By Natasha Gay, Zipwhip

With read rates that put email to shame (98% of text messages get opened compared to only 22% of email  – Mobile Marketing Watch) it is clear why texting is the preferred form of communication, especially as the Millennial market becomes the majority.

52% of customers want to text with businesses (eWeek), so it’s not going away anytime soon.

Many businesses are hesitant to text their customers as they deem it unprofessional or impersonal, but consider who you text currently – friends and family, whom you have a personal relationship with. Professionalism is portrayed in the small details such as language, timing, and context.

As texting is becoming the preferred method of contact, here are 9 ways to incorporate it into your wedding business:

1.    Use Appropriate Language.

Texting is conversational and therefore should reflect how you would speak to the client in person. Unless the customer is responding with emojis, abbreviations, etc., keep wording full and professional, so not to lose the intention of the message.

2.    Brevity.

Texting is a great way to check in quickly with a client. “Can you talk now?” or “How are you finding the samples?” are great conversation starters that can lead to more in-depth conversations over a call if necessary.

3.    Consistency.

Make sure you’re texting the client from the same number that you are advertising with your business. The client should be able to Google your company and text the number that is listed. The more numbers listed the more confusing it can be, so keep it simple.

4.    Scheduled Texting.

Send appointment reminders, payments, or follow ups to previous conversations and meetings. Schedule them to go out at a later time in the future. Remember that clients will generally read these messages as they receive them – timing is key.

5.    Group Texting is a great way stay in touch with a big group of people at once.

This might be used to communicate with a wedding party, for instance. Use group BCC texting to contact everyone with the same message, for happy hours or special deals.  (Make sure you always get permission before texting someone.)

6.    Picture Texting.

Share inspiration photos or samples. Sending a picture takes 3 seconds to review rather than 30 minutes to describe on a phone call. In such a visual industry, picture messaging is not only visually satisfying, it saves time.

7.    Keyword short-codes are a great marketing tool to collect warm leads and build a contact list.

Have leads text “INFO” to your number and they will receive an automatic reply. You can also set keywords up to relay information about store hours, directions, and specials.

8.    Applications and Accessibility.

Advertise the fact that you offer texting on your website, business cards, and social media. Instagram allows business accounts to put a “Text Us” button in their bio. Try it!

9.    Google AdWords Click-to-Text.

If you have an account with Google AdWords, you should activate this. When your business is googled it will not only show in Google AdWords but have a “Text Us” button so that you can be contacted straight away in the viewer’s texting app.

If you’ve been reluctant to start texting clients in your wedding business, now is the time to start!

What’s your experience with texting?

Natasha Gay, is an account executive at Zipwhip, serving the Wedding and Event industry. Zipwhip provides texting for existing landline and toll free business numbers, preventing the need for new numbers for text messaging.