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2008-08-08 17:16:22

Adding Text Messaging to your E-mail Signature

Call me - email me - write to me - instant-message me. . . It seems we are looking for the best way to make it easier for consumers and associates to contact us wherever we happen to be.

For many years now, Saul Klein has been promoting the concept of the top seven things consumers want: Speed, Convenience, Choice, Value-added, Discounts, Quality, Service and Information.
It is no accident that Speed is first on the list. Saul goes on to say: "Think of fast food. The quicker you can take care of the administrative aspects of a purchase or sale, the more valuable you are to the consumer." I will add that speed as it relates to response to a consumer's request or question has become incredibly important.
Fast is no longer good enough. Consumers searching for property online expect a response to their request in a very short and increasingly shorter time. We try to make it easy: phone numbers, follow-me phone numbers, email addresses, website links have all crept into our digital signatures - the one at the end of our business email messages. More often than not, however, we might miss an email response window (who checks every few minutes?). We might be away from the phone that the consumer selects from our growing list of numbers, and we call back when it is too late. It happens to most of us.
What, then, can we do to become aware that the consumer is trying to reach someone in a hurry? How about text messages? We all have seen the pre-teens as they speed type a message to their friends on their cell phones. My own youngest has developed the fine art of texting Dad while she is in the middle of an Algebra exam. No, I don't help her cheat - in fact she could teach me more about the subject than I could ever teach her. She simply has a small question, like: what are we doing Saturday night? She could wait until school is over for the day, but then she might forget to ask. So, when it is foremost in her thinking, she has developed the habit of asking "right now!"
This "top-of-mind" urgency is creeping into older and more sophisticated crowds. Have you seen how many business people will text someone under the conference table? Have you been to a real estate conference lately? I watched from the back of the room just last week as literally hundreds of our associates spent half of their conference time sending text and email messages!
It is said that texting has begun to replace emailing as the new communication paradigm. Just in case there is some sliver of fact here, doesn't it make sense to give consumers an easy way to text you?
One way is to add a text message link in your email signature. People can click on it and bring up their email message window. They simply type their message and click "send." The message is then sent to your cell phone as a text message. You can then respond immediately or elect to wait - but the choice is yours! Oh, and by the way, this same link will be a terrific addition to your web page too! The process is simple. Just format a "mailto" link in the signature and fill in the appropriate format as described below.
For example, I am a Verizon customer. The correct format for my mailto is <a> Send me a Text Message</a>
In this example, the mailto: command tells the browser to open your email client software. The numbers 5104682138 are my cell phone number (one of them) and the tells it where to send the message.
To use your own number and cellular service, select the dommain from the list below:

AT&T Text
ten digit phone
AT&T Pictures (MMS)
AT&T number 
phone number
Verizon text
Verizon Pictures (MMS)

Here is an example of my signature with the text link in place:
Jack Harper
J S Harper Real  Estate
Providing True Real Estate Consulting
(925) 308-7727 Office
(925) 628-7682 Cell
It's All About Choice. . . Your Choice!
Ask me why we are different
I hope this works for you.
(Editor's Note: Check out Jack's new Real Estate Consulting Group at )

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