little list of people and see what happens. Because once you go through the whole process like that, then you’ll start to see how things could fit together.
But when you’re ready to run, we’re going to create sequences like this. It could be just nothing but text messages in some businesses that makes sense. Or it could be a mixture like we have here, but then we’re going to go over here and we’re going to go to automation plans. And now we’re going to start triggering these things automatically.
I’ll just walk you through this a little bit new contact and the field lead source equals website.
So what that is saying is anytime a new contact is added to the database, if the lead source is a web website, then automatically trigger this campaign.
We can also change things up a bit. In another case, whenever somebody comes to your website and fills out the form and they go into SalesNexus, boom, automatically, they’re going to go on another campaign so they will get the automatic text message immediately. They’ll get the automatic email immediately. That’s all you have to do.
So it’s pretty simple, really. So when I save that. It’s working on this next lead that comes on your website. They’re getting the text and the email and everything.
So it’s really pretty easy. Remarkably, so especially given the power and the potential return. Automation and text message marketing really goes well together.
Using Ring Central
Now, one little detail. The way SalesNexus sends text messages is through Ring Central. So you need to have a RingCentral account. If you don’t already.
We use RingCentral, it’s our entire phone system. I highly recommend it for that. It’s affordable and super robust in terms of its capabilities. There’s a lot of analytics, call reports that tell you how many calls each person made, and you can listen to call recordings. Lots and lots of features that say that RingCentral has that, don’t have time to get into right now. So it’s worth considering for those reasons alone. But in order to send text messages with SalesNexus, you have to have at least one RingCentral account, one RingCentral phone number. So you can start a free trial of RingCentral. And then even if you decide to sign up after the trial’s over, it’s only 20 bucks a month.
RingCentral is one good way to apply text message marketing.
Also, but I shouldn’t say it doesn’t have to replace your phone system. You’re not ready for that. And you just want to use it for text, that’s okay, too. Well, it’s 20 bucks a month. Can it, can I use my mobile number? Yes, you can link it up with your mobile number so that when you’re sending text messages through SalesNexus, when the customer gets it, it appears to have come from your mobile number. And if they reply, you’re going to see it on your mobile number.
You’ll also see the replies in any case on the RingCentral app, which goes on your phone, which is great.
And that’s the way I do it. But some people just want to keep it simple and have their text messages on their mobile phone. And you can do that with RingCentral. It takes a little separate setup that you have to do, but there’s no extra charge for it or anything.
If you’re going to send text messages for text message marketing, it’s worth it. During your trial, you can send text messages through SalesNexus. So there’s no reason not to try it out. A couple of questions that we often hear about RingCentral, does it replace my existing phone system? It can for sure. You know, even if you’ve got that old fashion system that you’ve had in the, you know, computer closet for 10 years, it can replace, it can do everything that system does trust me.
Try Text Message Marketing for FREE!
So what happens next? If you’re not already a SalesNexus is customer, then start a trial of SalesNexus.
Start your free trial with SalesNexus and we’re going to go ahead and set you up with a RampedUp free trial. So you can do that list, cleanup that list append that we talked about, you’ll get 500 free credits.
And, we’ll set you up with a RingCentral free trial as well. So you’ll have everything you need to get going. There are more information and training videos on our website that you might find helpful. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need any help in getting started.
By joining our free trial, you may end up experiencing text message marketing on a whole new different level.