In the fast-paced world of B2B marketing, one tool has emerged to cut through the noise and capture attention: Texting. That's right — the same medium that revolutionized personal communication is now making waves in the business realm. But what are the best practices for B2B texting? When is the best time to deploy sends throughout the buyer’s journey? And most importantly, how can you harness its potential to propel your business forward?
To learn more about this pocket-sized powerhouse, the Demand Gen Report team sat down with Tara Kelly, CEO at customer experience automation platform SPLICE Software, to learn more.
Demand Gen Report: In your opinion, what’s the current state of SMS/texting in B2B marketing?
Tara Kelly: More than 60% of people read texts within five minutes of receiving them. It’s no secret that people love texting, and it’s truly a great way for businesses to get in front of their target audience. However, if businesses haven’t already started texting their key audiences, they’re behind the curve; and if businesses are using text, it’s becoming harder for them to stand out. Once everyone is at the party, it gets a little full.
But the volume of marketing texts has increased so much that it’s forcing many to opt-out. So, we are at a tipping point. Brands are texting so much to the point where texts can be sent to spam or junk folders, going completely unread. Just like email, some phones now separate texts into different folders, and this practice is showing no signs of stopping.
DGR: To stand out from the crowd, what sort of SMS content resonates the most strongly with recipients?
Kelly: Having a strong brand relationship is the most important part. To make sure marketing texts deliver value and avoid the spam folder, the brand personality and values need to be center stage. Since it’s a platform people use to chat with friends and family, businesses should have fun with texting and adjust the tone to be more casual. Ideally, texts should be so good recipients forward them to their friends and family!
People can get burnt out by receiving just promotional messages — it’s time to show off what your business values are and there’s no need to be shy. If people have opted into text messages, they’re asking for a closer relationship with your company than someone who hasn't opted in, so make sure to give it a special twist.
DGR: Do you think text messaging is an essential component of customer engagement strategies?
Kelly: Text messaging has become an expected part of the brand journey and overall relationship. Businesses need to make it a priority to communicate with buyers on the channel they prefer, which can include via text.
Businesses only have one chance to make a first impression when people opt-in to receive texts, so that initial text sets the tone for the relationship. Not only does it show the recipient what they can expect from the business, but it can also help set expectations for the rest of the buyer’s journey.
DGR: What are some of the tools and technologies fueling text messaging, both in terms of generating messages and fueling trigger-based outreach sequences?
Kelly: By using AI tools, businesses can cut down on time needed for researching and crafting texts from hours to minutes, meaning marketers can avoid spending time on monotonous, manual tasks and get crucial minutes back in their day. ChatGPT and the like will streamline the ability to create content and will help marketers with outreach leaving only opt-in and opt-out management to be tackled to ensure safety and trust with users. As we move forward with future iterations of AI, the more it deals with specifics, the better it will be for marketing purposes as well.
In the end, we are only as good as our data, so your data management technology must be buttoned up. Marketers should look for tools that can really help them see their data delivering the best assessment, insights and analytics to determine the best course of action.
DGR: Do you have any parting advice for those looking to incorporate texting into their B2B strategies?
Kelly: Don’t just text for marketing, as this can be a big mistake and a lost opportunity to improve your relationship with your target audiences. Instead, make it another choice in your communication options — you can use it to collect feedback on the buyer’s experience to learn what your team is doing right or what areas need improvement. Any role who is the face of the buyer experience needs to be held accountable as they are central to the overall experience.
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