We all wear many hats. Part of this article's focus is the marketing hat... and another part is the consumer hat. Those of us who are consumers frequently are either ambivalent toward, or hiding from... those of us who are marketers. We marketers know this, and, like it or not, we have a job to do, and that's to get our message through to you, in any way that's both effective and legal.
Let's face it: it's crowded out there. The roads, the sidewalks, the trains, etc. But most of all, the marketing messagesphere is crowded competing for the attention of the consumer. Email is filtered out or ignored. Voicemail is screened. Almost everything else out there just forms a blurry blob of non-recognition, a "fabric of noise."
Hence the need for Texting, to poke through that fabric of noise, to get your message through.
This article is not about whether consumers love us for texting them. They don't. (Well, not 'til we text them an extra $50 off something at their favorite store, anyway.) This article is about the the nuts and bolts of texting in such a way that we are compliant with our CRM policies. This would mean tracking our text messages, logging them, and probably originating them from within our CRM tools.
Why CRM Integration?
CRM tools like GoldMine, ACT!, and others are the natural vehicle for sending and receiving Text. Features include: automatic logging of all Texts (along with other activity logs), the ability to easily and quickly send out Texts en masse, and the ability to share Text conversations throughout the organization.
So far, we understand that Texting is a foregone conclusion, we are going to do it, and, we really need to do it in a way that is CRM-integrated.
Texting Tools for Hire
Add-on Texting tools are available at a substantial cost. Here are links to a few:
but the truth is... you don't need to spend a nickel to send a Text message from your CRM system.
Do it for free.
Equally important, you can send someone a Text message from your current CRM system, right now... at no cost! All you need to know is their mobile number, and which carrier they're using. For example, if you know my mobile number is (248)111-2222 and I'm a Verizon user, you'd simply send an ordinary email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'd receive your message as a Text on my cell phone.
How does it work?
In the example above, the process works because Verizon has established a system for converting email to text, for any messages sent to email@example.com. It's that simple. Virtually every carrier in the world has a similar system, and once you know the pattern, especially the domain name (the bit after the @ sign), you can Text anyone.
Here's the key: you must find out (or know) your target's mobile number and carrier.
It's not a fatal flaw, necessarily, though that is one flaw from which the for-hire tools don't suffer. Texting can be done by permission only, so, if your relationship with the target is strong enough (i.e., perhaps you're offering something they really want, that they can only get by Text) they'll be willing to share that with you, even if they change carriers.
As of this writing, the email-to-text patterns for most major carriers worldwide can be found here: