Traditional lead nurturing programs rely on email. Response rates for email have declined, but even more challenging is that email nurturing programs are usually one-way monologues, rather than two-way conversations.
If a prospect is not opening an email—or acting because of it—then it’s time to switch channels to find resonance. SMS text messaging is more personal and has a greater chance of engaging your audience since nearly all text messages are read within minutes of receipt. Even better, should your prospect reply, you’ve got a conversation started. And that’s a big advantage over email.
You may think adding another channel to a nurturing program will introduce challenges in consistency and coordination, but we can simplify that for you. An advanced text messaging platform with native integration with Salesforce keeps your effort low but ensures the payoff from your nurturing programs is high.
4 Common Mistakes Rectified with Lead Nurturing with Text Messaging
Marketers quit too soon.
A relationship is built via ongoing communications, but marketers often give up early. If what you’re selling takes a bit of thought, two touches and a sales pitch won’t get the job done. But it could also be the timing. Maybe it’s not convenient today, but they’ll buy next month. To capitalize on your target market, it helps to shift from a campaign mentality to a customer journey approach.
Automated lead nurturing campaigns with text messaging will help you keep in touch with your prospects. Incorporating calls to action to have them reply with keywords for more information when they’re ready means you have a higher chance of creating connected conversations that inspire purchasing. Where an email nurture doesn’t allow you to step in when appropriate, as soon as your prospect responds via text, you’ll get an alert, so you can step into the conversation in stride.
Sending the same content that repeats the same message.
Sending the same content that didn’t engage prospects the last time is not a solid plan for gaining traction. Track your communications and tweak them if response rates are low. It’s important to think of nurturing as a progressive story meant to drive education and engagement. Show prospects something different that piques their interest and you’re on the right track.
Lead nurturing with text messaging also allows you to insert simple surveys into the stream to allow you to personalize your content and offers based on your prospect’s interests.
For example, if you sell furniture, ask them which room they’re furnishing. Use keywords for the replies so you can automatically trigger the follow-up message. You can ask them, “Are you interested in options for BATH, KITCHEN or LIVINGROOM? Reply with your choice and we’ll show you our latest arrivals.”
Using only one channel.
Besides trying different content, you should also try various communication channels. Where some communications are better facilitated by email, others can play well to an SMS or MMS message. You can even send an email and then send a text to remind them to check their email using a teaser statement that gets their attention. When done well and thoughtfully, using both channels will help you customize your conversation with your prospect. Using multiple channels increases your response rate by 37% according to a study.
Advanced messaging solutions that also integrate with your marketing automation platform will help you facilitate a cross-channel nurturing program that’s in sync and designed to help you start and continue connected conversations with a full history of related behavior for both texts and emails.
Sending the same content to your entire database.
Different prospects have varying needs, interests and issues to solve. Sending the same message to everyone is what gives marketers a bad rap. 73% of consumers surveyed in an Accenture study said that they would rather buy from retailers who used personal information to make their shopping experience more relevant.
Just as marketing automation can help you apply segmentation so that you can personalize information for different members of your audience, so will an advanced messaging platform. Even better, the two can work in sync to coordinate your content flows. You can segment leads by source, function, level of product interest, activity, for instance.
Because text messaging invites replies, questions and responses and all incoming and outgoing messages are recorded in the lead’s history in your CRM—along with response to emails sent by your marketing automation platform—you’ve got a record of the entire conversation.
By analyzing what they respond to and which messages they ignore, you can tweak and tune your nurturing program to get the most from each exchange, as well as using the channel that garners the best response. And, when your leads’ behavior indicates their interests have shifted, it’s easy for you to move them into a nurturing program that better meets their needs.
The Bottom Line
It’s not clear why nurturing has been pursued as a single-channel marketing strategy. But what is clear is that channel preferences are changing, along with expectations. It’s time to start taking a multi-channel approach to your lead nurturing programs for better engagement and outcomes.
Think long term when it comes to developing customer relationships. You need to get a conversation going with your prospects, whatever be the medium. Rather than relying solely on email, consider adding diversify with communication channels like SMS text messaging. This way, you’ll amplify engagement and momentum towards conversion.
Categories: SMS/Text Marketing