It’s 2021. That means your customers expect more convenience. And that means texting. Over 85% of consumers expect local businesses to offer more convenient communication now than they did prior to COVID-19. And over 65% of consumers think texting makes working with a local business more convenient.
While it’s true that most texts are opened within three minutes (95%), many business texts—including promos, campaigns, and informational messages—often go unread. So how do you get customers to actually engage with your texts? What is the secret to getting results from your messaging? Personalization.
Consumers constantly, and increasingly, crave personalization in their brand interactions. And communication is no exception. With 72% of consumers saying they only engage with personalized messaging, personalized texts get significantly higher engagement and more results than generalized ones.
Maybe you’re looking for a few ways to make SMS marketing easier and more effective for your business. Or perhaps you’re manually trying to text all your customers using a smartphone. Either way, the simplest way to improve your SMS marketing is to invest in software that allows you to automate the process and customize your texts. And it’s a lot less complicated, and expensive, than you might think for SMS messages.
In this article, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of personalization, what it looks like, and how to do it on the cheap.
What are personalized text messages and what do they look like?
In our current digitized marketplace, consumers and leads know that businesses rarely have humans power all of their customer service. They’re aware of the AI and software businesses employ, including the automated bots that text them. In fact, bot support has become standard.
However, bots come with their own problems. We’ve all been there. You click on a live chat icon and ask a question only to have a clearly automated bot respond with several requests for personal information. Just as you’re responding, the bot replies that you’ve taken too long and now have to start the conversation over. When you finally jump through all the hoops, the bot doesn’t even accurately answer your question.
When it comes to business communication, automations can save you valuable time, cut costs, and vet your incoming leads in ways that help you close your sales cycle faster. But if your automated features sound like a bot, you can lose customers quickly.
In order to diversify yourself from the competition, you need to have personalized text messages that do not sound like bots. The following examples demonstrate businesses trying to promote their products to their current customers for an upsell.
How do I personalize my text messages?
A typical bot might address Sadie and Sunny as “valued customers,” include some offer not relevant to their last purchase and timing, and discourage continued conversation. However, Pinki Palm and Belon Auto address their customers by name, text offers personalized for Sadie and Sunny, and encourage continued engagement.
To personalize your text messages, include personal details and market according to those details. Even small details, like addressing someone by name, can have a significant impact. And anticipating customer wants and needs is paramount. 63% of consumers expect businesses to know their unique needs and expectations while 76% of B2B buyers expect the same thing.
When sending messages, consider the following components:
Best practices for personalized texts.
Really successful personalized messages often have features in common. Consider the following best practices:
- Use conversational language. One of the biggest turn-offs with messages is that businesses sound like they’re shouting, “BUY NOW!” “OFFER ENDS TODAY!” To appeal to your customers, keep personalized text messages light-hearted, short, and conversational—just like you’re talking to a friend. And yes, you can include emojis to keep the conversation personal and informal! 👌😘😉
- Send during business hours. If your customer receives a promo at 4:00 am, they won’t be happy. Send personalized text messages during the hours people are regularly working to respect your customers’ privacy and increase human-like feel. Keep in mind that sales and events promotions are most effective when they’re last-minute impulses. If you have an event on Wednesday night, consider sending the message as late as Wednesday afternoon.
- Use simple messages. Remember, your messages should be 160 characters or less. Try not to use any complex messaging that could be misinterpreted or misunderstood. If you’re sharing information about an event or a promotion, include the date(s) so your audience has all the information they need.
- Provide value. The key to successful personalized text messages is providing actual value. Employ unique content that is specific and relevant to the demographics you’re targeting. Don’t send a 20-year-old college student in Chicago a promo for carpet cleaning at your Boise location. Do send a 40-year-old male in Arizona a promo for tennis gear similar to what he has bought previously at your Phoenix location a month after his purchase.
- Include a CTA. If you miss the CTA, you miss the point of SMS marketing. Messages should include a direct call to action such as “check this out!” “stop by!” or “leave a review!”
- Include a link. Don’t let your links eat up the valuable space in your messages. You can use link shorteners or purchase an SMS marketing system that includes shortened links so customers can engage with you conveniently.
- Respond in real-time. A seven-hour delay in response time doesn’t feel like a real conversation—it feels like a bot. 71% of consumers (16-24) believe a quick response can drastically improve their customer experience. Try to respond as quickly as possible to avoid disengagement and increase connectivity.
Effective use cases for personalized texts.
Personalized texts have all kinds of valuable use cases, and local businesses are using them in innovative ways to improve their customer experience. Consider the following use cases.
You can easily elevate your payments experience through personalized text messages. Did you know that 1 in 4 consumers abandon transactions entirely when their preferred methods of payment aren’t available? If you’re only offering credit card and cash options, you’re missing 31% of consumers’ top choices.
Personalized text messages help you get paid faster and make the process simpler, and far more convenient, for your customers.
Reviews influence 88% of consumers in discovering a local business. They’re 2x more likely to be an important factor in choosing a local business than loyalty, and 7.4x more likely to be an important factor than traditional marketing. And the reality is, most consumers have read a review in the last week. With such high stakes, how do you manage your reputation?
Personalized text messages make collecting hundreds, even thousands, of reviews quick and easy. Consumers simply click the text link and submit.
3. Live chat
Approximately 41% of customers expect to see a chat option when they land on your website. A recent survey reported that live chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour and a 40% increase in conversion rate. And 41% of consumers prefer live chat support over any other channel.
When you use personalization in your live chat messaging, these stats go up. And with a feature like Webchat, you can transition the text conversation from desktop to mobile interfaces and back, offering unparalleled convenience and conversationalism.
How do I send a personalized mass text?
Sending mass texts is an effective way to market as it saves time, increases efficiency, and reaches more of your customer base. However, even mass texts should sound like individual conversations. This means addressing customers how we discussed—by name, with relevant details at relevant times, etc. Since you definitely don’t want to do this manually, a main part of mass texting includes automations.
Free tools, such as those offered by Podium, enable great customizations easily. By tying your software to your CRM database, you can personalize messages effortlessly and make sure that each customer feels like you’re texting them and only them.
Can I put a signature on my text messages?
Putting a signature on personalized text messages can be a tricky thing to figure out for many businesses that use general software platforms. But with Podium’s platform, it’s easy, especially when it comes to review invites.
When sending invites, you want each to be perfectly timed with automations and include specific language and your signature. Employing specific language for review invites takes mere minutes with Podium’s customization tool, and you can use any signature that you prefer.
Personalized text messages help you up your game in ways nothing else can. They have a higher conversion, better results, and drastically increase your revenue. You can use them in multiple ways at multiple touchpoints—such as payments, reviews, and Webchat—throughout your customer journey.
And with free tools at your fingertips, there’s nothing to keep you from getting started.
Get started free with Podium Starter.