If there is any doubt on the importance of texting in today’s law firm marketing, let the numbers speak for themselves right now, loud and clear.

Research shows that SMS (short message service) texts have an almost perfect open rate of 98%, compared to emails with a staggeringly low reliability of 22% (that isn’t even good for a baseball batting average).

If your law firm marketing isn’t taking advantage of that, you are seriously behind on the times.

Why Your Law Firm Should Send Texts Instead of Emails

There are just some things that need to be discussed with your client on the phone or in person. But when it comes to communication for everything else, you could send an email or, better yet, send a text.

Email Your Client…and Then Wait

Emails can and will go unopened for several days. If a client has several email accounts, if the email accounts aren’t synced to their phone (therefore meaning there are no notifications on their phone for a new email), then the client won’t know there is a new message until they actually sign into the account.

Even then, sometimes an important email can accidentally end up sorted into the junk folder. Many email services don’t even show if anything is in the junk folder until the user actually opens it.

So if you have emailed a client with an important question, or with a reminder for a scheduled appointment, you have no certainty that the message has reached your client, and that can be a big issue if time is of the essence.

The client may not get back to you in time if you are preparing the case, or the client may have missed their appointment, as they didn’t read the reminder in time. That puts more stress on you and your client when it comes to their case.

Text Your Client… and Then Know

How many unopened texts do you have on your phone at this current moment?

Most of us would probably say none. The few unopened texts we do have, we are at least aware that they are there, as we received the text notification on our phone. We know who the text is from and probably have some idea of what it is about. We are simply waiting for a better moment to open it and text back.

91% of American adults own a cell phone, and  81% of them use text messages.

When you combine that with the previous statistic for the 98% open rate, that is a large majority of the population you can reach almost instantaneously with an SMS text. You can have confidence that your client or potential client has either read the message right away or is at least aware that there is a message from you waiting for them and will soon read it.

Statistics further prove this, as 91% of cell-phone owners keep their cell phone within arm’s reach 24/7, and 90% of texts are read within three minutes of delivery.

Convenience Factor for Your Clients

Communication should be fast, easy, convenient, and reliable. Clients and potential clients should be comfortable with the way they communicate to the law firm, with no hassles for either party.

What About Phone Calls?

While emails aren’t usually very reliable or convenient for current and potential clients, what about phone calls?

Phone calls are still fine and effective, and sometimes they will be necessary. If a potential client has several questions, it might be too much to go over via a text message (you can text them back with a number to call).

There is also confidential information with your client that shouldn’t be discussed by email or text.

Obviously, if a client prefers a phone call over a text message, then give them a call instead.

But daily schedules can be hectic with work and family activities. Clients or potential clients might not have the opportunity to answer the phone when you call, and you are forced to leave a voicemail instead.

Similarly, perhaps a potential client is wishing to call the law firm, but can’t find the time during the day.

The client has to wait for an open opportunity to slip away for a few minutes and make the call. If that opportunity doesn’t come until much later in the day, there is a possibility they will forget or the law office will be closed for the day.

Communication with Your Clients on Their Time, Saving you Time

Instead of waiting for the right time, it is much easier and simple for a client to text instead. A text requires little attention or effort and can be written and sent in seconds while the client is multi-tasking at work or with the family.

It’s for smaller things that an SMS message is beneficial and much more convenient for the clients, such as scheduling an appointment, confirming an appointment time, or a cancellation.

An overwhelming majority of the population texts several times a day, it’s how we stay in contact with friends and family. Outside of work, how many emails or calls does the average person make, compared to the number of daily text messages?

The point is when your law firm is reaching out to clients, doesn’t it make sense to use the channel of communication we all prefer?

Text Tips for Law Firm Marketing

Don’t Intrude, Ask and Be Invited

First things first: Get permission from your clients. Regulations actually require you to get permission, but the client will appreciate the courtesy of you asking, and potential clients won’t think kindly of random texts before they have expressed any interest.

Ask on your website with an opt-in form, or create a mobile keyword the potential client can text (“Text INFO to 99999”). Email your client list, asking them to text the keyword to the number and join, or do a post on your social media outlets about it.

Post the code anywhere and everywhere: In the office, on flyers, on business cards, and on the website.

Primary Function of SMS Messages

SMS messages can be used by the law firm to answer questions, give information, schedule or reschedule appointments, confirm (or remind) appointment times, and cancel appointments (reducing no-shows). The law firm can also send simple thank you messages to clients.

When answering questions for potential clients, give them the information they are seeking, but keep the texts short so that they will inquire further, by either calling or stopping into the office.

Texting Etiquette

Make sure your messages are clear and the client doesn’t have to second guess. You can always text them to call or go to the website if there is too much information to text.

Text your clients back promptly. There’s little reason why you shouldn’t be able to text back a client or potential client almost immediately.

Always include the attorney’s name in the message, so there is no room for confusion on who sent the text. Also, be sure to notify clients of potential text charges on their phone.

Texting is a tool for conversation, so don’t forget to converse with the client. Ask if there is any other further assistance you can provide after your initial first response.

SMS Marketing is a necessity for your law firm marketing. Emails and phone calls may always be a part of communication with clients, but text messaging is just as important, if not more.

Seeking the help of a law firm usually means the client is going through a stressful legal battle. The legal process can be an intimidating period.

Wait better way to bring a little bit of comfort and ease the worries for a legal case then by making your law firm easy to reach, and by staying in constant contact with the client?

Most of the population prefers to communicate with their friends and family via text messaging, so give your clients and potential clients what they prefer and communicate with them they way they already do on a daily basis.

Your law firm isn’t just providing a service, you are providing assistance. Make your client feel confident they hired the right law firm by offering a clear, easy-to-use channel in your law firm marketing by texting.