What Is Business Texting Etiquette?
By now you probably know that 90% of customers prefer texting over calling or any other marketing channel. However, it’s important to note that SMS marketing isn’t a magic wand, even if it has the highest success rate.
At Smarter Contact, we witness the impact of business text etiquette on SMS campaign success rate on a daily basis. It’s clear that how you text will determine your SMS marketing campaign’s success rate. Smarter Contact is a fully-loaded SMS platform that helps businesses in every industry–from sales to real estate to fitness–to send personalized bulk texts, schedule an unlimited number of campaigns, stay on top of responses, and much more.
In this article, we narrow down the top twelve must-know tips, as well as the DON’Ts of business texting etiquette. Read on!
What Is Business Texting Etiquette?
Business texting etiquette is a set of ground rules that you should follow when sending business text messages to contacts.
Business texting etiquette covers a number of different elements, including language, tone, and content, when to use a text message, and how to address the recipient. It also covers when to send a message and how often text messaging can be used within a space of time. Texting is a great option for business communication, but it can also break down if you’re not using proper texting etiquette.
Of course, nothing is set in stone. This is why it is a good idea to revisit your texting etiquette as often as possible and tweak it as necessary.
Why Your Business Texting Etiquette Matters
With a 98% open rate, SMS marketing wins as the most preferable form of communication for business purposes. However, you need to do it right. The wrong texting strategy can come across as unprofessional or unaware.
For example, your tone is extremely important when texting in the business world. Not only does it show how reliable and trustworthy you are, but it also creates a positive first impression of your brand or company.
One poorly composed message or a message sent at the wrong time from your business can jeopardize your chances of engaging with the recipient. And unlike with friends and family, they may not offer a second chance to make things right.
For these reasons, it is vital that you use the proper texting etiquette when sending business text messages. Follow these simple etiquette rules outlined in this article, and forge long-lasting relationships with the people that matter to your business.
Before You Begin
When you’re running a business, you want to keep your customers and community up to date. Text messaging is a great way to do this, but you need have the correct text messaging platform.
If you have a qualified in-house team of technicians that can create and maintain a custom application, then Twilio may be your best bet. You can also look at CRMs like Zendesk and Salesforce that offer SMS integration. But if you want to avoid the hassles of integrating multiple applications, using a unified solution is the way to go.
One great example of such a unified solution is Smarter Contact. Smarter Contact is one of the most advanced and easy to use tools in the SMS marketing industry. It helps businesses of all sizes send bulk and personalized text messages to their leads, track communication, and manage the entire SMS marketing campaign in a few simple clicks.
When making your choice of platform, be sure to consider your business messaging goals. You should also look for something that is intuitive enough not to have too much of a learning curve.
12 Texting Etiquette Tips For Businesses (With Examples)
- Get Permission
Whether you’re a restaurant, retail shop, or even an auto body shop, there are times when it might be necessary to contact your customers via text message.
But make sure that your clients are okay with receiving texts from you before hitting send. Even if the individual first messaged you asking for support, it doesn’t qualify as an invitation to start texting them or send marketing messages outside of their customer support request.
If you intend to keep contacting them via SMS, make sure that your customer is willing to receive texts from you. If not, ask if there’s another way for you to get in touch with them. In addition, always provide a clear way for customers to opt out.
- Introduce Yourself
Include your name and business name in the first text message you send to customers. If you’re contacting someone from a company website or from social media, it’s acceptable to use only your first name.
This will help them easily identify your brand and prevent confusion when they get a message from an unknown number.
- Know When to Hit “Send”
Don’t look at text messages as an opportunity for informal, casual communication. There is a time and a place for texting, especially when you’re dealing with customers or clients.
It’s typically acceptable to send business-related text messages during normal business hours, but you should avoid sending messages during meeting times, odd hours, on weekends, and in the middle of the night.
However, it’s acceptable to respond to texts that come in outside of business hours, especially if you run a service-based business with extended hours. In this case, you can answer the customer’s question as soon as possible.
- Make it Special and Personalized
If you’re sending a text message to someone you don’t know, it’s always a good rule to personalize the message.
This will help strengthen the relationship and build brand loyalty quickly. In fact, research by Michigan State University revealed that using a recipient’s name in a message is one of the best ways to break into a conversation.
To personalize your messages, use the customer’s name in the salutation and then again in the body of the message.
Hey Krista. How are you today? Please remember you have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow at 10.00 am. Click this link for more details. Thanks.
“Hey Krista,” and “Krista – hope you are doing well today!” are much more appealing than a simple “Hello” or “Dear Client.”
- Give Value Before Making an Ask
SMS is a great way to provide important information to your customers. However, don’t use it to extract confidential information or details that are irrelevant to the matter at hand.
Provide clients with easy-to-follow paths to the information they need. For example, your text messages should make it easy for customers to make or reschedule appointments when they cannot reach the company via phone call.
The goal of your company’s SMS business communications should be to provide value, not cause inconvenience.
- Double-Check the Recipient
Incorrectly addressed SMS messages are a common mistake. Unfortunately, we all know that sending text messages to the wrong person can be extremely embarrassing. This is why you should make sure you’re sending your message to the right person by checking the recipient list before sending it.
- Limit Abbreviations
When texting with business contacts, you should avoid abbreviations and use standard English. Many people text with shorthand phrases like LOL (laugh out loud), BRB (be right back), and TTYL (talk to you later).
While these phrases might be acceptable in personal texts, avoid them in business texts. They can be confusing for other people and give an unprofessional appearance. Type the entire word and use complete sentences instead.
- Give Quicker Responses
Your customers don’t want to wait hours for you to reply. They want answers quickly, especially when they’re in an urgent situation. If you can’t give them an answer right away, at least let them know when you’ll be able to get back to them.
This is a good example of a reply to a customer’s message that came in at the end of the business day.
Hello, Krista, thanks for reaching out to us! We’ll be able to get back to you tomorrow morning. In the meantime, could you please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org? Thanks so much!
It’s so easy to ignore a text and give them the impression that your business doesn’t care about them. But when you reply in time, you let them know that they are important to your business.
- Use Emojis Sparingly
Ever since emojis were first added to the iPhone in 2008, businesses have been wondering how to use them in marketing. They can be a fun way to connect with customers, but they can also be misconstrued or used carelessly.
The key is to use these smiley faces sparingly when interacting with customers, since their meaning isn’t always clear. If you want to avoid confusion or offense, stick to simple emojis that don’t require interpretation.
If you have a major announcement, feel free to use one or two (maybe three). But if you want to convey excitement or laughter, just type out the words instead of relying on pictures that customers might misinterpret.
Think of your audience and the message you’re trying to convey before using an emoji.
- Keep the Message Short and to the Point
Texting is not a long-winded medium. Keep your messages short, sweet, and to the point. Don’t waste your time or your customer’s time with unnecessary words and sentences.
Sending too many texts to your contact list can be considered intrusive and annoying. Frustrated customers have all the power to block your number, and other customers may simply start ignoring you. If you have something important to say, keep it short and concise. Try not to use more than 100 characters unless absolutely necessary.
- Know Your Audience and the Right Tone
The tone of voice of your text message should be established before you hit send.
Think about who you are writing to and the context of the conversation, then write accordingly. If you are texting friends, you might use all caps or other emphases. But when writing to a business contact or client, choose a more professional tone.
While it is true that there are some really loyal customers you can be casual or conversational with, when sending business text messages, know who you are writing to and use a tone that best suits the recipient.
- Watch out for Incorrect Spellings
A common misconception is that text messages should be spelled phonetically. It’s a holdover from the days of textspeak and has stuck around as a vestige of the past. But today, with mobile keyboards that make it easier to spell words, spelling text messages phonetically is less necessary. Even so, you should still use some discretion when composing text messages.
In some devices, autocorrect changes your texts to something else, so remember, spell check is your friend. Don’t spoil your professional image with messages that contain poor punctuation or spelling errors. Double check before hitting send. If you can, invest in a spell-check tool like Grammarly.
5 Important Tactics for Writing Text Messages
- Be Clear
Use clear language when texting business contacts and customers. If you are simply confirming an appointment or meeting time, be specific about what you want them to do. Don’t assume they will know exactly how you want them to respond. Spell out exactly what you want them to do and include an appropriate response for each action.
For example, if you want them to confirm an appointment by replying “Yes”, explain that in the text message as well as how you want them to respond if they can’t make it or if they want to change meeting times or any other details related to the meeting. This will help eliminate any confusion.
- Be Patient
Be patient! Wait until the customer responds before sending another message. Don’t assume that the other person has already seen your message!
Be polite and friendly when you need an immediate response.
For example, “Hey Krista, we noticed that you haven’t replied to our last message. Do you still need assistance? If not, we’re here if you still have questions.”
- Test and Improve Your Text Automation
When you are writing a business text, it is generally a good idea to automate your text. This can save you time and help you keep your message consistent from one message to another. But you need to test often and regularly improve so that your automation system works optimally.
Use a platform that gives you full control over your messaging system so that you can tailor your messages to answer customer questions or provide extensions to your services.
- Don’t Rely on AI for What a Human Should Do
When it comes to business text messaging, relying on artificial intelligence should not be the only option. Using an AI bot can make you miss out on opportunities.
A human should always be on hand to take over should the question become too complicated or when certain trigger phrases are used. For example, words like “Problem” or “Terminate” should mean that a human takes over the conversation.
- Sign Your Messages
It’s an easy step to overlook, but it’s important to always sign off your text messages not only with a friendly sign-off but also with your name or initials.
To gracefully conclude a text exchange, a simple “Thank you for reaching out to us and you have a great day. Lucas. M” can suffice.
This is not only a great way to get the other person’s attention and make them feel more comfortable with you, it’s also extremely professional.
Business Texting Don’ts
DON’T Send Spam Texts
One important rule is to never send a text message unless the recipient has given you permission. This can be seen as spam.
There are also a lot of other things that can make a text come across as spammy:
- Texts sent to somebody you don’t know
- Group texts sent to a lot of people at once
- Texts that are long, rambling, or unclear
- Texts that solicit for personal information (like your cell number, or your bank account number)
DON’T Over-Communicate with Your Customers
Sending too many texts is never a good idea, but there are some instances where it’s particularly ill-advised. Sending too many text messages and spamming your customers is simply a strategy that maximizes the chance of you annoying them. For more insights on how to text your customers without getting in trouble with the law, you may read our latest blog on SMS compliance.
DON’T Share Bad News Via Text
If have bad news for a customer, such as a delay in the delivery date of an order, don’t share it via text message. This opens the door for customers to overreact or not respond at all. It’s best to have a conversation in person or on the phone.
DON’T Ghost Your Customers
It can be tempting to stop texting a customer, especially if you don’t have the answer they want to hear. But, if you’re trying to run a business or maintain a professional relationship, ghosting is the worst thing you can do.
Be honest and open with everyone you work with, respond promptly, and make sure they know what to expect from you as well.
DON’T Make Your Messages Too Long, Or Unclear
Business text messages are meant to be quick and efficient. That’s why it’s important to keep them short and to the point, rather than rambling on about irrelevant issues.
If you’re texting a client, and the conversation is becoming lengthy, it’s probably better to move the conversation to another platform that’s less intrusive, such as a phone call or face-to-face meeting.
How Smarter Contact Can Help with Your Business Texting Needs
Businesses all over the world are increasingly implementing text messages as part of their marketing strategy. From text messaging for real estate to staffing, automotive, finance, fitness among other industries, SMS marketing has become the standard de facto. It is unarguably the best medium for reaching the people that matter to your business.
If you need a reliable text messaging platform that can help with your business texting needs, SmarterContact is your best shot. We can help reach your target market via business text without breaking the bank on your marketing efforts. Our mission is to provide enterprise-class text messaging solutions for businesses of all sizes and in every industry across the globe.
Ready to leverage SMS marketing to boost your customer base and grow your business?
Start your free trial today.