If an email is sent to an inbox and no one reads it, was it actually delivered?
Email has been a main source of communication between companies and customers for decades. However, its reliability is declining. Recent data shows that emails only have a 20 percent open rate and a 6 percent response rate. Text messages, on the other hand, have a 98 percent open rate and a 45 percent response rate.
Business texting is the next step to building trust and brand loyalty with your customer base. Unlike emails — which can sit in inboxes for days before they’re noticed — people check text messages frequently. Many smartphones are automatically programmed to send multiple notifications if a text message is not read. If you want a more effective way to get in front of your customers, texting may be the solution you’ve been waiting for. In fact, nearly half of businesses in America are already utilizing texting for:
Finding the right business text messaging solution for your business can be difficult. You need to consider the following factors before deciding on a tool:
1. Size of customer base — It is not uncommon for business texting tools to have a limit of messages you can send each month. You should review your current number of customers, as well your average growth rate to ensure you purchase a tool that fits your needs.
2. Type of communication needed — Business texting software features can vary. Some focus on providing a great one-on-one, business-to-consumer experience, while others emphasize mass marketing and text blast features. Determining how you will utilize texting in your communication strategy will help narrow your search.
3. Number of users — Do you plan to have multiple teams utilizing the texting software or just a couple of employees? Some tools specialize in being team friendly and allow supervisors to assign text conversations to specific team members.
4. Budget — There are several affordable business texting solutions on the market. Don’t pay for features you won’t utilize or messages you won’t use. Take your time to find the right solution for your business.
5. Available features — Many business texting apps have a specialty or niche, but the following features are common features across the industry:
With these considerations in mind, we compared several business texting solutions on the market. The following four apps stood out from the rest.
|Price per month:||$29–$99|
|Messages per month:||1,000–3,000|
MessageDesk’s Text-to-Pay SMS Payment Services are unique in the industry. Most business texting apps can integrate with CRMs to sync customer information. However, MessageDesk goes a step beyond and integrates directly with popular business accounting software, including QuickBooks and Xero.
Customers will receive a text reminder when payments are due that includes a link to pay directly from their phones. Businesses utilizing this feature experienced an increase in on-time payments.
MessageDesk is still developing advanced marketing features, like the ability to create text message campaigns. It may not be the right choice if you’re developing a robust SMS marketing strategy. However, it is an amazing tool for businesses looking to streamline their payment and accounting processes.
|Price per month:||$25–$125|
|Messages per month:||500–Unlimited|
Zipwhip has a simple, user-friendly interface that is great for small business owners. The app focuses on the individual messaging experience and would be a great resource for gyms, dentists, and other businesses that need a personal touch to their communication with customers.
The app encourages the use of templates and custom fields to create consistent, but personalized messaging to your client base. Utilizing these two features minimizes the need for repeat work and empowers small teams to be more efficient and effective.
While Zipwhip does offer unlimited messaging, you cannot message more than 100 people at the same time. Businesses with large marketing lists could find this limiting. However, for small businesses looking to develop personal relationships with their customers, Zipwhip may be the perfect tool.
|Price per month:||$49–$239|
|Messages per month:||1,000–5,000|
Obviously, texting and email are not the only two communication methods people utilize. The Heymarket app allows you to receive and respond to messages from WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, Facebook and Instagram Messenger, Line, and Google My Business. Customers can contact you using whatever channel they prefer, but your team only has to manage one app (which includes a chat widget for your website).
Heymarket includes features that are particularly useful for large teams. Each chat includes typing indicators to let you know if another team member is already responding, as well as seen/read indicators so you can determine which team members are up-to-date on the conversation. You can also search for specific chat messages which makes it easier to find and respond to customers.
The app does limit the number of unique customers you can message each day. However, the limits are high enough that most companies will not have an issue.
|Price per month:||$18.75–$625|
|Messages per month:||500–50,000|
SimpleTesting is a robust SMS marketing tool. Segmented lists allow you to send highly targeted messages to your customers base. The list software includes a self-cleaning feature that removes invalid numbers automatically. Not only does this save you time managing your contact lists, but it also means you don’t waste text credits.
Other marketing features include SMS sweepstakes, surveys and polls, automated birthday texts, and short code creation. SimpleTexting also integrates with MailChimp so you can easily sync contact lists across platforms.
SimpleTexting can also be used for one-on-one or customer service conversations; however, the features are much more oriented toward mass marketing purposes. The company offers a variety of pricing options that fit multiple budgets.
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