Here are 7 actionable tips that you and your team can start implementing today to get optimal response rates.
1. Keep it short.
Part of the power of texting is that the messages are brief. People check their text messages often because texts don’t require a lot of thought or processing to respond to. Don’t thwart their expectations by going on and on.
Each message should focus on:
- What value you can provide
- What you’re asking
Hey Gigi, it’s Andrew for CompleteHealth Staffing. I’m writing to tell you about some of the great travel nursing gigs we have available coming up next month. We have excellent gigs every month and have for the past 27 years. If you are looking for something in California, we have over 800 great positions. If you are looking in Wisconsin, we have 400 great positions. Of course, we want to make sure you are a Registered Nurse and have at least one year of experience before we start to chat. Could I call you tomorrow morning?
Brief and to-the-point
Hey Gigi, Noticed you’re looking for a travel nursing position. Are you an RN w/ 1+ yrs of experience? — Grant from CompleteHealth
2. Be casual and friendly.
We don’t live in a “Sincerely yours” era, we live in a “ttyl” era. Formality is as outmoded as fax machines. It will be especially off-putting on text, one of our most casual communication channels.
The messages that get the most responses are written at a third-grade reading level. Like short messages, casual messages are easier for busy contacts to read and process. To get responses, make sure your text messages are casual and friendly as an emoji.
- Go with a pleasant tone. Saying hello, wishing contacts a good day, and otherwise keeping interactions light will help boost engagement.
- Keep your vocab natural. Don’t use a fifty-cent word when a five-cent word will do.
- Add some humor. A good joke is a great icebreaker.
- And speaking of emojis, don’t be afraid of them! They are increasingly acceptable in business communication.
Note: messages still need to be appropriate. Don’t let your team mistake casualness for no-holds-barred.
Looking for more on writing the kind of brief, casual text messages that get responses? Check out our article The ABCs of Getting Timely Responses from Prospects.
3. Stay specific.
Short and sweet doesn’t mean substanceless. Before they message you back, your contacts need to understand what, exactly, you’re offering and what you want them to do.
Not only that — being specific shows your contacts that you’ve done your homework. The more specific a message is, the more they know you are addressing them personally, not just casting a wide net and hoping to catch anyone.
Hey, are you looking for a great tool to make your day better? Our webinar will tell you all about ThingBot — should I sign you up?
Hey Shirley, we have a special webinar just for project coordinators like you on linking task management to organizational strategies – interested?
4. Stay timely.
Timing is everything in business communication. This is especially true with texting — most texts are read within three minutes of being received!
When thinking about timing, you and your team should consider two things.
First, think about how likely a recipient is to pause and respond at a particular time and day of the week. This will vary depending on your contacts’ industries and work hours.
While emails often get the best responses when they’re sent in the middle of the day, the best timing for text messages is a bit harder to pin down — because few people are ever very far from their phones. To find the best time to get your audience’s attention, try a little experimentation:
- Before work, after work, and during lunch breaks are good times to test for audiences that have more traditional work hours.
- For shift workers, you may seize the opportunity to touch base with them at odd hours, such as later in the evening or very early in the morning when they may be coming on or off their shifts.
- Experiment with weekend texts for an executive audience. This may be a relatively quiet time when it’s easier to get their attention.
Once you have settled on the day and time to send, think about how well your message or request fits into the bigger picture for your recipient.
- When you have a big trade show or conference coming up, send a message about connecting in-person a week or two before the event. Trying to get on someone’s calendar during the hustle and bustle of an event can be an uphill battle.
- If you’re looking to get a team demo set-up or to schedule a group training, skip the end of November and the last two weeks of December, when many are out of the office for the holidays.
- Consider ways you can use seasonality, viral topics, or other trends to make your message even more timely.
5. Focus on them.
When you’re trying to get someone’s attention in a crowded room, do you say your own name or do you say theirs? Right, it’d be absurd to yell your own name to get someone else’s attention.
You and your prospects are in a crowded room together — and everyone wants their attention. Sending a message that talks only about you and your company is a misstep. They are much more likely to give it to you if you say their name and say something that speaks to them directly about what they need.
To tell your contacts the right story about themselves, be sure you understand:
- What their challenges are
- What their purchasing power and constraints are
- Who the other relevant players in the decision are
- What kind of solutions have worked in the past
6. Ask yes or no questions.
Dominic Small, TextUs’s Director of Customer Success, recommends keeping messages simple, too.
Small says asking a straightforward yes or no question is an easy way to start engagement. It can also save your team some time — if someone isn’t currently open to an offer, a product, or another communication, your team can table outreach until a better time.
7. Use text to schedule more in-depth conversations.
Cold calls and cold email outreach have become less and less effective. People are so inundated with emails they ignore most of what comes through their inboxes. And phone calls have become unwelcome intrusions in our message-centric world.
Texting is a great way to move to phone or email. When you text to ask to connect on the phone, your contacts are likely to respond and likely to move to a more substantial conversation with you.
Caleb English, COO of staffing firm The Right Solutions, agrees that a great way to get responses is to simply text to ask the best time to talk. “Texting doesn’t always facilitate an in-depth conversation,” says Caleb, “but it does allow the opportunity to set a follow-up plan.”
Once your team masters these skills, they’ll see improvements in responses and gain more opportunities.