Why Business SMS Makes Sense for Customer Outreach
We are, as a society, moving into a time where a majority of the public is comfortable sending and receiving text messages on their phones. We’re moving into a time where business SMS customer outreach makes sense as a strategy for both small and large companies.
Customer outreach has long taken the form of phone calls, emails, and traditional paper mailings through the post office. The addition of texting to that mix makes sense because it can give businesses a fresh image and because it meets individuals where they already spend much of their time.
The Fall of Traditional Media
It can be a tough uphill road for marketers and sales persons to get the attention of their customers. Not even mentioning cold outreach to leads, an open rate for emails to existing customers is often spectacular if it breaks the 15% barrier.
Businesses can try to jazz up their headlines with enticing copy like “$15 OFF!” or “Limited Time Offer,” but the struggle here isn’t so much that customers don’t want to save money or continue to use a brand’s products they enjoy. The struggle is that email has fallen by the wayside as a digital medium that catches attention.
Email software, even when it’s packaged in a mobile app with convenient push notifications, is yet another app to open. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, individual business email accounts, and all the rest come across as a place to check receipts for purchases or to reset your password. Emoji headlines that promise “$15 OFF!” don’t quite fit.
Reception of SMS Outreach
Email software isn’t seen as a fun place to hang out. The stock SMS app on your Android or iPhone, however, contains friends and family; it’s a much more upbeat medium.
Texts are also usually short, so they’re consumable in a second or two. They don’t waste your time, and you will have muscle memory in finding your messaging app without a second thought.
A quick web search reveals statements about how SMS open rates are as high as 98 percent and that their click-through rates are as high as 36 percent. That’s huge. Compare that to a fantastic email open rate of 15 percent paired with a click-through rate of five percent.
One scientific study (2007) pointed to its studied population of 18-24 year olds. It noted that more than a third of participants were amenable to receiving SMS messages from businesses and suggested that comfort in using the medium of texting was a driver of this allowance.
Where This Leaves Business SMS Outreach
If the numbers are to be trusted, a business SMS application or service could help companies better reach their customers.
Consumers are protected from unwanted mass texting by provisions in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. In short, the TCPA recognizes a consumer’s right to provide prior consent before receiving communications in that manner.
VirtualPBX provides its own Business SMS feature for the sending of individual, one-to-one messages between company members and their customers – it’s not to be used for mass texting. That said, the outreach potential of such a service is still enormous considering customer receptivity of the medium.
Sales persons can share new products and exclusive deals with customers who want to hear about those types of promotions. And with such a high expected open and click-through rate, SMS could make for a rewarding way for businesses to alert their customers about their deals.
Getting Started With SMS
All that said, it can be easy for businesses to get started with their own SMS customer outreach. Many businesses already have what they need to get started (customer phone numbers in their CRM or database), and finding a business SMS service can be a simple endeavor.
Our bias at VirtualPBX is that our Business SMS feature is the best on the market. What we can say without bias is that we have a deep knowledge of the VoIP market and its capabilities. VoIP companies like ours present a range of services like voice calling, video calling, SIP trunking, and network remediation because it’s possible to use all those services on the same type of network.
Similarly, SMS can be used on a VoIP network. Our job is to create phone plans and tools that fit our customers’ needs so they can send their texts and phone calls as they desire. Options for completing these tasks include hardware and software phones, and the many options for software include browser-based devices and mobile apps.
When your business picks a business SMS provider for its customer outreach, it should look for this range of tools so its teams can send and receive texts in a manner that fits their situations. Work-from-home employees can use their personal mobile phones with a VoIP mobile app to keep their corporate identity intact and their personal life separate. Groups of sales persons in an office can respond to inbound texts through their company desktop computers. You can even build a Zapier workflow that automatically notifies team members to send a reply SMS after customers have filled out a website form.
Start a conversation with your phone service provider to see if they offer business SMS. Switch providers if necessary, and perhaps seek out a VoIP carrier for the first time. There are clear benefits to adding SMS outreach to your toolkit.
This guest blog was written by VirtualPBX, a business phone system provider that offers voice, video, and SMS texting options for entrepreneurs to enterprises.