August 28, 2014

11 Best Practice Tips for Professional Text Messaging

professional text messaging

With the overwhelming number of communication channels available to businesses, figuring out the best way to reach clients can be tricky. While you want to make sure your customers get the message, you also don’t want to annoy them with too much contact.

So as more and more companies begin to reach out using text, we asked Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:

“For those of you who use text messaging to reach clients/customers, what is one best practice you can share with others? “

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Keep Them Short

“Text messaging is effective, but only if it’s brief. No one likes having to read a text message that’s more than a sentence or two.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

2. Offer Another Level of Service

“Since we ship physical products, we use text messaging to alert customers about when their order is shipped and when it’s gone out for delivery. Since some automated emails hit the spam folder, this ensures customers know their order is coming and we can get them to proactively read our shipping and receiving policies. It’s a great way to ensure a high level of service and interaction.” ~ Gary Nealon, The Rox Group

3. Focus on Building a Relationship First

“I would first focus on being loyal to your clients and building a great relationship with them. Texting is fine, but I would never send an unsolicited text message.” ~ Dan Price, Gravity Payments

4. Be Personal

“We’ve found text message marketing works best when the texts are customized and personal. This may not be possible if your customer list is huge, but we saw a greater ROI from sending personalized messages to a small segment of our customers vs. a blanket message to all of them.” ~ Josh Weiss, Bluegala

5. Limit Frequency and Ensure Quality Content

“People like using messaging to engage with their preferred brands and products. But if you pass a certain threshold where the user perceives they are receiving too many messages, then it can become an annoyance rather than an asset. Also, if you are going to grab someone’s attention on the most valuable real estate available — the phone in their pocket — it has to be high-quality content.” ~ Ty Morse, Songwhale

6. Don’t Reply With One Word

“Give the person a good reply if they are texting with you. I work with people for whom texting is the only way to communicate. Never send one-word texts!” ~ John Rampton, Adogy

7. Provide Relevant Content

“We are all very connected to our phones and text messages are a much more personal form of communication than email, so it’s extremely important that the content is targeted and relevant. Target users you’ve already established a relationship with and tailor content accordingly.” ~ Erica Bell, Hukkster

8. Set Boundaries

“Communicating through text with clients is a two-way street, so it’s important that you set boundaries from the start. If you don’t, you can risk becoming overwhelmed by texts during your personal time as well as missing or losing vital correspondence. Additionally, it’s important for the client that you don’t do the same, upsetting them in the process.” ~ Steven Le Vine, grapevine pr + consulting

9. Offer Short Answer Options

“At InList, we know many of our clients do not want to be interrupted with a call. In certain cases we will text the member first, and we’ve found that people prefer short answers. We won’t ask detailed questions through SMS. We’ll ask questions that have simple answers of one to three words to ensure a faster reply. If we need detailed information, we will text and ask for a good time to call.” ~ Gideon Kimbrell, InList

10. Impart Value

“We text message daily health tips to our users and make sure we are providing value. With power comes responsibility and because they opted in with us, we would not betray that trust by spamming. We also note the high response rates on text message surveys to ensure that we align our content to what they expected after sign-up. Text messaging is powerful because it has high instant readership.” ~ Shradha Agarwal, ContextMedia

11. Ensure They Opt In

“Customers may provide you with their cell number at one point, but that doesn’t grant you the right to text them. There have actually been plenty of lawsuits resulting from text message advertising without permission. Always make sure the people you are texting opt in first.” ~ Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals

Text Photo via Shutterstock

10 Comments ▼

The Young Entrepreneur Council


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

10 Reactions

  1. I agree with one-word replies. While it follows the short rule. One word is just too short. It shows that you hardly put an effort into texting. Text speak is also a no-no if you want to appear professional. I guess there are really some rules that we need to follow when it comes to professional texting.

  2. Of all the tips provided, I feel the limited frequency is most important. During the opt-in process its important to state the average number of texts per month the subscriber might receive. Stick to your word and you’ll reduce opt-outs. I like to send no more than 8 messages per month. Seems like the sweet spot for me.

    -Josh-

  3. This is clearly for marketing texting and maybe dealing with clients with goods or product. I was directed here via PSI (Pet Sitters International). I myself am a Professional Pet Sitter. This article does give some good points e.g. boundaries and permission to text (this is included in my contract with client). Texting is a HUGE part of my business (who wants to be disturbed by a call on vacation). But on the otherhand my clients pay me to gush about what we do on visits. I send out hundreds of pictures and text monthly. I supposed based on the name of this article it would be more about drawing the line in professionalism and improper texting. Text etiquett. Perhaps this just isn’t so much for my profession?

    • Jessica I agree. My client’s want to know if I am out with their “babies”, if it my first visit, how their pets are handling their owners being gone, etc. I always hesitate to offer lots of text messages, but most clients want cute pictures

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