Virtual Office Featured Article

Communicating with Customers Via Text

February 11, 2019
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Virtual Office Resource Contributor

It’s getting harder to communicate with customers. Phone (News - Alert) calls, particularly from unknown numbers, are either blocked or rejected. Direct mail has gone the way of the twentieth century. Email is effective, but it’s not always very immediate. What mode IS immediate? Text messaging, of course.

Some Stats on Text Messaging

The average American checks his or her phone an average of 47 times per day, according to Deloitte’s (News - Alert) Mobile Consumer Survey 2017, and text messaging, or SMS, has become the consumer-preferred channel for communication.

When it comes to open rates, the case for texting gets even stronger. SMS messages have a 98 percent open rate, according to a recent blog post by’s (News - Alert) Alex May.

“And even furthermore, 90 percent of those texts are read within three seconds,” wrote May. “That kind of engagement is unparalleled in marketing and when we think of how many thousands of emails there are piled up in our inbox, the opportunity for messaging and communication is absurdly substantial.”

Text messages feel more urgent, more immediate, more important and more intimate. For this reason, they are a great way (within reason) to communicate with your customers.

Opting In

There are rules (both written and unwritten) that require companies to have customers opt in to receiving text messages, so your SMS campaign needs to be compelling, informative and voluntary on the part of the customer. For this to happen, you must provide value, otherwise customers will block your messages and part ways with your products or services. The value might include “members only” information, discounts or bonuses, or convenient bill pay.

Keep it Brief and Focused

It’s important that you keep your SMS marketing messages short. A limit of 160 characters in SMS is not enough space to go wide with your message, and customers don’t want “wide.” They want “what’s in it for me?” Be sure that your message contains a straightforward call to action and a benefit for the customer.

Ensure you Time Your Messages Correctly

Sending text messages overnight is not a way to impress your customers. Text messages feel immediate, so be sure to pick a time that customers are best able to take action with your message (after work, for example).

Put Time Limits on the Campaign

Text message campaigns work best when they’re time limited: perhaps for an upcoming exclusive event, a new product release or a weekend special. This way, you can try and generate some excitement and create some urgency with your campaign.

Don’t Overdo It

Finally, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that more text messages will drive more business. It will simply drive your customers crazy. Limit your messages to important happenings or monthly bill payment, and ensure there’s an easy way for customers to opt out if they don’t wish to receive the messages. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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