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  1. Business
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How to Quickly Have Your Customers Pay by Text Message in 2020

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This post is part of a series called Easy Business Messaging With Podium (Quick Start Guide).
How to Get Quick Customer Feedback With Business Text Messages in 2020
How to Video Chat Live With Your Customers Using Podium in 2020
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Payments are the lifeblood of your business. No matter how passionate you are about your work, you need to make sales and collect payments so that you can do what you love. Use Podium to accept text payments and make payment collection easier.

Pay by text graphic
Offering pay by text means that your sales cycle will be smoother and lead to growth. 

In this article, I'm going to show you how to use Podium, a powerful marketing tool, to collect mobile payments via SMS. It helps you take a customer or potential customer from marketing to mobile payment, all inside a single conversation thread.

Why Should You Use Mobile Payments?

You might be thinking to yourself that you already have a working payment process. Maybe you use an invoicing tool like PayPal or Freshbooks plus a POS (point-of-sale system.)

If you're missing out on a dedicated solution for pay by text, you're missing out on sales. In an ever-more-mobile world, your customers want a smooth and simple way to complete the buying process with a text payment.

Here are three key advantages you unlock when you accept text payments:

  • They get seen. SMS open rates are reported to be as high as 98%. That means that your invoice won't go unnoticed or lost in the shuffle of mail or email. And that means more payments, in less time.
  • Text payments reduce friction. Instead of sending separate emails or invoices to collect payment, mobile payment via SMS takes place inside of one easy-to-follow-text conversation. Go from sale to payment inside of your customer's messaging app.
  • Pay by text is safe. If you're aiming to reduce person-to-person contact, you can send a payment link to your customers instead. Imagine using this feature to boost the ease of payment without fumbling to pass cards back-and-forth.

Above all, mobile payment via SMS is something that your customers will thank you for. This feature is so popular that most customers already know how to pay by text message, so the option will feel familiar. Easy-to-use digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay will autofill your pay request, so it's easy for customers.

Text payments help you get paid. They make it so easy that you're going to make more sales. Read on to find how to accept text payments to help you grow.

What Is Podium (And Why Should You Use it for Mobile Payments?)

So, if you've decided to adopt a pay by text option, how do you do it? You might already know about a few apps that help you accept payments, but they're missing one key feature: integration.

Sales and marketing is easier when you use one tool for as many features as possible. That's why Podium, best-known as an SMS marketing tool, is so powerful. Not only does it give you the freedom to text with customers, but you can also instantly pivot to accept text payments—all in the same conversation.

Podium pay by text
Podium is an all-in-one SMS marketing tool that includes an easy pay by text option built-in.

Picture an easy sales flow that looks like this:

  1. You text a targeted offer to a customer, including an item image and a brief description of why it works for them.
  2. They confirm the sale, sharing their shipping details and contact details.
  3. You send a payment request, with a secure link to collect payment that your customer will complete.
  4. They send the payment, and Podium notifies you that payment is received.

With Podium, all these steps can be completed inside of one convenient app. For your customers, all the steps take place in a single message thread. It's easy to see how this type of transaction not only makes it easy for you but also leads to more sales.

If you aren't already using SMS marketing, make sure to learn more about the advantages with the help of our article below:

How to Accept Mobile Payments With Podium

You've already seen the power of Podium and know that mobile payments are a great way to get paid. It's time to walk through an example of accepting text payments with the help of Podium.

1. Sign Up For Podium

To follow along while learning how to accept text payments, jump over to Podium's website. You can sign up for the platform for free to start your SMS marketing efforts.

Podium is best-known as an SMS marketing tool, but it's truly so much more. You can use it to send text messages from a web browser, collect reviews, video chat, and so much more. Use it as the hub of your marketing messaging efforts.

Podium pay by text platform
Podium is a total messaging platform that includes automated SMS, analytics, and a pay by text option.

Remember, Podium includes many free features to start your SMS marketing efforts. Accepting payments only costs you the industry-standard transaction fees that you'll experience with practically every payment processor.

Podium is so much more than an SMS marketing tool. If you're still weighing your options for the tool to use, check out our round-up with the top SMS marketing apps:

2. Set Up Your Banking Information

Your payments need a place to go. Podium is the tool you'll use to accept payments and you'll need to connect it to a bank account to deposit payments from your customer.

On the Podium Dashboard, browse to the Manage > Payments menu option. This page controls most of the account settings to control the payment process.

Podium add bank account
Make sure to add your bank account in Podium's dashboard before you start to send mobile payment via SMS 

Use the easy-to-follow wizard to connect your bank account. You'll need standard information like the routing number and account number, so make sure to have those ready before you start this step. Mobile payments via SMS will deposit to this account once you finish the configuration.

3. Customize Your Pay By Text Look-and-Feel

Branding your business matters. There's no reason that the payment process has to exclude the look and feel of your business.

Podium lets you not only add pay by text, but to make it feel like part of your usual branding experience. That means that your payment links will include essentials like your logo and company name.

This step might feel like a simple design preference, but it's so much more. Even though you use Podium to accept text payments, your customer will feel like they're working directly with you. They're not sent to a third party to pay you.

Podium pay by text branding
Podium gives you the options to brand your text payment process to help your customers feel comfortable with the pay by text option.

You'll find these settings on the Podium dashboard at the Manage > Payments > Accounts link. Make sure to update these two key settings:

  • Set your business display name. It shows at the top of every payment request link so that your customer knows exactly who they're working with.
  • Upload a logo. Save your logo as a square image (1:1 aspect ratio) and upload it to show it on every payment link.

This branded experience builds trust in the pay by text option. Your customer will learn how to pay by text message through your link and trust the process due to the branding. That leads to more payments in less time, thanks to Podium's branding options.

4. Send a Marketing Message

Your text payment process will be smoother if you don't send just a payment link. Even if your customer has already agreed to a sale, reminding them of who you are and the transaction that will lead to mobile payment via SMS.

Don't forget that you can use SMS to offer targeted sales. When you know your top customers well, it's a great idea to send them products that they might love. It's a great first step that could ultimately lead to a pay by text transaction.

Send marketing for text payment
It's always a good idea to start a conversation with your customer before sending them a mobile payment via SMS link to complete the transaction.

Remember, Podium is a fully-featured text message marketing tool. You can manage the entire conversation from your web browser. Use one convenient tool to send offers, converse with the customer, and accept text payments.

5. Request a Payment

Now that you've opened the line of communication with your customer, you're ready to accept a mobile payment via SMS. With the help of Podium, you can accept text payments on secure links that deposit to your account.

In your text conversation, find the dollar sign icon at the bottom of the window. Click on it, and you'll see a Request Payment window open as you can see in the screenshot below.

Create payment link SMS podium
Use the Request Payment window to create a link to accept text payments.

You only need to fill in a few options to create a text payment for your customer:

  • Items. Complete the item description field and a price. If you want to add a second option, press the (Plus) button to add another line.
  • Invoice number. This is a helpful tracking tool for your internal bookkeeping. Consider giving it a short name and sequential number to help track invoices.
  • Optional - Link Expiration. If you've got items in limited quantity, it's a good idea to set a link expiration. Sometimes, customers might change their mind and not make a purchase, and it's good to "tie up loose ends" and set links to expire.

When you're finished, click on Create payment link. Podium automatically adds the URL to your text conversation. Press send, and they'll receive an easy-to-use text payment link.

On the customer's side, tapping the link will take them to an easy pay screen. On mobile, they'll see easy options to use their mobile wallet or key in a card number. This link also works great on computers and other tablets, too.

Podium payment mockup
On mobile, your customer will see an easy-to-use payment screen to use their digital wallet (like Apple Pay) or manually input a card number.

It's worth mentioning that new customers might want to know more about how to pay by text message. Consider adding a short message in your conversation thread with simple instructions.

That's it! You'll be notified when the customer pays, and you've completed the mobile payment via SMS process.

Optional: Set Up Recurring Payments

Not every business approaches commerce as a "single transaction." Many times, your relationship with a customer is an ongoing service that requires periodic billing.

Too many businesses lose track of these automated payments. Not only are they easy to lose track of, but they also require too much bookkeeping and manual steps.

That's why Podium added Recurring Payment Schedule as a mobile payment request option. On the same Request Payment window you saw earlier, use the Recurring Schedule option to set up payment reminders. You can set up payment requests at practically any interval, and your customer automatically receives a payment link.

Recurring mobile payment via SMS
Use the Recurring Schedule option on the Request Payment window to set up automatic payment requests that occur.

With Podium, one of my favorite features is the recurring payment option. It's really built for busy business owners who don't have time to manually send pay by text links.

Start Using Podium For Mobile Payment Via SMS Today

Here's what you know now: mobile payments help you grow. They make the sales process so easy that it means you'll make more sales and collect more payments.

Thanks to Podium, you don't have to program a payment solution or integrate a new tool. Start using it today for your SMS marketing efforts, and you'll instantly gain the feature to accept text payments.

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