Should you use text messaging as a prospecting tool?

textingYou’ve likely read the research about how email open rates are about 20% while about 98% of texts are opened and 90% of texts are read within three minutes.

But you have to read the fine print.

What mass SMS companies (and their marketing stats) don’t make as clear: Texting is too personal a tool to use for prospecting.

Don’t text strangers

Yes, once you’ve built a relationship and asked if it’s okay to text, texting is awesome. Done right, it WILL help you convert.

But until you have communicated enough and are comfortable with each other, consider this, from Leads360 research: “…for the same reasons that text messages can be an effective way to communicate…, they also have the potential to be interpreted as intrusive or in violation of one’s personal domain when used for business purposes.”

Once you’ve spoken to each other, to start a texting relationship, do this: Text a thank you for their time. Nothing more. Nothing. If they don’t respond, don’t text again until you grow a more authentic relationship.

Texting. Once you have that relationship, is a fantastic additional channel to communicate. Without that level of comfort, beware.

Case in point

I recently agreed to a connection on LinkedIn. The connection sent an intriguing follow-up/thank you:

“Thanks Sue. I’s nice to be connected… But if the only thing we know about each other is what’s written in our profiles, what good is being connected? Are you open to scheduling a time to talk to learn more about each other over a call?”

Clever. I wanted to learn more. I sent a date and time and (still through LinkedIn messages) wrote, “My mobile is ….. , or I’m happy to phone you so we can talk then.”

And then…she immediately texted me an annoyingly chatty message… ON MY PHONE! Who gave her permission to do that?

Email or call, but save texting for AFTER you have a trusting relationship because then it can be magic.

PS. Don’t confuse OPEN rates with RESPONSE rates. That’s the difference between what marketing and sales gets paid.

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