How to Add Text Messaging to Your Instagram Business Profile

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Instagram Business Profile

Instagram is a great place to promote your business. Why? Because it’s still growing as a hub for people to interact with businesses and buy from them.

Today I’ll show you how to drive more leads from your Instagram business profile by adding text messaging to it. But first…

Why should your business be on Instagram?

Your business should be wherever your target audiences are. Since Instagram has more than 800 million active users, there’s a strong chance your targets are here, too.

If you’re not sure whether the people you want to work with are using Instagram, here are a few of their demographics:

  • 59% of adults 18-29 years old use Instagram
  • 33%+ of adults 30-49 use Instagram
  • 26% of Instagram users make more than $75,000 a year
  • In the month of March 2017, 120 million users contacted a business or visited their website because of ads they saw
  • 60% of users say they’ve learned about a product or service on Instagram
  • Over 50% of users follow at least one business.

(Sources: Wordstream, SproutSocial, Websitebuilder, Pew Research Center, Statista.)

In short, a lot of American adults with discretionary income spend a lot of time on Instagram, so you should probably pop in and say hi.

Okay, so what should you do on Instagram?

Just like high school math – show your work! And make it personable whenever you can. Here are a few suggestions.

If your business is to clean, remodel, or in some other way service homes, take a picture or video of the job. You could show before and after scenes, or capture your team working right in the middle of the project.

If you can get the homeowners in your photo or video, even better! This humanizes your business, and makes others more likely to reach out, too.

Instagram Infographic Screenshot
PC: Websitebuilder

If you’re in staffing or recruiting, share photos and videos of your client, a candidate, or both! A blurb about how you connected the right people with the right opportunities can go a long way, too.

If you’re an insurance agent, share photos of you shaking hands with clients, or videos of client testimonials.

Instagram users love posts that show real people doing good things. Whatever industry you’re in, I’m sure you’re doing something good. So share it!

These posts, along with using the right hashtags, will drive users to your business profile. Then you can add a simple call-to-action on your profile to prompt viewers to text you.

How do I create an Instagram business profile?

If you don’t have an Instagram business profile yet, follow this Guide to Getting Started on Instagram for Business, and watch the video below.

Now that your Instagram business profile is setup, let’s add text messaging to it.

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Instagram Business Profile

Step 1: From your business profile, select Edit Profile.

Instagram Edit Profile

Step 2: Choose Contact Options.

Instagram Contact Options

Step 3: Add your phone number.

Make sure you use a number that can receive texts. (You can add text to your current business number with Text Request.)

Instagram Add Your Phone Number

Step 4: Choose the Text option.

Instagram Choose Contact Text

Step 5: Make sure to save it!

Instagram Save Contact Settings

Step 6: Start receiving texts from your Instagram business profile.

Instagram Texting from Profile

Great! Now you can start receiving texts from your Instagram business profile. That means you can start driving more leads and other inbound communications.

There are just 2 things you’ll need to shore up this marketing channel.

First, you’ll need a good call-to-action in your profile bio to prompt people to text you. E.g. “Want a cleaner home? Text us for an estimate!” or “Need help finding your next opportunity? Text us to start the conversation.”

Second, you’ll need a way to handle these text conversations professionally. Text Request makes this easy. You can use your current business number, and there aren’t any contracts.

Sign up for Text Request today, or join our webinar to see a live Text Request demo and have someone answer all your questions.

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google Adwords Ads

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google Adwords Ads

Advertising on Google is powerful, and today we’ll show you how to make your ads even more effective by adding text messaging to your Google Adwords ads.

Google currently owns about 79% of the global search market, and their advertising platform (Adwords) can help you be #1 in their search results without paying much.

Google Search Engine Market Share
PC: NetMarketShare

In other words, a lot of people go to Google every day in search of answers and solutions to their questions and problems. Adwords makes sure your targets find you when they’re searching.

The best part about Adwords for today’s mobile-first consumers is that Adwords now supports texting, so viewers can text your business straight from the ad!

Adwords calls this feature a “message extension,” and below we’ll show you how to add message extensions to your ads, so you can start getting more leads through text. All you need is a way to handle incoming messages.

Text as a business with Text Request’s easy to use dashboard.

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google Adwords Ads
PC: Wordstream

Studies consistently show that consumers would rather text your business than call, so these message extensions are a great way to get more leads out of the ads you’re already paying for.

Follow the guide below to add text messaging to your Google Adwords ads, and boost your conversions in the process!

What if I don’t have an Adwords account?

If you need to create your own Adwords account first, click here, and follow the steps. All you need is an email, website, and company name. Creating your account will look like this:

Starting Your Google Adwords Account Screenshot

If you already have a Google account, you’ll want to use your Gmail address. To create a Google account, click here.

Create your first ad.

If you’re creating an Adwords account for the first time, follow the prompts to create your first ad (and ad group).

To make it easy, choose the default settings, pick a few relevant keywords (e.g. “Chattanooga HVAC,” “cleaning service,” etc.), and add your billing information.

We’ll make specific changes to include message extensions after creating the ad. For more details on creating your first ad, view this Google support doc.

Create Adwords Ad

Add text messaging to your Google Adwords ads.

At the time of this writing, Google is supporting 2 different dashboard designs. Here’s what each looks like.

Old:

Old Adwords Dashboard

New:

Adwords Dasbhoard Screenshot_LI

Since I don’t know when they’ll merge everyone into just 1 design, I’ll show you both below.

Step 1: Locate the Ad Extensions tab.

Step 2 / 3: Choose Message Extension and click “+ Extension.”

Depending on your current design, the order flops.

Old:

Google Adwords Dashboard Screenshot

Ad Extensions Screenshot

New:

Add Message Extension in Adwords

Step 4: Fill out your details, and save.

Step 5: Add your extension to a campaign or ad group.

This automatically sticks your message extension to the bottom of all ads in that particular campaign or group.

Then you’re good to go! Though you might want to check three things:

  • That your daily budget is large enough to display the ads
  • Your ads are turned on
  • And that you’re advertising on mobile devices

Now people can text you straight from the ads! Once you’re somewhat familiar with Adwords, you might want to check out this best practices guide.

Message Extension Created in Adwords

To add text messaging to your current business, and start gaining text leads through Google Adwords, sign up for Text Request today!

You’ll be able to manage all your text conversations in one place, add as many users to your account as you want, and communicate with customers the way they want to communicate.

Plus, there are no contracts.

To see a live demo of Text Request and what it can do for your business, click here.

Related: How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing

Text messaging is the most used form of communication in the world. Here’s how to include it in your Google My Business listing, and why you should.

Almost 90% of consumers want to communicate with businesses via text, but less than 50% of businesses are currently equipped to handle any kind of messaging

Google thinks you should fix that (and so do we).

The tech giant processes over 5 billion searches every day, and 60% or more of those come from mobile users.

People want to text, and they’re already searching from their phones. What happens when they find your business?

Now all My Business users can add Messaging to their listing, which lets mobile searchers text you directly from the listing itself. It looks like this:

Text Request Search Listing Screenshot 9-11-2017

If you already have a business listing on Google, awesome! You can skip down to the next section to learn how to add text messaging to it.

If you don’t have a listing yet, follow these steps to set one up:

How to Create a Google My Business Account & Listing

1. Sign into your Google account or Gmail.

If you don’t have either, you can sign up for a free Google account here.

2. Choose the My Business app.

Click on the 9-dot grid in the top right corner, and select My Business (you might need to scroll to find it).

Google My Business App

3. Confirm you’re authorized to create the listing.

If you aren’t, find someone in your organization who is authorized to give their approval.

4. Choose to add a single location.

Google My Business Add Location

5. Enter your business’ name and info in the form provided, then click “Continue.”

Suggestions should begin to appear, but make sure you fill out every field.

Google My Business Adding Business Screenshot

6. Double check your information.

Make sure it’s correct before choosing to Verify your business.

7. Verify your business.

The easy option is to very your business via mail. Google will mail you a postcard with a verification code, and the URL where you need to enter that code.

Once it’s entered, you’re good to go! Now you can add text messaging to your Google My Business Listing! Follow these steps:

How to Add Text Messaging to Your Google My Business Listing

1. Login to your Google My Business account.

2. Click on Messaging in the left hand menu.

Google My Business Messaging Adding Number

Only GMB users with the User permission level “Owner” can view and access Messaging. If you do not see Messaging as a menu option, confirm your permissions level by clicking on Users.

If needed, reach out to your listing’s Owner (most likely whoever created the account) to either upgrade your access or set up Messaging themselves.

3. Enter your textable number.

Be sure the number you enter can receive text messages. You can add text messaging to your current business number using Text Request. You can also get a separate textable number from us, if you’d like.

4. Add your response / greeting.

This is the message people will see after they text you from search results. You might say “Thanks for texting us! We’ll get back to you ASAP.” or something to that effect.

Note: People will only see this if they text you from a messaging app, not with standard SMS.

Adding Response to Google My Business Messaging

5. Confirm your number.

Google will text a confirmation code to the number you just entered.

Enter the code, and you’re good to start receiving text messages through your Google My Business Listing!

Here’s what it will look like (below). Searchers just click on Message or Send a message, and it opens a text addressed to your business.

Now you can start driving leads directly from organic search!

Canva Edited Mobile Search Listing

Note: When someone clicks on the Send a Message button, they’ll see a different number than the one you entered. Messages still come to you! Google just routes things this way so they can track how long it takes you to respond, which they display in search results.

To add text messaging to your current business, and gain text leads through Google search, start using Text Request today!

You’ll be able to manage all your text conversations in one place, add as many users to your account as you want, and start communicating with customers and employees the way they want to communicate.

Plus, there are no contracts!

To see a live demo of Text Request and what it can do for your business, click here.

What Is Click-to-Text, and How Can My Business Use It?

What is Click-to-Text and How Can My Business Use It

If you haven’t set up Click-to-Text yet, it’s one of those really simple things that can have a huge impact.

Click-to-Text is a button or link on a website that will open up a text message when clicked – like this.

When mobile viewers click this button (or text link), a text will open up pre-addressed to your business.

How do I get Click-to-Text on my website?

The base code is:

<a href=”sms:14232180111“>Send us a text!</a>

Replace the 10-digit orange text number with your own text number. Note: you must leave the 1 in front of your 10-digit number!

Then replace the green call-to-action with your own call to action.

The orange is where the message will be sent. The green is what will be displayed on your website. For design and placement questions, please refer to your webmaster.

If you’re not sure how Click-to-Text can help your business, below are 3 common benefits.

You can also view point #4 in our guide: 9 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Brand Through Small Business Texting. Point #4 breaks down Click-to-Text for your website, Google Ads (Adwords), Instagram page, and Google My Business Listing.

Manage texts as a team with our easy-to-use dashboard.

Text Request Click-to-Text Example

1. Mobile is King

The majority of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, and those mobile viewers prefer to text. Click-to-Text helps you meet customers where they are and improves the customer experience.

2. More Inbound Communication

People under 50 prefer texting over calls, emails, and other messaging apps. Click-to-Text lowers the barrier to entry for all of these people, increasing the amount of inbound communication you’ll get from your website.

For most businesses, that means more leads and an easier way to reach your audience when you need to.

3. Records

Everything in Text Request is recorded. So when someone texts you, you always have a record of the person, their message, and the best way to reach them, even if no one on your team is currently available.

Customers Would Rather Text You 

There are also 3 things to keep in mind when determining how successful your Click-to-Text button or link is.

1. Website Traffic

Click-to-Text does not bring new visitors to your website. It helps convert people who are already there.

If your website traffic is low, your inbound text volume will likely be low, too. You provide the traffic. We’ll help you start conversations.

2. Placement

If your number isn’t clearly visible – like, front and center on your home or contact pages – people might not realize they can text you. If they can’t see what you built, they won’t come.

3. Confusion

You need to give viewers a clear-call-to-action. For example, “Click here to request pricing.”

If your number is placed ambiguously on your website, viewers won’t know what benefit it could bring them.

Related: 5 Essential Tips to Successful SMS Lead Generation

7 Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

Foundational Small Business Marketing Tips Drive Exponential Growth

Small business marketing is interesting, because you probably have all the expertise of big corporations, just not the massive budget! 

So how can you stand out?

The small business marketing tips below are designed to help you strategically build a powerful brand online, whether you’re a local business or have customers all over the country!

Inspiration for the article came from an interview I did, where the interviewer focused on smaller brands, and how they can turn average consumers into loyal customers without a big budget.

Why shouldn’t every small business be able to do that? The digital world is our oyster, and if we navigate it just right, we can create wonderful, lasting results!

1. What are the best social media platforms for small business marketing?

The best place to be is wherever your audience is. If your targets spend all their time on Instagram, for instance, that’s where you should be.

As a default, I’d recommend Facebook, partially because of how many people are on it, but mostly because it’s an easier platform to share recommendations.

On Facebook, your customers can share that they’ve worked with you (and tag you in that post), which is essentially them giving hundreds of others a personal recommendation to work with you, too.

Now multiply this effect by how many customers you have, and that’s how effective Facebook can be (in general) for small business marketing.

Is Word of Mouth Still Important for Brands
PC: Neil Patel

If you run an ecommerce site, Pinterest is also a great platform to engage viewers and convent them into happy customers.

Generally, the more places you can be, the better. But you’ll usually get the most benefit from focusing on the 1 or 2 platforms where your targets spend most of their time.

2. What are 3 topics a small business can focus on to develop content?

There are so many options! Which topics your business should focus on really depends on what questions your targets are asking.

If your target customers are asking questions around, say, maintaining HVAC units, you should be creating content around that.

Related: So, Why is Content King? And Why Does Content Matter?

If your targets are asking questions about tax preparation, filings, and deductions, your content should focus around that. 

The whole point of creating content is to add value. What would add value to your targets?

Answering your targets questions brings people to you, and helps you engage, convert, and keep customers.

If you’re not sure what specific questions your target customers ask, go to your sales team or account managers. Any questions they get are prime choices for your content strategy!

HubSpot Inbound Methodology

As far as 3 areas of content to focus on, I’d recommend:

  • Questions people ask before working with a business like yours
  • Questions people ask about your specific business
  • Questions customers ask after working with you
  • Bonus option: Any topic you think would add value to your targets

3. How often should small businesses post to better engage with their clientele?

Well, it depends – on your industry, on which platform, and on which study you look at it. They all give you different answers.

The more helpful blog posts you can get out, the better. Though 1 post every 2 weeks is a great starting point for small business marketing.

Studies show the best social media engagement on Facebook and LinkedIn comes at 5 posts a week, or 1 a day. For Instagram or Snapchat, it could be anywhere from 1-5-20 times a day!

Sending 1 email a week is just fine, and tweeting 2-5x a day is good.

How Often Should You Post on Social Media

How often you should post also depends on how social media fits into your content and advertising strategies.

If you only create 1 new piece of content a month, for instance, there’s not much sense in posting every day. What new value would you bring?

Aside from new content, you should also have conversations with your customers and followers from time to time, just like you would with your friends.

This keeps relationships strong, and keeps you at the top of customers’ minds whenever they’re talking with other friends (which can lead to more referrals).

4. Why is it important to have a Facebook business page separate from a personal page?

Great question! There are several reasons.

Having a Facebook business page gives your brand and website more search engine optimization (SEO) value, which helps bring more people to you.

When someone searches on Google for, say, “pest control near me,” you’ll stand a much better chance of being found with a Facebook business page than without.

Related: What’s the Reality of Social Media for Business? [Podcast]

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.

Blog Post Length Search Results

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.)

Mailchimp and MailJet are both great for email newsletters or promotions.

There are also a million free video tools to help you create more entertaining content, like Boomerang for Instagram or any of Snapchat’s fun filters.

For brick and mortar small businesses, you need to have a Google My Business page, and an online listing wherever else you can get one.

Yext is a great service for creating and managing online listings on dozens of sites. It might cost more than other tools you use, but over time it will be worth it for many small businesses.

7. What else would you like to add?

The only good thing that happens instantly is winning the lottery. Successful small business marketing is going to take time, and probably a lot of trial and error.

Try not to get discouraged if things don’t take off quickly, and commit to promoting yourself a little more each day.

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat & Breathe

5 Essential Tips for Successful SMS Lead Generation

Essential Tips Successful SMS Lead Generation

Successful SMS lead generation can mark the difference between a business that excels, and a business that struggles as consumers shift to mobile.

But that’s why you’re here, right?

You understand that focusing on mobile engagement, marketing, and conversions will play a vital role for your business, and that it’s better to start sooner rather than later.

So how can you capture more people through their smartphones?

Specifically, how can you generate leads through SMS (which is currently the most used form of communication)?

The following 5 tips will help you and your business create a successful SMS lead generation strategy. Whatever your niche, these tips can accelerate your business in a mobile-first world.

What’s different about SMS lead generation?

SMS lead generation is different from other ways of generating leads, and there’s a few things in particular that you should know.

Texting your business easier than filling out forms.

This often lowers the barrier to entry for viewers to become leads.

With texting, people tend to want conversations more than promotions.

You can still send out offers and promotions, but texting is a very personal form of communication, and should be treated as such.

Two Way Text Messaging Largest Void in Business Communication

People interact with SMS differently than with calls, emails, and other forms of marketing.

To create a successful SMS lead generation strategy, you’ll need to adapt accordingly.

Keep these 3 differences in mind as we work through the following tips, and they’ll be sure to help your business create sustainable growth in a mobile-first world!

Now let’s dive in.

1. Put it somewhere.

Like other lead generators, you have to put SMS in front of people to convert them into leads. Luckily, you have several options.

Website Homepage

This might be the most basic (and most successful) way to generate leads through SMS.

People are coming to your website, and the majority probably get there through their phones. Most – if not all – of those people would rather text you than call you, or fill out a long form.

Text Request SMS Lead Generation

So place a simple call-to-action on your homepage, like “Text us for a free quote!” with a Click-to-Text button.

Mobile viewers can click the button, which opens up a text to your business.

As soon you get their message, you know how warm of a lead they are, and the quickest way to reach them.

Related: What is Click-to-Text & How Can My Business Use It?

You can also display your call-to-action and text number on the desktop version of your website, so desktop viewers will know they can text you as well.

Advertised Landing Pages

On a normal landing page, you’ll have a bit of copy, a call-to-action, and a form for the viewer to fill out.

To generate leads through SMS, simply swap the form for a Click-to-Text button.

Here’s where it gets really good.

Any advertising platform worth its salt (e.g. Facebook, Google) will let you target people by device.

If you specifically target mobile viewers, you can increase your conversion rates by ensuring 2 things:

  • Your SMS lead generation page is reaching the right audience
  • You minimize the barrier to entry for that audience

Please Hang Up and Text Me

Print Materials

You’re probably familiar with table toppers at restaurants that say something like “Text ‘PIZZA’ to 555-55 for coupons & discounts!”

Well, you don’t have to use an automated (and expensive) short code number for this same approach to work. You can also use long code (e.g. 423-218-0111) and real conversations.

Maybe you keep a sign at your front desk that reads:

“Text your name to (423) 218-0111 for [an appointment / notifications and reminders / room service / future offers / VIP rewards / paperless billing / to schedule a demo].”

The world is your oyster.

All you need to focus on for SMS lead generation is putting your text number in front of people and giving them a good reason to text you.

Related: 9 Ways to Let People Know Your Business Texts

2. Focus on the call-to-action.

The key to successful SMS lead generation is your call-to-action.

That includes your copy (the call), your button (the action), and everything else on the page surrounding your call-to-action.

Over time you’ll want to test for colors, phrasing, and such. But to start, let’s keep it simple.

Your call-to-action always needs to be simple! It needs to be crystal clear.

Less is More SMS Lead Generation

If your page is filled with a ton of call-to-actions for a bunch of different things, viewers are going to get indecisive (possibly confused) and leave.

Focus on just one action that you want viewers to take on that page. Do you want them to text you? Be clear!

It’s also a good idea to have your copy (call) and your button (action) mimic each other.

For instance, your call might be “Text us to schedule your demo!” and your button might read “Text [Business Name].”

Or, your call might be “Text us to get your free estimate!” and your button might read “Get free estimate.”

Another option is to say “Text us at [423-218-0111] to schedule your demo!”

What your call-to-action should be depends on what you do, but in all cases you need to make it clear and obvious.

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

3. Use SMS to qualify leads

Leads usually don’t appear out of thin air and beg you to take their money (sadly).

More often, leads go through stages.

Engineering.com Sales Funnel
PC: Engineering.com

They view your website, and then, say, become email subscribers, or fill out a form to download a free ebook.

Then they take interest in your primary product or service (becoming a marketing qualified lead).

And then the lead is eventually ready to buy, either from you or a competitor (becoming a sales qualified lead).

Dollar for dollar, taking someone from a base lead to a marketing qualified lead is worth more than taking someone from a viewer to a base lead.

And taking someone from marketing qualified to sales qualified is worth even more!

Did you know SMS could help you qualify more of your basic leads, and help you gain more customers?

Here’s how.

Too often, you get a leads’ contact information, but then you can never reach them!

They don’t answer your calls. They don’t reply to your emails. What gives?

On average, 99% or more of texts are read, and 45% of texts get responses.

That’s incredible!

And those responses come in just 90 seconds on average!

Related: 73 Texting Statistics That Answer All Your Questions

Here’s where it gets even better.

Studies have shown that texting leads can yield an almost 300% higher conversion rate than calling them.

That’s crazy!

That means texting your leads to move them from one stage of your sales funnel to the next is highly effective. With results like this, why wouldn’t you text your leads?!

Keep Calm and Convert More Leads

Is it technically SMS lead generation? No, but it’s even more successful.

SMS will help you turn your basic leads into sales qualified leads, which will drastically boost your bottom line.

Related: SMS for Business 101: Making Sales with Texting

4. Have a process for handling SMS leads.

It’s not enough to just get leads. That’s only half the battle!

Follow-up is just as important, if not more so. What will fit best depends on your business, but here are several processes you should consider.

Be blazing fast.

People care more about solving their problems quickly than they do about getting the absolute best product or service.

That’s why ⅓ to ½ of all sales go to the first person to follow up!

Successful SMS Lead Generation Strategy Fast

For your SMS lead generation strategy to be successful, you need to respond to leads quickly, if not immediately.

Maybe you do this by having an autoresponder, or maybe you have someone monitor incoming messages so that all texts quickly get an appropriate response.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s fast.

Otherwise, it won’t matter that you got the lead! Someone else will get their business.

Should SMS leads be treated equally?

Should SMS leads go through the same funnel and all the same methods as other leads? Or should you create a custom process specifically for SMS leads?

Generally, we see a fairly simple process with SMS leads.

  • A person becomes a lead by texting you
  • You set up a call or product demo to iron out questions and details
  • That lead either buys or goes on your follow-up list

It’s really that simple.

(You can also follow up with all of your other leads via text to speed up the sales cycle.)

Every Customer Wants an Easier Way

SMS leads tend to slide through a sales funnel more quickly than other leads, and you’ll need to accommodate accordingly for your SMS lead generation strategy to be successful.

Be clear and personable.

Texting is a very personal form of communication. (How many people do you text with every day?)

Most people don’t want to be dumped into an automated SMS campaign or blasted with marketing messages.

So when someone texts you and becomes a lead, be personal. Text with them like you would text with a friend.

Let the prospect know if a call or email is needed, and when might be a good time to talk. Give them a heads up if something changes, or if you need them to check out an email you just sent.

You’d be happy and straight forward with your friends, right?

Be the same way with your leads.

Related: What Does It Mean to “Text Like You Text Your Friends”?

Keep Calm and Text Friends

5. Don’t wait to start your SMS lead generation strategy.

Mobile marketing and mobile messaging have both been trending upwards for the last few years.

Businesses are getting on board left and right, for reasons like:

  • Needing to attract and capture mobile viewers
  • Targeting Millennials (20-35y.o.)
  • Staying ahead of the competition
  • And being able to convert more leads faster

SMS lead generation has become an important part of marketing and sales, and the key to your business finding success in SMS is to make sure you’re actually doing it!

Don’t wait for your competition to beat you. Click the link below to start generating leads through SMS.

Start generating leads through SMS.

5 Principles to Build a Lean, Scalable SaaS Marketing Strategy [Podcast]

Principles Build Scalable SaaS Marketing Strategy

You want big time SaaS marketing success, but you don’t have a big time budget. What do you do?

In this Chattanooga Business RadioX segment, Kenneth Burke of Text Request teams up with Jeremy Boudinet of Ambition to discuss 5 principles to build a lean, scalable SaaS marketing strategy.

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.

Related: What’s the Reality of Social Media for Business [Podcast]?

2. Align marketing with sales.

Marketing is basically Sales’ wing man. One sets up the other for success.

Have You Met Ted SaaS Marketing Sales

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.

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat & Breathe

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.

Lean Scalable SaaS Marketing Strategy Apps

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.

Related: 7 Foundational Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

What Questions Should You Ask Your Digital Agency? [Podcast]

Use Online Texting to Streamline Operations

Millions of small businesses outsource their marketing to a local digital agency so that they can focus on what they do best.

For many, the migration to digital is entirely new. Maybe this applies to you, where you know that you need something, but you barely know where to begin!

How should you approach your digital efforts? What questions should you ask your digital agency when you start, and as you go?

In this Chattanooga Business RadioX segment, James Dawson of Text Request teams up with Andrew Bennett of Flypaper to answer these questions, and to help you prepare for working with a digital agency.

If you’re new to working with a digital agency, you absolutely need to hear these tips! Click below to listen to the podcast, or keep scrolling for the highlights.

1. How often should you revamp your website?

If you’re going to a digital agency and aren’t sure where to begin, choose your website. The internet levels the playing field between large, national brands and local small businesses. Your website is where it all starts.

Your website is your most important digital asset. Plus, it needs to be updated about every 2-3 years anyway, so it’s hard to go wrong there.

Depending on your needs, which can vary widely, a suitable website could cost you anywhere from $25/mo to a lump sum of $25,000. It’s that valuable to your business.

2. Where should your digital agency market your business?

There’s an endless sea of options, but Facebook and Google tend to provide the top 2 best ROIs for small businesses of any digital platform. Those are great places to be, to test, to find your targets.

Related: 7 Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

It might take a bit – maybe a few months – to find your targets and optimize accordingly, but both places tend to pay off very well.

Business Digital Marketing and Advertising

3. How transparent is your digital agency?

Transparency is huge with any digital agency. If they’ll say you got 5,000 clicks from a campaign, but won’t tell you how poor your conversion rate was, that should be a red flag.

You need to ask your digital agency where conversions are happening, where they’re not, and why. If they aren’t willing to tell you everything, you probably want to look for someone better.

4. What’s your competition doing?

Another thing you need to pay attention to is what your competition is doing. You can learn from them. On the other hand, being unique is key. So you really need to focus on what your competition isn’t doing.

Related: How Important is Market Research for Entrepreneurs? [Podcast]

Where aren’t they marketing? What relevant content aren’t they creating? You need to create something valuable and unique to drive traffic to your website. Your digital agency should be able to help you do this.

5. You don’t own them.

When working with a digital agency, it’s important to remember that you’re hiring them to do something you can’t. You do not control them or own them.

Your business and your digital agency work hand in hand to accomplish your goals. If the two of you can’t work together well, you’ll both want to look for someone else.

Related: Is DIY Web Development Right for My Business? [Podcast]

11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat and Breathe to Succeed

Digital Marketing Basics Eat Breathe_50

If we’re honest, all you care about is the 11 points. So let’s jump into these digital marketing basics you need to eat and breathe.

1. It’s all bout providing value.

Nobody wants to be sold to, but everybody wants to learn.

Everyone is searching for answers to their questions, and they’re looking for brands to provide those answers. The digital marketing needed to meet this demand is different from traditional marketing, and here’s why.

In traditional marketing, every billboard, commercial, and strategy says the same thing: We’re great, buy our product.

Whether it was a consumer product or a fee-based service, the marketing has always been a sales pitch. That doesn’t work for most brands these days. Consumers don’t remember the pitch, they remember value.

Consumers don’t remember the pitch, they remember value. (Tweet this!)

Taco Bell is one of the few brands  winning in the digital marketing landscape with straight pitch. What they’ve been doing is rather impressive. But they’re one of the few. The standards have shifted.

Ads are the #1 way that websites and brands monetize their digital presence. Consumers understand this, and they’re sick of it!

Consumers want to be in control of when they’re pitched, where it happens, and who’s doing it. That means brands have to be able to advertise without it looking like they’re advertising. How does that happen? Through content.

Related: 7 Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

Content is your advertising campaign hidden under valuable information.

You provide answers to questions your targets are asking. They reward you (immediately or over time) by giving you more of their attention and, if you play your cards right, their dollars.

Interesting, helpful content is how you develop customers and build brand loyalty in today’s digital marketing landscape. It’s all about providing value.

2. Followers mean nothing if they don’t do something.

Having a large following is good for one thing: inflating the ego.

The sheer number displayed on your profile or subscriber list doesn’t mean anything if those people aren’t bringing you value in some way.

If you have 100,000 Facebook followers, but only 100 people click on a link you post, your “followers” aren’t doing anything for you. What does matter is having consumers who actively engage with you.

Followers are not the end goal. Conversions are. (Tweet this!)

Followers are not the end goal. Conversions are. If you have 5,000 total followers, but 3,000 of them will engage with anything you post, you’re doing very well.

The main purpose for anyone to have followers is to grow the number of those who will (regularly) convert into something for your brand. That could mean a lot of things, but every possible option involves those followers doing something.

If you’re a blog, you need followers to regularly provide you with traffic. As a media company, you need followers to share your media. For ecommerce, you need repeat buyers. If you’re a SaaS company, you need people to use and recommend your product.

Followers look great on paper, but if they’re not actively engaging with you, they’re meaningless.

3. Social media is not a few websites.

Social Media Current State Internet

Social media is the current state of the internet. It’s not just a few websites like Facebook, Vine (RIP), Twitter, and the like.

Today’s media is inherently social. Any link on the internet can be shared on just about any website. If you’re involved in any forum, website, or anything else online, you’re connecting and interacting with others. You’re being social.

Related: What’s the Reality of Social Media for Business? [Podcast]

As a digital marketing professional, this means that everywhere you go is a chance to make yourself and your brand look better.

Every link you share, every comment you post, somebody is watching you. Make it worthwhile.

4. Email can have an incredible ROI, but you need the right list.

According to Salesforce, every dollar spent on email marketing yields about $45. I’ll take those numbers any day!

The stickler, though, is that you need qualified leads, and a lot of them. Here’s what every digital marketing professional needs in an email list.

You can’t just spam people and expect to get anything in return, except unsubscribes. (Tweet this!)

You can’t just spam people and expect to get anything in return, except unsubscribes. You need qualified leads. Not some trade-show sign-up sheet gimmick for a chance at a free prize, but people who are actually, genuinely interested in the value you provide.

People who’ve started a free trial, contacted you directly, bought from you before, or downloaded some piece of content are probably all good choices.

Related: How Many Emails Do People Get Every Day?

Even if you get 1,000 of these precious leads, you still have to keep your efforts up. A good email list will lose about ~20% of its contacts a year, which means you’ve got to keep replenishing the ranks.

Assuming you can keep this up, benchmark data shows you should be able to get a 33% email open rate with a 4% click-through rate.

GraphicSprings Email Marketing Infographic
PC: GraphicSprings

5. Your targets aren’t just in one place.

How many different websites do you visit in a day? If you’re like most, you view ~88 web pages on maybe 10 different websites every day.

Plus, those numbers are from 2010 (still no update), and we know internet usage has increased significantly since then. Smartphones hadn’t even overtaken feature phones yet!

With all this change – with the fact that people now spend 8-10 hours a day on media – do you really think you can get away with only being in one place? If you have zero competitors, maybe.

Related: Mobile Mary: A Complete Guide for Marketing to Millennials

The goal of being anywhere online is to get conversions, right? As an end goal, engagement doesn’t matter. Likes, followers, comments, shares – none of it matters unless people convert. Where do your targets convert? I guarantee there’s more than one place.

Maybe one place works best, easiest, and cheapest. But there are other places to get conversions and market share. People have their favorite places to go, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only place they go.

It’s your job to find out everywhere your targets are. Then see what works best at each stage of your business.

6. It can always be better.

Keep Calm Do It Better

There’s always an easier way to do something, and there’s always a way to optimize your digital marketing campaigns.

When it comes to your product, your website, and your landing pages, there is always a way to make it easier. Which is important, because the user experience is everything!

If you have the option to make your product easier to use, or to add a feature that will make users’ lives easier, you’re an idiot not to do it.

Customers care so little about what actually makes the best company or product. (Tweet this!)

Speed and simplicity are crucial. Customers care so little about what actually makes the best company or product. They care about solving their problem fast

They want the simplest thing that will work really well. For your website specifically, there’s always going to be a way to make the process easier. To get the right information in prospects’ minds quicker. To help them complete their goals faster.

Related: 15 Reasons Why I Didn’t Reply to Your Email (& How to Improve)

If you’re not continually testing and improving, someone else will be, and they’ll take all your leads away from you. Which means they’ll eventually take all your customers away from you.

On the advertising side of things, A/B testing is your oxygen. That’s what keeps everything growing.

There’s always a way to make a campaign better, to improve conversions, to get more people talking about you. But you’ll never know what to change or improve if you’re not testing.

7. Omnichannel doesn’t mean copy and pasting the same thing everywhere.

Omnichannel is about continuity. It’s about providing a seamless experience for users across devices and platforms. Here’s the common misconception.

People often think of omnichannel as meaning “be everywhere.” That’s not true. It means extending the customer experience and sales cycle. Here’s what that means.

If I go to your website and look at a particular product, I should then see an advertisement for that product in my Facebook or Instagram feed. I should get an email with a coupon for that product, or recommendations relating to it.

Related: Where Does Mobile Fit in the Customer Buying Journey?

If I have a conversation with your brand via your website’s live chat, that interest I’ve shown should appear in other places, too. If I’ve inquired about X, I should see sponsored content somewhere else providing value around that topic.

Every online user has an ID attached to them and their behaviors. Essentially, you can target these consumers across devices and websites. And you should.

Omnichannel is big for digital marketing for two reasons. One, it takes multiple touch points to close a sale. By extending the customer experience outside of just your website, you create far more touch points. This also makes every unique user more valuable to you.

Two, it provides a much better customer experience! It’s simpler for people to work with you, but you’re out there placing those reminders in front of them.

An omnichannel strategy could be as complicated as retargeting on various platforms with various advertisers. It could also be as simple as letting people access their accounts/shopping carts from a computer and a mobile device interchangeably.

8. Facebook and Google are in bed together.

Google controls the search engine landscape. Facebook controls the world of social networking. Together, they decide our fate in digital marketing.

Are they part of the same umbrella? No. But they’re working together all the time to share data and make the digital world – in their opinion – a better place.

What this means for you and me is that we need to appeal specifically to these two leviathans.

Discerning how to get shares and any kind of virality going on Facebook will directly benefit you in Google search results. Conversely, optimizing your content for Google SEO will help you get onto Facebook more.

This is the digital marketing game you’re playing whether you realize it or not. It’s there for you to manipulate, and it’s your job to do just that.

9. Consumers have an insatiable need for speed.

I Wanna Go Fast Ricky Bobby

40% of viewers leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. That’s unreal! Except it’s actually happening.

What’s more, the average viewer spends 10-15 seconds on any given page. Consumers are quick, and they want answers fast.

Customer engagement is such a big deal because it’s so difficult to claim! You’ve got 10-15 seconds worth of consumer attention with which to give them both exactly what they’re looking for, and a reason to stick to stick around. A small feat by no means.

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads

When people come to you, it’s because they’re looking for answers. They’re looking for solutions to their problems and questions. How quickly can you provide?

You need to be checking how quickly your pages load, and how simple it is for customers to go from A-B. There’s always a way to make things easier, and to make them better. That’s what consumers want, and they want it fast.

10. Americans wear smartphones like jewelry.

Over 70% of consumers check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. People check their phones 150 times throughout the day, and spend nearly 5 hours a day on them.

90% use their phones in the bathroom. Mobile is used more to access the web than desktops and laptops. And people keep these devices within arms reach for 22 out of 24 hours of every day.

How’s that for a data dump?

Related: How Much Time Do People Spend on Their Mobile Phones in 2017?

Plus, nearly every smartphone owner uses their device somewhere during the purchase process. Most people actually look up products on their phones while they’re standing in a physical store! This isn’t just some trend! Mobile is a staple of consumer behavior.

Mobile is where consumers live, which means you need to live there, too. (Tweet this!)

Mobile is where consumers live, which means you need to live there, too. Your digital marketing efforts need to reflect these consumer behaviors. You have to include mobile in what you’re doing, and in many cases you need to place it ahead of desktop!

11. Organic is dead unless you’re really creative.

Note: This is about social media in particular, not Google search and SEO. SEO is only getting more powerful.

Coca-Cola’s marketing team frequently uses this saying, which has only become more true month after month.

“Anyone can achieve more with a proper $500 investment than a brand with 90 million fans organically.” They say this, because they get better results from putting $500 behind a targeted post instead of just leaving it up to their 90 million fans to find.

Follower counts mean less and less each month. Social algorithms have cut organic reach to 10% or less. What’s important is getting in front of your targets. It’s usually easier to do this with a few bucks, unless you’re really creative.

A “hit” of a campaign will spread itself. My current favorite brand blowing it out of the water is (ironically) Organic Valley. Their Save the Bros and Pop-up Coffee Shop campaigns are fantastic! 

These campaigns make you want to share them with your friends. And – more importantly – the product is integral to the advertisement. It’s nearly impossible to walk away from this or to retell the story without remembering Organic Fuel.

The problem with trying to recreate this kind of campaign is that in 99% of cases, virality is not the point. Adding value is.

When you combine value with virality, you’ve got internet gold that can catapult your brand. But in every other case (most cases), you’ll be better off paying to place something valuable directly in front of your audience.

Related: 4 Effortless Business Texting Strategies to Increase Sales

What’s the Reality of Social Media for Business? [Podcast]

Reality Social Media Business Podcast

Social media has a reputation for being one thing, when in reality it’s something entirely different. So what is social media for business, really?

In this Chattanooga Business Radiox segment, James Dawson and Kenneth Burke of Text Request tackle common social media misconceptions, and how these misconceptions are hurting businesses.

Click below to listen to the podcast, or keep scrolling for the highlights.

What exactly is classified as social media?

People typically think of social media as this small group of heavily-used sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Those are certainly part of it, but social media isn’t just a bunch of websites. 

Social media is basically the state of the internet. Everything is social these days.

Social media isn’t just a few websites. It’s the current state of the internet. (Tweet this!)

Just because you’re doing it, doesn’t mean you’re doing it well.

Creators have done really well to make their social media platforms super easy to use. But people mistake a platform’s ease of use for their own skill.

Related: 7 Small Business Marketing Tips to Drive Exponential Growth

Just because you post a picture and get twenty likes, doesn’t mean you’re using social media well. It’s like eating. Everyone eats, but not everyone eats well. Engagement only matters so much as you get conversions.

Social media is like eating. Everyone eats, but not everyone eats well.  (Tweet this!)

Social Media for Business Podcast

Find your targets, even if they’re not in obvious places.

Businesses tend to think that the best place for their brand to be is wherever there’s the most people. That’s simply not true.

The best place to be is where your targets spend their time and money. There’s no one best place, because the place your business needs to be depends on what you do and who your target is.

There’s no one best website or platform. It depends on where your targets spend their time and money. (Tweet this!)

Social media actually empowers our sociability.

Non-Millennials – and even a good chunk of Millennials – think social media is destroying our ability to foster non-digital relationships. But the research – and logic – shows the opposite.

Related: 11 Digital Marketing Basics You Need to Eat and Breathe to Succeed

People’s confidence to initiate face-to-face conversations, in certain age groups, decreases. But it actually gives people more social interaction more commonly, which is prove to help those people build relationships and navigate complex social constructs.

Social media isn’t destroying sociability, but improving it. (Tweet this!)

Reality Social Media for Business Podcast

What happens next?

Over the next year or so, brands will likely move from trying to engage more people to engaging few people for longer. Ultimately, this will be better for everyone.

There’s probably going to be some new startup to disrupt everything, but for the time being the trends are split between video and long-form content (~2,500 word articles).

Brands are starting to move away from getting a ton of micro-engagements in favor of getting fewer engagements for longer, because that’s what’s converting.

Over the next year, more brands will focus on keeping fewer people engaged for longer. (Tweet this!)

Related: 7 Simple Steps to Quickly Convert More Online Leads