If you’re not using SMS as part of your customer engagement, you should be.
If you are using SMS, you should be using a phone validator on all the phone numbers you collect.
Here’s a little info to show you why.
When it comes to marketing messaging, actually reaching your customers is huge. Getting a response from them is an even bigger deal.
That’s why the metrics for marketing channels like email get so granular.
You measure open rates, click-through rates, and bounce rates. All in the name of discovering whether or not customers are actually getting your message.
That’s pretty good, especially with a large list.
But you’re trying to reliably contact customers, right?
Well, there’s actually a better communication channel: text messaging.
Why SMS is So Great For Marketing and More
First, and foremost, over 60% of the world’s population can be reached by SMS. That percentage is probably higher if you narrow the sample to the U.S.
That means that the vast majority of your customers can be reached by SMS.
Not only that, but SMS messages boast a 98% open rate!
And 90% of text messages are read within 3 seconds!
Lastly, 52.2% of all worldwide internet traffic is generated by mobile phones.
So it stands to reason that SMS can be a very productive method of customer engagement.
You can reach more customers, more reliably, and get them to click links more often when you communicate with them via text message.
Now we’ve established that SMS can work really well. But, since it’s so effective, what types of customer engagement is SMS actually good for?
Since the open rates and read rates are so high, SMS is an excellent way to offer promotions and let your customers know about current sales.
Including a link in your SMS is simple, and it makes it super easy for the customer to actually get to a purchasing page.
Be careful here, though. It’s easy to blow up your customer’s phone by sending messages too frequently.
If you have the data, the best way to avoid over contacting customers is to only send SMS campaigns for your highest converting sales and promotions.
Text messaging is also becoming more culturally accepted as a method for professional communication.
SMS is a great way to take care of quick conversations without being disruptive to your customer, and can be an especially effective tool for those that use account based marketing.
Sales and Shipping Confirmations
While it’s pretty standard practice to send all of these via email, SMS is more immediate.
SMS messages also tend to be less invasive than an email. So you can use SMS to ask customers if they even want a follow up email, or if they’d rather just get SMS notifications until they get their stuff.
If you don’t send physical goods, you can also use SMS links to initiate account creation or app downloads.
Again, this can be outrageously effective since SMS is immediate and provides a very direct line to the next action.
Tech and Customer Support
People prefer talking to people when they’re trying to solve a problem.
But, phone calls demand a dedicated block of time.
SMS doesn’t. You just reply whenever you have a second.
Communicating through SMS also makes it easy for tech support agents to help multiple customers at once.
Obviously, there are some issues that require some real-time conversation. Once you’ve made contact with the customer, you can use SMS to setup a time to talk, thus avoiding the dreaded on-hold music.
Lastly, you can replace your touch tone menu or voice command prompts with a simple text process where the customer can be directed to the proper representative by simply sending a few texts.
Although there are alternatives, passwords are still a necessary evil.
Forgetting a password or having an account compromised is a special kind of nightmare.
Fortunately, SMS can help.
First, for account recovery, SMS is a solid authentication tool. Even when accounts are compromised, mobile devices remain unaffected most of the time.
Whoever hacked the account would need to get into the account and also steal the account holder’s mobile phone in order to defeat SMS password recovery. This is quite rare.
Also, two factor authentication significantly increases account security. It’s now standard for many companies like Amazon and PayPal.
Some companies have even gone so far as to do away with passwords altogether and rely solely on unique verification codes sent via SMS.
By now you might be questioning what security has to do with sales. If you have a product which requires an account to be used, like a subscription service or an app, creating an account is a real barrier to making sales.
Creating passwords and trying to remember them gives people legitimate anxiety. Anxiety reduces sales.
The easier you can make it for people to access their account, and the more security you can offer, the more sign-ups you’ll get.
Why You Need a Phone Validator
So, now that you know why SMS is awesome, let’s come back to the phone validator we talked about earlier.
First, what is a phone validator?
A phone validator is a tool that tells you whether a phone number is a cell phone, landline, or VoIP number.
Having a phone validator is important for two reasons:
- You can’t send SMS messages to landlines. If you rely on SMS for any important communication, and the customer enters a landline number during checkout or registration, they won’t get your messages.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell from the phone number itself if it’s a landline or SMS capable number.
You need a phone validator to find out, so you can send text messages only to SMS capable numbers.
- It takes one task off the customer’s plate. You want your checkout flow or registration process to be as simple as possible. If there are too many steps, people will opt out.
Having to tell you whether their phone number is a cell phone or a landline might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Using a phone validator removes this step from the process and helps you get more people to the purchase finish line.
Having a phone validator in place saves you money on text messaging, because you won’t send messages to numbers that can’t receive them.
It also ensures that you’re communicating with your customers the right way.
How to Use a Phone Validator
Using a phone validator is pretty simple business. There are only two ways to do it:
- Use an external service on your list of phone numbers.
- Use an API to validate phone numbers when they’re entered.
Using an API is the best way.
Validating phone numbers at the point of entry helps keep your databases clean, since the API also checks to ensure the phone number is active.
An API also makes it possible to automate the process of removing landlines from your SMS list and sending SMS messages to mobile numbers.
Implementing an API is straightforward, but requires a bit of tech expertise. A web developer can install an API on your website pretty quickly.
However, if you already have a database of phone numbers that you haven’t checked, the best way is to use a batch processing validator to check your entire list. This is a simple and effective process that can be done with a TXT, CSV, or Excel list of your phone numbers.
You can also use a reverse address or reverse phone lookup tool to get phone numbers for contacts that you already have on your list. Then run those phone numbers through a phone validator to find out which ones you can send text messages to.
Additionally, you can use a batch append tool to complete a large list.
Overall, SMS can and should be a staple in your marketing ecosystem.
It’s conversational and personable. This helps lower people’s resistance to communicating with a company, since it implies the presence of a person on the other end.
It’s absurdly effective and has amazing engagement rates.
And SMS has excellent utility for improving the overall customer experience.
However, SMS can only do all these things if you use it on phone numbers that can receive messages. So use a phone validator!
How do you use SMS in your business?
Leave a comment or tag Searchbug on social media and let us know!