A Text To Show You Care

This article was first featured in Financial Advisor Magazine on Nov 1st, 2023.

If you’re like most advisors, your phone might not ring as much as it once did, but your email inbox is likely filling up. According to McKinsey Global Institute, the typical professional receives an average of 120 emails per day and spends nearly a third of their workday writing or responding to messages.

No matter how you slice them, those are daunting numbers.

What about outgoing emails? No doubt they are critically important to your marketing effort, but even if you send them, it’s still more challenging, given the volume of emails everyone is receiving, for you to stay at the top of people’s minds—clients or prospects. Their email inboxes are also full.

Calling clients has also become more difficult. Even if they like talking on their cell phones and landlines, they’ve become less willing to pick up the phone during an age when they’re getting billions of spam robocalls every year.

The Case For Texting

So what about texting?

Even if you don’t usually communicate this way, there’s a good chance one of your clients has tried to reach out to you via text. Messaging has become the most used service on the phone and the most preferred communication method—the main way most of us keep in touch with friends and family. So it’s likely people will start to expect it from their financial advisors, too.

And the benefits of that for professionals are quite clear: Roughly 98% of text messages are opened and read, which is as close to total access as any marketing channel has ever achieved. So if you want a better way to get in front of clients and prospects—and stay there—business texting is one of your best options.

How To Get The Most Out Of Business Texting

Here are a few “must dos” when setting up a texting service for clients:

  • Have a strategy. Some advisors limit their client text messaging to automated appointment reminders and event invitations. Others send quick check-in “thinking of you” messages, birthday wishes, time-sensitive notifications, and invites to reach out (in which they prompt clients to share thoughts or ask questions). You should make a plan for the ways you intend to use texting in your overall communications.
  • Integrate your client management system. Should you involve your CMS? Yes! When doing so, you should make sure to choose a texting system capable of importing contacts from your existing client management software and mobile phone.
  • Keep your number. Setting up an entirely new number just for texting may confuse your clients. Choose a service that can handle texting without changing the way you use your phone.
  • Use group messaging and templates. You can hit the ground running with a system designed to send messages by group, using templates such as pre-written birthday messages that you can personalize to get started.
  • Schedule communications in advance. If you send text messages, one at a time, to one client after another, you’ll soon find yourself stuck on a treadmill. So, you should choose a texting service that allows you to set up notifications, reminders, and other automated messages in advance.

Don’t Forget About Compliance

You might have seen a few splashy headlines about business texting missteps—in August, 10 firms, including Wells Fargo and BNP Paribas—were fined $549 million for discussing work on popular messaging platforms, including WhatsApp, on their personal devices. As of last year, the resulting fines for private message missteps have added up to more than a billion dollars. The regulators dinged firms for issues like using unauthorized texting apps and failing to preserve communications.

Clearly, texting isn’t excluded from client communication monitoring and recordkeeping requirements. You’ll need to ensure you’re using a service that adheres to the rules by appropriately enabling the supervision and retention of messages. Better yet, you should choose a service with a built-in integration and workflow that involves your compliance team.

Also, consider the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a powerful statute designed to protect consumers from excessive marketing calls. This applies to texts, too. So you will need ongoing permission to text clients and prospects, something you can request using your business texting service. It’s a net benefit to you and your clients, who will take comfort in knowing that a simple “STOP” will end any unwanted communication going forward.

Slow To Catch On

Business texting has been slow to catch on among financial advisors, primarily because of these compliance concerns.

But there are a few other ways to get front and center with your clients the way you can with texts. It’s an increasingly popular and effective strategy that is here to stay.

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