Business Text Messaging: 20 Tips for Entrepreneurs

Top 10 tips for business text messaging etiquette:

  1. Identify yourself & ask for permission
  2. Personalize the message
  3. Be brief & offer something of value
  4. Be empathetic & use the right tone
  5. Avoid mass messages; don’t overdo it
  6. Timing is everything
  7. Make it convenient
  8. Avoid jargon, abbreviations, and emojis
  9. Honor their preferences & don’t be misleading
  10. Only one call to action per text

Businesspeople and consumers are difficult to reach, so it’s not surprising that businesses are increasingly leveraging text messaging to communicate with prospects and customers. Consider the following statistics:

  • SMS open and response rates as high as 98% and 45% respectively (source: Gartner)
  • Email open and response rates are only 20% and 6% respectively. (source: Gartner)
  • 80% of calls go to voicemail (source: ZoomInfo)
  • Recipients don’t return 90% of first-time voicemails (source: ZoomInfo)
  • The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%. (source: ZoomInfo)

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You may be accustomed to sending text messages to friends and family on a routine basis. But it’s important to be aware of business text messaging etiquette before integrating texts into your business’ communications. Otherwise, you risk damaging valuable customer relationships, alienating potential customers, and paying a steep price for violating privacy regulations.

20 text messaging etiquette tips for your business

We’ve put together this handy guide to text messaging etiquette, chock full of useful tips than even the busiest solopreneur can leverage with ease. Following the tips below will enable you to successfully leverage text messaging for your business with positive results and increased customer satisfaction:

Ask for permission

According to the FCC and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), it’s the law to obtain permission prior to sending texts for business. Not only is it the law, but it’s also courteous and considerate, especially because of how personal this method of communication feels to many people. Don’t let your messages be considered SPAM by your prospects.

Identify yourself

Never assume that your prospect has your information saved on their phone. In fact, they probably don’t. As a best practice, include a name and company at the top of the message.

Personalize the message

Include a greeting at the beginning of the message such as “Hello Susan, this is John with XYZ company…” Then your customer will know, without a doubt, that the message is intended specifically for them.

Be brief

Some devices limit message length to 160 characters, causing longer messages to be split into multiple messages. Plus, people are busy, so be succinct. Prospects will appreciate it. If the communication is going to take more than two or three messages, you should take the conversation to video chat, phone, or email.

Offer something of value

Don’t just send a message to say “Hi”. Always offer valuable information, for example, links to articles (or other content) that will help nurture the prospect, answer a question, and/or help advance the sale. This builds trust and credibility.  When including links in a message be sure that it’s clear to the recipient what they will see or where they will go (on the internet) if they click on a link in an SMS message. It will make them more comfortable about clicking on the link to view the content being shared.

If you’re using text messaging to confirm appointments or communicate upcoming events, for example, lead with this information after greeting the customer and identifying yourself. Your contacts will appreciate you getting straight to the point.

Be empathetic

Know your prospect’s needs, interests, and concerns. Demonstrate your understanding to the point where you’re speaking their language. This will help in developing a strong relationship with the prospect.

Avoid mass messages

Although marketing may use mass SMS messaging after prospects opt-ins, text messaging should be a 1 to 1 experience, especially if you are using it for sales due to how personal it may feel to some people. Plus, customers want to feel special and mass messages will definitely not make them feel that way.

Dont overdo it

Be careful with the frequency of texts to prospects and customers. Don’t become a pest or make them sorry they said “yes” to messaging. This is a sure way to drive them away instead of bonding.

Timing is everything

Be sure not to disturb prospects by sending messages to them at odd hours. Being aware of their time zone is critical to be aware to avoid sending messages too early in the morning or well after their workday has ended.

Plus, make it a priority to respond to prospects’ texts in a timely fashion. This responsiveness could make the difference when it comes to closing the sale. Your response rate could also impact your ability to retain customers if you’re using text messaging for customer support.

And if you don’t know the answer or you need to gather more information before responding to a customer question, take the time to let them what’s happening. You don’t want your customer to think you ghosted them.

Use the right tone

Always be professional but not overly formal. Find the right balance between casual and stiff. Be sure to show your personality, but don’t be overly familiar. And it’s best not to use too many emojis, acronyms, sloppy punctuation, or capitalization when texting prospects.

Proof it before sending

When sending SMS messages, watch out for auto-correct and type-o’s. Make sure the message conveys the intended message. It should be clear, not ambiguous, using proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Make it convenient

Make it easy for the recipient to take immediate action by providing them with clear direction to the next step. That may be responding with a time for a call or meeting, clicking on a link to read a brief article, confirming a previously scheduled event, or informing them of an upcoming special offer.

Avoid jargon

SMS messages need to be easy to understand. Use only common abbreviations and avoid industry jargon as well as specialized terms. Don’t make them feel like they’re decoding a secret message. Keep it simple and straightforward.

Avoid abbreviations

Although some common abbreviations may be acceptable in text messages, don’t use too many. For example, write out what you mean instead of using common texting shorthand like LOL, ICYMI, or LMK. Depending on your audience, using these acronyms could lead to confusion or potentially frustrate your customer or prospect.

Avoid or minimize emojis

Emoji use in business text messages should also be kept to a minimum since not everyone knows what they all mean and could potentially lead to confusion or misunderstanding. So, write most of your business text messages with complete words and, if appropriate to your brand, the use of an occasional smiley or winking face.

Dont text confidential or sensitive information

Texting isn’t typically secure, so it’s best not to communicate confidential information like test results from a doctor’s office, for example. This would be a violation of HIPPA regulations. And you definitely don’t want to communicate emotionally charged or sensitive information such as a costly auto repair that’s needed or work termination. These types of messages should be delivered face to face, in a video call, by phone, or at least via email.

Close the conversation properly

At the end of a text conversation, it’s always a good idea to clearly close the conversation. For example, if the text interaction was in response to a customer question, you could close by asking the customer if they have any further questions. If they respond that they are all set, then thank you for reaching out and tell them to enjoy the rest of their day.

Honor their preferences

Regulations require that consumers have the option to opt-out of text messaging if desired. So, when a customer or prospect asks you to stop texting them, it is essential that you honor their request and take them off your marketing text list. Otherwise, you could damage a valuable customer relationship and set yourself up to pay high fines for breaking the rules.

Only one call to action per text

Focus on only one offer, event, or request at a time with a single call to action in each text. For example, if you’re scheduling a demo meeting with a potential customer, close by offering a choice between two date or time options. If you are making them aware of a special offer, invite them to click on the link to learn more or to take advantage of the offer. Don’t present them with more than one offer or link within the same text message.

Dont be misleading

When presenting a special offer in a text message, be sure to include important details such as minimum purchase required or any other restrictions. Otherwise, you risk upsetting or frustrating a customer who clicks through on a link expecting one deal only to find out there are restrictions that change their mind about the offer. Then they may feel like you tricked them and may potentially sour your relationship with them.

Add new dimensions to your customer communications with business text messaging

Business text messaging can be a great addition to your business and sales communications when you follow these business text messaging guidelines. Keep these rules in mind when crafting texts for customers and potential clients. This will add another dimension to your customer communications, helping further develop your customer and prospect relationships. Plus, it will increase the number of communications that are actually read while boosting the number of responses and conversions you receive as well.

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A special high five to Margot Howard for her outstanding research and contributions to this article. We love working with and supporting like-minded entrepreneurs who are passionate about business success strategies. Thank you Margot! ❤️

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