There's no doubt that texting service for business is becoming an increasingly popular tool. Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, was quoted saying "...you should be able to message a business like you message a friend." The real question your business should be asking is whether texting is as effective as many of the stats indicate. We're not disputing the effectiveness of texting, after all, 90% of texts are read in under 3 minutes as opposed to 20% of emails. That sounds good, right? Keep reading and see why we think you should dig deeper into these stats before rushing to adopt a text solution.
Recently, we were talking with a customer, about why they had left a competitor. The main reason was that a large number of their contacts were asking to opt out of future text messages. The second issue they had was that messages they sent out were being limited to 50-100 texts every few hours. For this business, although text messages were being delivered and read quickly, the content wasn’t a good fit for the target audience. Because of this, the business received many requests to opt-out which consumed a lot of their time. Additionally, the content was promotional, and time-sensitive, in nature - as such, the delay in delivering messages resulted in an ineffective text messaging campaign.
Key Takeaway: You should only send messages to contacts that have given you consent to communicate with them over text. Furthermore, if you are planning on sending time-sensitive messages to large groups (more than 50 contacts) you should be using a provider that offers toll-free texting.
Another commonly referenced statistic, according to Pew Research Center, is that 97% of Americans text weekly and the average response rate is 45%. The problem with this statistic is that it's about a collective number. Your mom sends you a text, of course, you're going to respond, so these stats are very skewed when it comes to business usage. How many of y'all would respond to a random text from a business? The majority of consumers won't respond to a message they aren't expecting to receive.
Key Takeaway: When reading about how effective text messaging is, put some thought into who was surveyed, the context of the use case, where the stats came from, and whether it’s a good fit for your business.
Here's a great example of skewed content put out by SendGrid, an email company. The conclusion is that email is the preferred method for receiving company communications. This isn't a suprise considering it's in their best interest to promote email. If you look closely though, they are comparing email with "ads from" in three of the other examples. Of course, we'd prefer email to an ad via text message. But, if comparing email to text message (without the ad), I'd bet the results would be different.
Let’s say you’re the director of an assisted living facility. You’re looking for ways to keep residents and their families informed about ongoing programs, policy changes, etc. You need a way to message several hundred contacts quickly and efficiently. In this case, the residents aren’t likely to be very receptive to text (due to their advanced age). It might be a good way to reach families, but residents would likely respond better to a recorded voice message.
Another example might be that of a Human Resources manager who needs to fill an open position within their company. Being able to text candidates right from their computer, in addition to calling, or sending emails, can be a very effective way to reach candidates and expedite the hiring process.
There are many companies are using our texting service to deliver appointment reminders, emergency notifications, and update their members. In each of these cases, texting is effective because the contacts have given consent and are expecting these types of messages.
Lastly, think about the process of selling. Here at Call-Em-All, we have a strict Responsible Use Policy because we loathe the idea of unwanted telemarketing calls and promotional messages. Do you really think that someone who won’t answer a phone call from an unknown number, is going to respond to the same text message SPAM from an unknown number? Unlikely.
Don’t get me wrong, we know that text messaging can be an incredible tool for effective communication. It’s why we offer both mass texting and conversational texting in addition to our voice broadcasting solutions. The growth of our texting products is directly related to our customers learning how to use texting effectively.
My advice is to ignore the articles that are guilting you into using text messages and dig deeper to see if those stats really align with your goals. Do what's best for your business.