Whether you speak live, virtually, or a little bit of both, managing a speaking business is no easy task, especially when it comes to building consistent revenue. After all, not only do you have to find speaking opportunities. You also have to pitch your services to the event organizer so well that they book you and provide a presentation that impacts your audience even after you’ve stepped off-stage. That said, for each of these “tasks,” one key thing to keep in mind is the latest and greatest technology. In other words, the question you should be asking isn’t “How can I manage all of these tasks?” but instead “How can I use technology to make these tasks easier?”. One answer – at least where engaging your audience is concerned – is the text-to-subscribe app Textiful.
Over the last year, between conversations with experienced speakers and several tests of our own, we’ve seen text-to-subscribe apps cited over and over, both as a way to engage your audience and a way to capture leads. We’ve also heard more than one speaker voice their concern for the usability and price of the text-to-subscribe apps currently on the market.
With those pros and cons in mind, we’ve been on the hunt for a solution almost since the day SpeakerFlow was founded. Now, we finally found the answer, Textiful, and have partnered with their team to bring it to as many speakers as possible. Read on to find out more about Textiful and how you can use it in your speaking business!
A Brief History of Textiful
But, before we get into the features we love about Textiful, let’s talk background. Founded in 2016, Textiful was created by entrepreneur and developer Sam Schrup. In Sam’s words, the purpose of Texiful is “to be easier to use than other SMS marketing tools on the market and emphasize the use of SMS tools in marketing strategies”. In other words, Sam wanted to provide a user-friendly, affordable tool that event organizers could use to maximize the connection (and revenue) they made from their audiences.
Considering these goals, when Sam met our CEO, Taylorr, in spring 2020, the two companies were like “peas in a pod”. Not only did both serve the same audience and passion for technology. They also shared many core values including tackling challenges head-on, working hard for each and every client, and staying humble, even as our businesses have grown.
Since then, the Textiful and SpeakerFlow teams have worked together to integrate their services in a way that is both practical and affordable for professional speakers, the most significant being the integration of Textiful and our own SpeakerFlow CRM. We’re also continuing to work together to provide additional services and training around the Textiful app and its use in speaker marketing. Consequently, although this article is announcing our first partnership together, it definitely won’t be the last. 👍
Top Five Features of Textiful
Overall, there are many reasons that we on the SpeakerFlow team are Textiful fans. Besides how awesome it’s been to work with Sam, we’re also thrilled to find another app that fits are three main technology preferences: affordability, ease of use, and return on investment. Along these lines, below are our five favorite features of the Textiful app along with how such features can have an impact on your speaking business workflow.
1. It’s built with the events industry in mind.
First and foremost, the entire Textiful app is built with speakers, presenters, and other event industry professionals in mind. As speaking business coaches, we know first and secondhand how difficult can be to find tools that fit the needs of a solopreneur. Combine that challenge with the specific needs of a speaking business owner, and many speakers give up, settling for a tool that’s okay but not ideal. They also then have to learn how to make the tool fit into their business, which takes even more time, energy, and stress. We know! We’ve been there, too!
Thankfully, with Textiful, the experience is exactly the opposite and the entire Textiful team understands – from the ground up – the potential of text-to-subscribe apps in a public speaking setting. In Sam’s words, rather than a regular ol’ “Get In Touch” slide at the end of your presentation, imagine the following:
As you are wrapping up your presentation, you mention to the audience that they can join your email list. You’ll also email you a copy of the slides from today’s presentation. All they need to do is text the word TALK to a special number… In under 5 seconds, you’ve captured their email address [and phone number] and added a TON of new leads to your email list. A copy of your slide deck is already in their inbox too…That is some pretty cool street magic right there.
In short, using Textiful not only allows you to more deeply engage (and capture more information from) your audience. It’s also made with speakers like you in mind, so you can try it out, master it, and get back to speaking in no time.
2. The support team and documentation is phenomenal.
The second thing we love about Textiful is a big one: its support. With any high-quality tool or system, even the most experienced tech-lovers can get stuck once and a while. After all, between features and integrations, taking on a new app is a lot to learn. Consequently, if you want to learn a system quickly – and, more importantly, implement it as effectively as possible – the key is to find a system with a rock-solid support team to match. That’s where Textiful excels.
To start with, Textiful’s support library includes more than 100 regularly updated articles to help you get started. Among these articles, you’ll find simple walkthroughs, such as “Choosing your texting number” and “Managing your keywords & campaigns”. On the flip side, if you’re comfortable and simply looking to maximize your Textiful account, you’ll also find detailed instructions (including photos!) for more complex processes. Think custom integrations with Zapier, campaign reporting, and automatic text personalization.
Inside the app itself, you’ll also have easy access to support videos. If you get stuck creating a campaign, for example, there’s a video there to help. If you’re starting to use a new keyword and need help strategizing, there’s a video for that, too.
From start to finish, the entire Textiful application makes text-to-subscribe campaigns simple. Plus, if you run into a question, their team is always there to quickly and efficiently make things right.
3. You can choose to purchase shortcodes rather than full phone numbers.
Number 3 in our Textiful “pros” list is their shortcodes feature. If you don’t know what a shortcode is essentially an abbreviated phone number for people to contact you. You may have seen this featured used at an event near you, such as a conference, lecture, or even a political gathering when the presenter mentioned, “Text YES to 56044 to learn more”.
But, did you know you can use this strategy at your own speaking events, too? With Textiful, you can choose a unique shortcode for each of your campaigns. You can also use more than one shortcode at a time, so even if you’re speaking at multiple events back-to-back, you can run their text-to-subscribe campaigns simultaneously.
To hear Sam tell it, the goal of a shortcode is to make it convenient for audience members to opt-in to more content. In his words, “‘Text READY to 55444’ is a lot easier to say and to remember than ‘Text READY to 833-276-5972.’” And, the more convenient and easy-to-remember a shortcode is, the more likely your audience will opt-in for content about your book, courses, blog, etc. See where I’m going with this? 🙂
4. It’s the easiest to use text-to-subscribe tool on the planet.
Our fourth favorite feature of Textiful is one we’ve already mentioned, namely how easy it is to use. As technology coaches for speakers (and all-around tech fanatics ourselves), we know that finding easy-to-use tools and systems is a must in the speaking industry, especially when it comes to time. Even if you may want to switch to a new app or system, you’re juggling your business processes, ongoing speaking gigs, and your personal life at the same time. That’s a lot of work with very little time to spare on new tools.
Luckily, at least where SMS marketing and text-to-subscribe campaigns are concerned, you don’t have to worry about that. Creating a new campaign with the Textiful app is as simple as a few clicks and equates to less than five minutes of work. We should know – Taylorr actually timed himself.
Additionally, as I mentioned before, the entire app is designed to be simple and effective for speakers. Consequently, when you create a new text-to-subscribe campaign, the system automatically suggests campaign templates for you. That way, you don’t have to worry about over or underthinking it or about missing a step and accidentally breaking the automation. You can just pick your keyword, choose your template, and press play.
5. It’s the most cost-effective text-to-subscribe tool on the planet.
Last but not definitely not least, we’ve found Textiful to be the most cost-effective text-to-subscribe app currently available. In the past, a few of the other apps we’ve tried included SimpleTexting, JoinByText, and TXTImpact, all of which worked perfectly fine. However, setting aside the functionality aspect of these apps, the pricing for each left much to be desired, with the least expensive (JoinByText) costing $20 per month.
It’s also important to note that, for JoinByText’s least expensive plan, the user can collect only 500 email addresses. While this may be appropriate for smaller conferences or events, this becomes a problem if you are speaking at multiple events throughout the month or if you’re speaking for an audience with more than 500 people, both of which are fairly common in the speaking industry.
Conversely, although a similar plan by Textiful costs more, Textiful is the only text-to-subscribe app to currently offer a free option. On this plan, users only pay for the service they use, so you never pay for service don’t need. In this way, if you have an event with 20 people, you only have to pay to capture those 20 email addresses. If you have a one-off 200 people event, the same rule applies. This allows you to predict the cost of the app for each event and, effectively, guarantee the app pays for itself. Win, win!
The full pricing breakdown for Textiful includes four unique packages. First is the aforementioned free plan, in which you pay only for the email and text credits you use rather than paying a set fee every month. This plan is especially useful if the size or frequency of your speaking events is relatively inconsistent.
One step up from the free plan is the Essential plan, followed by the Small Business and Medium Business plans respectively. Available for $19, $49, and $184 per month respectively, these plans allow users to scale their Textiful account with their business and increase their credits (and fee) in accordance with their event schedule. That way, if you’re speaking multiple times a month – and, by extension, able to afford a bigger pricing package – you can upgrade easily with no contract necessary.
Personally, within the SpeakerFlow team, we recommend either the free or small business plan to our clients. With the former, you get access to one campaign and only pay for credits as needed. With the latter, you can create four campaigns and send 1,000 outgoing text messages each month. In both cases, neither your email nor message credits expire, month over month. So, if you need to take a month away, you won’t lose anything you’ve paid for, guaranteed.
Next Steps to Sign Up
Ultimately, there’s a long list of reasons to implement a text-to-subscribe app in your speaking business. From engaging your audience on stage to sharing content with them once you leave, a text-to-subscribe app can mean the difference between a single paycheck from an event and a long list of interested audience members purchasing your products or services repeatedly.
With that in mind, based on the experiences of our team and our clients, if you’re looking to test out a text-to-subscribe app, Textiful is undoubtedly worth a look. It’s easy to use, affordable, and made for speakers. Plus, because you know us, you automatically get 300 free text message credits when you start a free trial. Who can say “no” to that? 😊
To learn more about how you can use Textiful, as the owner of a speaking business, just say the word! We’re all about free resources and sharing the tech we love. So, if you have any questions about signing up for Textiful, we’re just a Zoom call or email away.