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Business Texting Overview and Best Practices

Overview

SMS messaging stands for Short Message Service. Also known as text messaging, this form of communication is different from email. Messages are short and have a more immediate delivery. This message appears on your customer’s mobile phone just seconds after it’s sent, often giving your customer a notification that it’s arrived. This is a great way to: 

  • Nurture leads

  • Generate more sales

  • Improve customer service

  • Boost customer engagement

Benefits 

  • Speed – SMS messages are received instantly, and they’re read almost immediately as well 
  • Open Rate – Research shows SMS open rates are as high as 98%, compared to just 20% for emails
  • Engagement – On average, it takes 90 seconds for someone to respond to a text and 90 minutes to respond to an email. Research shows 75% of people would like to have offers sent to them via SMS, and positive – or “yes” – responses are 295% higher via text, compared to phone calls. 

Get Permission

At the start, it’s critical to get permission from those you’re texting. The law requires it. There are two ways to do this: 

  • Invite people to Opt-In

  • Offer people a way to Opt-Out

  • To opt-out, people can text a trigger word like STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE, ensuring you don’t text them again. 

  • It’s important to regularly remind people how to opt-out. 

  • To learn more about opt-in and opt-out, go here.


Warm Up Your List

Before sending regular messages, let your contacts know:

  • This is your new business number 

  • What type of content you’ll be sharing with them

  • How frequently you'll be messaging them

  • Give them the chance to opt-out 


Add Value 

SMS is intimate, immediate and overt. Overusing this channel is the fastest way to get your customers to opt-out. Make sure what you’re sending adds real value to your customer or team.


Keep It Short

Try to get to the point quickly. Shout recommends limiting your messages to no more than 3-4 segments per message. 

Long text messages don’t get read, and in some cases can delay how soon they get sent. If you have a lot to cover, break it up to two messages, or include a link to more details. 

  • To learn more about how message segments are counted, go here.

  • To learn more about short links, go here.

  • To learn more about images and attachments, go here.

  • You can use email to follow up with more lengthy content.


Personalize Your Message

The more targeted your message, the more success you’ll have. There are several ways to do this well. 

Nouns

Use nouns in Shout when you want to include personal information, such as the first name of each contact, when sending a group message.

  • Leads

To learn more about nouns, go here.

Groups

Create groups in Shout when you want to send the same message to many contacts. Your groups can be organized in a way to ensure you’re sending messages they care about. Sample groups include:

  • Leads

  • Customers

  • VIP

To learn more about groups, go here.

CRM

Shout is a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform that organizes all your contacts in one place. Each contact has a profile that tracks important information – product favorites, birthdays, and more. This helps you send highly personalized messages. 

 

  • To learn more about managing your contact profiles, go here.
  • To learn more about CRM, go here.

Time Your Message Wisely

Don’t catch people at a bad time. Be mindful of when you’re sending your messages. The perfect time depends on the content, intention, and time zone.

Marketing messages, by law, must be sent between 8:00 am – 9:00pm, recipients' time.

  • To learn how to schedule messages, go here.

  • Don’t send large group messages late at night. Group texts may be sent at the same time, but may take several hours to be received. 


List Size

No list is too big for Shout to manage. However, there are two things to know: 

  • Large group messages must be sent from your marketing number or Shout-to-Shout 

  • Don’t send large group messages late at night. They may take several hours to arrive


Customer Service Number vs Marketing Number

If you have a Shout plan that includes both the customer service and the marketing number, it’s important to use each in a unique way. 

Customer Service

This is a local number based on your location. This number is ideal for one-on-one customer service conversations – taking orders, scheduling follow ups, and general customer service. 

  • If you have a message for more than 25 contacts at a time, use the marketing number.  

  • To learn more about restrictions associated with a customer service number, go here.

Marketing

This is an 833 or 844 number set up for business texting with the ability to send a lot of messages in a short period of time – more than 1 per second! This number is ideal for marketing blasts and mass communication. 

To learn more about Shout’s customer service and marketing phone numbers, go here.

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