Texting for Your Small Business: Four Tips to Do It Like a Pro
By Rieva Lesonsky, award-winning journalist on small business
Ready to step up your customer communications with texting?
Texting, or SMS (short message service) has emerged as a convenient, effective, and efficient way for businesses to communicate with customers. And it’s often preferred by customers over other forms of communications.
If you haven’t read Business Texting for Beginners, you may want to start there.
Why is texting important for small businesses?
For small businesses with fewer resources to manage customer inquiries, texting can be a strategic weapon to build customer loyalty. Texting can help you manage communications throughout the customer journey—from that first call to service and appointment confirmations. It can also be effective when used to send billing, request customer reviews, and solicit customer referrals.
In short, texting is more than a convenience tool. It can be a game-changer that saves time and builds a stronger connection with your customers.
How do you get started? And how do you do it both professionally and efficiently? Here are four tips.
1. Text with your brand in mind.
Align your text messages with your brand. If your brand is casual and friendly, use language that reflects that. If your brand is more serious, then make sure your messages are crisp and professional. And don’t forget to add your logo and company name to your messages. Tools like Index can do this automatically, making your workflow even more efficient.
2. Give customers the information they need—quickly.
When responding to a customer question via text, answer the question or provide a link to the answer on your website.
If you need time to research the answer, let customers know when you’ll get back to them.
Don’t assume that customers have saved your contact information. Identify yourself in every text. Include your company’s name, logo, email, phone number, and link to your website in every text.
If appropriate, give your hours of operation. You can link to a calendar so your customers can make or change appointments if they want.
3. Keep it short, then P-R-O-O-F and proof again.
Be brief. If your message is longer than 200 words, look for ways to take the conversation off text. For example, consider linking to your website’s FAQ or product list, schedule a time to call them back, or move to email.
Don’t forget to proofread! If you have trouble texting from your phone, where typos are common, use an app like Index, which lets you message from your phone or computer. Keyboards are easier for most people to use without making mistakes.
Using templates reduces the chances of errors, increases professionalism, and makes it easier to respond quickly.
4. Set up templates.
Using text templates can help you auto-respond to missed calls (link), confirm appointments, send a thank you, or even send an invoice. Templates reduce your workload, increase accuracy, and save time. With Index, you can use one of the existing templates or create your own. See sample text templates here.
Consider using Google Sheets or Microsoft Word to draft your templates and Grammarly to check grammar and spelling.
Texting helps you put your message in your customers’ hands immediately and efficiently. With open rates exceeding 80 percent, texting can reach customers where they spend an increasing amount of time—on their phones. In addition to helping you reach them, it provides an easy way for customers to reach you and build their loyalty.
Learn more tips for running and growing your small business here.
Rieva Lesonsky is an award-winning business journalist who has covered small businesses and entrepreneurship for over 30 years. She was the long-time editorial director at Entrepreneur magazine.