39% of businesses already text their customers.
Because some 67% of customers, clients and contacts prefer texting with businesses for things like appointments, scheduling, reminders, updates, payments, text-list updates, and more.
But how can you get a text number for your business or organization?
In this article I’ll show you:
Read on for more.
A business text number is a text-enabled 10-digit phone number for business conversations. A business text number allows customers and employees to send and receive two-way SMS text messages on a new or existing business phone number rather than a personal number. Business texting numbers are often tied to business text messaging software with shared SMS inboxes.
Yes, people can text businesses and businesses can text customers. Text-enabling your business phone number and connecting it to business texting software with an SMS inbox makes this possible. Businesses can text people from a business landline or existing business phone number after completing a number porting or hosting request and submitting it through their business text messaging provider.
Your takeaway is that business text messaging software does two things:
You won’t need to buy a cell phone to text from your business phone number.
You’ll be able to text from an app on your phone or text from a computer through your web browser.
Note: Be aware of Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) guidelines before you start texting customers. Know that to send promotional text messages you will need some form of implied or written consent.
There are three different types of phone numbers that businesses and organizations can use to text from.
Below I’ve added examples of each and provided some guidance on which number is best for you.
Example: 1 (775) 313-9465
A 10-digit local number (10DLC) is a normal local phone number that you likely already use on your personal phone and for your business. The difference from a regular phone number is that these phone numbers are approved for A2P (application-to-person) messaging.
That means that you can send higher volumes of text messages and ensure delivery without your texts being blocked by the carriers.
These numbers are the ideal option for most businesses and organizations.
Example: 1 (855) 233-9922
These numbers are typically used as high-volume customer service lines. But more businesses and organizations are getting approval to use toll-free numbers for SMS marketing campaigns.
These are great for businesses and organizations that need to send mass text messages in high volumes.
Toll-free area codes include:
Short codes are a legacy number format that used to be exclusively for mass texting.
These numbers are highly regulated by the federal communications commission (FCC). Short codes are also costly to obtain and often aren’t ideal for most businesses. Some business text messaging providers do still offer these as a texting option.
But many businesses and organizations soon find that these solutions present problems like:
This is why they turn to a dedicated business text messaging service.
The first step to getting a text number for your business is choosing a business text messaging provider.
There are many great business texting services out there, including MessageDesk. But you’ll want to find one that has the SMS tools that suit your needs.
If you’re looking to get your whole team texting, then you’ll want a service with a shared team inbox.
Doing large-scale SMS marketing campaigns? You’ll want an SMS marketing service or mass text app that supports text message broadcasts.
MessageDesk offers a specific range of features designed to suit both of the above business texting needs.
The next step is to create a free account. You can do this with MessageDesk by starting a free trial.
Next, you’ll need to select a number or existing business phone line. Platforms like MessageDesk automatically give you one as soon as you hit “send” on your first message.
To text from your existing business number or landline, you’ll need to submit a number porting request.
Here’s an example of what that request looks like in MessageDesk:
Note: It will likely take from 1-7 days to successfully text-enable your business number once you submit your request. Sometimes, this process is referred to as number hosting (not to be confused with number porting).
Once you’ve got a text-enabled business number, what should you do with it?
There are many ways to manage and start text conversations. Here’s what that looks like in practice:
There are many ways to use your website to generate more leads and gather contacts. But one of the easiest is to just make it easy for customers to join your texting list.
The best way to do this is by adding a click-to-text button to your website.
This makes it easy for your customers to start conversations with your business phone number.
What is click-to-text?
It’s an easy way to start conversations with your customers over the phone (but with texting). It usually appears as a button, chatbot, or clickable phone number listed on your website.
“Click-to-text” can come in several different forms:
Click-to-text is my preferred method for contact information and growing a text contact list. But there’re plenty of others to choose from. You can even set up click-to-text as a way for contacts and customers to text a phone number extension.
Texting for business software is one of the best forms of communication for managing large volumes of conversations. It can even help you and your team improve call management and reduce call volume.
Assigning team members to conversations makes it easy for you to scale your messaging. It also makes everyone on your team more responsible. When conversations have owners, they’re more likely to get resolved.
With MessageDesk’s SMS inbox, you’ll find it’s easy to assign conversations. Conversation assignment can happen when contacts text a keyword like “QUOTE or ESTIMATE”.
You can also assign teammates to conversations manually from the inbox.
Closing answered questions, and resolving conversations gets you and your team closer to achieving inbox zero. You get to avoid information overload in your inbox while keeping the priority stuff top of mind.
You can always re-open a closed conversation, view the thread, and see who was assigned. But opening and closing conversations make it possible for team members to better manage their assigned conversations.
Not everyone needs to see every conversation. This is where filters are handy. They can help you configure your inbox into views for specific teams or teammates.
MessageDesk comes with advanced filters that make it easy to sort by “newest to oldest” or “oldest to newest” and by status: new, waiting, replied. You can also filter by assigned conversations.
For even more advanced filters, you can use custom fields. Custom fields make it possible to add custom information to contacts and conversations. You can then sort, filter, and create views based on custom fields.
If you're the person who needs to be reminded about an appointment (like an upcoming dentist appointment), you might find it helpful to get a text message from your dentist instead of having to remember yourself and then call them up.
With text messages, you can schedule your texts to go out in advance.
On the flip side, if you're the one who’s reminding someone about an appointment, this could be more efficient than calling them on the phone. It can even help you stop no-show appointments.
Some business text messaging providers will also sync directly with meeting schedulers and meeting scheduling software.
Your customers are busy throughout their day. There’s a lot to do, go to the office, go to the kid’s soccer practice, and have lunch with friends.
Pausing it all to take a phone call or sift through emails takes more effort than most are willing to give. Especially when it’s for a quick question or a confirmation.
Texts are simple and easy to send out no matter where someone is during their day, making it much more likely for you to get a response sooner.
Text messaging platforms like MessageDesk even allow you to set up out-of-office text messages. This is a type of automated text message campaign that sends automatically when someone texts you or your team when you’re away.
Many people don’t enjoy taking a phone call, to begin with. So what happens when you’re calling to remind someone to pay you?
For the collector, the biggest challenge is simply getting on the phone to say what you need to say.
It’s even worse for the recipient, you get a phone call just to be put on the spot and asked for money. Making someone feel like they are being extorted over the phone is more likely to result in dodged calls than a payment.
When you use SMS messages to gather payments, you can drop a friendly note with a link to make payment as easy as possible.
Texting also helps get feedback from others because you can send your message quickly and easily without having to wait for a reply in return.
An email asking for feedback is likely to get lost in a sea of other emails just like it, never to be answered.
Texting means that you don't have to wait until the end of the day or week for someone else's response. You can get their thoughts as soon as they have them.
Ready to start texting with your business landline? MessageDesk is here to help with smarter, simpler ways to send text messages.
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