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Episode 22 - How Banks Should Use SMS Text Messaging

Meredith Olmstead
April 6, 2022

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Podcast Episode 22:  Tune in as the FI GROW team discuss how to effectively use text messaging for promotional and sales purposes.

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Transcription:

Have you ever been talking about something that's really useful and thought, "That's a great idea, let's hit record so we can share this with everyone?” If you're looking for best practices for your bank or credit union, join us while we talk all things sales, marketing, and strategy for financial institutions. Let's make it happen with FI GROW Solutions.

Meredith Olmstead:

Hi there. I am Meredith Olmstead, CEO and founder of FI GROW Solutions. We are a marketing agency and we do sales and marketing consulting with financial institutions. I am here with our director of client success, Nida Ajaz. Say hi, Nida.

Nida Ajaz:

Hi everyone.

Meredith Olmstead:

Nida and I were just having an awesome conversation about how banks and credit unions should be using SMS text messaging, well for promotional purposes, but also mostly we wanted to talk today about sales purposes and how to use text messages more effectively as a financial institution.

Meredith Olmstead:

So SMS is amazing. The average open rates are almost a hundred percent basically, 98%. They're usually open within the first couple of minutes of sending them. So they're really effective ways of getting a short message in front of somebody a target, a lead or someone a user really quickly. But what we wanted to talk about first of all, there's two different kinds really of text messages or of ways to use SMS and they're transactional SMS or text messages and promotional SMS text messages. I was telling Nida, I had no idea what the difference between the two are. So Nida, what is a transactional versus a promotional text message used by a financial institution?

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. So a lot of times financial institution, what's holding the bat is actually thinking that, oh, you need an opt-in and that's why they have to run a whole campaign to get the promotional. That's what promotional messages are, where you do have to get a formal opt-in. Your email opt-ins don't count. This a separate and you to have a specific text message often structure. But there are transactional where if a person has given their phone number on a form, or anywhere on your website, or any of your product signups, they have given you the authority to follow up whether by phone call or by text. So having that one on one sales follow up is more of a transactional SMS.

Meredith Olmstead:

Awesome. Okay. So then the other thing that we were talking about is that a lot of times in sales, lenders or people who are working with... Frontline staff who are working with customers one on one, face to face or on the phone or something like that, they may feel a little bit reticent of trying to kind of communicate with people via text message, because they're kind of communicating from their personal phones. They don't really know what to say. They're just uncertain what to do with that communication. So tell me what's a way that marketing or a sales team can help support a salesperson in that process.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. So there are a couple of different tools that your sales team, sales manager can actually sign up for and you can actually manage all these text messages that can be sent out from directly from your desktop or from an individual's phone without releasing their personal phone number out there. So it uses that same company phone number. So there are a couple of different tools that do offer that. I mean, Podium is a really good one. Eltropy is designed specifically for financial institution digital communication. Then there's also MessageMedia, which integrates with HubSpot.

Meredith Olmstead:

Okay. So once you pick a tool... So basically the idea here is we don't just want people haphazardly texting from their personal cell phones to leads. I mean, of course if it's a company phone, obviously they can text a lead that way. Maybe it's somebody they've had a relationship with already and they're communicating with them. I mean, they have the ability to, but from an effective sales standpoint in a transactional follow up with them, it's better to have a tool in place.

Nida Ajaz:

Yes.

Meredith Olmstead:

Okay. We were talking about all the different scenarios where text messages work really well. Now, recently we were doing a secret shopper kind of assessment for one of our clients, a financial institution in the Northeast. I actually went in and submitted as if I was applying for a mortgage through their institution, and they had an amazing SMS follow up. So the first way that you really can use these kinds of text messages through a tool is just general sales follow up. So I converted on their mortgage form and almost immediately I got a thank you message on my phone, thanking me for my interest and telling me that somebody would follow up.

Meredith Olmstead:

Then an individual salesperson started reaching out to me via text and they were able to very quickly get me to respond to them and calendar a meeting in the future, a few days later to discuss my interest in their mortgage solution. So that's a great-

Nida Ajaz:

That's awesome.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah, it was a great interaction. Short, to the point, but very successful and exactly what they were trying to do. So kind of general sales follow up is definitely the first scenario that you would want to use text messaging in sales for a financial institution. What are some other followup scenarios and how do you kind of set those up?

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. So most of these tools of allow you to create templates. Because you know how marketing wants to have a brand tone and a brand message kind of equally transferred to all the consumers, and it's a lot harder when you give it to the salesperson to kind of have that responsibility? So it does have template capability, all of these different tools where you can create these templates and make it easy for your salesperson to follow up with different scenarios.

Nida Ajaz:

One of them could be cross-selling. For example, you just closed or someone financed a car with you and you want to say, "Hey, I noticed you just financed a car with us. Looks like you can also pre qualify for a signature loan." So it's kind of just following up and cross-selling along the whole sales cycle. There are a couple of different other ways as well. I know you were mentioning one of them.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah. Well we also try to encourage institutions to follow up with people via text message or otherwise once an application, an entire loan or a new account has been completely opened to get feedback on the entire sales process. Because you want to know, would they recommend you to a friend or family member? Usually right when they become a new customer or a new member, is when they're most likely to take that action and recommend you. So we like to send out NPS surveys to kind of find out, okay, on a scale of one to 10 or on a scale of one to five, would you recommend us to a friend or family member? You can figure out who your detractors are and who's had a good experience or a bad experience.

Meredith Olmstead:

If they've had a bad experience, you immediately follow up with them and try to rectify it and understand what went wrong, because you want to make sure it doesn't continue to go wrong in the sales process in the future. But text messages would be a great way to drive a new customer to an NPS survey. So that's another great scenario for using text.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. That could be a great segue into asking for reviews for people who have given you a better rating and also ask for referrals. So if you have a referral campaign going, that may be a good segue to kind of get those referrals in there too, and get more of the customers and leads going.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot of really good statistics out there that show that Google reviews, when you ask right after somebody becomes a customer, that's when they're most likely to fill out the review for you. The other thing is if somebody abandons an application, which we know they do all the time with financial institutions, because the applications are so long and cumbersome. They can be three, four, five pages, but if you're capturing that data and that lead at the beginning of the application and they don't finish the application, you can send them a text message that reminds them to come back to the application and maybe even includes a link to get them to do that really quickly.

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah, that's true.

Meredith Olmstead:

What about other process campaigns that you might be doing with new customers?

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah. So just onboarding, for example, like you mentioned, once they do get those reminders and they actually go through signing up and becoming a member or becoming a customer with the account holder, you could use the text messages to kind of send them a direct link to downloading the mobile app. While they're on the phone for sure with an SMS, they can just click and download the mobile app. Or some of the other things that you can incorporate are sharing local events that may be beneficial like a shred day or something, and sending a one day before reminder to local events that can kind of help you tie-in as a brand for this member or this customer.

Meredith Olmstead:

Yeah, yeah. A lot of great ways to use text message. So I think once a team, the sales and marketing team has kind of put their heads together on it, they pick a good tool, get it set up and start with those templates, kind of the sky's the limit, right?

Nida Ajaz:

Yeah, for sure. Diversify and that touch point is a very good idea to have multiple touch points.

Meredith Olmstead:

Awesome. Well, thank you Nida. I think this was great. These are great tips for any bank or credit union out there who's listening. We have some other awesome podcasts on our website. They live on our blog. So please feel free to visit us at FIGROW.com to see more these kind of discussions where we hit record. We also have FI GROWTH Academy there where we have other courses on social media marketing or digital ads and how to win with Google. So lots of great content there if you're interested in learning more and otherwise let's just get out there and make it happen.

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