When It Comes to Texting, You Don’t Want to Be Late to the Party!

By: Tara Kelly, Founder, President and CEO, SPLICE Software   

2007, the year Brittany Spears shaved her head – oh, and the year that the number of texts sent surpassed the number of phone calls. Unsurprisingly, 2007 was also the year that the first iPhone was released. It is shocking to think that 15 years later there have been 34 iPhone releases, and texting is still one of the most popular forms of communication. Can you believe that all these years later one of our primary forms of communication is controlled by our thumbs? Ultimately, people still love texting, and that’s part of the reason marketers love it too.

Text/SMS is hard to beat when used as a marketing and communication tool, simply because it is so popular. After reviewing a text statistics roundup, it was found that 64% of consumers want businesses to communicate with them via text, among Gen Z, numbers jumped to 83%. In the same study, it was revealed that Americans look at their phones upwards of 160 times a day, showing that there is a huge gateway in which marketers can take advantage of customers via text. Moreover, another survey unveiled that Millennials want two-way texting to communicate with brands, and 83% open texts within 90 seconds of receiving.

If you’re still on the edge, consider this: texting converts better than most types of marketing outreach. When businesses text customers after starting a conversation on a different channel, conversion rates improved by more than 112%. Pretty incredible. But it is important to remember that text marketing is at a crossroads – if you’re not texting, you’re behind, and if you are, you might find that it is becoming more difficult to stand out, especially since everyone is doing it!

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There is a certain tipping point we are quickly approaching with text marketing. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses will have to be more intentional than ever. It is important to know that text folders are coming, well actually, they’re already here. Some people already have them, and soon everyone will. This is the first step text is taking to become more like email. However, there’s still time to join the party. Here are three tips to help you stand out and create value for your customers.

1. Building is Better than Blasting (BBB!)

We all have an email spam folder; it is one of the most effective defense mechanisms against blast emails. However, as text marketing rises in popularity, so are text folders. Originally text folders were only available through apps, but it is now a feature that comes pre-installed on new phones. Now, to avoid automatically being put in a text folder your customer never checks, connecting has never been more paramount. Using a two-way agent, salesperson chat or high-quality automated response will spark conversation – much like everything else in the main folder. The result? Building relationships and bringing in customers!

2. First-party data brings value to your text correspondence

First-party data is what brings conversation to text interactions. This volunteered information entrusted to you enables you to personalize text initiatives and guarantee that the messages your customers are receiving are valuable. When a customer gives you data, they expect you to use it. Promotions and deals are obvious examples of this, but it is now possible to take it a step further and use first-party data to understand how customers shop and what channels they prefer to engage with so that you can be responsive – on their terms.

3. Clean opt-in consent also means a clean opt-out – be okay with it

Opting out isn’t as bad as it sounds; we want our customers to have a choice. In an ideal world, customers would never opt-out. Could you imagine if they thought you were that great all the time? We all know that opt-outs are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean the customer is gone forever; they just need a break and will be back when they need you again. Although opt-outs might sting a bit in the moment, clean opt-in consent gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling. With opt-in digital consent, you have permission – living digital proof that you can text a customer, and that is a beautiful thing for anyone in text marketing. So, when someone opts out, don’t forget to appreciate that your customers have a choice, and that choice is something the customer holds in high regard.

Well, here we are, 15 years and 34 iPhone’s later and text is still king, but it won’t stay that way forever. Although texting is on its way out, there is still hope for the future. Moving forward, it is likely that more natural forms of communication will become more prominent. Rather than continuing to use our thumbs to communicate, we will migrate back to our roots – verbal communication – with a technological twist. It is possible that we will eventually end up in a fully voice-enabled environment and with the rise of the metaverse we cannot even begin to fathom the communication possibilities of the future. Until then, enjoy the party and find meaningful ways to connect with your customers via text.

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