I recently picked up a few texting tips from an unexpected source that can be applied to your lead response and conversion process. And they were very familiar.
A couple years back, we started sharing a 3-part framework for better videos and and for better communication overall (emails, text messages, voicemails, etc).
Empathy, value, and a clear call to action – structuring your communication pieces with these 3 parts enhances their effectiveness.
Last week, I heard an episode of This American Life that reinforced the concept in a fun and data-backed way.
Here are texting tips for first dates … and for your lead response and conversion process!
2 minutes, 40 seconds
Video length: 1 minute, 36 seconds
Takeaway: Simple steps to improve your text messages for lead conversion.
Texting Tips from a Surprising Source
Texting Tips for First Dates
First dates and dating are ripe as a metaphor or comparison to lead conversion. Making initial contact. Building trust and rapport. Setting an appointment. Establishing connection. Following up. And that’s what we have here.
The “Captain’s Log” episode of This American Life looks at unemotional facts in logs and records (here: a string of text messages) and unpacks the emotional and complicated aspects behind them.
Eric Klinenberg, a sociologist at NYU, teamed up with actor and comedian Aziz Ansari, on a deep dive into the text messages of people just starting a relationship – right when they first start dating (or not!).
With the text messages as raw data, they were able to examine real-time records of what actually transpired – not just what people remembered and reported back.
Additionally, the research project included conversations with hundreds of people, typically in focus groups of 10-20, across 8 different cities.
Occasionally, they conducted these focus groups live on stage with an audience. This podcast included audio from one of these events at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater – with women on one side of the room and men on the other.
Ansari found 4 male volunteers to share their opening text exchanges with prospective dates. Then, the audience commented on each guy’s text messages and voted for their favorites.
The clear winner started like this:
“How’d your Thanksgiving feast turn out? Here’s a shot of the spread I put together. I’d say it came out alright (smiley face)”
Why the women liked this one best:
- “It gets the conversation going.”
- “You asked a question.”
- “It made you want to comment on it.”
- “It was personal.”
- “He remembered what you talked about.”
What did they disliked about some of the others:
- “It sounded (too transactional*).”
- “He should’ve asked a question.”
*like he was more into the “transaction” than the relationship – he came on too strong and too shallow
The 3 texting tips from the entire research project:
1. Make a plan.
Invite the person to something specific at a specific time.
2. Ask a question.
Say something that refers back to an earlier conversation to show you were listening. Phrase it as a question to encourage a response.
3. Be funny.
Say something funny.
Another key observation: The bar for success is quite low. So many people do this so poorly. A little effort goes a LONG way.
Klinenberg and Ansari published these findings and many more in Modern Romance.
Texting Tips for Lead Response
The Empathy – Value – Call To Action structure is here.
Asking a question and showing you were listening or paying attention shows empathy. If you’ve not yet met, what do you know about them and how they connected with you?
Being funny here plays as entertainment or value. For you, it’s important to be personal and relatable, but you don’t necessarily have to be funny, per se. Provide value based on what you know about him or her.
Providing a good, clear call to action is fundamental to success and translates directly here. Don’t be vague or leave it open-ended. Be specific. Provide one or two very specific times for a reply, a call, or an appointment. Be clear about what should happen next – and when it can or should happen.
You’ll dramatically increase your likelihood of success in connecting and getting that initial phone call or appointment.
Of course, doing it with a video makes it all more personal, human, and differentiating.
Links You Might Like:
A Similar Situation
Two years ago, we observed what we call the Shiny/Authenticity Inversion, in which lower production value in your videos leads to higher trust. Seven months later, an analysis of global, multi-billion dollar brands showed the same thing.