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How many times do you think you check your phone in a day? Maybe 50 times? 100? 200? Or perhaps you think those numbers are way off, and there’s no way you check your phone that much.
But as it turns out, Americans check their smartphones 262 times a day on average, which is once every 5 and a half minutes.
What this data tells us is that reaching customers on their smartphones is obviously a lucrative way to sell.
In fact, it’s likely that you’re reading this on your phone right now.
But not through calls, since most people prefer texting a business over calling them, it likely makes sense for your business to communicate with customers over text for most applications, like appointment reminders, shipping confirmations, payment reminders, and more.
But if your business has never used SMS to reach customers, you probably have questions. And we have answers.
It’s clear you need SMS software for your business, but before you pick the first SMS software result on Google, it’s important to take a step back and look at the key features and other considerations you’ll need to ponder before making a decision.
What is SMS Software?
SMS software, or business SMS software, allows companies to send SMS messages (text messages) to customers who opt-in to receive marketing text messages through a lead generation form. Aside from text marketing, businesses can also use SMS software to send appointment reminders, shipping or purchase confirmation emails, and more.
What is SMS automation software?
SMS automation software is typically seen in the form of marketing drip campaigns, segmented SMS messages that are sent to a select group of users, or mass text messages to all customers. Automated SMS software allows companies to schedule messages in advance to be sent out to customers once certain conditions have been met.
For example, a customer purchases a product off a website and receives a text confirmation of their purchase. Or, a customer fills in a lead generation form to receive updates on new product launches and gets prompted to pre-order or purchase an item when it becomes available.
4 Major Benefits of SMS Tools
SMS software may sound great, but it helps to know exactly what it can do for your business. Here are 6 benefits of SMS tools that prove the ROI for SMS software is worth it for any industry.
SMS Software Improve Sales Performance
SMS software can greatly increase your sales revenue through automated text messages. There are lots of stats online on how text messages have a much higher open rate than emails, and they tend to get read faster, too. So it makes sense that automated text messages to targeted leads would result in higher sales, right?
Here are some ideas using SMS software that is proven to increase sales:
- Reminders, including payment due dates, meetings, information requests
- Marketing automation, including discounts, sales, and product launches
- Confirmations, including orders received, shipping, shipment tracking
Automated Messages Improve Efficiency
SMS software works similarly to email, where you can create a message template and then save that template to use for other projects or campaigns at a later date. Message templates not only reduce administrative work but also offer a quick turnaround time for new campaigns. A template may only need a few words of updated information before it's ready to be used for a new campaign.
Automatic personalization options, usually in the form of a placeholder for a customer’s name or business in the subject line or first sentence of the text, provide an easy and effective way to add a bit of humanization to the text message, which usually resonates better with customers.
Better than Email for Customer Engagement
SMS is quickly becoming the most direct marketing channel to increase customer engagement. Whether it’s through a drip campaign or automated text message reminder, SMS is often a viable option over email for customer communication.
In fact, SMS messages are 134% more likely to be read than emails.
That doesn’t mean that you should never use email, only that you need to consider which platform is best for the message you are sending. If you’re sending out a time-sensitive message that requires the customer to act quickly, such as a limited-time discount code or sale, SMS might be the better option since it has much higher open rates when compared to email.
Response Data Provides Valuable Insights
Wondering what your customers are saying about you? SMS marketing is an easy way to gather response data and use that information to influence your customer-facing processes. With Ringy, SMS messages are stored in the CRM and can be referenced for insights to improve sales, marketing, and customer service.
For example, let’s say you’re a SaaS business and after analyzing your business’s SMS messages, it turns out that most customers text support reps about canceling their free trial. There are so many insights and questions to be gleaned from this bit of information: Why do your customers want to cancel? Do customers think the service is too expensive? What can your business do to make ending a free trial easier?
According to a 2019 State of Texting report by Zipwhip, 74% of consumers said they respond to a text message from a business in under an hour, while only 41% said the same for email. Alongside high open rates, SMS could be a great channel for your business to receive and utilize customer feedback.
SMS Enterprise Software
Not all SMS software is scalable to large enterprise businesses, so it’s important to know and understand the potential software limitations before making a choice. The biggest factor when choosing SMS enterprise software is going to be the features it offers.
However, at the same time, you don’t want to get bogged down with too many features, especially if your business only ends up using a few of them. Basically, like with most businesses, you have to find the correct balance between budget, features, and usability.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you choose the right SMS enterprise software:
- Do I need to send marketing or other communications to a large number of contacts (typically over 1,000 would be a large number of contacts) at once? If so, how does that affect the price?
- Is there the option to save text messages as templates, and categorize them based on how they will be used (marketing, appointment confirmation, reminders)?
- Does the SMS enterprise software provide analytics? (i.e., response data)
- Are there features such as a sales pipeline, lead management system, and campaign management alongside SMS?
5 Key Considerations When Choosing a Messaging Management System
Your Current Tech Stack
It can be easy to bring in a new piece of technology to serve a specific purpose, but you also want to avoid having too much software in your tech stack, or things will most certainly get missed and employee adoption could be low.
Consider how SMS software will fit into your current tech stack. For instance, does it integrate with software that you already have? Ringy, as an example, integrates with Google Calendar, Zapier, and Facebook. In some cases, SMS software is built into a CRM, like Ringy. This could mean that you gain a CRM and SMS management system, or it could mean that you can streamline your tech stack by adopting the new CRM in addition to the SMS software system.
The messaging management system that you choose should align with your employee’s needs. For instance, your marketing team will likely need (or at least highly benefit from) having a messaging management system that provides drip campaigns and automated messages, so that customers can be sent the right communications as quickly as possible.
Most messaging management systems are either free or relatively low-cost, which makes it easier to adapt to your existing tech stack and try out software to see what fits your business.
Finding the best balance between cost and features can be easier said than done with some messaging management systems. Thankfully, most offerings, like Ringy, offer a free trial period where you can test out the software to see if it meets your needs before committing to a subscription.
Ease of Use
If it’s not easy to use, chances are you’re going to have trouble with employee adoption. A messaging management system with a clean, modern interface goes a long way toward reducing headaches and increasing productivity.
Ringy’s interface is clean and inviting, with the right balance of white space and visual components to communicate data.
Cost of SMS Software
There’s such a wide variety of SMS software out there, but thankfully the cost of SMS software is more on the affordable side. Just take a look at the cost comparison chart of CRMs (that include SMS software built-in) in our CRM for small business article.
SMS software can cost anywhere from under $10 a month all the way up to a couple of thousand dollars per month, depending on how many text messages you need to send, whether the SMS software you choose is also a CRM, and what features you’re looking for.
What you do want to focus on is scalability. You might be a small business just starting out, and want something that will grow with your business. Ringy is a good option for scalability because we offer pay-as-you-go if you anticipate only sending a few messages or a subscription option that allows you to send up to 1,000 SMS messages per month (extras are billed accordingly).
Implementing SMS Software
SMS software either comes as a standalone product or is built into a CRM. Whether it’s built into a CRM or not, the initial setup process should be similar.
Here are some high-level setup instructions that should work for most SMS software offerings:
- After signing up for a free trial or subscription, download the software to your computer. Typically after you sign up, the provider will either email you a download link or provide one directly on their website.
- After downloading the software, you’ll need to install it. Click on the software you just downloaded to initiate the installation process.
- After installing the software, you can now open it and begin your initial setup. Once you’re up and running with Ringy, for example, you might want to integrate with lead vendors or upload your list of leads into the system so you actually have people to text.
- Determine if you need to purchase local phone numbers. Ringy integrates with local phone number providers to make it easy to purchase the ones that you need.
SMS software case studies
Jacaranda Financial Planning
Financial SMS automation provided Jacaranda, an Australian-owned financial company, a better way to connect with its customers.
Jacaranda provides an in-house underwriting platform that creates a fast and unique scoring system to qualify prospective borrowers.
With evidence that shows a preference to communicate over text versus phone calls, it makes sense that Jacaranda, a company that is very forward-thinking when it comes to technology, would adopt SMS messaging software.
After implementing SMS automation software, Jacaranda experienced:
- Faster customer payments, with 67% of customers paying their bills on time
- 40% reduced spending on staff wages
- 55% of customers returning to use Jacaranda’s service again
- Higher customer response rate
- Improved accuracy with delivering client messages
HBO’s Game of Thrones gets unprecedented hype and views due to “Three-eyed Raven” SMS campaign
The story of HBO’s Game of Thrones “Three-eyed Raven” SMS campaign is one for the ages.
HBO wanted to hype up fans before the season 5 opening show, so they crafted an SMS campaign to send reminders and teaser links to fans, allowing them to view a temporary mobile website where they could see sneak peeks of upcoming episodes.
To take it even further, HBO made the links expire after a certain time (along with the website) to create even more urgency among fans to view the content. Of course, fans responded by viewing the content in record numbers, and sharing said content on social media, extending the life of this “temporary” content.
Dell increases online sales with SMS notifications
To keep in touch with customers, Dell implemented a SMS alert system to keep customers informed about order status, even during really busy shopping times like Black Friday.
Suspected credit card fraud caused a bottleneck for orders being processed, as most credit card companies would put a hold on the card as a precautionary measure, meaning the order payment wouldn’t go through. Dell would try to contact customers using conventional means like email and phone calls, but most attempts to contact customers would fall short, resulting in the customer never getting their product, and leading to a lost sale and unhappy customer.
It was that, or customers calling support to check on the status of their order, which led to high costs in resources. Using SMS and relying on its incredible read rates, Dell was able to significantly reduce customers calling in about order status and generate more online sales.
Frequently-asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Bulk SMS Software?
Bulk SMS software, like most business SMS software tools like Ringy, Textedly, EZTezting, etc., allows you to send SMS messages to large numbers of customers in your contact list at one time.
What are SMS Marketing Tools?
SMS marketing tools are typically things like drip campaigns, customer segments, and analytics. Drip campaigns let you set automatic text messages to be sent to customers once they complete a certain process, like purchasing a product from your website. Customer segments ensure that an SMS campaign is sent to the correct types of customers. For example, a storewide sale that is only happening at one location will only need customers in that local area to be notified of the sale.
What is SMS Automation Software?
SMS automation software allows you to schedule automatic text messages to go out to a certain customer or group of customers when certain parameters are met. For instance, when an item is shipped, you can automatically send tracking information to the specific customer that will receive that item. Or, perhaps there’s a new product launch coming up soon. That would be a more widespread text that can be scheduled to be sent a certain amount of time before the launch.
What are SMS Support Tools?
SMS support tools typically refer to the tools that a customer support team would use to communicate with customers. SMS support tools usually include features such as automated responses, where certain keywords that the customer uses triggers a specific response from the system. This can save time and money, as simpler customer questions can be answered by the software, and if the customer needs a support rep, the software can determine that and notify a rep to respond.
In this day and age, smartphones are like an extension of ourselves. Although SMS has been around since cell phones became mainstream, some businesses think it’s an archaic way to communicate with their customers and opt for email instead.
While email is still a good channel to use for certain customer communications, SMS shows promising statistics when it comes to open rates, read rates, and response rates that can’t be ignored. SMS software is an important tool for businesses of all sizes to use to maximize marketing efforts, increase sales, and reduce the strain on their customer support staff.
If you haven’t implemented SMS software into your business’s tech stack, you’ll want to contact our sales team for a demo of Ringy’s full CRM and SMS software offering.