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5 ways to use text messaging to grow your business

If you ask a room of people how much time they spend on their phones, be prepared for some sheepish grins.

Most people spend an average of three hours and 15 minutes on their phones, with the top 20 percent of smartphone users exceeding four-and-a-half hours of screen time daily. To top it off, an average American will pick up their phones 47 times daily for quick check-ins, with half of them within three minutes of each other.

It’s surprising that more companies aren’t capitalizing on the opportunity to communicate through text messaging when people spend so much time on their phones. Instead, they continue to rely on the more popular, but less effective communication methods such as email and telemarketing.

To put it in perspective, text messages have a 98 percent open rate and a 45 persent response rate. Ninety-five percent of these SMS (short message service) are opened within three minutes, and are replied to within an average of 90 seconds, while emails are only opened 20 percent of the time with a 6 percent response rate. Of those surveyed, 75 percent of people would like to receive promotional offers via SMS.

Yet, this is a widely overlooked form of communication and remains an untapped strategy by most businesses. In fact, only 39 percent of businesses are actively using it.

Your business can not only greatly benefit from using text messaging as a powerful engagement tool, but also grow steadily if it is implemented effectively.

Below are five ways your business can use two-way business text messaging to communicate with your customers, along with examples to give you inspiration.

1. Optimize inbound sales experience.  When your company follows up with leads in a timely, non-imposing manner, you’re more likely to get them to a demo and increase the chances of them buying your products. However, it can be frustrating for a customer when they have to jump over many hurdles just to make a simple inquiry.

Integrating a method of quick and accessible communication between the sales demo intake form, customer service portal, and website chat, can optimize inbound sales experiences. It starts with setting up an integrated communication channel of your CRM, website chat, and support desk software. And, you can do so with Nextiva’s setup guide.

The team at Salesmsg —a simple two-way business texting solution—has recently shared an amazing flow that led 90 percent of the people who contacted them for a demo to actually show up for their appointments. Here is how it looks:

  • Demo request formQualifiers, such as team size, are asked. PlusThis then redirects based on the team size. If there are less than 10, the customer is redirected to a sales video. If there are more than 10, the customer is redirected to book a demo on Calendly.
  • SMS from Salesmsg (Zapier) is triggered to engage the lead in real-time. The conversation is sped up, as there is an 85 percent response rate to the text messages, and a service desk rep will directly call the lead to further qualify for a demo booking.
  • Calendy sends email reminders, and Salesmsg sends a follow-up SMS an hour before the call. These reminders further drive demo attendance, resulting in an average show-up rate of 90 percent.
  • Demo leads to closing sales. Text messaging was a great help to directly engage leads instantly, leading to a successful demo and close with new customers.

If you’re interested in automating these steps above using SMS, you can view the Salesmsg team’s walk-through on how to set up follow-ups with Zapier.

2. Convert Facebook leads better with SMS follow-up. Facebook lead ads are a great way to collect lead information, and can be set up very quickly. They are effective, as you can select a custom audience to reach people similar to your existing customers, and it’s quick for leads to answer questions in the form. Since this method of collection is less imposing, people are more inclined to share their information if the ad piques their interest.

On the other hand, collecting a large number of leads won’t be a great accomplishment unless they convert. You can improve on your lead conversion by instantly sending an SMS follow-up after a form is submitted. Zapier can help you automate this process easily without any coding experience—you just need to select a trigger, and then select an action that follows.

Here’s an example:

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3. Marketing campaigns.  SMS marketing campaigns are an inexpensive and effective way to keep your customers engaged with your brand. It’s a lot faster than other channels, and is considered to be less invasive. Subscribers can also easily interact with the company by simply replying to the text.

Brad Smith of WebsiteSetup, a resource for beginners to build, manage, and grow their websites, is a big proponent of marketing campaigns through SMS:

“Our readers come to our site in order to figure out where to host their website; a lot of the time they simply get overwhelmed with all the information, and while they sign up to get more information from us, they rarely open email. SMS has been a life saver for us to stay in touch with the customer and get them to actually come back to our site.”

When you combine SMS messaging with personalized discounts, you can promote your brand, build trust and loyalty, and increase ROI. Here are some ideas and examples for you to increase sales and customer engagement:

  • Discounts and free shipping. “To celebrate our first birthday, we’re offering free shipping for any purchases made within the next 24 hours. Don’t miss your chance!”
  • Customer loyalty rewards. “Congratulations! You’ve made your 10th purchase! Show this text in-store and enjoy a large drink for FREE!”
  • Reengagement offers. “Hello, we miss you, and your cart is waiting for you! Check out now for an extra 20% OFF!”
  • Referral programs. “Share the joy of shopping! Refer a friend and receive $20 OFF both of your purchases!”
  • Holiday and special promotions. “It’s the season to be jolly! All Christmas decorations are buy one get one free in the next 48 hours!”
  • Birthday specials. “We want to help make your birthday special! Come by the store for a FREE slice of cake on the house!”

Include unique codes per customer to prevent non-subscribers from getting your deals, and urge them to sign up. Also, include an option to reply with “STOP” to allow subscribers to opt-out if they want to.

If someone does decide to unsubscribe, you can send a text confirmation, and also include an offer if they renew their subscription.

4. Autoresponders. If you’ve set up an email drip campaign before, autoresponders are similar. They are the text messages sent after someone subscribes to your list. With services such as Call Loop, you can even automate them to be sent at different time intervals from the moment your subscriber opted in.

SMS autoresponders will save you a lot of time by automating the process and turning subscribers into customers. They will also ensure that new customers will always be engaged and maintain constant communication with your audience.

Here are a few ways you can use SMS autoresponders:

  • Welcome messages: Sent when a subscriber first joins as an introduction, and helps keep your company on their mind.
  • Staggered coupon offers: Continues to keep your brand top of mind, and also entices your subscriber to return and make a purchase.
  • Appointment reminders: Patients and clients need gentle reminders to perform an action. You can automate reschedule reminders once and forget about them.

Encourage leads to subscribe in your online ads by including a call to action, such as:

  • “Text COOL to 000000 to receive exclusive deals on the newest gadgets on the market.”

Once someone subscribes, they should receive a welcome message to thank them:

  • “Thanks for subscribing to! You’ll be the first to get deals on the newest gadgets on the market!”

You can follow up with new specials and gift-with-purchase deals to keep your brand on their minds and encourage sales.

5. Text-to-win contests. Text-to-win contests are a great way to engage your prospects. It works well for generating leads, as people often find it hard to pass up an opportunity to win something.

If you’re set on running a contest, choose a text-to-win software platform to set it up. When choosing your text-to-join keyword, keep it simple. If you’re using Call Loop, you can check if your keyword is still available for use.

Once you’ve settled on a keyword, you can now create your text-to-join message, and follow-up and auto-reply responses on your chosen platform. Example messages:


  • Text “LEGEND” to 123456 to win a 1-on-1 dinner with golf legend, Tiger Woods!


  • You’re one step away from being entered to win a one-on-one dinner with Tiger Woods! Complete your entry by replying with your email address.


  • Oops, please reply with just your email address only.
  • Woohoo! You’re entered in the contest. To learn more, visit us at

Create an eye-catching image to encourage viewers to share it, and from here, you can promote your text-to-join SMS contest across all of your channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

As you can see, text messaging is a versatile method of communication, and can be effective because the messages are short and to the point. The ROI is high, as people are more likely to open text messages and find them engaging.

This makes SMS marketing a valuable resource that should be implemented into any company that wants to grow their business.

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