People check their phones every 15 minutes or so, even without the ping of a notification. Smartphones have become the device of choice for nearly all of us—young or old. We use them to message our friends and family, search online, play games, use apps, read email, and occasionally to make a call.
Because our mobiles have become second nature to us, we also prefer to use them to contact businesses and brands. But that doesn’t mean we want to call them. According to a recent survey by Ellie Mae, 97% of consumers asked want texting to be part of the sales conversation.
Interestingly, Gartner’s 2017 Channel Survey found that there’s a place at every stage of the customer journey for messaging.
This means that both marketing and sales can use text messaging to advantage. The better aligned the two functions, the more consistent and relevant the communication. An advanced conversational text messaging platform enables this to happen because the entire texting history for every prospect or customer is captured in an ongoing conversational flow that allows everyone involved to see what’s been said and responded to in the past.
You’ll know instantly how to be relevant and what will add value to the conversation given the customer’s relationship with your company. And that’s powerful, considering that visibility into prospects and customers remains one of the biggest challenges to both marketers and salespeople.
Before you start messaging your prospects and customers, you’ll need to get their consent via a compliant opt-in. This is critical, and it’s a regulation, so make sure to do this first.
Tips for Real-Time Marketing and Sales
- Make it Conversational. Texting is seen as personal because it’s on the device we’ve integrated so completely into our lives. Business casual as a style works for both dress codes and texting. Be respectful and professional, but don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun. An SMS message is 160 characters, so you’ll need to be brief, but also compelling.
- Make it Useful. The fastest way to get someone to text STOP to opt out of your messaging programs is to send them communications they consider to be irrelevant or spammy. Ask yourself if the message is something they can act on right now or in the near term. Does whatever you’re sending provide something your prospect or customer will find valuable based on where they are in the customer journey?
- Make it Actionable. What are you asking them to do? Is it easy? Or will it take more effort than a person will want to expend on a mobile device? The call to action (CTA) is the most important part of your message, so plan it carefully. Walk through the entire experience yourself, just as your customer will to make sure the experience is what you want it to be.
- Make it Personal. With an advanced messaging platform, you can see the prospect or customer’s record in your CRM, in addition to their conversational history with you. If you’re lacking insights, send a message asking them to take a brief survey so that you can tailor your messages and offers to their specific wants and needs in relation to your products or services. You can also do this by asking for keyword responses that will trigger related follow-up messages or conversations.
- Make it Fit the Relationship. Based on your relationship with the prospect or customer, your messaging should match their expectations. For example, if they’re new to knowing your brand or business, be careful about making assumptions or being too familiar. However, if you’ve just met with them, sending a follow-up text message with an answer to a question they asked that you couldn’t answer at the time will be welcome.
Make it Human
The best part about using text messaging for real-time marketing and sales is that keywords can be used to trigger alerts to a member of the team to step into the conversation in real time and engage with the prospect or customer. The speed of response and the ability to blend automated messaging with human messaging is something that is complex and difficult to do with other channels.
Advanced messaging platforms are built to enable this combination. This means that real-time can become a reality for marketing and sales, rather than the pipe dream we’ve had for years that technology has promised but not lived up to. Well, now it has.
Get a free trial and see the magic of real-time messaging for marketing and sales. We’ll support you every step of the way.