Cold vs. Warm Texting: How to Generate Leads Using Business Text Messaging

cold vs warm texting

Most sales agents probably don’t enjoy cold calling, and for good reason – many people don’t receive these calls well. They either reject the call within seconds of answering or don’t answer calls they suspect are from a telemarketer.  

But while cold calling remains a sales outreach strategy for many companies, texting is one form of cold outreach that is slightly less intrusive and surprisingly successful at generating leads.  

There’s just one snag. Cold texting is illegal in some countries, including the US, UK, and Europe. The good news is not all business text messaging is illegal. There are ways to use business texting to generate leads without breaking any spam or consumer protection laws. In this guide lets explore how to generate leads using cold vs warm texting.

What is cold texting? 

Cold texting is reaching out to prospective leads with a text message without prior consent or permission. This is typical with an SMS (short-messaging system) but can also be through a messaging app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. 

By contrast, warm texting is when you reach out to people who are not customers but have had some interaction with your company. For example, they engaged with you on social media or contacted your company by phone, email, or text with an inquiry. 

Once they’ve made initial contact with your business, you can encourage them to sign up to an email marketing list or opt-in to text message communication. If they do, they become a lead. 

Business Text Messages Can Generate More Leads and Increase Sales 

If you’re smart at implementing SMS marketing campaigns, it could generate more leads and convert more customers than other forms of outreach marketing. The following SMS marketing statistics show why text marketing should form part of your outreach strategy. 

  • 85% of respondents said they prefer receiving text messages over email or phone calls. 
  • SMSes have a 98% open rate, compared to 20% for email.
  • 45% of people will engage with branded text messages or conversational marketing messages.
  • 66% of customers confirm paying more for a service if a mobile messaging channel supports it. 

Those statistics demonstrate how powerful text messaging can generate leads and increase sales. 

Why does “cold” texting perform better at generating leads than cold calls and emails? 

Consider that 5.1 billion people (67% of the global population) own a mobile phone. Predictions are that this number could reach 6 billion by 2025. 

All mobile phones, whether basic “old school” cell phones or smartphones, have text messaging capabilities. Not all phones, however, can support email applications, and some people choose not to set email up on their phones. Text messages also can’t go into a spam filter. 

More people open and respond to text messages than emails, and many outright reject telemarketing calls. They also open text messages faster than emails. Up to 60% of customers read text messages within 1 to 5 minutes after receiving them, and the click-through rate (CTR)  is 9.18% higher than other digital channels.

Business texting can be highly successful in attracting more customers. However, you must be careful not to transgress any cold texting regulations that pertain to your country. 

The Legalities Around Cold Texting

Some countries don’t allow cold texting without prior permission from recipients. In Europe, brands must adhere to the opt-in rule for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) before starting an outreach campaign.

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulates text messages for business marketing in the United States. Under the Act, businesses must obtain clear and unambiguous consent from recipients before sending business text messages. 

In addition, you may only send messages after 8 a.m. and before 9 p.m. (8 p.m. in some states). Recipients who do not wish to receive marketing messages can add their number to the national Do Not Call Registry. Should you continue to call or send text messages to numbers on the registry, recipients can report your business to the Federal Trade Commission. 

Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalty fees of $500 to $1,500.00 per text message violation and potential legal consequences. Recipients who receive unsolicited marketing text messages they haven’t consented to can instigate legal action against your company. If found guilty, you may be liable to compensate complainants in addition to the TCPA’s penalty fines.

If you have multiple brands, don’t think that if you obtained customer consent for one brand, you can apply it to your other brands. You must acquire consent for each brand.

Here are a few ways to acquire consumer consent to comply with opt-in regulations. 

  1. We will add a “sign up” button on our website, social media platforms, and marketing emails to invite people to opt into sales or marketing text messages.
  2. Provide keyword opt-out options that allow people to remove their number from your contact list. Customers reply with an opt-out keyword like “STOP,” “END,” or UNSUBSCRIBE.”
  3. Encourage inbound messaging by adding a contact number or an SMS short code to your website and other digital channels so customers can text you first. You can then follow up with a friendly reply asking if they’d like to sign up to hear about special offers in the future, to which they can reply with a simple “YES” or “NO.” 

How To Implement Text Outreach Campaigns That Convert Leads

You can use business texts to offer discounts, notify customers of new product arrivals, advertise events, prompt customers to visit your store or nudge them to get an early start on holiday or back-to-school preparations. 

To turn leads into customers, you’re unlikely to succeed by jumping straight into hard sales text messages. Here’s how to kick off a “warm” texting outreach campaign.

Email subscribers are already “in the bag,” so to speak. If they signed up to your email list, they may also be willing to join your SMS list. However, not everyone will be keen to receive communication on two channels. So, you may need to get creative and give them a compelling reason. Here are two ways to entice them: 

  • Run an SMS competition with entry via SMS only. Use a short code to make it easier. 
  • Run a poll. Ask them to select their favourite product or vote on a new packaging design and offer an incentive for participating, like the chance to win a prize. 

Notice that you’re not selling anything at this point. You’re engaging your leads and building a relationship. In doing so, you’re helping them warm up to your brand.

Send text message reminders.

Most people are happy to receive text messages to confirm appointments, remind them of an upcoming event or notify them of the forthcoming payments due. At the end of these reminders, you can ask them to confirm if they’d also like to be alerted to new marketing promotions. 

Create opt-in options on your website

Many websites include an email subscription box. But why not also give website visitors the option to sign up for text messages? If your website features a chatbot, include a call to action to sign up for text messages at the end of a chatbot conversation. 

Don’t use both cold and warm texting platforms to distribute the same messages – most people don’t want to be bombarded with duplicate messages. You could use your email marketing to provide educational information with visual or interactive content, while your text messages may offer limited or short-term promotions that require immediate action. 

Leverage your social media connections.

Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and X include direct messaging. You could reach out to existing connections on these platforms with a friendly introductory message and extend an invitation to contact you if they need your services or would like to learn more. 

Your existing connections on social media may recognize your name or your brand and be open to receiving further communication from you. 

Install business text messaging software.

The right text messaging software makes executing sales and marketing text campaigns easy. Some can integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) software, making the transition from lead to customer seamless. 

Many text messaging applications are on the market, but not all will offer the features to suit your needs. Some offer a trial period so you can test the software before buying. Here’s what to look for when comparing business text message software:

  • Automation. You can create templates and set up automated messages, like “thank you for subscribing” welcome messages or abandoned cart reminders.
  • Integration. By integrating your text messaging software with your website, social media platforms, and CRM system, you’ll be able to communicate with leads through the channels of your choice.
  • Centralized dashboard. All sales representatives can access the sales pipeline and view the status of each lead. 
  • Personalization. Some business text messaging services allow you to create personalized messages that address each recipient by name. 
  • Two-way texting. This allows recipients to reply to messages. 

Send follow-up messages to leads.

The marketing “Rule of 7” states that a prospect needs to hear or see an advertising message at least seven times before they act to buy the product or service. This rule is a key element in deciding the cold vs. warm texting option for the business.

So don’t be afraid to follow up on messages sent to leads. Maybe it’s to remind them to take advantage of a discount on their first purchase or a special offer about expiring. 

Remember, text messages shouldn’t only be sales-related. Once a lead becomes a customer, texting is another way to keep in touch with customers. It’s the ideal channel to alert customers to a technical issue, invite them to events, or send them birthday or Christmas wishes. 

Most business text software collects and analyzes the data from your campaigns so you can gauge the effectiveness of your text marketing campaigns. You’ll get insight into open and click-through rates and discover which campaigns resulted in higher conversion rates. As we advance, you can use these insights to develop more effective lead-generation campaigns.