According to txtsignal, a company that offers mass-texting capabilities to businesses, 98% of texts are read by the recipient within two minutes, and that rate increases to nearly 100% within 24 hours of receipt. Compare that to email, which has a read rate of 20% over the lifetime of the message, and lots of messages that never get opened at all.
It’s obvious that when it comes to open or read rates, texting beats email hands down. But does that mean you should only use texting for all of your business communication? Of course not. Every customer will have a preference of how they would like to communicate with you, the trick is finding the best marketing channel to reach them.
According to a study by Marketing Shepra, 27% of 18 to 34 year olds want text messages from companies versus 6% of people 65 and over. So while text messaging does have high open rates, you also need to acknowledge that depending on the age of the prospect you are trying to connect with, they may prefer an alternative form of communication.
While open and read rates are important metrics to consider when prospecting, you should also consider which form of communication is best suited to deliver a particular message? Put yourself in your customer’s place and consider their needs and desires—how and when are they likely to be most receptive to what you want to tell them? How much do you need to say in your outreach? Here are some pros and cons to help you decide:
- Can be sent and received from different types of devices (computer, phone, laptop, tablet)
- Can attach documents
- Can include lengthier chunks of verbiage
- Provides history when there is back-and-forth communication
- Can reach the masses
- Not always read
- Receipt could be delayed or interrupted on either end due to a service provider’s glitch
- Happens in real time
- Easy to attach photo or video
- Can easily include links
- Should be short messages
- Can be difficult to track back-and forth history
- Can be more expensive depending on SMS rates
Texting and email both have their place in prospecting. Remember, too, that there are other ways to communicate with prospects or clients that are sometimes better choices.
- In-person meetings and phone calls can be useful to establish a trusting relationship. They may also make it easier to explain confusing or complex information because you get real-time feedback and the ability to quickly answer questions.
- Social media is a great way to maintain a low-key presence in your customer’s minds and share useful tips or articles.
- Printed materials like brochures or information sheets provide a visual summary and a reminder of your products and services for later reference or consideration.
- A robust website gives your customers the ability to find information whenever they want it, even when your office is closed or you are unavailable.
Best Solution: Multi-Channel Marketing Strategy
Ultimately, your strongest choice is variety. A multi-channel marketing strategy will increase your chances of connecting with new prospects and maintaining a solid relationship with current customers. Lets take a look at how you could incorporate several of these marking channels into your prospecting strategy.
Say you receive a lead, what should you do first? After analyzing the age of the prospect and determining their preferred contact method, you can start from there. For example, you received a lead from a prospect that is 21 years old. As you know they are more likely to prefer a text message versus a phone call. You can begin your outreach via text message stating,
“Hey First Name,
I received your request for an insurance quote and am working on putting this together for you now. You can learn more about myself and my agency here. www.agentnameinsurance.com
I look forward to speaking with you further!
Thanks, Agent Name”
Once you have your quote ready you should create an email with your quote, any additional documents you plan on reviewing with your prospect, and a link to your company website, social pages and contact information. After you send the email, you should follow up with a call to review your quote with your prospect.
Managing these different marketing channels can be overwhelming, but there are many customer relationship management (CRM) services that can streamline your outreach strategies. Not only will a CRM streamline these strategies for you, but will also allow you to measure all your marketing communication efforts and help you determine what channels are working best for you. We have several integrated partners we highly recommend implementing at your agency. To see the full benefits of implementing a CRM, click here.