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Cold texting is a big no-no: Here’s what to do instead

The bad news is that cold texting is illegal. The good news is you can follow these tips to encourage prospects to opt in to your text messages.

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With a 98% message open rate, it’s tempting to throw caution to the wind and cold text leads and customers in the hopes of soliciting business.

However, cold texting is illegal. You must have permission from contacts to reach out. 

Don’t let this put you off using text messaging as a marketing and sales tool. Open rates and click-through rates of text messages are 390% higher than email. As with any outreach channel, you just need to know how best to approach it.

Here’s everything you need to know about cold texting, and the right way to initiate text conversations with prospects.

What is cold texting?

Cold texting falls under the same umbrella as cold phone calls or cold emails: reaching out to a contact you have no relationship with.

If you purchase a contact list or find a prospect’s phone number online, then any subsequent text messages you send them are “cold texts”. To reach out to prospective customers, you need their consent.

Why is cold texting illegal?

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires businesses to gain consent from prospects to text them. This is different to cold emailing and cold calling, which doesn’t require the same explicit opt-in.

Where email is frequently used by businesses as a communication method, texting is more personal. We text our friends and family, and most people are wary when giving out their phone numbers in a way that they aren’t with their email addresses.

However you decide to interpret the reasons behind the illegality of cold texting, the fact is, you can get into trouble if you do it.

What can I do instead of cold texting?

There’s one clear alternative to cold texting: warm texting.

Over 74% of people would rather text a business if they know there’s a real person responding on the other end. Make use of this by making it easy for prospective customers to sign up for texts. Here’s how you can do this.

  1. Encourage prospects to opt in with a keyword

A keyword is a relevant word that, when sent to the business’ number, subscribes customers to receiving future texts. You can create different keywords depending on the reasons your customers might text you.

For instance, let’s say you’re an accountant. You create a keyword like “TAXTEXTS” and when potential clients text it in, they’ll be added to your contact list. You can send them relevant information via text to help nurture them.

SHORTCODE: Message one: TAXTEXTS  Message two: Hi! Thank you for signing up to receive tax alerts! You will now receive our latest advice and tax tips!

  1. Add a click-to-text button to your website

A click-to-text button automatically opens up your prospect’s native messaging app when clicked. When a website visitor taps on the Click-to-Text button, the SMS app on their cell phone will launch with a pre-written message as well as a pre-filled phone number.

You can reply to their message, follow up the lead, and start the process of turning the prospect into a customer.

A click-to-text button that opens a customer support conversation
  1. Publicize your phone number

It sounds obvious, but do prospective customers know how to get in touch with you? Have you made it easy for them to text you, or do they have to dig through the depths of your website to find a contact number?

Ensure your number is clear and available across your website, social media and any other marketing materials you use. From flyers to email campaigns, don’t make finding your phone number an impossible task.

A website footer that includes the business's phone number
  1. Integrate with your current marketing tools

If you already have a method of collecting prospect information, the chances are your tool can be integrated with SimpleTexting.

One customer we did this for was Canadian Fertility Consulting (CFC). It relied on Salesforce to gather lead information but needed a smooth process to follow up with prospective clients based on their Salesforce information.

We built an integration that filters new contacts in Salesforce and puts them into different journeys within SimpleTexting, depending on the needs of the customer. CFC now has a smooth integration between both tools, which you can read about in their success story.

If you’re already using another application or software, take a look at your options on our integrations page. 

With effective marketing, you don’t need to cold text

Yes, cold texting is illegal, but it’s also unnecessary. All you need is to make it easy for your prospects to get in touch.

Its direct nature makes text message marketing one of the most effective ways of turning your prospects into customers. You just need to make sure you have permission first. Sign up for your 14-day free trial and get a keyword for free, so you can start building your contact list right away. 

Alice Dodd
Alice Dodd

Alice is a copywriter at SimpleTexting. When not teaching the world about the benefits of business texting, you can find her feeding family, friends and strangers with her latest baking experiment.

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