Message in a Funnel: How to Optimize Your Sales Funnel with SMS Messaging
Giving your customers the ability to utilize SMS messaging can give you a better means of engaging with them as well as increasing sales.
A World of Text Messaging
Short Message Service (or SMS messaging), better known as text messaging, has come to dominate communications around the world in only a few short years. The reason for this occurrence lies in its simplicity and utility for just about any situation. More convenient than email, but not as demanding as a phone call, text messaging allows people to communicate wherever they are in a quick and concise manner. People can send quick messages or engage in long conversations. Text messaging also lets people read and answer messages when they want.
Texting in Business
It hasn’t taken long to realize the implications this form of communication can have on business transactions and communications. Many companies and services have opted to send text message notifications and updates on pending transactions. Companies can send you a text in the following ways:
- Restaurants can text you when your food is ready for pick-up, or when your table is ready
- Service companies can send you updates on their estimated time of arrival
- Doctor’s offices can send you a reminder about an appointment
- Banks can text notifications of transactions that have taken place recently to protect against fraudulent activity
- Online retailers can send you a confirmation of your order and when to expect your package
The only issue with the way SMS messaging is used in business today is that a good majority of it is a one-way conversation—companies can send you a message, but you typically cannot send one back. In a way, this disconnect can often feel very robotic (no doubt these messages are automated) to the customer recipients without the ability to communicate back.
The Follow-Up: The Crux of a Sales Funnel
Many businesses that are looking to reach new customers and entice existing customers to make additional purchases have turned to creating effective sales funnels via platforms like email and social media. The idea is to provide content that customers would find interesting or helpful based on their customer profile and shopping habits. At some point in the cycle of content delivery, the company produces an opportunity for customers to buy products after reading enough content to warrant that purchase. By going through this funnel, those that are most likely to buy are targeted the most with additional follow-up messages.
The most important part of the sales funnel model is the follow-up actions a company takes to re-engage customers after viewing an ad, acquiring content through a provided email address, viewing content from the company, or after making an initial purchase.
Following up with leads once they have shown an interest is crucial to re-engaging potential customers, both in timing and finesse. You do not want to let too much time pass from the time they first engaged your website or content, nor do you want to bombard them with sales pitches the moment they arrive on the page.
Until now, sending direct messages via email was considered the most effective and profitable way to re-engage leads to make them into prospects, but as it is with most email, it runs the risk of being overlooked, deleted, or relegated to the spam folder. Worse, leads may unsubscribe from overly-aggressive sales funnel campaigns. So how do you reach customers quicker with better visibility and a higher chance of engagement while giving them the option to order and have a conversation with you?
SMS Messaging in Your Sales Funnel
Sending a text is so easy to us humans these days, we barely think about the implications of this system that we use daily. For business, you may send a text to a client to answer a quick question or to confirm a meeting, so using SMS messaging to reach out to a customer base is not unfamiliar territory. In a sales funnel, you must follow up to re-engage a lead, so doing so on a platform where you will have the most visibility without being overly intrusive is paramount to a successful marketing campaign.
So, what makes sending your leads a text different from an email or Facebook message?
- Visibility – One of the biggest advantages of SMS (and subsequently an issue with email) is getting your message seen by the lead in real time. Your follow-up message is delivered straight to the lead’s phone and gives immediate gratification for viewing the message. One could even argue that receiving a new text message is an exciting notion for many people, and doesn’t feel like an intrusion.
- Ease of Use – There are virtually no extra steps to viewing SMS messages. If you include a Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) message graphic for visualization, customers can tap the link to get instant access to your deals and content.
- To-the-Point Messages – Since even the largest smartphones are nowhere near the size of a computer screen, text messages incidentally must be much shorter in length to not look like you just downloaded a novel. This length restriction can work to a company’s advantage because it forces the sender to be much more concise and comprehensive with the message. A quick, clever message with an image and a clickable link to a landing page is more likely to be successful than an overly long sales pitch that customers must scroll through.
- Mobile-Friendly – Text messaging is meant for mobile devices, so your messages should be compatible with most devices. Additionally, people take their phones with them everywhere, so your message to them is very likely to be read in real time.
- Direct Response Capable – Unlike many conventional marketing platforms, text messaging allows customers to interact directly with the company that sent the message, possibly to receive more details about the message or to even place an order.
- Personalization – While you can personalize emails to a degree, you can be as casual as you like and have a personal conversation if prompted by the customer through text messaging. Use of text-based icons, emojis, pictures, and more are considered acceptable in most cases and make the text messages seem less automated and more engaging.
- Lower Security and Spam Risk – While leads may have given you their email address willingly to receive that exclusive content or eBook, promotional emails have unfortunately earned a reputation for harboring spam or other harmful files in attachments or in the body of the email itself. If your email doesn’t seem trustworthy from the getgo, leads may not even open it out of fear of getting phished or spammed. Traditionally, text messaging carries a lower risk of spam links and is often preferred as a main form of communication.
- Cost-Effective – These days, most mobile carriers offer robust or unlimited SMS messaging plans, so receiving a text message will likely not annoy nor cost your leads any extra money on their receipt of your message. Additionally, sending a message from your business plan with unlimited SMS messaging would make sending individual messages out too many people very cost effective in comparison to traditional advertising.
- According to Hubspot, 99% of all text messages are opened while only 28-33% of email are opened
- According to Techipedia, SMS marketing campaigns see as much as 45% response rates
- According to the 2010 report Conversational Advertising by MobileSQUARED, the following was been discovered:
- 50% of US respondents and 60% of UK respondents were open to the idea of receiving SMS advertising on their phones
- In most developed mobile markets, messaging penetration exceeds 90%; in the US, messaging penetration exceeds 70%
- 90% of all text messages are read within the three minutes of delivery
- According to TechnologyAdvice, over 82% of consumers were more likely to shop at a store if there was an SMS Loyalty Program, meaning that receiving deals on their phones would mean they spent more money
Does this all mean you should abandon email marketing? Of course not, as email is still the preferred platform for some demographics, and can facilitate more in-depth messages. Text messaging, email marketing, and social media for your sales funnel are just multiple roads leading to the same destination: customers making purchases. Using these methods in conjunction with one another (great for A-B testing) is your best bet at attaining conversions.
Simple Ways to Start a Text Marketing Campaign
Encourage leads to click on your ad or text you at your specified SMS messaging number by offering them simple incentives that can let you capture their phone numbers as you would an email address to begin a sales funnel campaign with them. Here are some effective examples to intrigue leads to click your advertisement or text your business directly:
“Text Us to Receive a Mobile Coupon!”
“Text Us to Enter to Win Our Contest!”
“Text Us to Receive Your FREE eBook!”
“Text Us with Your Questions, We Have Answers!”
For setup of SMS and other services, contact us at (888) 326-6856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also send us a text message at (949) 860-7477 or chat with us online at www.businesstechpro.com or our Facebook Messenger.