Why Text to Opt-In?

Today we are going to talk about capturing offline contacts into your online funnel by using text to opt-in, which is one of my favorite marketing tools.

Who needs this? Everyone.

  • If you are struggling to keep up with the prospects you meet in person,
  • if you want to have a consistent follow-up with your prospects, and
  • if you would rather devote time to qualified prospects than with every contact you meet, you need text to opt in connected to some kind of automation.

Ideally it’s an automated follow-up, moving prospects down the path towards a purchase, giving consistent information about your product, your services, and your business. That is why automation is so important. And text opt-in just really helps us convert offline leads into something online and automated.

3 Autoresponders Every Business Should Use

I regularly present a webinar called Automate Your Marketing where I talk about the three autoresponders every business should have. I just wanted to touch on them. If you’re using email marketing and you should be, and you should also be driving all your online marketing to your website and to subscribe to your email marketing list. The first autoresponder is a welcome email, which is automatically set up in your email solution provider, no matter what platform you’re using, it’s already going out. It’s part of the CAN-SPAM act. It’s already being sent to people, you’ll want to customize it. In the webinar, I go into a lot more detail about how to customize your welcome message. Maybe we’ll talk about it in a future podcast episode.

The second autoresponder is an indoctrination series. It’s an expansion of the welcome email. You are giving people more information about your product or service, more information about your business, and you are teaching them about your product or service. You may also be starting to segment them if you offer different lines of products or services, you can start to direct them down the appropriate path.

The third autoresponder involves adding a lead magnet, or opt-in bribe, to the first step of the indoctrination series. I call this a nurture series. Now you’ve got an enticement for people to join your list, and then they’re going to not only get the lead magnet, whether that’s a download a video or a podcast episode, then they’re also going to get the indoctrination series to learn more about your business, product or service.

What is Text to Opt-In?

I call Text to Opt-In the unsung hero of online marketing because it’s such an easy way to convert those offline leads into your online funnel. It’s a way to connect the physical and the digital world. It’s easy to explain to your audience and you can even do it for someone, which is great! How does it work?

Several different services and platforms offer this feature. I’ve included some in the Text to Opt-In resources. I don’t want to get bogged down in the specific platforms in this episode. Whatever system you use will assign you a keyword with an associated number. I use a variety of platforms and keywords, but as an example, if you send QUEENB to 33444, you will get a response back which I have customized that says:
Hi there, please reply with your best email address so you can start receiving Laura B Poindexter’s best content. Welcome to the HIVE.

That’s me. I’m Laura B Poindexter. Then the prospect has to send back their email address. If they don’t respond, the system does not register an opt-in or record their phone number.

Once the prospect texts back their email address, it is automatically added to my email list. It also triggers my indoctrination series. And then there’s another text message that says, thank you, which you can’t customize on all systems. This is not text message marketing. People are not opting in to receive text messages from you. We are simply using a text message to get people onto your permission-based email list.

Where you should use Text to Opt-In?

Where would you use this? You could use it on anything visual. If you have signage, printed material, a business card, a menu, a sales receipt. We’ve seen an uptick in the use of QR codes recently, but I think text to opt-in is a simpler concept than a QR code.

You can also use it on any audio platforms, for example if you’re on a podcast as a guest. I will usually set up a keyword for that podcast specific to the topic I’m going to talk about. And during my conversation when the host asks me, how can people get in touch with me? I, of course, give my website and my social media handles, but then I’ll say I created a special gift for your listeners related to the topic. And all they need to do is text this keyword to this specific number.

The other successful way I’ve used text to opt-in is when I am speaking on stage at a conference. I’m in a ballroom with hundreds of people. I’m not going to meet everybody. I’m not going to get everybody’s business card. I, again, add something valuable related to my content, something extra. And within the course of my presentation, I have the keyword and number on the screen. I often walk the audience through the process since it is usually a relevant tip to my topic and then I offer a video, download, or webinar replay if they opt-in.

You’ve likely seen it a lot in the most recent presidential election. Some political campaigns started to use it a lot more. You’ve probably noticed it in certain debates or during a campaign event you will see their signs behind them with the keyword and the text number.

I’ve also used it for other bigger public events. My church uses it at the Easter Sunrise Service on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC to get people engaged and to give the thousands of attendees a way to connect with our church.

Using Text to Opt-In at Networking Events

There’s another way I like to use text to opt-in that is more one-on-one. I use it during a meeting or a networking event. If you go to a networking event and exchange business cards, I hope you’re asking for permission to follow up with the people you meet. You’re not just collecting cards that you’re going to dump onto your email list. Not only that, I hope you have some kind of personalized message to send after the event. For example, “Hey was great meeting you at this event” or more generally “a recent networking event”, or if you can commit to doing it that day “it was great meeting you today at the networking event”. And then “here’s a little more information about me” and the email triggers your indoctrination series or a different indoctrination series for people you meet in person. If I had a different indoctrination series for in-person networking events, I might not only include information about my business but also about a few local networking opportunities that I am also involved in.

The other thing you can do, if the person has agreed to opt-in, is opt-in for them using your own phone when you get home from the networking event. You have the prospect’s email address; you can text to opt-in for them from your own phone. As you start to use this in your networking, and you start to talk to more people, you’ll have a process where you can add these people to your list and follow up all in one. You can even have the first email scheduled to go at 9:00 AM the next morning in case you are getting home late from the networking event.

Publicizing Your Text to Opt-In Code and Next Steps

Where would you publicize this text to opt-in code? As I’ve mentioned, I would add it to anything visual that you print for your business, also anytime you have the opportunity to speak either in a networking event, a more formal speaking engagement, or as a podcast guest. You can also use it manually after a meeting or networking event as I’ve described. I have a sign with the number and keyword that hangs on the wall behind me when I’m on video calls.

You can also add the same code associated with your main lead magnet to your business card. I’ve shown people how it works at networking events so they are not only joining my list but I’m also showing them something I can set up for their business.

And now, next steps. What you need to do is see if you have the ability to do this with your email solution provider. If you’re a Constant Contact user, I know a lot of my audience is, you have one keyword automatically included within your account. Just go to the text to join feature in your account. You want to decide on the keyword, customize the messages, and connect it to a list for your nurture series.

Then you want to promote your Text to Opt-In everywhere that’s appropriate. I have multiple keywords. I use different keywords for different audiences. I don’t promote the same one everywhere, but I’m always promoting one. And that is how you can capture offline prospects into your online funnels by using text to opt-in.