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The elusive and highly coveted “Inbox Zero” seems like an unattainable, unrealistic goal to the majority of us. We all have that one coworker who wears it like a badge of honor while the rest of us frantically try to sift through endless piles of emails. It’s frustrating and exhausting, especially when our time could be better spent on more important tasks.

We spend large chunks of our days digging our way out our email inbox only to be buried again the next day. In fact, the average worker spends 28 percent of their workweek on email. In the time you spent on work emails this year, you could have climbed Mount Everest twice. If that doesn’t make you want to toss your computer out the window, we don’t know what will.

Now, imagine your customers dealing with the same issue. How are they supposed to see your email when they’re constantly inundated with hundreds of emails from companies just like yours every day? Unfortunately, that email you invested precious time and resources creating will likely go unread. Emails only have an 18 percent open rate and a roughly one percent clickthrough rate, so the chances you’ll receive a desired response is slim.

Our recent State of Texting report revealed data on consumer habits that suggested “Inbox Zero” does still exist – just not in the traditional way we think about it. Here’s how you can effectively cut through the clutter by incorporating texting into your communication strategy.

Use a different inbox

We just explained why “Inbox Zero” is so unattainable for the majority of us. But here’s the catch: we’re only talking about your email inbox. We know of a different inbox that’s still untainted, uncluttered and it’s a territory completely untapped by 61 percent of companies. Seventy-four percent of consumers report having zero unread texts at any given time, with only four percent having more than seven unread texts total. Compare that to the 17 percent of the population who reports having achieved the fabled email “Inbox Zero” status, and it becomes clear which inbox is more important to consumers. “The idea of an overflowing text inbox akin to email is virtually unheard of. Texting is conversational and feels more human and personal than email,” said Zipwhip Chief Marketing Officer, Scott Heimes, in an interview with Small Business Trends. If you want to effectively reach your customers and cut through the clutter, you need to start thinking outside of the box. “Inbox Zero” is not a myth when it comes to texting, which means your chances of effectively reaching customers via text are much higher than through email.

Higher response rates are possible

Our research proves that texting is a high-priority medium, so it results in higher response rates. Seventy-four percent of consumers said they respond to a text message from a business within an hour and 85 percent said the same for texts from friends and family. The reason we wanted to benchmark response rates with businesses against friends and family was to prove our hypothesis about the similarities between the two. Texting is a highly personal medium because of its conversational nature, and our texting inboxes are mostly filled with messages from friends and family – not businesses. When a business starts to communicate alongside our friends and family in this same inbox, we begin to associate more positive feelings with the brand and build a more humanized connection. We’re more inclined to have a conversation, rather than hit delete. Compare this to email, where there’s only a 18 percent average open rate with only 41 percent of those people responding to a business within an hour. People don’t even reply to emails from their family or friends quickly on email, so why would they respond to your business? Customers are accustomed to companies spamming them with emails, not inviting conversation through text. If you want a timely response from a customer, texting is your best bet. Texting continues to be a major form of communication. According to our State of Texting research, people are now sending more texts than emails. The average consumer sends 15 texts per day compared to 12 emails, or roughly 25 percent more text messages. We believe this is due to the immediacy of text messaging and the brevity compared to email. Note that many consumers use email in their daily jobs, which likely contributes to the total number of emails sent. “Inbox Zero” might be a myth for email, but it’s perfectly realistic for texting for business. Our data proves the immediacy of text messaging and the brevity compared to email. The sense of urgency consumers feel to respond to a text doesn’t exist with email. Ultimately, text messages are regarded as more important and of higher priority than emails. Now is the perfect opportunity for your business to join the 39 percent of companies already texting consumers, and witness a dramatic increase in open and read rates as a result.
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