A Facebook business page also lets you get, display, and share reviews from clients, which are valuable in helping you get new clients.
Reason #3 a Facebook business page is valuable is that it simply makes you look more professional. It brings you more clout compared to those who don’t have one, and looking better than your competition goes a long way in small business marketing.
5. How many words and images should a blog post have?
Generally, longer posts (on any platform except email) tend to get more engagement. Posts with more images tend to get more engagement, too.
But that doesn’t mean you should write super long stories every time, or add 100 photos to every blog article. There’s always a limit.
For good, informative content, 800-1,500 words with an image thrown in every 200-300 words is great. If you’re presenting in-depth research, 2,000-2,500 words is a good range.
Posts around 800-1,200 words tend to get the most shares, while posts with about 2,500 words tend to rank highest in search results, so write what’s best for your overall strategy.
Keep in mind that word count should be your last consideration when creating content. You first and foremost need to add value to your targets, and then you need to keep their attention.
6. What tools do you recommend small businesses use to promote their posts?
Truthfully, you can promote your posts rather well without tools, just by sharing on various platforms. Although, tools like Social Jukebox or Hootsuite can help you automate this process.
You can create a bunch of posts all at once, and then schedule those posts to go out when your audience is most likely to engage with them. (Mid-morning and late evening tend to be good times.)
Happier customers stay with you longer, give you more money, and recommend you to others. These business SMS strategies are designed to create happier customers.
Let’s dig in!
A few key factors create great customer experiences, and you know what? They have nothing to do with your products or services.
What you sell has to be good, of course. But people often care more about how they’re treated.
Thus, increasing customer retention and value has more to do with being there for people than selling the industry’s best.
This is vital, because even a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25%-90%! It also costs 5X-25X more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer.
Communication – particularly business SMS – has a big impact on these relationships! (For those unfamiliar, business SMS refers to texting as a brand, professionally and with a specific voice. Click here for more.)
And here are 3 easy business SMS strategies to help you increase your customer retention and value.
Strategy #1 → Use Business SMS for Customer Service and Support
When one of your customers has a need, you want to resolve it immediately. Otherwise, emotions fester, and a small issue begins to reshape their entire perception of your business!
Is that something you want?
Customer service shapes businesses. For instance, the general public hates Comcast for their terrible customer service, but Zappos’s customer service made them famous!
Which would you rather be?
Several factors go into great customer service, including:
Each of these impacts customer retention and value in different ways.
Speed and Convenience
Speed and convenience go hand in hand. That’s why everything mobile is so popular these days! You get instant access to everything from your pocket.
Your customer service should be the similar.
Online resources are a great start. Abundant FAQs and self help docs provide instant solutions to a lot of needs. But people are still going to contact you.
Should they email you? If so, how quick are you to provide a solution? The average email response time is over 6 hours. What if the issue keeps them from doing their jobs? That’s not good!
Should customers call you? No one likes waiting on hold, as is the case with 86% of answered calls. If you’re stuck on the phone, you can’t do much else.
Who is that good for?
Live chat options can be okay, so long as customers can stay on your website. Yet texting – business SMS – is different.
What makes texting different for customers?
Unlike email, when people text they expect a fairly quick response. It doesn’t have to be immediate, but it should be soon.
Texting also allows customers to get on with their day during the conversation, which isn’t the case for calls or live chat.
More importantly, texting is how customers prefer to communicate! If nothing else, you should meet your customers’ preferences.
Plus, 95% of texts are read within 3 minutes of being sent, and they have a 90-second average response time.
That’s the kind of quick and convenient service that will make customers happier, and keep them around longer!
How to Implement Business SMS for Customer Service and Support
There are 3 pieces to successfully implementing business SMS for customer service and support. Luckily, they’re all easy.
In cases like this, you’re offering great service, helping people, and creating upsell opportunities. That’s good business! And it applies to many industries, whether for events, new offers, or product recommendations.
You could automate these messages, but it would be difficult to ensure every automated promo is personal, friendly, and relevant.
More commonly, your 2 options will be:
Sending messages to groups of relevant customers, or
Sending individual messages as specific opportunities arise
Just use messages like the examples above, and you’re off to the races! It’s a simple way that business SMS can boost your customer value and your bottom line.
Customer Touch Points and Relationship Building
People place a lot of value in being treated like – well – people. No one wants to be just a number, and your business can stand out by showing that you care.
Business SMS makes this very easy.
You see it commonly with, say, financial advisors. They’ll send you a little note on your birthday. Doesn’t that make you feel good?
Other companies, like Starbucks, will send you promotions or coupons as birthday gifts. How lovely!
Your business can follow this same approach through text, and you don’t have to be limited to birthdays (although it’s a great starting point).
How to Implement Business SMS for Customer Touch Points and Relationship Building
Customer anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and similar days are all great opportunities to show customers how much you care.
And because texts are so personal, these touch points feel special. That adds up to higher customer satisfaction and stronger customer loyalty. Plus it shows kindness.
Who wouldn’t want that?
Depending on your business, and when you’ll send texts, you might automate these messages. Or, you might send them each individually.
Customer anniversary, holiday, and happy birthday texts can all be automated, because they’re the same each year. Simply set the dates, and forget about it!
All it takes is a bit of developing to add these messages as triggers in your current CRM or POS. An example birthday text you might send is:
“Happy birthday, [Kelly]! Enjoy 50% off your next [Company] purchase, and have a great day! *birthday hat emoji* 🙂 ”
For customer anniversaries you might say:
“[Jim] it’s been  year(s) since you started working with us. Man, has time flown! Enjoy a free [product or service] as thanks. – [John @ Company]”
For holidays, just include “Happy [holiday]” and any promotion you’re currently running.
Your business can thrive in the digital world, if you do the right things. And first on that list is learning how to convert more online leads.
You work hard for your leads. You spend a lot of money to get them. Yet only 20% of qualified leads become customers.
Why is that?
These people have given you their info, passed your screenings, and are clearly interesting in what you offer. So why aren’t they converting?
We’ll cover several reasons why your online leads aren’t converting, and – more importantly – what you can do to convert more of them.
As you read, keep your current numbers in mind. Like how much it costs to get a new customer, and what they’ll spend with you over their customer lifetime.
Even a 1% increase in your conversion rates can lead to a 10%, 20%, or higher increase in your overall profit! That means following just one of these simple steps could easily grow your business by 10% or more.
Why should I focus on online leads, instead of other leads?
If you get a lead from a personal referral (good job!), you can do almost anything and still get their business. Referrals are incredibly powerful, and we’re trusting you don’t need help there.
Whoever they are, your targets are virtually guaranteed to be online. People spend anywhere from a few hours to 10+ hours online a day!
We’re online for work, for leisure, for entertainment, for just about everything.
That’s why you should focus on getting and converting online leads. It’s where your audience lives!
Another reason – and a big advantage – is that everything online can be tracked.
You can know where each lead comes from, what they do on your site, what marketing messages they engage with, and more.
This data is crucial, because it gives you direction and insight for your future decisions. That’s a lot better than just blasting out commercials!
Normally, it’s more efficient and profitable for your business to focus on online leads. So how can you convert more of them?
1. Make it easier.
Whenever you want to improve something between your business and your customers, the default should be to make it easier.
Make what easier?
You shop at the grocery store near your home or your job, because that’s easier than going to the store all the way across town.
You use Facebook to connect with friends and family, because it’s easier than writing letters to everyone.
No one wants to make their life more difficult, but everyone wants to make their life easier. When you simplify what you do and how you do it, everyone wins!
This applies to your website, your marketing, your sales funnel, and your business as a whole.
2. Follow up till you get the “no.”
Most online leads never convert, because your salesmen and your marketers give up.
Well, they should be focusing on the hottest leads, right?
As impulsive as we’d like to think our targets’ buying habits are, the truth is everyone goes through a process before purchasing, particularly if it’s a big ticket item, or if it’s for their business.
Do you want them to read an article? Schedule a demo? Purchase?
Give your online leads a very simple call-to-action whenever you interact with them.
The call-to-action shouldn’t always to purchase. If they’re only cool leads, make the call-to-action something that will move them to the next stage of your funnel, like scheduling a webinar, or reading a customer case study.
Once they’re far enough along in your sales funnel to be considered a hot lead, then ask them to purchase.
If you don’t encourage leads to do something at every stage, they’ll just sit around and do nothing. When your call-to-actions are clear, simple, and direct, you’ll convert more online leads.
5. Grease the wheels.
When something isn’t working smoothly – like a door hinge or a part of your vehicle – the go-to solution is to add a little grease.
When your sales funnel gets sticky, and leads aren’t flowing like they should, do the same thing. Add a little grease.
Add something to your sales funnel that will help it run more smoothly. But what?
The exact answer depends on your business and what you’re already doing, but here are a couple of options.
Add another step.
Leads often won’t make it from one stage of your funnel to the next, because you’re asking them to take too large a step.
Instead of taking a lead from new visitor straight to purchase, for instance, you might need to slip another step or two (or several) in between.
Maybe ask them to read a case study on one of your other customers (and what the ROI was, if applicable).
Instead of trying to take an email subscriber straight to purchase, maybe you should share a piece of content on the problems your product or service solves, or to watch a video.
At the end of the article or video, maybe you should ask them to schedule a call.
People are much more likely to take smaller steps than bigger ones. If you want to convert more online leads, try adding smaller steps in between stages.
Change up what you’re doing.
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity, right?
So if your calls, emails, and other campaigns aren’t working well for you, switch it up!
Try different advertisements and channels, different emails, different content, and different methods of communication.
Something simple that’s proven to boost sales by 100% or more is texting – actual conversations, not just blast marketing.
Whenever you get an online lead, follow up with them with a text. It’s simple and effective.
If you’re not converting online leads like you want, add a little grease! Add an extra step or change up what you’re doing to smooth out the process.
The official answer is: Not really. As far as trends show, phone calls will always have a place, but people would rather type. There will always be times where speaking is better than typing, but for now the general public says: Why take several minutes to do something that could be done in a few seconds?
There’s plenty of research and opinion as to why answered calls are steadily on the decline. Call it convenience, call it control, call it efficiency. Call it whatever you want, you’re probably right.
The bottom line is that people prefer text, email, and instant message (live chat) over speaking on the phone. Whatever your particular opinion, people tend to view typing as better than speaking. Here are a few reasons why.
Every one of us has been burned by sales calls.
And by unwelcome family conversations. We’re shy of answering calls, because we either don’t know what’s on the other end, or we don’t want what’s on the other end.
Software Advice ran a study with interesting yet unsurprising results. About 10% of adults are willing to answer calls from toll-free numbers. 15% are willing to answer calls from out of town. And still less than 30% of adults are willing to answer unrecognized local numbers.
This doesn’t mean calls to them are answered 10%, 15% 30% of the time. It means that if they aren’t currently occupied, they would be willing to answer, which brings up the next reason no one answers their phone anymore.
People are busy.
Phone calls are often distractions. It’s not that the person calling doesn’t have something valuable worth sharing. They might! But that value can often be given in the form of an email, text, or any other way that doesn’t derail whatever you’re working on.
People spend up to 15 seconds reading an email or text, yet the average phone call is almost 2 minutes. Plus it can take us up to twenty minutes or more to regain focus after being distracted! And we understand this.
Why accept a distraction that could ruin your next half hour? If it’s important, they can leave a message. (Except no one listens to voice mail, either, so it would still need to be typed.)
We generally want to be in control and respected.
We want to dictate our own schedules and tasks, and we want our efforts to be considered. In today’s world, phone calls are inherently presumptive. You call a person when you view your own goals or desires as more important than the goals and desires of the person you’re calling.
The unspoken response is often: How dare you try to undermine my work? When we answer phone calls, we give up control to the caller – something people generally hate to do.
If you’re looking for an exact number of how many calls are answered, there really isn’t one.
There’s no conclusive study freely available (not that we can find, at least). But all the data and trends (probably your own experiences, too) show that people prefer typing to speaking.
Even though phone calls can be valuable in certain situations, people really don’t answer their phones anymore. People really only answer phone calls when they think it will make them more money, or when they want to hear someone special’s voice.
People have found better ways of communicating that keep things under their control while weeding out unwanted solicitors.
Love it or hate it, email is the most pervasive communications tool around. In fact, the average worker checks their email 74 times a day! (Tweet this!) Just how many emails do people get every day?
How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day?
In 2015, 205.6 billion emails were being sent and received every day. (We don’t have 2016’s solid numbers yet.) That comes to just under 6.2 trillion emails sent worldwide in a 30-day period, and equals roughly 74-75 trillion emails sent last year around the globe.
Worldwide, there are roughly 2.6 billion email users. Together, they own more than 4.3 billion email accounts – a ratio of 1.7 email accounts per user.
These users receive an average of 88 emails per day, but they only send 34 emails per day. That means people are getting more than 2.5X more emails than they’re sending out! (Tweet this!)
What Do Open Rates Look Like?
Email open rates are currently averaging around 30%, while click-through rates average 3.2% across industries. This means that about 1 in 11 opened emails gets a click-through.
Mobile is the preferred device for checking email, accounting for 54% to 70% of total email opens. (Tweet this!) In other words, unless your brand is atypical or targets an older demographic, you need to be focusing on mobile.
Spam messages (newsletters, marketing, promotions, etc.) account for half of all sent emails (49.7%).
When & How Do People Best Engage With Emails?
So much of the best time to send emails depends on your industry, and on what kind of emails you’re sending. For instance, Saturday and Sunday are great for publishing and media companies. 50%+ of Americans admit to checking their phones in bed, and 79% of Americans check their phones with 15 minutes of waking up. So people wake up, scroll through notifications, and start reading whatever content is interesting.
However, other studies have shown that Tuesdays are best for open rates, and that Thursdays are best for click-throughs. (These are typically business-related emails.) Fridays seem perpetually awful.
The best open rates and click-through rates vary by industry. For instance, bank and credit card emails have open rates of ~48% and click-through rates of 3.8%, while retail apparel emails have open rates of ~28% and click-through rates of 2.3%.
The best time of day varies (of course), but you’ll generally do well in 4-hour intervals. 6am, 10am, 2pm, and after 8pm get the best results.
One interpretation would say these are the times when people are looking for something to distract them. When they wake up, after they’ve worked for 2-3 hours, when the afternoon crash strikes, and when relaxing in the evenings.
10am holds the #1 spot, but again, all of this depends on your audience. If you’re a cocktail brand targeting party-goers, 6am probably isn’t a good time to send emails. But if you’re an enterprise software targeting business VPs, 6am could be your oasis!
What’s the Best Length for an Email?
You’ve only got 10-15 seconds to grab and keep someone’s attention, so the quick answer is: short. (Tweet this!)
Based on an average reading speed of 200 words per minute, that gives you 30-50 words with which to captivate your readers. But that’s not the whole picture. (To learn more about keeping someone’s attention in an email, click here.)
The highest read rates reportedly come from emails with subject lines of 61-70 characters, which might account for emails containing articles and other content with long titles. Interestingly, subject lines with 2 words or less get higher open rates.
Subject lines featuring the word “quick” are opened at a 17% lower rate than those without. Since people tend to view email on mobile devices, and since those devices can only display 4-7 words in a line, the subject line “Question” could be a good fit for many intro emails. (It’s certainly a popular choice.) So could your name, your company’s name, or the name of your recipient.
Surprisingly, emails with no subjects at all are reportedly opened at an 8% higher rate than those with subject lines. Apparently it makes people curious.
Those with “Alert” in the subject line were opened at an almost 62% higher rate! Though, you can only use that trick sparingly, lest you become the brand who cried wolf.
Bringing It All Together
Email can be great, but too many people get too many emails. Think of the emails you send like tweets. Short, punchy, and images can always help.
Remember that mobile is key. Most importantly, you have to test everything you do! If you don’t test between options and characteristics, you’ll never know what your best campaigns could be, or what you’re missing out on!
The customer buying process is really quite simple. Whether it’s your everyday consumer or a business owner, the criteria for making a purchase is the same.
You don’t need complicated sales strategies or an elaborate FAQ. All you have to do is answer the two questions everyone asks before making a purchase.
1. What is it?
Nobody is going to buy from you if they don’t clearly understand what it is you’re offering. Implied in this question is also “How does it help me?” and “What does it do?”
If you’re selling basic consumer goods, this question will often be glossed over, because consumers can see and immediately understand the items in front of them. For every other business, you need to explain yourself.
Brands who provide a simple and clear answer to this question will win buyers. If you’re not entirely sure how to answer “what is it,” follow this basic outline.
Be short. You shouldn’t have to use more than three sentences. Just provide a statement for these three points:
What you are
How you help
Why you’re better than the competition
This is what buyers need to know before making a purchase. When they ask “what is it,” they’re looking for responses to these three points. Here’s an example.
“Text Request is an online software that uses text conversations to increase business revenue and create better customer experiences. It’s simple, cost-efficient, and only takes a few seconds to get started.”
What you are –> An online software
How you help –> increase revenue, create better customer experiences through text
Why you’re better –> Easier and more cost-efficient
This one is even more simple than the first! People want to know how much something costs before making a purchase. Duh. This question is also very easy to answer.
If people can candidly see your pricing options, including shipping, installment, additional users, and any other potential fees, they’re going to be more likely to purchase from you.
About 70% of the customer buying journey takes place before they contact you. People don’t want to start a conversation for something as simple as finding out the price.
Showing people your prices beforehand also makes it easier for non-decision-making employees to share your products and services with their superiors. Because those employees know the two questions their bosses will ask before making a purchase are: What is it? and How much?
Bringing It Together
Gaining new customers doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the simpler you can make it for everyone, the better off you’ll be. There’s always a way to make it easier.
Every person asks the same two questions before making a purchase. What is it? How much does it cost? Answer these questions quickly and obviously, and your business will see an increase in purchases.
Customer service experiences are the bread and butter of dinner conversations. They’re so memorable!
When they’re great, we tell others. When they’re bad, we tell others with fervor! Here are 11 amazingly terrible customer service experiences so cringe-worthy you’ll be glad they didn’t happen to you! Take note, brands. Don’t ever let one of these stories be about you.
1. “I don’t understand”
You can always trust Comcast for amazingly terrible customer service experiences, like this one from Elaine B.
I was trying to get some information from Comcast about my bill, but couldn’t understand the different groupings of channels, which had no explanation, just names like ‘Extended Package.’ [The representative] couldn’t explain it, and kept getting the same channels in different groupings. I said, very politely, “I don’t understand your explanation, is there someone else who can explain it to me so I will understand it.” She replied: “You’re stupid.” Then she hung up.
If Reddit is good for anything, it’s bringing to light the worst of humanity. Here’s proof shared by user ChaosMind55.
I was looking around a new little shop that opened up in the mall. I was just looking at the stuff when a couple came in and started to look around, too. An employee went over and said: “Nails are only for pretty girls.” The girlfriend of the couple had fake nails on and just got told she didn’t look good in them in the rudest way ever.
Nearly every restaurant says customer service is their #1 priority. Clearly that isn’t checked very often!
After spilling a tray of two Bloody Marys on my white dress shirt, the crying server returned (after I changed my shirt) to apologize and deliver a free Bloody Mary … which she then spilled on my fresh white dress shirt.
Assumptions can be helpful, but usually end with everyone getting hurt, as confirmed by this horrendous shopping experience and reported by The Telegraph.
It all started on Monday, when bride-to-be Keira O’Neill, with bridesmaids in tow, tried on a pink wedding dress in their store. The shop assistant tried a hard sell and when he failed to secure the sale, he apparently suggested to size-12 Keira that ‘with your figure I really think you should buy it.’ As the wedding contingent left, he truculently declared: ‘I knew you girls were a joke the minute you walked in.’
The incident, unsurprisingly, resulted in a perfectly polite but indignant email from Keira to the company. The response from Gasp was, well, breathtaking. There was no hint of an apology; instead, a series of arrogant defences of the company and the ‘superstar’ shop assistant who apparently is ‘too good at what he does… and doesn’t like his time being wasted.’
On the bright side, it seems that all Gasp locations have since shut down. Apparently treating (potential) customers like filth is a poor business move. Go figure!
As if it’s not enough to lose a child in a horrific accident, Office Max took insensitivity to a whole new level by mailing this letter to the deceased’s father.
[The letter] says ‘Mike Seay, Daughter Killed In Car Crash, or Current Business…’ This is my home. Why would they have that kind of information? Why would they need that? … The [call center] manager told us ‘That can’t happen.’ Later that day, Office Max released a statement that the information came from a third party provider, and seemed to be an ‘inadvertent error.’
Losing a loved one and sorting out their affairs is awful. When the Dillard’s cashier gets snippy about it, it’s even worse, as reported by AOL reader KRSRSS3.
When I was 18, my mother died of lung cancer. She had clothes that she had purchased during her illness that she had never even taken the tags off to wear. My father asked me to return the clothes to Dillard’s … I did not have the receipts … [The cashier] was very rude in the way that she was asking me, ‘Why can’t you just get the receipts from your mom to get the credit?’ I then told her that she had just died and she proceeded to look into my face and say, ‘Well, you don’t look too sad about it.‘
Hosting a mega-party is stressful. It’s downright terrible when you’re dealing with scum, just like what happened here with Lisa R.
I was hosting a party for 150 people and needed catering prices 7 weeks prior to the party to review bids, select a caterer, or determine another venue. I had a drop-dead due date and explained that. When I contacted the caterer for prices because they hadn’t contacted me by the morning of the due date, my main contact was on vacation and left no information. I was fuming. Obviously, they did not get my business. When I finally reached the caterer to determine how they could have made such an error, he said “I decided you didn’t need it by your due date.”
Why do people instinctively think everyone’s trying to cheat and steal? Here’s another case of assumptions gone wrong in a very memorable way.
One of our friends from out of town has type 1 diabetes. While we stood there waiting for a table, his hands began to shake. It looked like he was going into diabetic shock, which can be prevented by a quick infusion of sugar, from, say, a glass of orange juice… So one of us frantically asked one of the servers behind the bar for a glass of orange juice. Our friend is diabetic, she told him, and needs some orange juice ASAP. The server looked at our friend’s shaking hands, looked at her, and said: “Nice act.” …Our friend went into shock. He shook uncontrollably and collapsed on the floor. We called an ambulance. The paramedics came, took him outside and helped him get his blood sugar level back to normal.
It’s a fact of life that Comcast is the worst, earning them two spots on our list of amazingly terrible customer service experiences. And yet, when you try to get rid of them, they won’t let you! Maybe that’s why Aaron Spain was placed on hold for 3 1/2 hours until their service department closed.
I refused to hang up as I wasn’t going to give them any reason to keep my service active. There would be no ‘well you did hang up before we could get to you’ nonsense. I had been attempting to get a service technician out from Aug 21st through August 5th [sic?]. I’d had 3-4 service calls scheduled, all of them no calls no shows, and no reason as to why they can’t get the service done. At this point I was trying to cancel service. I was transferred to the “retention” department at 7:17pm. I’m uploading this video at 10:19pm.
The problem with restaurants is that it only takes one rogue server to dismantle the establishment. A group of girls went in to create one of the happiest memories of their lives, and instead walked out with the exact opposite. Here’s coverage from The Telegraph and Oddee.
Melissa Grogan-Morgan celebrated her upcoming nuptials at 47 King Street West in Manchester city with a group of 17 friends and family. Although they enjoyed the food, the party was left dissatisfied with the level of customer service they’d received from staff, and took to Facebook to complain about the poor service. The one-star review prompted a scathing response from an unnamed member of staff who called the group ‘ugly,’ ‘cheap chav trash,’ ‘the worst, most vile people to ever grace our restaurant,’ and added, ‘we pity the groom.’
Hearing scripts is deplorable, because you usually know it’s a script, and that the person “helping” you couldn’t care less about your situation. Citibank shows us just how miserable these situations can be, as told by Kate Nasser.
There was a charge on my Citibank Mastercard from a vendor who renewed my $400 membership without asking me. I spoke with the vendor and he agreed to send a credit into the credit card company for the charge. Since the credit card bill was due in 15 days, I called the credit card company to ensure that I wouldn’t have to pay $400 up front only to have it credited back later. The rep who answered the phone went into his long drawn out scripted answer. I asked to speak with a supervisor and after waiting on hold, the supervisor started another scripted answer. I said, ‘I am a busy person and I just need a simple direct answer instead of the script.’ He replied: ‘I am sorry you called when you were busy. We are open 24 hours a day.‘
How each member of your brand treats customers and potential customers is paramount! The one thing people remember, and the one thing they tend to vocalize most, is how they’re treated.
How simple did you make things? How polite were you? Did you go out of your way to make the situation better? These are the questions people ask during all of their customer service experiences.
What’s worse, almost 80% of consumers are frustrated with their customer service options! After all, who wants to wait on hold for half an hour (or more) before they can talk to anyone?
An astounding 82% of consumers passionately want another customer service option! They want something that’s quicker, easier. Something that’s generally more convenient and results in better customer service experiences.
Consumers want the option to text with your brand. There’s no waiting on hold, conversations can be instantaneous or over time to easily fit the consumer’s schedule.
By nature, every conversation is permanently recorded. And consumers generally prefer and do everything else through their smartphones already! It’s a win-win and a no-brainer. Learn more about how texting can improve your customer service experiences at textrequest.com.
Sales people get a bad rap just for doing their jobs. Our economy is built on sales, and yet decision makers respond to sales people like they’re scum. How rude is that? The following are 13 stupid excuses decision makers give to blow off sales calls.
While often absurd and insulting, there are ways to bulldoze over these excuses and become a voice of reason.
1. “I’m not interested.”
You don’t even know what there is to be or to not be interested in! What kind of a person obnoxiously lies to your face like that?
Besides, you’re obviously interested in what the person on the other end has to say, because you answered the call! If you’re not interested, spare both of us by not answering.
There are several ways to combat this excuse. You could go with the quick reply of “Why not?” While they’re stammering to find a non-existent explanation, you can slip in the rest of your elevator pitch.
Example: “Why not?… You know, the average ROI for someone in your industry using [our service] is about 250%.”
Another common rebuttal is to use the Jones Effect. To say that so-and-so down the street went through the same thing, and now it’s a staple of their workday. If you can use a competitor’s name, your chances of success go up.
Example: “I can certainly understand and appreciate that. [Client X] said the same thing, and now they’re using [our service] in [ways A, B, and C]. They love it! Are you saying you’re not interested in improving these [numbers/areas]?”
There will always be a jerk or two on your call list, but responses like these will improve your chances with everyone else.
2. “We already use [your competitor].”
Oh no! I’m sorry for your poor life choices! At least you understand the benefit of this concept. Now let me show you a better, probably cheaper, way to do that same thing.
This kind of excuse is a pro and a con. It’s a con, because that person likely doesn’t want to switch products, which, admittedly, can be a very arduous process.
It’s a pro, because the person already values what you offer. If you know your competitors well, you should be able to highlight your strengths and their flaws. You have options in your approach.
You could be snarky. Example: “Oh, so you’re probably looking for an upgrade, then?” Worst case is you’ve offended them. Best case is that they now think there’s an entire world they’re missing out on. They’re hooked.
You could go the conversion route. Example: “I certainly understand and appreciate that. [Client X] and [Client Y] used them, too, but they liked [our service] better because [reasons A, B, and C].” Then let silence work its magic.
You could also take the ancillary benefit approach. Example: “I’m glad you see the value! Most people actually use [our service] as a compliment to what they’re already doing, because we focus on things like [A, B, and C], which [Competitor] doesn’t.”
If they have a need or desire for any of those ancillary benefits, this should get your foot in the door.
If someone’s already using a competitor, you need to politely show that possibly arrogant DM that they don’t actually know everything. Explaining (simply) how you provide more or better benefits is key.
3. “Just send me some information.”
“Add me to your email marketing campaigns,” you say? “Make sure I never miss an update,” you say? I think we can handle that.
We can make sure you get all the information you could possibly want (and we will), but why not at least let us know what kind of information to send you? We know we’re going to have to follow up in a week anyway. Why not help us both out?
In fact, that can be a great response. Example: “I would love to send you some information! What would you be looking for? Where are you currently trying to grow?”
If you’re speaking with a decent human being, this will start to open up a rich conversation.
4. “Call me in 6 months.”
Do you mean call you in 6 months when your competitors using our service are crushing you, and you’re finally desperate for ideas? Or just never?
Seriously, what do you think is going to be different in 6 months? Unless you’re birthing a child next week or moving to a different company, your schedule isn’t going to look much different. What gives?
Depending on context, the prospect might mean they don’t have enough time to worry about something, or that the timing isn’t right for them at the moment. These take different approaches.
Example: “This could be perfect for you, then, because the point of [our service] is to save you a lot of time and earn you more money.”
What you’re telling them is that if they don’t have enough time in their schedule, they desperately need your service. Or, in other words, your service helps them reach their goal of getting their time back.
There is a chance that something legitimate within the prospect’s company makes now a bad time to implement, but more often than not the excuse shows a lack of interest.
In this case, you can incorporate the fear of missing out (FOMO). Example: “I can understand and appreciate that. What happens when I call back and you’re already 6 months behind?”
Another option to take is to plan ahead. Example: “Great! So it’s on your timeline, then? Let’s go ahead and work out a plan so all you have to do is flip a switch when the time comes.”
“Call me in 6 months” is almost always an illegitimate excuse to get you off the phone. So flip it on them.
5. “It costs too much.”
Have you ever heard of an ROI? Have you even looked at our pricing? Why would anyone get our service if it was just going to be a financial burden? Do you see how your story is full of holes?
You hear it said all the time: Price is only ever an issue in the absence of value. That’s true! But it doesn’t make it any less infuriating when someone lies to you. This warrants a few potential responses.
You can take the snarky road, and directly challenge their statement. Example: “Do you know how much it costs?” While they’re stumbling for a response, you can hit them with the lower-than-expected price. Example: “We’re talking  bucks.”
Then there are more serious ways to handle this excuse, such as by sharing more of your service’s value, maybe even by using a quick case study.
Example: “I can understand and appreciate that. [Client X] said the same thing, but then they used [our service] and increased their [revenue] by [XX%], which *slight chuckle* obviously more than covered the cost.”
Prospects need to understand the value, and that they’re going to get back whatever they put in, plus a good bit more.
6. “I don’t have time.”
Yeah, because four minutes is such a drain on your Facebook scrolling session.
Our conversation will probably take less time than you spend in the bathroom, and you’re telling me that you have no margins in which to slip this conversation for the foreseeable future? Unbelievable.
If you can get the prospect to take even one step, however small, you will significantly improve your chances of them eventually converting.
Example: “I can understand and appreciate that. Do you know what we do? Why don’t we go over [our service] really quickly, and see if it even makes sense for us to talk later.”
Another way you could phrase it, if you’re feeling bold is like this. “I can understand that. Give me literally 30 seconds, and if you’re not interested you can hang up on me.” Then make sure your pitch is less than 30 seconds.
If it is actually a terrible moment, offer two time options to narrow all possibilities down to choosing A or B. Example: “I can understand and appreciate that. Would Monday at 11:30am or Tuesday at 2:45pm work better for you?”
When someone’s trying to blow you off, get them to say a few more words. The more they invest in the conversation, the more likely they are to keep hanging on.
7. “You should talk to So-and-So.”
So what you’re telling me is that you’re the Director of Department-That-Directly-Applies-to-Our-Service, and you don’t make any of the decisions? Right. How do I get a job like that? Sounds pretty sweet.
In confusing situations like this, it helps to break things down.
Example: “Oh okay. Can you help me understand something really quickly? You’re [this position], right? Is [So-and-So] more in charge of the daily operations of things, or how does that work exactly?”
If they were just trying to blow you off, they’ll talk themselves into a pickle. If they’re being legitimate with you, you’ll now get a better understanding of their operation.
8. “That doesn’t apply to us.”
Then why am I calling?
So you’re telling me that this thing we built specifically for people in your position in your industry is totally irrelevant? Yeah, that makes sense. Thankfully, this one has a simple solution.
Politely challenge their statement. Example: “Why not?”
You should know enough about what you offer and the industry you’re in to find ways your prospect could use it. All you need to do is ask an open-ended question to get them started talking.
Don’t interrupt. Let them talk. Maybe even take notes during the conversation.
When they’re done, gently share where your [products/services] could in fact apply. Don’t try to prove them wrong, just show them another way.
9. “I don’t want to have to do anything else.”
How lazy. I bet your business isn’t even growing!
Of course integration is ideal. If you can do every possible task from a single dashboard, everyone would be happy. But occasionally it’s worth taking a few extra steps to get that added value.
That’s what you have to convey – that the value is far greater than any potential “inconvenience.”
Just about anything can integrate with anything else these days. If they value what you’re offering enough, they can make the integration happen. Usually it’s more an issue of seeing the value, so check them on that.
Example: “If I’m hearing you correctly, you see how [our service] would benefit you, but you think it would be inconvenient to get used to. Would that inconvenience outweigh the value gained? Do you think that would be worth sacrificing [benefits A, B, and C]?”
Get them feeling that their own objection was rather, well, silly, and then the two of you can have a real conversation.
10. “We’d need this feature.”
Yes, because our quickly growing business filled with industry experts completely missed what our targets need! Seems reasonable.
Sometimes excuses like this are just prospects thinking out loud. It’s not so much an objection as a meaningless complaint. You might be able to get away with just ignoring it, or you might need to instead highlight the other pros of your service.
Help the prospect understand the larger picture. Example: “I can understand and appreciate that. It seems like a rather small detail compared to [benefits A, B, and C]. Would [benefits A, B, and C] be valuable to you?”
Another option you can take is to simply ask “Why?” As they share more about their business and strategy, you have more room to show them the value of your product.
11. “You’re just trying to sell me.”
Obviously. But what would be the point of trying to sell something that offered no value? Of course I’m trying to hit goals and earn commissions and all of that stuff. But I wouldn’t be calling if I couldn’t help you!
You need to help the prospect understand that you’re not selling some worthless piece of junk.
Example: “I’m not asking you to give me anything. I’m asking you to invest in your own business.” Turning the conversation around to be all about the prospect’s goals is a great step towards getting the sell.
12. “We’ve had a bad experience with that kind of product before.”
I’ve had a bad experience with my dog defecating on the floor. That doesn’t mean I’m putting it down, or that I’ll never have a pet again! How is one bad experience with a product or service justification for never using anything like it again?
Married people fight and stay together. People keep drinking after getting a hangover. Not every marketing campaign works, but you’ll try another. Not every employee is good, but you’ll hire another!
The prospect needs to understand the same concept here.
You could be snarky with them. Example: “Not every advertisement you’ve done was a home run. Did you stop advertising?” Something like this would definitely catch them off guard and make them think, but it might be a little blunt.
You can also say the same thing a little softer. Example: “I can understand and appreciate that. Have you ever tried marketing again after a bad campaign? … What’s the difference here?”
13. “I’ll get back to you.”
No. You won’t. We both know you’re going to forget all about this for months until you finally (maybe) realize you really need what we offer. There’s a few ways to approach this.
You could be blunt. Example: “If you’re never going to say ‘yes,’ I’d rather you tell me now. You won’t hurt my feelings.” This will keep you from wasting your time. The prospect might even appreciate your candor.
You could reinforce the value. Example: “It seems like I didn’t explain the value well enough. Why don’t you think this is worth doing?” The more a prospect explains their thoughts and feelings, the more the ball is in your court.
You could also make sure they get all the right information.
Example: “I can understand and appreciate that. Most people like to have some information on file to help their decision-making. I’ll send you a couple of relevant case studies. What else would you like?”
This gives you a great opportunity to open up email as a line of communication, and your marketing materials may even be able to persuade them.
Bringing it All Together
Sales calls are a necessary part of most any growing operation. That doesn’t make them any more fun, or make prospects any less infuriating.
The language given above will help you, but you could often bypass those conversations entirely. It’s far more effective to text with prospects for many of these conversations, so much so that you’ll question whether you should ever call a sales lead again!
Millennials have taken over the consumer marketplace. But so many businesses struggle to get Millennials on board! This guide will show you how to approach marketing to Millennials.
What Are We Doing Here?
You can’t know how to appropriately sell your products and services until you know who it is that’s interested in what you’ve got, and how they interact with the world around them.
As the leading trend of the decade, you need to understand where mobile fits into this picture. It’s no longer an argument of if mobile should be included in buyer personas.
Consumers regularly turn to their mobile devices during the buying journey. These consumers grew up with technology! They’re roughly 20-40 years old, and have a mobile-first approach to the world.
The question for brands is how does mobile fit into the daily behaviors and buying patterns of your targets?
In this complete guide to the Millennial Buyer, we’ll walk through a day in the life of Mobile Mary, our sample persona of an average Millennial Buyer. Then we’ll explain some of the bigger trends depicted.
It will be best practice for you to take the information presented here, and create a buyer persona that specifically fits your business and market. Let’s get started.
Who Is Mobile Mary?
Mobile Mary is 32 years old. She’s married to David, and together they have a 2-year-old son named Tommy.
Mary is an account executive for a local firm, and (thankfully) finds a lot of joy and fulfillment in her work. She’s devoted to her family, but her largest goal is currently to become a partner in her firm. She’s driven to succeed.
Mary and David are both heavily involved in their careers, so they take turns running errands and taking care of Tommy.
Mary loves to shop local, but she prefers to find the best deal, wherever that might be. She enjoys quiet time with David, and the occasional girls night out.
A Day in the Life of the Millennial Buyer (Mobile Mary)
Mobile Mary wakes up to her phone’s alarm at 5:30am. She hits snooze. 5 minutes later it goes off again. She grabs her phone, rolls over, and starts checking notifications on Facebook, Instagram, and everywhere else.
A Vanity Fair article on the election grabs her attention. She clicks, and quickly skims the article. Then she rolls back over, and gets up to start her day.
Mobile Mary heads out to the gym, pulls up her Fitbit app, and starts logging her workout. She prefers to listen to podcasts while she exercises. When the latest Ted Talk segment finishes she heads back to the house.
Mobile Mary walks through the door around 6:45am, as Tommy and David are finishing up breakfast. It’s David’s turn to take Tommy to daycare.
A hug and a kiss later, they’re out the door. Mary turns on the Nora Jones radio station on her Pandora app, and gets ready for work.
She stops by the local Jitterbug Coffee Co. on her way into the office, sees a mug she’d like to buy, and pulls out her smartphone to check if she can find it cheaper online.
Arriving at work, Mobile Mary catches her firm’s partners for a quick “good morning” as they walk out of their weekly 7:00am meeting. She starts up her computer, and pulls out her phone to check email.
Mobile Mary flies into her day’s to-do list, which involves several email replies, phone calls, and account reviews. At 9:00 she has her first meeting, a three-way call between her and an account’s two locations.
After the call, she sends a recap email, then quickly preps herself for a 10:30 meeting a few blocks down the street.
Walking down the street checking texts and emails, Mobile Mary catches someone waving at her. Instinctively, she waves back, only to realize the stranger was waving at someone behind her.
She’s embarrassed, but can’t help laughing at herself. She texts one her coworkers to share the story. They keep texting back-and-forth and decide to grab lunch together after her meeting.
As Mary waits in the lobby for her appointment, she finds an Entrepreneur article on LinkedIn that piques her interest.
Once the meeting starts, Mary’s client decides he wants to try a new idea. Mary texts her assistant to create a quick mock-up.
A few minutes later, the mock-up is in Mary’s Dropbox, which she opens on her phone. Thankful, Mary texts her assistant to join them for lunch – Mary’s treat.
During lunch, Mary pulls out her phone to show pictures of what crazy antics Tommy got into over the weekend. She notes a book recommendation from her assistant in her Goodreads app. The three of them also take a photo together to share on Instagram.
Back at the office, Mobile Mary grabs a cup of coffee and turns on her Spotify app to hear Blink-182’s new album.
A couple of hours later, the only pressing thing on her to-do list is a bunch of follow-up calls to potential accounts. She takes a quick email and Facebook break, then moves into an open conference room where she can more easily pace while on the phone.
One of her calls leaves her on hold for what feels like an eternity, so she starts browsing Pinterest for ideas and inspiration to spiff up Tommy’s room. She finally makes it through her last unanswered call, and leaves a text with the prospect.
At 4:00, Mobile Mary and team have a brainstorming meeting. Mary pulls out her OneNote app where she keeps all her ideas, and shortly after 5:00 everyone walks out of the meeting happy.
Mary wraps up her day, forwards David a Tasty recipe she wants to try, and checks Waze before hitting the road to pick up Tommy.
Mobile Mary and Tommy come home to find David in the kitchen, phone out, following the recipe Mary sent him.
Mary and David both spend a couple of hours after dinner playing with Tommy and reading to him before putting him down to sleep.
Both take some time to veg out, scrolling through various apps and articles on their phones. They turn on Netflix to watch a couple episodes of FRIENDS, and grab a couple books to read in bed.
Mary chooses Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, and falls asleep thinking of everything she wants to get done tomorrow.
What’s Going on in This Story?
How Much Does the Millennial Buyer Use Her Phone?
Throughout her day, Mobile Mary turns to her smartphone 25 distinct times, starting with her alarm, and uses it for 20 different reasons. Her phone is literally the first conscious interaction she has in her day.
Notice that many of the times she turns to her phone she’s doing multiple things, like checking Facebook and Instagram and reading an article, or texting and checking email.
For the Millennial Buyer, mobile usage is a constant throughout the day, and uses are chunked together. (Tweet this!)
If your brand is advertising to Millennials, interpret this as a need to be in multiple places at once. If someone sees your promo email and then sees your Facebook ad, they’re much more likely to engage with and buy from you than if you were only in one place.
Another big picture concept portrayed is how often people check their phones. Mobile Mary had 25 distinct moments where she was on her phone for several minutes each.
As a brand, this gives you 150 opportunities a day to be there, in front of your target. Is it through a text? An email? A Facebook comment? An Instagram ad? All of the above?
Millennials check their phones at a nearly alarming rate. It’s part of the technology lifestyle, and it opens your brand up to a mountain of opportunity. You just need to be one of those notifications they check for.
How Does Mobile Fit in the Buying Journey?
When Mobile Mary is in line at the coffee shop, she pulls out her phone to see if she can find a better price on that mug.
This is a very common scenario – looking up products and pricing on a phone while in a physical store. 82% of smartphone users pull out their phones while inside stores to look up product reviews and compare prices. That’s incredible! (Tweet this!)
A key in selling physical product used to be to get the customer holding the product. If it’s in their hands, they’re sold. That isn’t the case anymore.
The current state of things means competition is insane, and brands who rely on physical stores need a strategy to help them out.
Perhaps it’s geo-targeted coupons, or a top-of-the-line mobile website, or a heavy investment in SEO. Maybe it’s online texting and picture messaging for questions, reviews, and recommendations.
Maybe it’s best to keep less of each item stocked to lower your own costs. You’ve got to do something!
How Does This Mobile Dependence Thing Work?
There’s plenty more that could be elaborated on, but one last thing you need to take away from our Millennial Buyer case study is how reliant people are on their phones. Mobile dependence isn’t a bad thing!
People have always been dependent on technology for one thing or another. Cars for transportation. Radio and TV for news and information, etc.
Today, people’s jobs and lives are stored in their phones. Pictures of the kids, notes for work, emails, friendships and connections, entertainment, Google, personal and career data. It’s all there in the palm of consumers’ hands!
Mobile usage and dependence continues to grow. The more your brand tailors itself to the mobile dependent Millennial Buyer, the faster you’ll grow and the better off you’ll be!
Summarizing the Millennial Buyer
Millennials are roughly those between 20-40y.o. They’ve grown up in the technology age, and mobile devices have steadily become more and more integrated into their daily routines.
The average American checks their phone 150 times a day, and uses it for a slough of reasons, from shopping to work to entertainment.
Brands can’t afford to silently watch this trend go by. Month after month, the Millennial Buyer turns to mobile for more and more. You either have to catch this wave now or risk falling far, far behind.
Each brand’s targets will be different from the next, and you should use this guide to help you craft your own Millennial Buyer persona. You need to be able to define who your targets are, and how they approach every facet of their world. Then you’ll succeed.
Two marketing directors. Two software-as-a-service startups. Way too much coffee, and a ton of helpful nuggets that apply to any digital marketing strategy. Click below to listen, or keep scrolling for the highlights.
1. Create happy, thriving customers to use as your foundation.
You have to build solid relationships with customers. Customer reviews, testimonials, case studies, white papers – these are crucial for boosting your marketing strategy and you overall business!
“I’m basically boys with most of our customers. That’s how much we’re talking with them well after they purchase.” – Jeremy Boudinet
To find success on a large scale, you have to first create it on the individual level. ~80% of a SaaS company’s customers (pre-$100k MRR) will be from referrals. You’ve got to create these thriving, happy customers who will bring others to you.
You’ve got to let them teach you how to build your product, and how to sell it. That’s how you start to build a lean, scalable SaaS marketing program that works.
2. Align marketing with sales.
Marketing is basically Sales’ wing man. One sets up the other for success.
Another way to look at it is that Sales and Marketing should be married to each other. Two become one and grow in unison.
The customer life cycle is just that – a cyle. Marketing hands off to sales who hands off to customer success, then marketing and product development use that information to get more leads and more customers, ad infinitum.
When every “department” in your startup is sending the same, coherent message throughout the cycle, you’ll begin to see a scalable SaaS marketing strategy emerge.
3. Create EPIC content that you’re proud to share.
“It’s not enough to just create content. If you’re going to create a blog post, make it a freakin’ epic blog post.” – Jeremy Boudinet
Something like 200,000 pieces of content are uploaded to the internet every minute of every day. Most all of that content is mediocre at best. You need to create content that distinguishes you from that mediocrity!
Create content that you’re proud to share. Content that you would want to look back on and reference. Epic content is crucial for a scalable SaaS marketing strategy.
4. There are so many free and cheap tools out there. Use them.
You can’t do everything all by yourself. There’s so much out there ready to help you!
Maybe it’s a pop-up to capture leads. Maybe it’s a content sharing widget, or a screen sharing service.
Whatever it is, you can probably find a free or cheap tool to help you. Bit.ly is good for creating short links. SumoMe is good for a suite of things. Hootsuite for social media. Exit Monitor for email subscriptions.
Whatever you need is available. You just need to figure out what it is you need, and then go find it.
5. Get interactive and collaborative.
“Some of the best content is that which gets other brands and people involved.” – Jeremy Boudinet
Jeremy and Ambition have done “March SaaSness” in place of March Madness. They hosted a bracket-style tournament for SaaS companies competing against each other for the most votes to find out who’s #1.
It worked phenomenally! So well that they did it a second year. About half of the brands got heavily involved in promoting tournament for Ambition, and traffic skyrocketed!
We (Text Request) have done crowd sourced “experts’ tips” pieces to get others sharing our content, following the same premise. That’s worked well, too. Basically, those who collaborate win.