If You're Sending SMS Reminders, You're Probably Making This Mistake...
First, let me give you a hearty congratulations for being smart enough to send SMS notifications. We all know that what's going on in our business is extremely important to us, but that doesn't mean it's at the top of our prospective customers' to do list. In fact, the reason that any reminder at all is necessary is the heart of why this mistake is so important for you to know about, and to fix.
I'm imagining that the reason you were motivated to send SMS reminders or notifications was because you noticed that emails don't always do the trick. Maybe you've missed an appointment or a webinar you really wanted to attend because time got away from you. I know I have.
So, again, congratulations on recognizing how important it was to jump the email inbox and all the other distractions to capture your prospective customer's attention in what is the most popular format of communication today...messaging.
If you're urgent to see what the mistake is, no doubt you've already jumped to it below...and that's total cool. But I want to set the stage for you about what the problem is, and why it's a VERY important problem for you to pay attention to.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've noticed that mobile has consumed the world. In fact, mobile communications has become so big that by 2017, more people will have mobile internet access than clean water access!
If you have a prospect in the developed world, they're on mobile. Even most luddites who refused to buy a computer have caved on the smartphone.
Studies have shown that the most popular communication method is no longer email, or even the lowly phone call. Both have been clearly toppled by messaging. People Facebook Message, iMessage, chat, Twitter DM, text message, SnapChat, YikYak, and on and on.
So again, you're really smart to be jumping out of the chaos of the email inbox and texting them. As I'm sure you've heard from everyone selling text messaging, 98% of text messages are read, and 95% within 5 minutes. I'm sure those stats have changed since they first came out and started being propagated, but the reality is while not every phone has SnapChat on it, every mobile phone, and I mean EVERY MOBILE PHONE, has text messaging. From the dumb phone to the latest smartphone, they come with SMS preinstalled and ready for action.
In fact, it's become so common, that people expect that a phone number can do three things: Make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and connect to Whatsapp ;)
Here's The Mistake
The biggest mistake that companies make when they send SMS reminders or notifications is they don't allow for response.
Now think about this. You want to send them a message, but you're not going to receive any. Hum.
You have a person who has shared their most intimate communication method (messaging) and you're just going to talk AT them.
Sophisticated marketers know that if they really want to make dough, they don't just accept the low hanging fruit of buyers who will buy of an ad, or maybe a few emails. They set up call centers and train sales people and they have those sales people make phone calls to warm leads to find out why they didn't buy and then help them make a decision. FYI, that's where all the real profit is in a business, it's been on the phone.
Because people do business with people. And while you might have the trust of a few with virtual interactions, most folks have a question or two that could be resolved with a little one on one. And when you pay on commission, that conversation doesn't have to cost you much at all.
I once shared how not making a single phone call to the 27 Thousand people who got into their cars, drove to a hotel and sat through a 3 hour training, but didn't invest in our assistance cost me at least three million dollars. I know because since then my companies and clients have made many multiples of that using the lowly phone.
But what does this have to do with your SMS notification?
When people give you permission to send them a notification, they now are opening up a communication channel unlike any other you've ever had.
When you email, so are hundreds of other people, not to mention spammers. Plus many email service providers are trying to market to people as they are reading your marketing message!
When you call, the person on the other end has to be ready and willing to receive that call, which is why the number one result of a sales person's phone call is leaving a voice mail.
When you text, it sits on the phone with a red dot, scratching on the prospect's brain, asking to be released from the red dot. "Please, just look at the text so I can stop holding up this red circle with a white number in it!", the phone screams.
But, the person can be in a meeting. They could be out to eat. They could be in the middle of a conversation with someone, and they will check the message. Most will respond right then and there too. If not, they will as soon as they can!
And yet, you're just talking AT them.
You're not engaging them in a conversation before the webinar, appointment, or whatever you're notifying or reminding them about.
Why wouldn't you tell them about the event and ask them the number one reason they registered?
"But Ryan, I can do that in a survey when they register. Why would I do that in a text message, which is probably going to cost ME a few cents?"
Here's why...your competition isn't.
Your competition is talking AT them.
And chances are, they are doing it on the same stupid short code you're using.
What? You don't think your competition isn't looking at what you're doing and then going out and finding the same vendor?
The other day I was talking with a very smart marketer about SMS notifications and she said that the other day she had registered for two different webinars from two different companies who were competitors to each other. She had a problem and both of these companies came up as having solutions. When she received the SMS reminder about both of these webinars from the same short code she became confused. Which event was when? Where these really not two different companies? Were they the same company?
See, chances are, your competition is, maybe like you have been, just talking AT prospects.
But when you move the pre-event reminder from simply a one way street, to engaging the prospect in chatting with your company, telling you what they are concerned about prior to the webinar, you just did two VERY IMPORTANT things.
First, YOU have initiated a new standard. With your company, they may text message. And just as important, you don't talk AT them. You engage in dialog with them. This means AFTER the webinar, you can open up the dialog again. You can allow them to comfortably ask questions in a safe way, via text message. And what's great about SMS is it's very easy to segue into a phone call, if that's what your prospect prefers.
Second, you KNOW exactly what you need to address in your appointment or webinar in order to help your prospect make a decision.
Yes, you clearly can gather this kind of feedback on the computer, or the web form when they are registering, but you'll lose the opportunity to open a new channel.
How do you do it?
Three Possible Solutions
1. Direct their responses to keywords that can initiate automated SMS conversations.
This can be effective, but opens up the doors for misunderstandings if the prospect misspells the keyword, or doesn't understand your request to only text back keywords.
2. Allow for any response by using an automated conversation that can respond to anything they might text back.
This is extremely effective, and works great for high volume situations, where a personal response might not be possible. With FixYourFunnel we call this a "Default Conversation". That means that anything someone texts into the phone number that isn't an existing keyword, will trigger the conversation structure. So, it might save the incoming text message to a custom field in the contact record and then reply with something like, "Thank you for your feedback! I'll see if I can't address that during the webinar. If I'm unable to, I'll address that personally with you after."
3. Allow for any response by directing responses to a live SMS chat.
This is the most powerful, because you or team members can respond directly to incoming text messages much like you would on your personal phone, but have all those conversations logged into the contact record.
If you'd like to address this gap between you and your future customers, text us at (760) 621-8199, or simply call us at (760) 621-8199!
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