The sales and business environment is highly competitive. Consequently, many enterprises and other for-profit setups constantly attempt to outpace one another in a bid to thrive in such a cutthroat space. One competitive business practice some ventures often employ is cold texting, whereby the organization reaches out to prospective clients with whom they do not share prior engagements or even a business relationship. While standard, cold texting often raises negative legal and ethical implications that could ultimately hurt a business.
Simply put, cold texting is illegal. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, outlines specific guidelines that regulate business communications between businesses and their customers. These guidelines require all companies to ask for consent from prospective clients before texting them. The organization must avail to every customer an opt-in request before any further communication occurs. This consent must be written and saved in a retrievable document for future reference. It must be as clear and conspicuous as possible on the nature of the messaging to be expected. The TCPA outlaws any unsolicited spam messaging with irrelevant promotions and product information to individuals. Failure to adhere to these guidelines will result in hefty penalties and fines for the intruding business, hurting a business at the bottom line. Therefore, companies must understand legal protocols such as the TCPA, which protect every consumer’s right to privacy.
Cold testing is in itself bad etiquette. Texting is a highly personal mode of communication compared to calls or emails. Cold texting may thus be viewed as an intrusive act that infringes on an individual’s personal space. More often than not, cold texting invokes an adverse reaction from the prospective client. Rather than buy into the business’ product or service, the client will be more likely to single out the business name and avoid future engagements. Such negative perceptions will ultimately hurt the brand image, which is the unintended outcome of any promotion. Any sound business should realize that text marketing is a very personal act that, in most cases, demands the establishment of a prior relationship with the receiver. Indeed, mobiles have slowly but surely become extensions of individual personalities. With that observation in mind, one might liken cold messaging to nagging from a stranger. A fitting descriptor for such a situation would be “gauche.”
So, the question becomes – what is the best way for businesses to reach out? It is always prudent to obtain prior consent before sending texts to a prospective customer. The audience needs to feel like they control the situation rather than being pressured. A business reaching out can offer this sense of assurance through personalized opt-in requests. Personalized requests involve a real customer care agent interacting with the client to try and obtain their permission. In such a scenario, the customer will be more likely to opt-in since they receive real-time feedback rather than an auto-generated opt-in request. According to Podium’s 2021 Local Business Messaging Trends Report, 74% of consumers in the U.S. and Australia would be more likely to reply to a business text if a real person sent it. This finding reinforces the notion that texting is a more personal endeavor than emails or phone calls. Therefore, the best way to turn that cold text into a successful and sustainable text marketing campaign is by being more personal when requesting opt-in from prospective clients.
Getting a text message from a sales representative may seem far-fetched, but the remote working environment has had companies relying on text messaging more than ever. While there have been benefits to this practice, there is a downside to it. Not only is cold texting illegal, but it is also massively unnecessary. It rarely achieves its intended goals and hurts a business’s image and bottom line. Additionally, there are infinitely better ways to promote a brand or product to prospects. However, the simplest and most effective way to reach out is by requesting permission. Also, a business should consider a more personal approach when reaching out, such as utilizing direct communication via real business representatives instead of auto-generated interactions. If these simple steps are implemented, any business should be well on its way to building a healthy client list.
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