How to engage customers with conversational SMS
Businesses have used text messages to interact with customers for decades now, but there’s a new emerging trend: conversational SMS marketing. In a nutshell, this type of marketing involves two-way text messaging between your business and customers.
Recent studies by HubSpot show that over 62% of consumers are subscribed to at least one SMS campaign, with another 43% subscribed to multiple.
That’s the power of conversational SMS.
It can be a powerful tool to grow your business, improve customer experience, and increase conversions. Read on to discover what it involves and how to use Infobip and HubSpot integrations to enhance your SMS marketing campaigns.
How does conversational texting work?
Conversational SMS is an advanced form of two-way SMS communication that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create genuine conversations between a customer and your business. Besides that, conversational SMS also uses support from live agents to keep customers engaged if the AI chatbot cannot respond.
As a marketer, you can now have two-way conversations with your audience in real time, even with your busiest customers. SMS marketing has proven consistently successful, even in a digital age where other alternative messaging apps like WhatsApp and Viber exist. It can also be a reliable marketing tool for your business if you use it right.
So why use Conversational SMS? Here are some reasons:
- You can use conversational SMS marketing to create a genuine and meaningful connection with customers.
- Conversational SMS can help you reach current and potential customers across multiple marketing channels.
- Two-way SMS marketing is an ideal form of contactless communication.
- It’s also a low-investment marketing method, and your customer can respond at their convenience.
One-way vs. conversational SMS
Would you rather fire a quick text message to all your customers at once and forget about it, or have a conversation with them? Or which is better for your business: one-way or conversational text messages?
Before you answer these questions, let’s explore how one-way texting differs from conversational SMS.
First, a quick look at one-way text messaging.
Many businesses already use one-way text messages. Most one-way texting campaigns are straightforward, and recipients don’t typically reply. It requires little effort on your part as a business, and it costs even less.
- Bulk SMS and business text message broadcasts
- Promotional offers
- Alerts and updates
- Order and payment notifications
- Two-factor authentication
However, if you want to keep customers engaged throughout their journey, two-way text messaging is the better way to go.
Why one-way SMS doesn’t work for engagement
There are plenty of drawbacks to using one-way SMS marketing throughout the customer journey, including:
What if your customer needs more information about one of your products or services? What if half the message isn’t delivered? What happens if they need a quick response to a challenge they’re facing?
Since one-way SMS messages are one-sided, customers have no way of engaging with you via text. That may increase customer dissatisfaction while making your communications seem impersonal and cold.
One-way text messages cut your ability to measure engagement and conversion rates.
There is no way to gauge how many users opened your text or followed through with your call to action. For this reason, you may miss the opportunity to convert prospective buyers or measure feedback from your audience.
Feels like spam or junk mail
Text messages from unknown phone numbers can raise suspicion in a potential customer, especially if unsolicited. Unless you have a recognized brand or your messages have some personalization, your customers may relegate your messages to the spam folder.
So, how does conversational SMS differ?
Why conversational SMS works
There are plenty of benefits to using conversational text messaging. Here are some:
Customers will proactively test your business if they have inquiries, from requesting services to ordering products. Give your customers exactly what they want by replying to their messages.
Quick and personalized two-way messaging enhances the customer experience and increases customer retention and satisfaction.
Feels more human
The more personalized and human your communications are, the more loyal your customers become. Since the 2020 pandemic, communication has become a priority for more than half of consumers (51%) surveyed in an Infobip report.
Customers feel like they’re talking to a real person, especially if they receive genuine feedback from customer support. That can also increase customer loyalty to your brand by up to 30%.
Results in quicker responses
Conversational SMS marketing is an excellent tool that helps increase customer engagement. According to SMS comparison, SMS messaging has a 98% open rate — which is much higher than other media forms, including email, at 20%.
Your customers are almost five times more likely to read and respond to text messages than emails. Let’s not forget: they’ll do it in under five minutes.
So, which of the two is better? It entirely depends on your business. However, if growth, customer relationships, and brand loyalty are your primary goals, then conversational SMS is the obvious choice.
Popular Conversational SMS Use Cases
Suppose you choose to build a conversational SMS marketing campaign. In what ways could you use it? Here are some common examples:
Answering specific customer questions
Why not use two-way text messages to answer your customers’ most burning questions? Here are some concerns you can address:
- Help customers troubleshoot minor account problems
- Answer inquiries about new and existing products and services
- Provide live chat support to a customer action on your website
- Clarify changes in product details and pricing
Do you have an eCommerce store that sells physical or digital products? You can use text messages to:
- Market new products and services to customers on your mailing list
- Encourage customers who abandoned carts to return and complete their purchases
- Answer questions about discounts and sales
Conversational emails help increase your interactions with customers during special occasions, days, and events. They may include:
- Customer anniversaries and birthdays. You can offer them discounts, vouchers, and other unique benefits
- Whenever you have sales on holidays like the 4th of July, Black Friday, Halloween, etc.
- New product and service launches. Invite your customers to sample and buy them.
Shipping questions and concerns
After a customer purchases a physical product from your store, how can two-way conversational SMS help? You can:
- Inform them once the order is shipped. You can also provide information about the shipping method and expected delivery date.
- Follow up on returns and other feedback once the order is delivered.
How to integrate conversational SMS into your marketing strategy
Looking for convenient ways to integrate conversational SMS into your marketing strategy? Infobip and HubSpot can help. Here are three integrations worth checking out:
Infobip is an omnichannel communications platform that allows your business to build a seamless customer experience across the entire customer journey. With Infobip, you can connect to over 650 global telecommunication partners and send marketing messages to all your customers, no matter where they are.
- Build and scale your SMS communication strategy to handle up to 500 million daily transactions
- Enjoy two-way communication with your customers and collect feedback and valuable customer insights for your business
- Enjoy worldwide coverage
- Receive unparalleled security for your user account, including two-factor authentication
HubSpot for People integration
To use this integration, you’ll need a HubSpot account, an Infobip account, and HubSpot credentials for Infobip People.
The Infobip WhatsApp & SMS integration connects your HubSpot customer engagement activities to the Infobip SMS and WhatsApp channels. With this integration, you can send SMS and WhatsApp messages to your customers directly from HubSpot.
You can also use HubSpot’s workflow automation, making some of your marketing activities easier.
Start using conversational text messages today
Conversational SMS messages are alive and well as a marketing strategy, and you can use them today with great success. Many customers want to interact with your business via text message, and using two-way conversational SMS can help you convert and retain them long-term.