In the past few years, marketers have begun to recognize the need for lead nurturing.
Getting new contacts into your marketing database is great, but incomplete. After they become leads, you need to keep them engaged, and gently begin nudging them toward taking that final leap of faith and becoming customers.
Of course, most lead nurturing these days is done using email messages. On one level, that makes perfect sense: emails are relatively straightforward, and the easiest way to communicate with prospects who may still be hesitant to answer the phone for you.
Compare that with text messages, which get an open rate of 98 percent – within 2 minutes of receiving them.
So why not use a channel that has already proven prolific in interpersonal communication to convert your leads? Here are 5 ways you can integrate business texting into your nurturing strategy, and enhance your customer conversion rates as a result.
1) Amplify Existing Messages
The beauty of effective marketing text messages is their simplicity. Rather than writing paragraphs of content, you can highlight an important topic or issue in a concise way.
As a result, this communication channel is perfect if you’re looking to amplify already existing messages. For instance, you can point to a new blog post, or highlight an upcoming webinar. In the latter example, you can even use your texts for direct responses and registrations, eliminating steps for your audience.
Research indicates that it takes between 7 and 13 marketing touches to convert a lead to a customer. If all of these touches occur in the same channel, such as email, the number probably increases. By adding SMS to the equation, you can keep your messages varied while still driving toward your conversion goal.
2) Gather Information
In addition to simple information dissemination, you can also use your texts to gather additional information about your leads. Our software, for instance, offers direct response opportunities that allow you to ask questions to get your audience engaged, and get the information you need for more targeted communication moving forward.
In addition, you can also gather information that helps to improve your marketing efforts in other ways. Short satisfaction surveys, or improvement suggestions, can help you better understand what your audience thinks about you, all in a format designed for brevity and quick responses.
3) Offer Exclusives
Because of its format, text messaging is also ideal to offer your leads the incentives they may need to become customers. Generally speaking, these incentives take advantage of the reciprocity principle: by offering your leads something free, they will feel more compelled to return the favor and eventually become customers.
Depending on your individual business model, this effort can take a variety of forms. For instance, SMS-specific coupons, discounts, and free shipping may be ideal for physical products. On the other hand, priority scheduling and services such as a free tooth cleaning may work better for dentists and other medical offices. Either way, the key is to offer exclusives via business texting that other (non-SMS) leads will not have access to.
4) Announce a Call
Does your lead nurturing strategy require or encourage a phone call at some point in the funnel? This phone call may be a sales pitch, a testimonial from a current customer, or even scheduling an appointment. In each case, an SMS can increase the chance that your audience actually picks up.
As a society, we have become increasingly less likely to pick up the phone when we cannot immediately place the number of the caller. Through texting, you can solve that issue by announcing the call ahead of time. If for instance, a lead knows that the call in 15 minutes will be about scheduling an appointment, they’ll be more likely to pick up and accomplish the task you need them to.
5) Get Personal
Finally, business texting is the perfect opportunity for your business to get personal. This relatively informal method of communication is more forgiving to partial sentences, establishing a personal rapport with your audience. Depending on your brand personality, you can even add emoji to relax the context of the message.
Getting personal could also mean dynamically inserting personal data into a text, such as each recipients’ first name. Finally, you can use some of the data collected in the second tip above to segment your audience. The smaller each segment becomes, the easier it will be for you to craft a personalized message that is uniquely relevant to its recipients.
The deeper we move into the digital age, the more important SMS is becoming in our everyday communication habits. In fact, it has now become the most popular form of digital communication for Americans of all ages. As a result, business texting will only rise in importance in the near future.
The key to success is preparation. If you want to be successful in using text messages to nurture your leads, you need a strategy on how to integrate it. Rather than replacing emails and calls, texts are best when used to amplify your existing nurturing efforts. Within that context, they can be highly effective to engage your audience and prompt a response.
Compared to the more static email, texts tend to get read and receive responses at much higher rates. As a result, they could be the perfect addition to your nurturing strategy. Integrate the concept now, and your customer conversion rates are set to rise.