We get it, you get it, we get that you get it — online reviews are important to local businesses. That drum has been well and truly beaten into submission. The question now is: “How do you actually get them?”
Unless you’re zen-like in your approach to reach the fabled ‘Inbox Zero’, you’re probably drowning in just as many emails as the rest of us. Your customers face the same daily deluge, too, so it makes sense that in order to get their feedback over email, you need to be sending a whole bunch of emails in the first place.
But the problem for many businesses is that they just don’t have the foot traffic or regular custom to play the numbers game when it comes to getting reviews via email.
And that’s not their fault! A service-area business making a handful of customers very happy every day has just as much right to great reviews as a restaurant serving hundreds, right? Well, maybe email’s not always the right route to reviews…
SMS outperforms email in every area
Email and SMS are no longer new forms of communication. They’ve been around so long now that we understand that one is for work, bills, admin, (AKA the boring stuff) and one is for friends, family, and fun. No prize for guessing which one’s which!
So it’s a no-brainer that the immediacy and informality of a text trumps email in terms of engagement every time. The stats back this up, too:
- SMS texts get a 98% open rate, while emails get just 20%
- SMS texts get a 45% response rate. Email? Just 6%
- It takes the average person just 90 seconds to respond to a text message (for email this is 90 minutes)
- 75% of people wouldn’t mind receiving an SMS text message from a brand (after opt-in)
Whether you’re struggling to get reviews through email or you just want to inject some more power into your review generation strategy, SMS is the way to go.
Introducing ‘SMS Mode’ for Reputation Manager
While we’ve been making tons of improvements to Reputation Manager over the last year or so, this one is a biggie: SMS Mode really will take your online reviews to the next level. It’s been in Beta for a little while, but we’re excited to be fully opening up this functionality to BrightLocal customers in the UK, USA, and Canada from today.
We’re so confident you’ll be swimming in reviews that we’re giving you the opportunity to use SMS mode to send messages in these regions completely free (but more on that a little later).
SMS Mode Video Overview
Watch this short video to learn how to launch an SMS Mode campaign.
Why use SMS Mode?
Sidestep noisy inboxes
Email inboxes can be cluttered and unloved, so it’s no surprise that text messages get opened a massive five times more than emails, and responded to at a rate of 45%.
You don’t need to do much math to work out what that could do for your reviews growth.
Make it personal with an individual SMS
You put a lot of time and energy into the face-to-face customer interactions that set you apart from your rivals. Add the personal touch with a friendly follow-up text requesting a review.
With SMS Mode’s customizable text template, you can retain your personality and remind customers why they loved your work!
Get feedback immediately
Don’t have time to wait for multiple customers’ details before you send review requests? – strike while the iron’s hot!
With SMS Mode’s ‘Single Send’ function, you can start the review generation process right after you’ve put a smile on a customer’s face. In just a few clicks, you can have them sharing their experience with the world while it’s fresh in their mind.
Make every request count
If you only deal with a handful of customers a day, you can’t risk botching the opportunity to get their valuable feedback.
Plumbers, lawyers, doctors: rejoice! With the high open and response rates of SMS review requests, your chances are better than ever.
SMS didn’t land at quite the right time for your customer? No problem!
Just switch on automatic follow-up text messages and we’ll send one more message to give them the nudge they need to share their stars.
How does SMS Mode work?
SMS Mode works in much the same way as Email Mode in Get Reviews, but with a few setup differences.
- Personalize your text message to suit your brand’s tone of voice
- Choose whether you want to send a follow-up reminder text or not
- Choose whether you want to send SMSes in bulk or individually (you’ll notice that the ‘Single Send’ option is now available for email campaigns, too – whoop!)
- Collect your customers’ telephone numbers (ensuring you have consent to contact them first) and upload them to Reputation Manager via csv
- Buy SMS Mode credits to cover your campaign. Texts sent to the USA and Canada cost one credit, while texts sent to the UK cost two credits. Read more about credit pricing here.
- Start your campaign!
Can I give my clients access to this feature?
Yes, you can! SMS Mode is available to your clients via Reputation Manager’s Client Access functionality.
This means they can upload their own contacts to a white-labeled version of Reputation Manager and send their own SMSes. Giving your clients this ease of access means they can send SMSes right after customer transactions to ensure that personal touch and immediacy.
Wait, did you say something about trying it free earlier?
Why, yes I did, person-in-crowd-who-is-definitely-not-a-stooge!
For a limited time, BrightLocal customers in the USA, UK and Canada will be able to send up to 50 messages completely free. We’ve already added free SMS Mode credits to these accounts to cover the messages, so there’s nothing to stop you getting started today.
These credits will expire on Thursday, April 30th, so use them while they’re hot! (Update: in light of Covid-19 making it more difficult to generate reviews, we’ve chosen to extend the expiry date on these free messages to May 31st)
Based outside the USA, UK and Canada, but have a customer base there? Get in touch and we’ll get these free SMS Mode credits added to your account.
SMS Mode FAQs
We’ve written a bunch of new FAQs to cover this exciting new feature. If you’re new to generating reviews through BrightLocal, though, the ‘Get Reviews’ area of our Help Center has everything you need to get started.
- SMS Campaigns – Best Practice Guidelines
- Where can I send SMS Campaigns?
- Do I have to pay to use SMS Mode?
- Why can’t I use the full 160 characters in my SMS?
If you have any questions of your own, feel free to get in touch with us or leave a comment below. We’ll be sharing more articles about SMS marketing over the coming month so look out for our top tips for best results!