Featuring

How to Adopt a Business Texting Strategy in 10 Steps

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

With a little effort upfront, you can build an SMS (Short Message Service) program that increases revenue, frees up valuable time and improves customer satisfaction. With nearly 60% of consumers saying texting is the fastest way for a business to reach them, it’s no wonder more and more businesses are adding it to their communication strategies.

In this webinar we’ll walk you through how to kick off your own business texting strategy in 10 steps. We’ll cover everything from how to choose a texting tool with the right features to how to start building your texting opt-in list.

Learn how to:

  • Define your texting goals
  • Choose the right tool for your texting use cases
  • Follow the “Dos” and avoid the “Don’ts” of TCPA
  • Build your opt-in list
  • And so much more

Whether you’re starting from scratch or hoping to refine your current SMS strategy, we think you’ll leave this webinar with the practical tips you need for texting success. Check it out!

Featuring

Natalie Schwab
Natalie Schwab
Director of Content Marketing
Keith Hitchcock
Keith Hitchcock
Digital Content Manager

Keith Hitchcock:
Hello and welcome to another webinar at Zipwhip. We are coming to you from Seattle Washington, Zipwhip headquarters. And this is how to adopt a business texting strategy in 10 steps. I’m your host and presenter today, Keith Hitchcock, digital content manager at Zipwhip. And with me is Natalie Schwab, also a presenter, she is director of content marketing at Zipwhip. Thanks for joining me today, Natalie, tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you do at Zipwhip.

Natalie Schwab:
Thanks for having me, Keith. I’m super excited to be here. I’ve been behind the scenes on a ton of webinars, so it’s fun for me to be out in front of the audience this time. So as Keith mentioned, I’m the director of content here at Zipwhip. And my team is responsible for teaching consumers about tech state or teaching businesses about texting for business. So we create lots and lots of content. We’ve got blog posts, webinars like this one, ebooks, podcasts, videos. So we’re teaching businesses about how they can use texting.

Keith Hitchcock:
We love making content, delivering content to people to help educate them. And we’ve been doing this for years now collectively, I think we have over six years of experience with business texting. And so we consider ourselves textperts in this space, and happy to impart what we know. So we also have a few other moderators helping us today. That’s what Natalie usually does. And so it’s a robust team here to help you with whatever questions and however we can.

Keith Hitchcock:
So we’ve gotten to know us a little bit, let’s get to know you out there just a little bit. I’m going to launch a poll and I invite you to participate with this, it’s fun to engage a little bit. How does your company currently text with customers? We always like asking this question to get a sense of who we’re talking to. So take a moment and engage with that. There’s the answer for we don’t text. And there’s other answers for different ways that you are texting with customers. And I’ll give you another couple moments to engage with that. And then we will close it and take a peek at the results. Does anyone need more time with that?

Keith Hitchcock:
Going, going, last chance. Okay, I’m going to close the poll and let’s take a look. There’s a spread here, that’s people who are not texting with customers. A lot of folks who are using some sort of cell phone, either personal or a business, we have some Zipwhip customers on the line. Thanks for joining us. It’s always great to be talking with customers. And there we go. Thank you for playing.

Keith Hitchcock:
What is next here, I think I’m going to talk to you just a few housekeeping things. If you’re new to GoToWebinar, it’s fairly easy for you. There is a little audio window, you can adjust audio in your audio device, that all important question window at any time, feel free to throw a question or a comment into that window. And one of us, either a moderator or Natalie or myself will do our best to answer that question. We will have a dedicated live Q&A section towards the end of our around 45 minutes together today.
Keith Hitchcock:
So with that, I do want to say too, you will be getting a video recording and a PDF of what you see today. So no need to take copious notes. As a thank you for filling out the brief survey at the end of the webinar, we’ll be sending that along to you in a post webinar email. So with that, I also want to mention, we are showcasing our keyword text capability. So the Zipwhip tool has keywords where, if you text this word 10 to this number, we’ll send you back a bunch of useful links we think that will help you in building your business texting strategy. You can try that right now if you want, our Zipwhip texting tool, our webinar info line is standing by to help you with that automatic return response.

Keith Hitchcock:
If you’re a customer, be sure to toggle off your signature, just send us that word, so our tool doesn’t get confused. So there may be some and there are a number of you who are not yet texting with customers. So you may be completely new to the idea of business texting. So what is it? It is a little bit different than personal texting that we’re all used to. It generally involves dedicated software or an API solution like the Zipwhip texting tool. It means text enabling your existing phone number, whether that’s a 10 digit phone number or a toll free number. We text enable that. Mostly it involves a lot of extra features and functionality and a lot of that you’ll be learning out throughout the webinar today.

Keith Hitchcock:
So different than doing this, very often it’s like this. It’s on a keyboard, you’re using a dedicated tool, even though we also have the mobile app, but more about that later. Why are all sorts of businesses nonprofits adopting texting? Well, in short, because it works. And our traditional methods of phone calling and emailing is not working so much anymore. You can read through these stats, they’re pretty powerful.

Keith Hitchcock:
The idea is that texting is fast, it’s easy, convenient, it’s their preferred medium these days for most people and more and more in the younger generations. Also, the older generations. Interesting, we did a generational survey at one point, which is very interesting. And these stats, they don’t come from the state of texting, right Natalie?
Natalie Schwab:
No. So we did a couple of dedicated surveys on the different mediums for communication with customers. So we did one specifically on phone call communication and one on emails just to get a better understanding of consumer sentiment of those tools. And so that’s where these stats are coming from. Those ebooks are both available in the resource center, definitely recommend checking them out, because they’re very interesting.

Keith Hitchcock:
Awesome. Thanks for that plug. So now that we’re on the same page, business texting, let’s dive into the meat of the content today. So we have two different sections here. This main section is about before you text, getting into, you’re in prep mode here, there’s five steps to prep mode. And let’s just dive in. So step number one is, you’re doing some audio adjustment there. Yes. It’s the fun of a live webinar, you never know what you’re going to encounter here. Can you hear us?

Natalie Schwab:
I knew that was going to happen. Yes. Can you hear me, Keith?

Keith Hitchcock:
Yep. coming through.

Natalie Schwab:
All right. Let’s do it.

Keith Hitchcock:
We’re diving into step one here of our business texting strategy.

Natalie Schwab:
All right. So step number one is determining your goals. So figuring out what you want to solve with texting. So this is really important, because it’s going to allow you to measure your success, and it can also help you discover new use cases for texting. So what I want you to ask yourself is what pain points can I address with texting? So I have a couple examples here. If you’re a business that schedules a lot of appointments, or maybe provides customer service, your pain point might be something like phone call volume.

Natalie Schwab:
So in that case, you’re probably looking for a texting solution to help you streamline your process, so that you can free up your team’s time and then get back to helping your customers faster. In the second example here, we’re looking at driving new business. So the pain point is customer acquisition in this case. So you may be looking to improve your sales outreach or marketing in order to drive new leads. So these are just two examples. But I want you to think through your entire customer journey and write down any pain points that you could possibly address with texting. And then I’ll actually challenge you to take it a step further.

Natalie Schwab:
So if you can assign some quantifiable goals, that’s going to help you come back later and measure your success of texting. So how many hours for instance, are you hoping to shave off your phone call time each week? Or how many leads are you hoping to drive from your website? So determining your goals up front is going to help you optimize later.

Keith Hitchcock:
That’s great. We’re talking about big picture thinking here, which is, you’re creating a vision for how your texting program is going to work with the different parts of your business and connect with your customers.

Natalie Schwab:
Exactly.

Keith Hitchcock:
So moving on to step number two, after you’ve looked at those goals, it’s time to think about, well, what kind of texting are you going to do? And there’s essentially two ways. There’s one way texting. And one way texting is like notifications, reminders, status alerts that you’re sending out, just one way, you’re not necessarily needing much of a response or a nuanced response. And then there’s conversational texting or two way texting. And that’s where you can have a conversation with a customer. There can be some more of a nuanced response. So it could be the difference between a dentist saying your appointment is today, an hour from now. And just being information reminder type versus patient being able to text back and say, hey, I’m going to be a half hour late, is that okay? Or hey, can we postpone this appointment for two weeks, I’m going on a business trip, whatever that is.

Keith Hitchcock:
And if you don’t know yet what your business needs, you may want to go with conversational texting just so you can build into some extra functionality if need be down the line. And different kind of number you should use. You may not even know this is an option. Short code is an option, is generally used in Excels at one way texting. So if you know you’re only going to do that type of texting, you may want to look at short codes, there’s definitely some other considerations to think about.

Keith Hitchcock:
And then both 10 DLC and toll free are the conversational texting types of numbers. 10 DLC is a fancy way of saying a 10 digit number, those phone numbers that we all know and love, and that your business probably already has either a 10 digit number, or a toll free number that you can text enable. So we often get the questions, can we just use our cell phone? And there are a number of you all out there who are using your cell phone or a business dedicated line. There are reasons not to use that.

Keith Hitchcock:
And generally, we do recommend against that, not just because we’re a business texting company and we have software that does the trick, but you’re going to lack a lot of the business texting features that you’ll be hearing more about. There are some safety, security compliance issues that could be in play. And you also don’t necessarily have the ability to scale with that, like a dedicated texting tool is going to have.

Keith Hitchcock:
There’s a number of other considerations and features that I’m not going to go through right now for sake of time, but I put them on the slide for you to know that they exist. And for you to consider when you’re thinking about what kind of tool you want to use. That is step number two.

Natalie Schwab:
I’m glad you mentioned cell phones, because it does look like we have quite a few people who are using them. And there are also legal implications for using a cell phone. So that is a good transition into TCPA compliance and why understanding compliance is so important.

Keith Hitchcock:
Let’s go there.

Natalie Schwab:
So we always get a lot of questions about this, because it’s a really big deal. You don’t want to do anything to jeopardize your business. So let’s talk about TCPA. First off, what is TCPA? It stands for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. And it’s essentially the law that regulates how businesses are able to call and text their customers. It was created back in 1991 to protect consumers from robocalls. But as the technology has evolved, TCPA has evolved with it, and it now also applies to text messages.

Natalie Schwab:
So it’s really important to understand the do’s and don’ts when it comes to texting your customers. So I want to walk you through a few of those in a moment. But I wanted to include a little plug for our TCPA ebook here. You can download this in our resource center, or we’ll actually drop a link in and you can access it directly. There’s a lot of really good information in there that goes deeper on TCPA. So I recommend taking a look at that.

Natalie Schwab:
So now Keith can go to the next slide, we’ll jump into some TCPA do’s and don’ts. So I’m not going to go through all of these, but I just wanted to pick out a few of the really important ones. So number one do is keep your text short and relevant. So if your customer has opted in to receive, say appointment reminders from you, don’t send them a bunch of sales and promotions that may not be relevant to what they’ve asked to receive from you.

Natalie Schwab:
The second one is text consumers who’ve expressed interest in receiving texts. This is kind of a light way of putting it, you actually need to collect an opt in from your customers for almost all scenarios where you’re texting them. So collect opt in, that’s very important. And then the third one is let customers know that they can use the word stop to opt out from receiving messages from you at any point. And be sure that you’re respecting that. You should keep a record of opt outs so that you know which customers you should not be contacting.

Natalie Schwab:
And then a few don’ts. So do not add promotional language that isn’t relevant to the conversation. Don’t send text to prospects that you don’t have an existing relationship with. And lastly, this one is pretty obvious, but don’t spam consumers with unwanted messages, you can get in a lot of trouble for that.

Keith Hitchcock:
Sometimes the compliance do’s and don’ts can be scary to someone who is just starting a texting program. And just to put another plug into that TCPA compliance ebook, it’s quite clear about the do’s and don’ts. And a lot of it is common sense too. You mentioned the opt in building the list. So let’s have you just dive into how to build that as well.

Natalie Schwab:
Perfect. So like I mentioned, it’s really important to get that consent from your customers. So how do you go about doing that? There are lots of ways but I wanted to share just a few examples of how you can start building your opt in list and there are more of these in the ultimate guide, so just a little plug for that. So the first one is to set up a keyword. So you can use something like the word join. And when a prospect texts that keyword, they’re going to receive an auto reply message confirming their opt in. You can promote that wherever you market to your customers. So it might be social media, it might be email on your website, wherever you’re going to be able to reach your customers the best. You can see an example of this here, at the bottom, it says text offers to the phone number.

Natalie Schwab:
The second thing that you can do is add a website pop up or a banner with a form to collect opt in right there on your website. And I’ve actually seen this a lot lately with the shopping that I’ve been doing online, a lot of businesses are pairing this with some kind of incentive to get you to sign up for their text list. So it might be hey, join this list to receive text messages from us and get a 10% off your next order. So you can come up with some creative ways to incentivize your audience to sign up for text.

Natalie Schwab:
And then the last one here, number three is for brick-and-mortar stores. This is pretty simple, just print out a form or a signup sheet and you can get consent right there at your checkout when you have the customer in front of you. So there are a lot more ways to do this, but these three should get you started.

Keith Hitchcock:
Great ideas to start doing texting in the right way, make sure you’re staying out of trouble, legally. But again, quite easy to do once you develop your systems and you know what you’re doing there. So that is building your opt in list. And the last step in this section one around prepping to text is getting your team ready. So there’s going to be logistics, like how many lines are you using? How many users? What kinds of texts are you doing your initial launch and then growing it in the other departments.

Keith Hitchcock:
It’s important to get your team on board in terms of the why they’re texting, because change is hard. They might be used to just phoning and emailing. Right? And so now that there is one other thing to do, and how do you do it? So I think getting them on board with the why can really help. Are they going to save time? Is it going to be easier? Are they going to get a higher response? All that can help feed the why there. There’s going to be training. We’ll talk a little bit more about some texting etiquette and best practices later on.

Keith Hitchcock:
You may have ongoing check ins. Are they monthly or maybe even more frequent early on, are they yearly? You can figure that out. But there’s also incentives. We offer this to some clients, the idea of celebrating your employees do as a great super user, and you decide your own metrics is that response time or volume of texts that they’re filling, that sort of thing, but could be a fun way to help your folks get online, get up to speed.

Natalie Schwab:
I love that one. I think anytime you can create a little competition or gamify things, it always helps to get people on board. So definitely download that, can be fun.

Keith Hitchcock:
Those are the first five. We have determined our goals, we have chosen our texting tool, we’re understanding compliance and building your opted in text list. And now your team is on board, ready to get texting. So it’s time to dive into the ready to text section. So let’s do that Natalie with step number six.

Natalie Schwab:
So step number six is choosing your texting use cases. So determining how texting can help you achieve the goals that you set earlier in step one. So this is where it’s helpful, again, to think through your entire customer journey and identify where you can simplify your communication. So at this moment, you may be thinking about using texting for a single use case. But we have found that a lot of customers, once they get in the tool and start using it and seeing how effective it is, they figure out ways to apply it to different parts of the business.

Natalie Schwab:
And actually, Keith’s got a great testimonial that he’s going to read later from a customer who’s done just that. So if you’ve been going to the next slide, Keith. These are the most common use cases for business texting. And some of these are pretty standard, like customer service and support, marketing and promotions. I wanted to call out a couple that are a little less obvious.

Natalie Schwab:
So texting for billing and collections is an interesting one. And this may not be something that you’ve considered, but a lot of businesses are actually saving time using texting this way. Last year, we launched a new tool called Zipwhip text to pay that actually allows you to request and accept payments right there through text messaging. So instead of having to get on the phone and take a credit card, and maybe not in the most secure way, you can actually do it right there through the texting app securely.

Natalie Schwab:
And then the other one I wanted to mention is recruiting. So if your customer has open roles that you’re looking to fill, texting can provide a really nice experience for candidates, as well as save your HR team time on the phone talking to candidates.

Keith Hitchcock:
These are the common use cases. And I have to say, Natalie, that I love seeing when businesses figure out a whole new use cases. And there’s those times, because in a way, it’s still the wild west of business texting, and businesses are still inventing how to do it. And so everyone’s business is unique. And you might find a way like just some other unique use case for your business that improves whatever you need to improve, your productivity, your response time, all that kind of thing.

Keith Hitchcock:
So that is that. We are moving into step number seven, which I have to say is my favorite step in the 10 steps, because it really separates business texting from personal texting, and maybe texting from a cell phone. Because this is where you take advantage of all the texting for business features. I’m not going to take the time to go through all of these, there’s more information on our website. And some of these are pretty self explanatory.

Keith Hitchcock:
But I do want to talk through a couple powerful features that are in our tool. One is auto reply. And as you know, texting is an immediate medium. And people generally want an immediate response. Think about when you’re texting your friends. And so here’s someone texting in in this example, for hey, can I schedule an appointment? And if they’re not getting response for however long, it could be the next day before they get a response, they’d be maybe moving on to the next thing, the next barber or whatever.

Keith Hitchcock:
But here, they are getting an immediate response with that auto response to all saying, hey, we’re closed. And you’re like, Ah, okay. So is setting their expectation. They might even get some more information that hours are such and such. And it’s just a more satisfying experience. Templates and dynamic fields are awesome as well. Because templates, basically, you can store a bunch of pre written text messages in your tool or these are the frequent responses or frequent questions, the answers, you’re all ready to go with those.

Keith Hitchcock:
And then you add dynamic fields to that, which in this example, hello, first name, this is my first name. So if you have your recipient’s first name and my first name loaded into your tool, when you send that it’s going to automatically populate on their side with their name and my name, the sender. So it’s a huge time saver. Our customers love it. And it’s become indispensable for some of them.

Keith Hitchcock:
So just a couple examples, powerful examples of the various features in the Zipwhip texting tool. There’s more to explore there. And I want to, Natalie mentioned this testimonial before. I don’t want to toot our own horn, but I love the way that Jeff, the owner of West Coast Music Academy is using texting. He’s basically using it as this all in one tool from prospect texting in to get information all the way to a paying their lesson on the tail side of it. So they use Zipwhip for each of those touch points along the way of when they’re communicating with customers. So it’s fun to think about the different ways that your business could use texting as well.

Natalie Schwab:
Keith, I feel like I keep hearing more and more stories like this from businesses, especially now that we have text to pay, you’re really able to use it really from the beginning to the last touch point with your customer. So it’s awesome.

Keith Hitchcock:
Awesome. We are moving into step number eight, which is all about texting etiquette, Natalie.

Natalie Schwab:
All right, so let’s talk about manners. So texting with your customers is different from texting with your friends and family. So you do need to follow a different set of rules to make sure that you’re keeping your customers happy. So Keith and I are going to go through six of these, I’ll take the first three here.

Natalie Schwab:
So number one is send your text at the right time. So this is pretty obvious. You don’t want to text your customers early in the morning before they’ve woken up or when they’re having dinner with their family in the evening, you really should stick to your regular business hours. Number two is add personalization to your messages. So as Keith mentioned, Zipwhip’s dynamic fields tool makes it really easy to pull in your customer’s first name, or you can even pull in details like your customer’s pet’s name if you’re a veterinary office and things like that. So just be thinking of little creative ways to personalize your messaging.

Natalie Schwab:
And then the third one is to provide a clear call to action. So you should be letting your customers know exactly what you want from them. If you want them to confirm a doctor’s appointment or if you want them to check out a sale, just be really clear in that in your messaging. And we have a good example of this here. So we are adding personalization, we’re saying hi Jasmine, and then we have a really clear call to action in this example. So, if you want to save 20% off one item this week, tap now to shop.

Keith Hitchcock:
Great. Continuing the fun with etiquette, here are three more tips. Keep it short. So texting is the immediate medium. It’s also the short form communication medium, in contrast to text and phone. Now, each communication method has its own pros and cons. And the pro of texting is definitely it’s quick communication, you need some quick information from them, or do you need to convey some quick information, you need to have a quick exchange. So keep it short. That’s what consumers expect.

Keith Hitchcock:
Add emojis and acronyms when appropriate. Now, texting can be fun. And we’ve all experienced that with personal texting. We don’t want to take out the fun, but probably add a little professionalism to it. Because we’re a business, right? So you can add emojis. I would say use them sparingly and appropriately, just like acronyms. Don’t assume necessarily that your audience knows all the acronyms that you have or that you use in your business. A few probably are known but use sparingly and appropriately there. And reply quickly. I’ve mentioned this before in that talking about the features and how the auto reply can actually help you reply really quickly. If you can’t reply quickly, then that’s where auto reply can help out and here’s another example of it.

Keith Hitchcock:
Someone looking for a haircut. And I love it in this auto reply message actually, that not only are they getting information about normal business hours, they’re actually giving them a link so that they can self serve themselves and maybe cut out one next step for your staff to have to deal with, they’re taking care of themselves. So those are six tips of etiquette. And there are even some more in our ultimate guide to texting your customers from which, we didn’t mention earlier. All our content is actually inspired from this ebook that we recently revised and added to. So you want to check that out for those other tips and even to go deeper with a lot of these.

Natalie Schwab:
All right. So we’re going to jump into the marketing section now. Tip number nine. All right, so this is my favorite, because I am in marketing. So number nine is tell the world that your business can text, so you need to market your new texting capability to your customers. So there are lots of ways that you can do this, but we’ve narrowed down some of our favorites here.

Natalie Schwab:
The first one is really simple. So update your website. All you need to do is add the word text anywhere your phone number appears on your website. So just adding the words text or call so that your customers know that texting is now an option. The second one is sharing on social media. So just putting up a little graphic or even just quick little tweet or something saying, hey, did you know that you can now text us? It’s just another way to get the message out there.

Natalie Schwab:
Number three is print out flyers for your store window or signs for your checkout desk. So just letting people know right there in your store that you’re able to text. And then let’s see, I’ll just choose one more to go through here. Number six, update your on hold voicemail message, this can actually be a really great way to reduce phone call volume. If that is a pain point that you’ve identified in your workflow.

Natalie Schwab:
Just simply record a new message letting customers know that they can actually hang up and text you. And that’s going to be a way to reduce that phone call volume. And then also give them a little bit of time back in their day. So your customers are really going to appreciate that. I did want to note before we move on here that we have some templates in the ultimate guide that you can download for different types of marketing materials. So we have, let’s see, I believe we have a social media graphic. And then we also have graphics for fliers and signs. So you can download those templates. All you have to do is add your logo and your phone number and then you can start using those right away.

Keith Hitchcock:
The takeaway for me here is basically any point where you are connecting or touching a customer, you can have, telling them something about hey, we text, you can text us, so that’s a good one. All right, we’re rounding out our 10 steps with the 10th step to building your business texting strategy, and this one is actually a little more future thinking, it’s building the future into your strategy, which is revisiting your strategy regularly. Is it monthly? Is it quarterly? Is it yearly? Whatever it is, whatever your business needs, be thinking, be revisiting it regularly. Watching the trends, we’ve mentioned the state of texting report. And that’s something that is helpful in terms of what’s new in texting? What are the expectations from consumers or businesses these days?

Keith Hitchcock:
We have a lot of continuing education resources that I’ll talk a little bit more about. And if you’re thinking, texting only does this, well, it does a whole lot more. If you don’t know about API and some of these other advanced texting concepts and tools, it’s worth checking out. And if you ever get to a point in your business when you’re thinking I wish texting could do this, fill in the blank, it might be time to investigate some of these advanced texting tools.

Keith Hitchcock:
Here are some of the continuing education resources that we have available on our website depending on what kind. Are you a video person or your podcast person, or are you, obviously, you’re a webinar person. So there’s a lot of content there for you on the resources tab of zipwhip.com. And again, this content was inspired by Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers. And if you text us that keyword, we’ll give it again later on. And maybe Courtney or one of our moderators can drop that link back into the chat, so you can have access to that awesome ebook. With that, I think we’re ready to recap where we’ve been Natalie.

Natalie Schwab:
Let’s do it. So we covered a lot, so just want to do a quick recap for you. So let’s go through each of these 10 steps. So number one was determine your goals. Try to set some quantifiable goals for yourself so that you can come back and measure your success after you’ve been texting. Number two is choosing the right tool. So just understand what type of texting you want to do, and what type of features are going to serve you best. Number three is understand compliance. So make sure that you know the do’s and don’ts of TCPA. And consent goes along with that. So make sure that you are building your opt in list so that you’re texting your customers the right way.

Natalie Schwab:
Number five is get your team ready to text. So get them on board, help them understand why they’re doing this. And incentivize them with fun little promotions. Number six is choose texting use cases. So really think through your entire customer journey and where you can apply texting so that you’re getting the most out of your texting tool. Number seven is leverage your tools features. So if you have a tool like Zipwhip, you have access to so many great time saving features, make sure that you’re taking advantage of all of those. Number eight is know your texting etiquette. So mind your manners. Number nine, tell the world that your business context. So make sure that you’re marketing to your customers that they can now reach out to you in this new way. And number 10 is keep evolving and keep growing and optimizing over time so that you’re using your texting tool the best way possible.

Keith Hitchcock:
Awesome. We are about to step into our question and answer period. And so if you have a question, feel free to toss that in the question window right now. And we’ll do our best to get to that. I’m sure there’s some questions popping up for some of you. And as you’re thinking about that, I actually want to launch another poll to make sure you’re still with us. So take a moment to engage with this. We’d like asking this too after we’ve gone through some content like this, what is the most important texting use case for your company in your opinion? And that’s whether you are texting already or you’re thinking about texting? What do you think, from these choices, is going to be the most important use case?

Keith Hitchcock:
And some of you, it might be something totally different. And so your choice would be other in that case. I’ll give you one more moment to engage with that. And then I’ll close it up. Going, going and closing poll, let’s take a look at what you said. So kind of range of things. Most of these customer service and support, I will say that we are developing a texting for services and support webinar coming up in a month or so. So keep your eyes out for that. And some kind of a spread across the other categories too. So thanks for playing with that.

Natalie Schwab:
Keith, I was going to mention actually that we have an ebook coming out. So it’s a texting for customer service and support ebook is coming out on July 15th. So keep an eye out for that.

Keith Hitchcock:
So both the ebook and webinar coming up for those of you interested in that use case specifically. We do have some questions coming in. And so we’ll do our best to get to all of these in the time that we have left. So let’s start off with, someone’s asking about cell phone. There are a lot of you who mentioned cell phone, we use a shared company’s cell phone for texting, as we need to be able to text while on the go. Why would we pay more for texting software? Interesting question. Natalie, do you want to take that?

Natalie Schwab:
Can you hear me?

Keith Hitchcock:
Yes.

Natalie Schwab:
Sorry about that, having some technical issues with my headphones. So using personal cell phones. Sorry, give me one sec.

Keith Hitchcock:
I think an interesting element of this has been needing to text while on the go.

Natalie Schwab:
Yes. So there is a mobile version of Zipwhip. So you can actually take your cell phone out with you while you’re out in the field. This is really common for people who are in like real estate or out doing landscaping, somewhere where you’re often out away from the office, there’s a mobile version of Zipwhip. So you can use that on your cell phone, wherever you are, you’re not texting from your personal number, you’re still texting from your business number, it’s through the Zipwhip app.

Natalie Schwab:
And then you have access to all of the same features that you do on our web and desktop version. So that’s a huge reason to use your cell phone and our mobile app versus just using your cell phone and your own native texting app.

Keith Hitchcock:
Thanks for that question. Next one is can you do bulk texting with Zipwhip? The answer is yes. We call it group messaging. It’s our group messaging feature. And the great thing, there’s several great things about group texting. One is that you can segment your groups and so do you have a gym? And you have the people who are interested in Yoga, they’re all about Yoga, or are they all about Pilates? And so you can have your group, your Yoga group, your Pilates group, and all these different groups. And just be sending to that when you have your Yoga class or Pilates class going on.

Keith Hitchcock:
So it’s great way to segment like that. It’s a BCC situation, like blind copy, just like you, you would be emailing to a group and putting them in blind copies so they’re not getting everyone else’s email, same kind of thing here. It feels like they are just getting a solo message. And in fact, you could combine this with dynamic fields, and they would be getting not just some generic hello text, they’d be getting a hello Mike or a hi Mike, we have a Yoga class, blah, blah, blah. And when he responds, then it’s only coming back to the business. So a great way to save a lot of time really, group messaging. Next question. So what about, do you integrate with ClubReady? Natalie, do you want to take that?

Natalie Schwab:
We do. So if you’re a ClubReady user, you can text your members using Zipwhip right from ClubReady, so you don’t have to leave ClubReady and go to the Zipwhip app. It’s built right into the tool. And I’ll mention we also have an integration with Mindbody. So if you’re in the fitness camp, and you use Mindbody, not ClubReady, we have one for you as well.

Keith Hitchcock:
And there’s lots of other integrations in the marketplace. So if you’re curious, just go to our website and look for marketplace. Can you talk more about getting a customer’s permission to text them? Looks like we’re getting a few questions around this. And I will say, there’s a lot to know about this. And some of the information is nuanced. It’s important to know the difference between conversational texting, informational texting and promotional texting.

Keith Hitchcock:
So with each case, you need slightly different type of consent for promotional texting, those have the highest bar, which is needing express written consent. There’s ways to get that and you can get that from your customer and store their consent so you know that you have it. There’s implied consent as well. So rather than potentially misappropriate or miss speak about some of this, I highly encourage you to check out that TCPA compliance ebook that we’ve been talking about, which goes through step by step and talks about the different types of messaging and the different types of consent and the nuance with some of that. And that link that Courtney sent out should get you to that resource. Thanks for that question. Next question. Just one about, how would you utilize Zipwhip if your primary goal is to generate leads? You have some ideas about that, Natalie?

Natalie Schwab:
Yeah, I do. So we talked about this a little bit, keywords can be a really great way to generate leads. So wherever you’re advertising to your customer, it could be on social media, it could be on something like a billboard on the street. Choose a keyword. And when your customer texts that keyword, you’re going to obviously respond back with some information. So that’s a great way to generate leads, if you are like, say, a gym offering a free class or something like that, that might be something that you’re promoting on social media saying, hey, sign up for a free class by texting this keyword to this phone number. So that’s just a way to get people to start expressing interest in your business, and you can start conversations with them and go from there.

Keith Hitchcock:
Good question. Is there a recommended character limit or max character limit for messages? And I’ll take that one. We did mention in the etiquette section that keep it short. So in general, we don’t have a recommendation for how long your texts should be. But the basic recommendation is keep it short. Often, like if there’s lots and lots of information to convey, you might want to consider sending an email, but then you use texting as a complementary tool, because no one’s reading their email, right? They might need a little nudge with a text that says, hey, I just sent an email over with the information that you requested. And so then you have a much higher, higher chance that they’re going to actually engage with that information.

Keith Hitchcock:
That being said, we have increased our character limit to 600 characters. And so which is a bunch for texting. We don’t recommend that you always use that. But if there is a chunk of information that you do need to send by text, you have that capability.

Natalie Schwab:
And the standard size is 250 characters. So Zipwhip does offer quite a lot more than a lot of the other providers that you may see out there.

Keith Hitchcock:
Yes, yes. Let’s see. Here’s a question. How many times should I text a customer about appointments or reminders about their appointment?

Natalie Schwab:
That’s a great question. I think most consumers don’t need a ton of reminders about an appointment, most consumers are going to probably want to receive one to maybe two reminders. So it’s pretty standard to send out a reminder the day before a customer’s appointment so that they know, hey, your appointment is coming up tomorrow. If you feel like your customer needs a little bit more of a reminder than that, you can send one out, maybe the week prior to their appointment or a few days prior. You don’t want to bombard them with messages, because that can get a little irritating. So just keep it to like one to two messages about reminders.

Keith Hitchcock:
Good. It looks like we have time for one more question here. And here is one. It says times are lean, I’m finding it hard to justify another expense. And I get that, I hear that, when you’re in business, there’s always this shiny object syndrome of like, do I need this one new tool, one new thing for my business? And I would say, I guess, to put it in perspective, what would be the value of getting just one more customer say? And could texting do that for you? What would be the value of keeping the customers that you have?

Keith Hitchcock:
And so, we’ve been talking a lot about… We just talked about lead generation and how much easier the tool can make it for your staff to communicate. There’s also the customer satisfaction element as well. And so what is it worth to actually have your customer super satisfied, they’re always getting a quick response with that automatic reply, if you’re doing conversational texting, they’re getting quick information that they need for their day.

Keith Hitchcock:
And I know, I’ve spoken with a lot of businesses who actually tout that as a talking point, like our customers love this and love that we’re doing texting. So it’s considering I guess, what would be the value of just getting a few more customers and keeping the customers that you have. So some consideration. And we actually have on our pricing page, we do have some fairly expensive ways to get in on the ground level of texting on a month by month basis, even less if you commit to a year to that, and you can always try for free.

Natalie Schwab:
And I’m just going to mention Keith, we have a lot of really great case studies on the website. So if you’re trying to make the case for this tool to your manager or whoever has purchasing power at your company, those case studies are really awesome. And they kind of highlight some of the ROI that other businesses have seen. I know we’ve had customers have told us what Zipwhip is worth to them in monetary value. Keith, I think you interviewed someone who said Zipwhip is worth like $50,000 a year to them. So it’s a pretty inexpensive tool for what you can get out of it.

Keith Hitchcock:
There’s that and there’s another one who said is basically worth one other full time staff person with the time that they’re saving. Thank you for your questions. If we didn’t get to your question, we’ll do our best to follow up with you and get an answer to you. But as we start to bring things to a close, I will want to reiterate the keyword line that we have. If you haven’t tried it yet, go ahead and try that. If you’re a customer, you could toggle your signature off, you can text 10 to that number to get the resources that we’ve talked about. Text chat if you want to talk to someone in Zipwhip about texting as your business. And feel free to toss some questions in there as well.

Keith Hitchcock:
With that, I want to thank you for joining us. Pleasure to have you on board. If you’re a customer, I know there’s some of you out there, thank you for your business. Natalie, thanks for joining us for this webinar and all that you’ve contributed to this.

Natalie Schwab:
Absolutely. Thanks for having me. This is fun.

Keith Hitchcock:
And if there’s one next step that I can recommend is checking out that Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers. It’ll basically go over the points that we’ve offered you today and go even deeper. With that, one more plug for the customer services support, ebook and a webinar coming up, look for that later in the next couple of months. And hope to see you again on another webinar. Bye-bye.

Natalie Schwab:
Bye, everyone. Thank you.

Sign up for Zipwhip's best tips