What We’ve Learned Sending 6,636 Text Messages in the Past 4 Months
It seems like just yesterday that text messages were “on the rise.” And now, at the end of 2014, text messaging seems to be nearly ubiquitous.
Texting or Short Message Service (SMS) has democratized the ability for just about everyone to communicate in under 160 characters.
Everyone from five year-old children to 95 year-old great grandparents are texting.
(To learn more about how we implemented text messaging at FranchiseHelp, shoot us a note.)
The funny thing about texting is that it has done a pretty good job withstanding the effects of the business world. For the most part, texting is a person to person communication tool rather than for businesses to communicate with consumers.
There are, of course, some notable exceptions. Some of us have perhaps gotten used to receiving boarding passes via text message. Or maybe you sign up for text notifications when a package is going to be delivered. Or even more likely, you’ll have a verification code texted to you when you sign up for a new website.
Back in July, we decided it was time to start experimenting with sending text messages as a way to communicate with potential leads. Since then, we have sent 6,636 text messages:
We’ve learned a lot about the medium and how it applies to franchise lead generation, but we’ll distill it down to simply a few key takeaways.
- Sending (and receiving) text messages is relatively inexpensive – Based on the provider we use, we are charged $0.0075 per text message sent and received. So in total, we have spent less than $75 to send over 6,000 text messages. That’s an incredible value. The ROI from these text messages is off the charts.
- When you ask for responses, you’re going to get a very wide variety – There’s, of course, a bit of a dark side to asking people to respond to you via text message. When you take away the interpersonal aspect of the communication, the types of messages you receive in return are all over the map. In our case, we asked people to respond with a simple “YES.” About 50% of people who respond elect to respond with something other than “YES.” Some of the more popular responses include “No,” “I’m Driving” (Isn’t that really dangerous?), “Stop,” and perhaps my personal favorite “F*** You.”
- A LOT of people provide us mobile telephones – One of the concerns when we started texting was that we were afraid that the vast majority that of the phone numbers we received were landlines. Our prompt for phone number simply reads “phone number” rather than “mobile number.” However, almost 80% of the phone numbers we received were mobile, thus driving our ability to get a hold of people via text.
- The technology isn’t that complicated – One of my big fears when we started this was that it must be very very difficult to set up automated text messaging. That’s a lot of technology that has to work in harmony. That being said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how seamless the integration has been.
To learn more about correctly incorporating text messaging and lead generation into your franchise development program, set up time for a one-on-one conversation with FranchiseHelp here.
Update: in the time since this piece was written, the FranchiseHelp engineering and marketing team has built a system that's gone on to send millions of text messages to hundreds of thousands of leads.
Further reading on FranchiseHelp's proprietary SMS research and data:
Ongoing findings and data from FranFunnel (SMS app & software built specifically for franchise development):
And if you're looking for a text messaging solution (app + desktop) designed specifically for franchise development teams, check out FranFunnel.
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Before I dive into the details of the types of behavior we’ve been seeing recently here at FranchiseHelp, I want you to think about one question.
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In the past 12 months, almost 3.7 million people have visited FranchiseHelp.com, the internet’s leading resource on becoming a franchisee. Given the sheer volume of Americans seeking information of franchising from us, we’re in a unique position to look at how this breaks down across the nation.