Where is your cell phone right now? Probably within an arm’s reach, right? For some of us, it’s even closer than that (thank you, smart watches).
According to mobileSQUARED, 90 percent of all texts are read within the first three minutes.
STOP AND READ THAT AGAIN. POWERFUL, RIGHT?
Wherever your center is located, you probably share brand space with a handful of other child care centers. It’s important that your brand is visible wherever your customers go. With four mobile devices to every computer, text message communication with your inquiries is no longer something you can keep on your future to-do list.
Text message marketing is permissions based and allows you to communicate with a highly-targeted group of parents that have shown in an interest in you and likely care about how your center impacts the community. It’s also one of the quickest ways to get coupons, promotions and other offers in their hands. Since the release of Two-Way Text is just around the corner in your ChildCareCRM system, it should be a no-brainer.
When to Use Text Message Marketing
Like any of your email campaigns, text messages are best used at certain times of day and to deliver specific types of communication.
So, when should you use texts to communicate with your current or future enrollments.
1. Automate Your Responses to Web Leads
You’ve probably already set up an email auto-responder when a prospective parent fills out the Inquiry Form on your website. Autoresponders are one of the best ways for your center teams to immediately follow up with a new lead.
How are your open rates on these emails? Would it be worth changing that web lead follow-up from an email to a text message?
Pro-Tip: Run your Email Delivery report on template to see how your opens on that initial Thank You email look before you make the switch.
If your email receives a good number of responses, consider adding a text into the mix. Text message responses can say a number of things – the most popular are a simple Thank you or next steps texts.
If you worry about how parents will feel about receiving texts from you, you might consider using these new lead autoresponders to tell new families they’ve been automatically enrolled in your text message communication program and give them the chance to opt out of these communications.
These autoresponders are built into your ChildCareCRM system to help you tell parents you’re serious about meeting their family, so be sure to personalize the templates and give them your brand’s personal touch.
Sending a text in conjunction with your initial email gives these potential enrollments the chance to decide which avenue they’d like to use to respond to you. Compare the response rates from your emails and texts; use those rates as an indication on what recipients prefer.
2. In Addition to Your Existing Email Drip Campaigns
Text messages may be the perfect compliment to your existing email drip campaigns.
Check for any stalled opportunities or non-responsive leads in your pipeline. If anyone hasn’t reached out in a while or hasn't opened your emails, try sending them a text to see if they’re still interested; this gives them the chance to opt back in or unsubscribe.
We love this idea for your growing list of Lost Opportunities, too. Send a mass text to your Lost Opportunity list giving them the option to 'stay on your list' or remove themselves - there may be a chance to regenerate interest in your center.
This may not seem like a great way to convert new enrollments, but it may actually spur families that had inquired previously into action. By utilizing your Group Manager and segmenting based on Lost Opportunity reasons, you can include people who are likely interested in this message. If they are no longer interested, they can always usubscribe or opt out from your future messages. It’s a win-win.
3. Confirm or Fill Upcoming Dates and Appointments
ChildCareCRM users regularly confirm tours and meetings with pre-set text message templates. With the release of Two-Way Text and Email, parents will be able to respond and confirm their visits or even take you up on the opportunity to visit last minute.
Imagine sending a text to a parent who's been trying to fit in a visit around their schedule with news that you have two openings for tours this week after 4 p.m. Are the chances even greater that their FOMO will kick in and they might jump at the chance to come on in?
Texts are far more personal than emails and direct mail and can have a much greater impact on your enrollment pipeline.
Kicking off a text message campaign with permission from recipients will be well received if it adds value to them.
Have any other great ideas for SMS marketing? Send them our way at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to hear from you!