How to Start Conversations at Scale

Discover the art of initiating conversations at scale and learn how to leverage the power of SMS to enhance customer engagement

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Written by Josh
Updated over a week ago

In this guide, we will explore the art of initiating and nurturing conversations at scale through SMS.

Whether you're a small business owner, a marketing professional, or a customer support representative, this article is designed to equip you with practical strategies and insights to effectively leverage SMS for engaging with your audience on a larger scale.

Starting conversations at scale goes beyond simply sending mass messages; it requires a thoughtful approach that resonates with your customers, builds trust, and encourages meaningful interactions. We will dive into various aspects of this process, from crafting compelling messages and promoting your phone number to implementing an outbound messaging strategy and optimizing conversational flows.

So, let's dive in and discover the best practices, tools, and strategies that will help you start conversations at scale through SMS and create lasting connections with your valued customers.

Inbound vs Outbound Conversations

It's important to understand the distinction between inbound and outbound interactions. Inbound conversations refer to messages initiated by customers or clients reaching out to your business for inquiries, support, or other purposes.

Inbound Conversations: conversations that are started by your contact texting you/your business first.

Inbound conversations refer are initiated by the contact. Usually this happens when contacts reach out to your business for inquiries, support, or other purposes.

Outbound Conversation: conversations that are started by you/your business by texting the contact first.

Your business initiates outbound conversations by texting the contact first. Outbound conversations usually involve reaching out to customers with relevant information, promotions, updates, or personalized messages. Outbound conversations allow you to engage with your audience on a larger scale, nurturing relationships and driving customer engagement.

By strategically balancing and optimizing these two types of conversations, businesses can maximize the benefits of SMS communication and create meaningful interactions with their customers.

How to Start Inbound Conversations

Drive customer engagement and encourage more inbound texts for your business by implementing effective strategies.

From clear call-to-action prompts and opt-in incentives to interactive SMS campaigns and quick, supportive responses, these tactics will help you foster meaningful conversations and increase customer engagement through text messaging.

Here are 3 proven strategies for starting inbound conversations:

1. Clear Call-to-Action:

Clearly communicate to your customers that they can reach out to your business via text.

Include a prominent call-to-action on your website, social media profiles, marketing materials, and any other customer touchpoints.

Use persuasive language such as "Text us for immediate assistance" or "Have a question? Text us now!" to prompt customers to engage in SMS conversations.

Pro-tip: Use the MessageDesk Chatbot to start conversations from your website

2. Opt-in Incentives:

Offer exclusive incentives or benefits to customers who opt-in for text communications. For example, you can provide a discount, early access to promotions, or special offers specifically for those who sign up for text alerts.

Promote these incentives through various channels to attract more customers to opt in and initiate text conversations with your business.

Pro-tip: Use Forms by MessageDesk to grow your subscriber list

Interactive SMS Campaigns:

Launch interactive SMS campaigns that encourage customer participation and engagement. For instance, create polls, quizzes, or contests that customers can enter by texting a specific keyword or shortcode. These campaigns not only make the texting experience fun but also provide an incentive for customers to initiate conversations with your business.

Pro-tip: Leverage Keywords by MessageDesk to automate and route conversations based on the reply.

How to Start Outbound Conversations

You can use a lot of the strategies listed above to start effective outbound conversations. The key difference is that you'll compose a Contact Group and Broadcast a message to them all at once.

You can use Broadcast by MessageDesk to reach 10's, 100s, or 1,000's of contacts at once with an SMS message

Pro-tip: use Broadcast by MessageDesk to reach 10s, 100s, or 1,000s of contacts at once with an SMS message

6 Outbound Strategies for Starting Conversations

  1. Use SMS as a customer service channel: Train your customer service representatives to respond to inquiries and issues via SMS, and encourage customers to text your business with any questions or concerns they may have.

  2. Use SMS for appointment reminders: Send appointment reminders via SMS to your customers, including a message encouraging them to respond with any questions or changes they need to make.

  3. Use SMS for order updates: Send SMS updates to customers on the status of their orders, and encourage them to text your business with any questions or concerns.

  4. Personalize your SMS messages: Personalize your SMS messages by including the customer's name, order number, or other relevant information to make the conversation feel more human and engaging. Leverage Tags by MessageDesk to personalize messages

  5. Use SMS for feedback: Send SMS surveys to customers after they've made a purchase or used your service, and encourage them to text your business with any additional feedback or comments.

  6. Use SMS for customer outreach: Use SMS to reach out to customers who haven't visited your business in a while, offering a special promotion or discount to encourage them to return.

How to Promote Your Business Phone Number

Having a reliable and reachable business phone number is an essential part of having a successful business. You want your customers and potential customers to be able to easily contact you and answer their questions or concerns. Here are some tips for sharing your business phone number.

Include It On All Digital & Print Materials

Make sure to include your business phone number on any digital and printed materials such as business cards, mail fliers, your website, your email signatures, posters, social media banners, and any other places where customers or potential customers may find it.

Update Your Email Signature

Your email signature is an important element of your emails. It allows your recipients to know who you are and gives them your contact information so they can get in touch with you easily.

Be sure to update your email signature so it includes your business phone number! It's usually the first place people look when they are trying to contact your business and have past engagements with you.

Update your Voicemail

Often times customers will call your business directly and leave a voicemail. Be sure to update your voicemail so it notifies customers that they can text your business directly.

In MessageDesk you can set up Office Hours so you always reply to new messages when you're away. This way your customer gets an immediate reply when they reach out to your business phone number.

Pro-tip: Setup Office Hours by MessageDesk to automatically respond to new messages

Set Up An Online Form

Setting up an online form for customers to reach out to you can be beneficial as it requires less effort and makes communication easier. It will also allow your customers to type up longer messages with more detail that you can quickly respond to.

Following these tips will help you to successfully share your business phone number so that you can communicate efficiently with your customers.

Pro-tip: Use Forms by MessageDesk to grow your subscriber list

Use QR codes

Place QR codes in-store, on flyers, or in other promotional materials that lead customers to a landing page where they can enter their phone number and receive a text from your business.

With Free QR code generators, you can easily have a QR Code route to your business phone number with a preformatted Keyword already inserted!

Pro-tip: Leverage Keywords by MessageDesk to automate and route conversations based on the reply.

How to Write a Better Text Message

Text messaging is a convenient way to keep in touch with friends, family, and work colleagues. Unfortunately, many of us don't know how to write effective text messages. Follow these tips to learn how to write better text messages and ensure your messages are received correctly.

The cornerstone of starting more conversations is having good conversations. The easiest way to keep your conversation volume high is by having existing customers text you again.

In this section, I'll outline how to write a better text message:

Pro-tip: Use the free MessageDesk Template Library to find proven SMS templates for your next conversation

Be Concise

The most important rule of text messaging is to be as concise as possible. It's often difficult to be brief when providing detailed information, but try to limit messages to a single topic. This prevents misunderstanding and makes it easier for you and the recipient to keep track of the conversation.

Double Check Grammar and Spelling

Grammar and spelling mistakes can be detrimental to how your message is received. A text message sent with incorrect grammar or spelling can be difficult to understand and come off as lazy or careless. Whenever possible, take an extra few seconds to double-check your message to ensure proper grammar and spelling before sending it.

Use Proper Punctuation

Punctuation is essential to conveying the right message. A simple period or question mark can give your message the context it needs. Without it, your message could be misinterpreted. If you're sending multiple messages in a row, separate them with a hyphen, so the recipient knows you're sending multiple messages.

Be Respectful and Polite

Nobody likes to receive a rude message. Before sending a text, consider how you would feel if you received it. If you wouldn't want to receive it, you probably shouldn't send it. It's important to use good manners, even when communicating via text.

Know When to Pick Up the Phone

We all need to pick up the phone sometimes. While text messaging can be a great way to communicate quickly, some conversations are better had on the phone. Consider the recipient and what you're discussing before sending a text. If it's a sensitive topic, pick up the phone and call the person instead.


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