How to Nurture Leads with Text Message Marketing

by | Jul 20, 2021

Most people today have their smartphones with them 24/7. 
Have you considered using text message marketing to communicate with prospective and current clients?
How can you use text message marketing in the right way to nurture your sales leads?

Unlike other forms of marketing, text message marketing have a 70% response rate! 

SalesNexus CEO Craig Klein virtually gets together with host Arlen Robinson on the eCommerce Marketing Podcast to uncover the secrets of a successful lead nurturing campaign using text messages. Watch the video below to find out how to utilize CRM tools to nurture your sales leads using Text Message Marketing.

What is Text Message Marketing?

Text Message Marketing is a means of communicating relevant knowledge, tips/advice, promotions, sales, and other relevant information to customers and prospects. This is done using SMS (short message service) text messages delivered to their mobile devices. 

SalesNexus started from the need to build a bigger mousetrap. About 20 years ago, I was managing sales teams and I needed tools to help me manage the team. And I wasn’t really happy with the tools that I had available back then. So I decided to build what I thought would really work for a small to medium-sized business sales team. Of course, this was back before Salesforce and other tools were even around. Tools have changed a lot since then.

What are some ways to nurture leads that people aren’t too familiar with that can help businesses out?

Back in the days when we started SalesNexus, we didn’t have the range of tools we do today. Google AdWords was a new thing. It was unique. Now, there are just so many options. It’s just overwhelming. If you’re starting a business, you show up at the local AMA meeting or something and start meeting all these marketing experts. You start telling them about your business and what you want to do with your business. And next thing you know, you’ve got proposals from 10 different people. Proposing 10 different, totally different strategies. All of which are tens of thousands of dollars each. And you don’t know how to choose.

How do you know which one is the right one?

Unfortunately in my story, I spent a lot of money trying to figure out which one works. What’s ironic really is the original digital marketing channel was email marketing. And it really is still one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to build your business. Now, of course, it has to be done in coordination with all the other channels that you’re marketing through. But the way I like to use email marketing is to test out messages. That’s because it’s so easy to just put together a campaign and get some data back immediately.

Email marketing is eminently measurable. Especially for a new business or a business that’s introducing new products, let’s say. You can measure and test the response to messaging very quickly. You can get messaging, packaging, pricing, and really optimize very quickly using email marketing at a very low cost. Once you really feel like you’ve got everything dialed in, then you go start spending some money on AdWords or any other channels that you might like to choose. By the time you’re making those larger investments, you already know that you’ve got the messaging, packaging, and pricing all dialed in.

However, it hasn’t always been like that.

If we think back in the days before Salesforce and all those other solutions, and before a lot of these other social media marketing channels. Prior to that, it was a lot of trial and error. But it was of a thicker cost to it to be able to market on some of the channels that were out there back in those days.

Consequently, if you’re going to really test out something on AdWords, let’s say. You’re probably going to need to spend at least a month, maybe two months. There’s a lot of time involved in just setting everything up and getting it going. But you’re also going to need to spend five to ten thousand dollars minimum to really drive enough traffic to get meaningful data. With an email campaign, you could learn the same thing with an email campaign that costs you maybe a thousand dollars and might take you one or two weeks to put together.

What makes Text Message Marketing different?

Text message marketing is a different form of communication that you’re having with prospective clients. It’s different from email marketing in that it’s so much more effective in terms of response rates.

With text messaging, at least 70% of people respond to a text. Whereas only 1-2 % respond to an email.  

So it’s just night and day. However, I think that that by itself makes it really tempting for people to overuse it and abuse it. And so I think you’ve got to be careful. Ideally, You should offer people something valuable to them and use that as a way to entice them to take a step towards you.

You don’t want to show up saying, “Hey, buy something from me today.”
Approach it in a different manner by saying, “Hi, I have something for you that you might find valuable. Don’t worry, you don’t spend any money. And if you like it, I’d like to talk to you, or here’s something else I’d like you to do.”

That works. It builds trust in the relationship. And that’s the kind of relationship that’s going to last forever. So text message marketing has to be integrated into that kind of thing. You can blast a lot of people with a text message, but if they don’t see value in that text message, they get more annoyed by spammy texts than they do by spammy emails.

Moreover, text message marketing is different in the fact that people are always with their smartphones. You could be reaching out to someone in the midst of whatever it is they are doing throughout the day. They can be doing anything when they get that message. And in that sense, timing is important. It’s not like an email where you’re sending something to somebody’s inbox. With an email that’s sitting in the inbox, they’re going to get to it when they get to it. They’re going to read it when they get a chance to. 

Text message marketing is different in that a text message warrants instant attention or an instant reaction.

What works and what doesn’t when it comes to Text Message Marketing?

You know what works great is when the relationship heats up.

So somebody’s on your site and they’ve requested some information, or they just made a purchase or something like that. That’s a great time to send a text message. They have you on their brain already. So then you have to think about the “heat” of the relationship. When the customer is very engaged with your brand, that’s when the permission is there to text them, and possibly even frequently.

However, when the engagement really drops back down, you probably also want to drop down the frequency of texting. You may even want to possibly turn it off altogether until they show some interest again. Otherwise, you’re just going to wear them out and they’re going to ignore you. You have to hit them while it’s hot, so to speak, when there may have already been some previous engagement that you’ve had with them.

And you’re just kind of following up on that previous engagement and offering something else, offering more value, or just furthering the conversation. Maybe you’re getting information from them, but it’s a little bit more time if you just had some recent engagement with them. That’s opposed to kind of a blind, out-of-the-blue text that comes maybe, let’s say a month later after some engagement.

The bottom line with text message marketing is you’ve got to be careful. 

You don’t want people to reply with “stop” and stop all communications. After that, you kind of lost them. You want to be proactive in giving them the opportunity to say, “Hey, stop texting me” without saying “stop”. In your message, you can say, “Hey, thanks for your recent purchase. Here’s a coupon for 10 percent off your next one” or something like that. But then at the end of that message, you can also add something else. Something along the lines of, “Hey, if you’d like to adjust the frequency of these messages, or if you’d like to choose your method of conversation or communication, click here now.” So if they want to change the relationship, the communication, they can without just shutting it off.

Ultimately, you have to leave it up to them. You don’t want to force anything down their throat because again, ultimately if you get that “stop”, you really lose them. 

What tools or strategies can you use to manage lead nurturing with text message marketing?

Well, based on my experience, I’ve been doing this with thousands of companies over the last fifteen-plus years. The hardest thing for most businesses, including me, including our business, is it’s very difficult to talk about your own business in your own products and services without sounding like a salesperson.

You just always want to tell them what a wonderful product you have. And that’s the nature of business. You’re excited about it. It’s hard to get to really think about the customer’s needs and how you can help them meet their needs. That’s where you got to start, I think. If you have some tools, and tips, and tricks, and advice, and lessons learned, and case studies, and those kinds of things. These are all things where you can help somebody that’s on that buying journey navigate that road using their own criteria. That’s what works in terms of nurturing leads. Because that way you position yourself as a resource of trusted, valuable information, not a salesperson.

What we did recently is release a guide.

We wrote it specifically for our customers who are most often trying to create their first email campaign to nurture leads. We call it the email campaign creation guide, but it really applies to any kind of marketing campaign.

One of the things that I think is so valuable about it is that there are a few pages. It’s not long. We’re not talking about a 20-page thing here. We’re talking five 5 or 10 (pages). And there’s a couple of pages where we just walk the reader through. How do you really understand what’s going on in your customers’ minds? What are the questions they’re asking themselves? And then how can you position your own company and offerings to be the answer to those questions?

So I think going through that exercise and then developing that content, whether it be free PDF’s or blog articles or videos that you create or actual products, in some cases, that’s the key. This is because you can’t have a relationship with someone if you’re always asking them for something. That’s not a healthy relationship.

You have to have a way of giving back.

The thing is, a lot of times, it’s hard for a business not to come off sales. Because obviously they want sales, they want to increase their revenue, the profits, all of that. But the bottom line is, these days customers are a little bit savvier. And people are generally a lot more turned off when it comes to aggressive sales tactics, overly aggressive sales tactics. These days people can kind of sniff that out very quickly.

I think people would rather be informed, educated. Then if that information has provided them with value, and they trust that value coming from whatever source that is, whatever brand that is, then you can have somebody become a loyal customer because you’ve provided value to them. You’ve educated them, you’ve helped them out. So that’s what it comes down to in a lot of marketing and sales and buying, is timing.

I may wake up in the morning and have a question on my mind, or a problem, or a challenge, or an opportunity that I’m focused on. And I might do a little Googling and look for answers, and I may end up on your website. I might sign up or do something right and end up in your funnel. So it’s easy to treat that as, “OK, this person is ready to be sold.”

At which, absolutely you should offer them the opportunity to spend some money. But at the same time, you have to be aware that they might not be quite ready.

They might still be in that education phase of the buying process.

They’re just learning. And so when you get that, you can offer them the opportunity to buy something and they may not take it. Sometimes the smart thing to do is take a step back and say, “OK, well, let’s switch over to more of an education series for this customer.” The good news is that most businesses are really bad at doing all this stuff we’re talking about. They really don’t have much of a lead nurturing campaign in place. So if you just have a very simple, once every couple of weeks type of a drip, or you’re just keeping your brand in front of these customers and maintaining that great relationship of trust, then whenever they decide, “OK, it’s time for me to spend some money on this,” you’re going to be the one they contact because why wouldn’t they?

I think you also really do have to be on the pulse of those prospects and their reactions too. Because you could encounter the case where you find out based on the activity, based on the click-through, based on where they’re going on your site, it could be they need to be in a different spot of your pipeline. They may be that type of person that takes a lot to sell them or win them over. Maybe they would need to do more research. They have to be educated.

For that type of person then, your funnel needs to be a little bit different.

You may want to switch it to more of an educational funnel over a longer period of time. Because that’s just that type of person. And I think the main thing is you have to be quick to recognize that. Then maybe segment your last segment, your text communications, and put people in those correct funnels because you’re communicating with them totally differently.

It’s challenging, it’s difficult. Again, it’s just the same as creating that content marketing strategy that we talked about. It’s hard to do that for your own business. I could talk to any business owner and help them figure that out for themselves. But then if you put me in a room and ask me to do it for myself, I don’t even know what to do. And it’s the same challenge with segmenting. It’s very difficult for most businesses to really work that out and come up with a reasonably simple way to do it. Because they see so much nuance and subtlety in their different customers that they tend to overcomplicate it. And it really doesn’t need to be. If you overcomplicate it, it just makes it so unworkable and unmanageable that that is not sustainable.

It really has to be pretty simple.

Although it has to be more complex than just ‘people that bought from us before,’ and ‘people that haven’t bought from us yet’. You got to be a little more subtle than that. But it can’t be every person’s eye color, and what alma mater, what college they went to, and income level, and 10 other variables. And you’re managing different campaigns for all those different groups. You know, that’s a little too complex for most businesses.

Are there any particular tools that have been successful with lead nurturing using text message marketing?

Especially in the last year or so, we’ve had a lot of clients that we worked with that are in the health and wellness space. Everything from manufacturing and marketing, different kinds of immunity, boosting supplements, and things like that to more medical treatments and things like that. This particular business is owned by a doctor who had developed this very specialized treatment. And they ironically, about six months before the lockdown, had come up with a way to provide this treatment primarily remotely. So it’s great timing for them.

But they didn’t have any kind of automation of any of the relationships. It was all salespeople on the phone. What they did was exactly what we talked about earlier.  We worked with them. We helped them come up with an education series. Then, we came up with the list of five questions that somebody who probably needs that treatment has in their mind. And we created a little PDF for every one of those questions. If you’re asking yourself this question, here’s some information you might want to know. And then we put that together as a little campaign.

And that drew people in to setting appointments with them right on the website. Then what we did that really changed the game was people would engage with those PDFs that we created that was an email campaign. They would engage with those PDFs, and show some interest, but not set an appointment with the clinic to do the initial assessment. So those people that got almost there but didn’t quite get all the way into the appointment with the technician.

Those people started getting text messages

It went from 50% of the people that looked at the PDF would then set an appointment right afterward, to eighty-nine 89%, which is almost all of them. Which is almost unheard of. And then they continued to add the text messaging into, OK, after you’ve had your first assessment with them, then there are a lot of people that would not take the next step. That’s when it’s time to make the purchase.

So that’s when they introduce text messages to, if they were starting to stall rather than just a here’s ten percent off, “Please buy from me.” They sent text messages to take the customer back up to that education series. “OK, you’re not ready. Great. Here’s the next question that most people are asking themselves. Here’s a valuable resource that might help you with that question.” And it works every time it’s tried.

Really, it’s all about having that informative content for the customer that’s going to help them answer their own questions so that they’re ready to make the purchase with your business.

So I think where a lot of businesses fail is that after that initial kind of sales type outreach, where they’re offering some type of discount, maybe they were somewhere in the pipeline, maybe they requested information. And people that don’t respond to that offering – the discount. I think a lot of businesses look at that as a lost cause and maybe even remove them from the funnel. But like you said, well, what you can then do is just switch them into more of an educational pipeline and don’t give up on them, so to speak, because if they’re still in there, they still haven’t opted out. They still haven’t replied with stop, then, you know, you still have a chance.


The eCommerce Marketing Podcast walks you through everything that goes into eCommerce marketing – from inbound marketing to paid advertising to conversions. Learn the strategies top marketing experts use to grow their businesses. 

Visit to learn more about seasoned business owner and eCommerce Marketing Podcast host, Arlen Robinson.

Check out this episode about text message marketing on the eCommerce Marketing Podcast website