With Customers Glued to Smartphones, Businesses Turn to Texting

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It’s no secret that people are addicted to their smartphones.

In a Time Magazine/Qualcomm study, 68% of people said they sleep with their mobile phone next to the bed. When they wake up, they check their phone within the first 15 minutes, most often to read or send texts, a Deloitte survey found. Our mobile phones are never far away from us, and Americans check them more than 9 billion times a day.

And what are they doing? You guessed it—texting. Americans spend 26 minutes a day on SMS, sending 5.3 texts for every call they make.

Today, texting is starting to catch on in the business world, though many companies have yet to realize its full potential. “SMS remains an effective, yet underutilized, mobile tactic among marketing leaders,” says Charles Golvin, research director of Gartner for Marketers. According to Gartner, no other messaging medium approaches SMS in its reach.

Messaging is immediate, but not intrusive like a ringing phone. That’s one reason people are switching from voice to SMS for many commercial interactions.

Sixty-two percent of personal smartphone users and 64% of business phone users now use messaging for questions about a product, an IDG/Heymarket study found. And 36% of personal users and 45% of business users texted with a sales or customer service rep before a purchasing a major item, such as a TV, car, or home. Both personal users (38%) and business users (37%) used messaging to compare product and service features and pricing.

Business texting offers several advantages over phone and email communication:

  • It gets noticed.Ninety-eight percent texts are read, 90% of them within the first three seconds.
  • It’s immediate. Texting is perfect for offering customers offers and discounts within a short timeframe. They’ll see the message as soon as it comes through. You can also notify them of upcoming events and sales.
  • It’s easy and familiar. Customers don’t need to download anything. Everyone has SMS on their phone.

Many businesses don’t realize that with enterprise mobile messaging, it’s possible to send professional-looking texts with custom templates and fast-loading photos and videos. You can also do automated message campaigns, just like you would with email.

The only difference is, people actually read texts.

That’s a lesson the Loft, a New York event space, learned the hard way. The company’s general manager switched to texting after discovering her emails were opened only 3% of the time.

Texting changed the open rate to over 50%. Not surprisingly, bookings have increased.

The Loft, which uses Heymarket, sends guests information about hours, directions, and parking through a personalized list. It uses a different list for VIP clients, who require extra attention.

High-end customers love the quick responses they get with texting. That’s why top Keller Williams Realtor Tristan Ahumada uses it for his Southern California “A” list. His clients like getting instant 360-degree-view photos of properties they’re interested in. And with Heymarket, Tristan can see which clients have viewed his photos, so he knows who to follow up with.

Texting increases engagement.  Since he’s started using it, Tristan’s clients have been messaging him up to 50 times a week. Establishing a close, ongoing relationship with clients is key to sales.

If email isn’t getting results for you, you might want to try texting. You’ll reach more customers, and you can impress them with a fast response.