As people have become more mobile and work schedules more flexible, it’s not surprising cell phones have become our primary means of communicating both personally and professionally. And while it’s good to be able to view email on our phones, it’s much easier to send and receive time-sensitive information via text. As a result, it’s understandable why text messaging has become a powerful tool for staying connected with existing and potential customers.

If you’re still relying on email as your primary means for communication, here are five ways text messaging in combination with email can strengthen your customer communications to help grow your business.

Conversion: From Prospect to Customer

Consumers are inundated with images and promotions each day. When they express interest in your product or service, you want to quickly acknowledge it and begin a conversation. Automated text messaging enables you to send prospects a welcome text as soon as they fill out a form on your website. For example, you have an offer on your website for a free, initial consultation. When a new lead fills out the form, a text is sent with a link to book the consultation. You’ve made the call to action immediate and easy for the prospect to take the next step – moving them further into the funnel.

Follow Up: Thanking Customers Can Lead to More

Research shows that, for the typical business, roughly 20% of customers account for approximately 80% of business. That is why follow up is crucial for cultivating long-term relationships. Text messaging enables you to automatically follow up with your customers based on their activities. As soon as a purchase is made utilizing a checkout form, a text message is sent automatically to the customer thanking them for their purchase and inviting them to provide a review of your product or service as well as their experience. This valuable third-party reference can in turn result in more new customers.

Event and Appointment Reminders: Make It Easy

Your customers are busy, so it’s important that you ensure they have all the necessary information ahead of your event, webinar, or meeting. If you’re hosting a webinar for example, you want to make sure all registered attendees remember when it’s taking place and know how to access it. You can schedule a text message to be sent to them a few hours ahead of time with all the details and even a means of notifying you if they’re unable to make it so you can follow up with them afterwards and continue the conversation. Text messaging helps reduce friction by presenting needed information at exactly the right time.

Communication Follow Up: Keep Customers Informed

Sometimes, there’s just too much information to convey in a text message, and you need to send an email. Email is still the best way to send a large volume of information or additional materials to customers and prospects. Text messaging can help ensure your email is read in a timely manner. After the email is sent, an automated text message notifies customers and prospects to check their email for important information from you. Text messages can prompt immediate action in a way that email can’t.

Promotions and Special Offers: Build Brand Loyalty

Who doesn’t love a sale? Promotions and special offers help you close more sales and generate repeat business. While seasonal promotions are great for attracting new customers, text marketing is a great way to reward repeat customers. You can send text messages to a segment of your customer list who regularly purchase services or products and offer them an exclusive discount on another service or product. Over time, this will enable you to cultivate a strong brand following.

Text messaging is quickly becoming a critical sales and marketing tool for small businesses. The importance of effectively communicating with current and potential customers cannot be overstated as it is key to overall business success. Utilizing personalized text messages that are timely and relevant allows you to leverage your most engaged leads to improve conversion, increase repeat business among existing customers, and build strong commercial relationships that endure.