How to Attract and Engage More Prospects with SMS Messaging
Research from Twilio finds that 89% of consumers want to text with businesses. That should be evidence enough of the growing preference for text messaging to get marketers curious about how they can use SMS messaging to attract and engage more prospects.

Why SMS Messaging is Becoming a Channel Prospects Prefer

With unopened emails gathering virtual dust and phone calls repeatedly going directly to voicemail, the 160 characters of an SMS message are gaining traction with people from all generations. Text messages are short, unobtrusive and allow people to multitask while they type their responses. With the ease of messaging, it’s no wonder that 64%[1] of buyers claim to have a positive perception about a company that converses with them via messages.

How do marketers use SMS text messaging to attract & engage with prospects?

Let us understand it through the example of Sara, the marketing head at a real estate company.

Challenge: With so many realtors vying for a buyers’ mindshare, Sara found it extremely challenging to get her prospects’ attention and initiate relevant conversations.

Opportunity: When Sara came across research showing that almost 50% of messages get a response from prospects, she saw an opportunity to dramatically increase engagement by up to 9X more than the response she was getting with emails.

To take advantage of the potential with SMS messaging, Sara needed a plan.

1. Build a messaging opt-in list:

For Sara to use messaging to initiate conversations with her prospects, she first needed to create a plan to get them to opt-in because SMS messaging is a permission-based channel.

For this, Sara publicized their messaging subscription code on all marketing collateral, including her company’s brochures, newsletters, flyers, business cards, and the company’s website. Sara’s real estate company also used billboards and signage to feature property listings, so she put up the following message on the billboards:

“For more details, text ‘INFO’ to 36343.”

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2. Engage the opt-in list with relevant messages:

Sara knew that once her prospective buyers opted-in to her SMS campaign, she would need to engage them with relevant messages. Because each lead could be in a different stage of consideration—or looking for a different type of property—Sara learned that she needed an intelligent text messaging platform that integrated with her CRM. This way she’d be able to track all of the messaging conversations and make adjustments to remain relevant to keep growing engagement with home buyers.

Once Sara had her messaging platform, she used pre-configured Converse Apps to create automated conversational workflows from within her CRM to initiate messaging conversations:

As soon as a prospect opted-in, a welcome message along with images of listed properties and other significant details was automatically triggered and sent. Based on the prospect’s next response, Sara activated different conversational flows to address the interests each expressed.

This helped in two ways:

  1. Automated messaging reduced the effort of her team and increased their productivity and efficiency.
  2. Intelligent workflows ensured that each prospect received the most relevant information about their specific property interests.

As different members of Sara’s team dealt with the prospect at different times, a quick glance at the conversation history recorded in the Converse Desk, helped them to understand the prospect’s requirements to keep the conversation going.

3. Reach out to prospects that were lost:

Another challenge Sara’s team faced was buyers whose interest diminished if they couldn’t find the property they wanted to buy. Warm leads that go cold and become unresponsive is a situation faced by most marketers. Sara saw the opportunity to use messaging to re-activate cold leads and move them back into the pipeline:

  1. Re-engaging with past leads: Research reveals that conversion rate for leads that are nurtured via messaging is 40% higher than leads that are not sent any message. Here’s the conversation Sara used to re-connect with cold leads:

    You expressed interest in investing in a San Francisco property. Still interested? Text ‘ZIP CODE’ for area of interest to get listing alerts. Thanks, Sara.

  2. Creating segmented lists: Based on the zip code responses, Sara’s team segmented the database. Another set of conversational workflows was triggered to understand the lead’s budget and specific property requirements so the listings they were sent would motivate them to request property showings.
4. Accelerate time-to-qualify leads:

Categorizing prospective buyers by their propensity to buy is critical so that time isn’t wasted in pursuit of leads unlikely to buy property. Sara defined the status of leads that were warm and hot and used messaging to identify intent based on their response.

  1. Defining behavior to identify status: Sara defined two behaviors that would be used to identify intent:
    • As soon as a prospect downloaded a brochure or clicked on a link in the message, he or she was considered a warm lead. A separate conversational flow was triggered for this segment to learn more about their interest in those properties.
    • When a lead requested to view the property or take a virtual tour, he or she was considered a hot lead and the real estate agents were alerted to step in to personally message with them.

    Here’s a sample message Sara sent to the target groups:

    Visit realty.com/listings to view this week’s property listings. Text PROPERTY CODE for a virtual tour. Thanks, Sara.

  2. Quickly moving the leads through the pipeline: As soon as the prospect responded with the property code, the respective real estate agent was alerted. Since the agent could view every interaction and piece of information that had been sent to the prospect, it was easy for him to start relevant conversations. Additionally, the agent could initiate one-to-one conversations with the prospect from within Converse. This way, each messaging conversation was stored in the lead’s record in the CRM for future reference.
  3. Understanding conversational effectiveness with advanced analytics: Analytics helped Sara in understanding the success of each conversational flow. For example, Sara observed that not many people were responding to the conversation to ‘book a property showing.’ She added a link to a virtual tour of the property and observed that a significantly higher number of people were requesting more showings from her company’s real estate agents.

Using messaging, Sara transformed her team’s ability to improve performance and outcomes because they were able to more easily:

  • Initiate first conversations with meaningful engagement
  • Attract, engage, and qualify more prospects into the pipeline
  • Align with the needs of their prospects to get real estate agents into more conversations
Summary:

From being a personal mode of communication to powering businesses to attract and engage more prospects, SMS messaginghas come a long way. With 99% of Americans using messaging every single day, the question is: Will you make use of this powerful channel to attract and engage your prospects before your competitor does?

To learn more about how you can leverage messaging for your business, Book a Demo Today.

References
[1]: 45 Texting Statistics That Prove Businesses Need to Take SMS Seriously
http://customerthink.com/45-texting-statistics-that-prove-businesses-need-to-take-sms-seriously/

More Insights

  • Nurturing programs should not be limited to email alone. Find out how SMS messaging enhances nurturing programs in concert with Marketing Automation and CRM.

  • See the Magic of Converse in action along with use cases for your specific business. From single to multi-message campaigns and events, we've got you covered.

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