By Dylan Tatum, Special AFS Contributor

If you’ve been keeping your finger on the pulse of recent marketing trends, you may have heard someone proclaim the death of email marketing. While the rumors of its demise may be greatly exaggerated, one thing is certainly true: if you’re limiting your channels of communication, you’re limiting engagement from leads.

More and more businesses are turning to texting as a way to improve conversion. It’s a simple and effective way to reach out to your list of subscribers — not only are 98% of texts opened within three minutes, but a back-and-forth of at least three texts has been demonstrated to increase conversion rates by 328%. This means text can be an instrumental tool in helping you grow your gym/studio.

When traditional email marketing offers a comparatively meager 20% average open rate and around a 2% click-through rate, why wouldn’t you want texting as a secret weapon in your marketing arsenal?

But before you fire off that first SMS message, there are a few things you should know. 

Texting is much more personal than a good old-fashioned email. Learning the digital rules of engagement can keep your conversions flowing and your brand perception sharp.

Follow The Funnel

It’s best not to beat around the bush. Your goal is to move the prospect through your sales funnel and encourage them to book an appointment, schedule a free trial, or come in for a consultation. Start the conversation with a cordial greeting and a leading question.

For example: “Hi Sasha, thanks for your interest in My Awesome Gym. Are you free to come in for a consultation tomorrow afternoon?”

Approaching your leads in such a way may feel too overt or direct, but remember — they chose to submit their information because they’re interested in your services, and you want to strike while the iron is hot.

Always Add Value

Your goal is to deliver a product or service that consumers want. You’re not here to waste their time, harass them with a constant barrage of texts, or joke around. If you deliver useful content to your leads, they’ll act on it — but if it’s not useful, they’ll grow frustrated and want to stop receiving communications from you.

Use your texts as a mechanism to schedule a face-to-face appointment or find a convenient time to hop on a call. Use shortcodes to deliver digital coupons to subscribers new and old. Get your prospects in the door.

Not familiar with shortcodes? These are short phone numbers, that are created to be easily remembered when sending a promotional text. You’ve probably seen these before in advertising that prompts to “Text Code: SALE To 3131.”

You only have a few seconds to motivate potential customers to act.


Keep Your Message Short & Sweet

A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t keep your message under 160 characters, it should probably be reserved for an email or a phone call.  For example, this sentence is 127 characters. You don’t have a lot of space, so make it count!

Respect Your Prospect’s Space

Remember, there’s a person on the other side of the phone!

Your prospect’s smartphone may be a conduit for you to serve up tempting offers, but it’s also how they communicate with their friends and family. Don’t invade their privacy or they’ll unsubscribe in a heartbeat.

You should never send texts asking why your call wasn’t answered, whether or not the prospect saw your email, or delve into other personal matters. Don’t send texts that do little more than reiterate what you’ve already communicated (such as enumerating the benefits of your service). You also don’t want to send texts too early in the morning or late at night.

Stick to short messages that add value and move your prospect through the funnel.

Remember — You’re A Brand!

When you’re texting new leads, it’s important to keep in mind that your conversation is also a business transaction. You’re trying to create a new customer. You’re selling your services, not yourself.

You want to come across as knowledgeable, professional, and understanding. Keep emojis and informal lingo restrained, but don’t come across as being stuck up, either.

HubSpot provides this example for a text that’s just right: “Hi, Jimmy. I did some digging and found the answer to your question about monthly volume. It’s not straightforward, so we should cover it on another call. Are you free tomorrow at 1 p.m.?”

This message moves the target through the funnel by getting them back on the phone, adds value by providing answers to prior questions, it’s nice and short, and it gives the prospect plenty of space by both asking permission to call and establishing a clear time frame.


Find Your Platform, Connect With Your Audience

There are more options than ever for SMS management, many of which offer functionality beyond basic messaging services. Our CRM at 97 Display, for example, includes a built-in feature that enables text communication with leads through a unique, local area code number — you can see all your texts to leads, a list of replies, create automated texts, and share conversations with your staff, all in one convenient place.

When done properly, texting has the potential to drastically increase conversion. It’s simpler, faster, and more convenient than trying to carve out time for a phone call. Texts are also much more likely to be read than a typical email.

If you follow these five simple tips, your texting conversions will skyrocket in no time — and you’re always welcome to contact our team at 97 Display if you have other questions about how to upgrade your internet marketing!

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Dylan Tatum is the Copywriter at 97 Display, the leading website solution for Martial Arts and Fitness businesses. Dylan specializes in creating SEO-rich web content and crafting email nurture campaigns that bring “dead leads” back to life. In his free time, Dylan uses his talent and passion for writing to create novels.​

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