You can spend all the time in the world preparing that perfect genuine message, but if it doesn’t actually help you have a conversation with a prospect or customer, is it really the perfect message after all? To get more responses from customers, you must send engaging messages and build trust through the conversations that follow.

First, we’ll talk about some common reasons that messages don’t feel engaging and therefore don’t drive responses. Understanding this “why” will help you start evaluating your current business texting practices. Then, next week we’ll have some specific tips for how to write sales and marketing text messages that are more likely to generate responses.

Common Reasons Your Messages DON’T Get Responses

1. You didn’t ask a question

Think about how often we skim texts as they come in or simply look at the preview while doing other things. If we don’t immediately see a question, it’s more likely we put off responding or simply don’t respond at all. And sometimes we need the visual cue of question marks to realize the other person is looking for information from us.

Especially when sending someone a message for the first time or sending them a message for the first time in a while, making sure you ask a question is key.

2. The message was unclear

Texts that are long or ask people to do too many things can make it unclear what you actually want them to do. If people can’t quickly read and understand, they won’t take action and they won’t respond. If you’re lucky, some will ask for clarification, but this totally depends on how invested the person already is in your business.

Make it easy for them by focusing the topic of each text and directly asking questions.

3. People think the message isn’t from a real person

People want to know that they’ve got a human on the other end. If your messages feel too stiff, robotic, or scripted, customers may quickly assume all the messages are automated. And if they think they’re just dealing with a bot, that won’t inspire them to engage in a conversation.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be professional or formal. However, it does mean you should carefully consider your tone and think about how messages will be perceived by recipients.

The best advice we have, and it applies to writing one-off messages or automating a series of messages, is that your texts should sound like how you normally talk to people.

4. People don’t know who you are

When you get a text from a random number, especially from a business, how likely are you to respond? Probably not very likely! At least you aren’t if you have little to no idea what the business is.

Not every single text you send needs to include your name and the business you’re from. But the very first text you send definitely needs to. Even if you recently met someone in real life and got their phone number, that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically remember who you are if you jump into a conversation. Don’t leave it to chance or make them rely on context clues.

It’s fully worth the characters for me to write “Hi, this is Anna with Skipio” to ensure recipients know who I am.

Truly effective communication leads to stronger relationships, and deeper connections lead to loyal customers and brand advocates. As you get more responses from customers, you learn more about your audience. And then you do an even better job reaching out to other customers in the future.