Why Texting is Suddenly the Most Valuable Tool in Your Marketing Stack

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This post was previously published on Toolbox for Marketing

Skilled marketers know that the key to success is staying nimble, adjusting on the fly and adapting to your circumstances. The unique situation we find ourselves in due to the coronavirus is unprecedented and overwhelming, but it also presents an opportunity. Though your customers are stuck at home and you can’t reach them in person, in some ways they are more accessible than ever.

Away From the Office, Consumers Are Spending an Extra Four Hours on Their Phones Every Day

Seattle’s business community was the first in the nation to experience the fallout from COVID-19 – mandatory closures, declining revenue, and staff layoffs. The consequences are severe and troubling but as some companies have discovered, the situation isn’t hopeless. By maintaining connections with customers, even while mandatory distancing measures are in place, some businesses have held crucial revenue streams in place.

And the way to maintain that connection is by reaching consumers on the device they’re currently using for most of their communication, news, and information: their cell phones.

Zipwhip’s latest research analyzes how consumers have changed their behaviors since COVID-19 began, and we found that 56% are using their cell phones more, and 55% use it as their primary source for news and information. And when asked which channel consumers prefer to receive alerts and important information on, most people said texting (over email or phone calls).

What’s more – data from our State of Texting survey earlier this year found that 91% of consumers are getting texts from businesses today, and more than 40% of consumers have even proactively texted a business first.

This means that if you’re not reaching your customers on their cell phones through texting, you’re ignoring their preferred medium and the one they’re using significantly more than usual right now. In fact, of our COVID-19 survey respondents who said they’re using their cell phones more, 46% are spending an additional four or more hours on them each day.

Texting Integrates Immediately and Seamlessly into Your Existing Process

There’s no time to waste when revenue is on the line so whatever solutions you choose need to be easy to acquire and implement, both for your teams and your customers.

By text enabling your existing landline, VoIP, or toll-free phone number you will be able to immediately pick up customer interactions where you left them off on the phone. Promote “call or text” on your shop windows or your website and you’ll immediately transition lengthy phone queues into inbound text messages.

Conversely, if you implement texting software that requires you to use a new phone number or a short code, you will need to expend valuable time promoting and explaining a new communication channel that customers are unfamiliar with.

Also look for software that integrates with your existing tools, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, or another CRM. This way you’ll enable your employees to add a new communication channel into their existing workflows and tools, with no training or onboarding required.

New Software Should Pay for Itself

Any new marketing tool you implement in a crisis like this should generally improve communication with your customers, but it also needs to bring in revenue.

Restaurants can use texting to field orders and dispatch deliveries to customers without needing to go through a third party like Uber Eats or Grubhub, which can take up to a 30% commission fee. Gyms and fitness studios can text members about new promotions or links to online classes. Retailers can text out special deals or promotion codes for online purchases. Health and dental clinics can avoid cancelations and limit gatherings in waiting rooms by texting patients in advance with new safety procedures, like having patients wait in their cars for a text letting them know the doctor is ready to see them.

Businesses across the country are quickly adapting their normal processes and communication flows to overcome the challenges presented by the coronavirus and mandatory lockdowns. By reaching your customers where they are – at home and on their cell phones – you can maintain critical connections with your base and keep revenue streaming in.

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