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Good morning. Hi Aaron, can you hear me?
Hi Carrie. Hi, everybody.
Welcome. I can hear you.
Welcome to the first, and what I hope is many, Local U webinars. Our goal is to hopefully host one of these at least quarterly, hopefully eventually monthly, but we're going to start with quarterly as a goal. I'm so excited to bring you Aaron Weiche, from Leadferno. I hope that you get a lot out of this webinar. I think the product is amazing. I'm a huge fan. I don't get paid to say that, I just adore it and I adore Aaron.
Prior to being co-founder and CEO of Leadferno, Aaron was CEO of GatherUp, another tool that I'm sure you all are quite familiar with. GatherUp has been leading the industry in managing and growing reviews for businesses for quite a few years now. Now he is co-founder, along with Joel Headley, of Leadferno, operating as the CEO right now, and I'm really excited to see what you got for us today. Well, I better not let you down, Carrie. You won't, you never do. Aaron's been a long-time Local U faculty. We've seen him at Local U in Denver, we've seen him at Local U in the past in Austin and other places. So, if you've been to an in-person Local U, chances are you've seen Aaron present. He also has done a few of our virtual Local U's as well. I'm just going to jump off of here and let you take it away, Aaron Weiche.
If you have questions, save them for the end or drop them in the chat in LinkedIn, and we'll save them and ask Aaron when we're all done.
There you go. Hopefully, there's a good long list. And yeah, I know there's another in-person Local U coming up, Austin, I believe. Is that correct?
Yes, it's in Dallas. If you're interested in checking it out, check out our page at LocalU.org/DFW-23. It's April 26th, so we'd love to see as many of you as possible there for sure as well. I was at the last in-person Local U, the first in forever, the last one in Denver, and it was so great. If you've never been to a Local U, the best part is the community, the ability just to get one-on-one questions with so many smart, knowledgeable people. The networking is amazing. You absolutely need to go. You need to go. So, yeah, right now, they're $649, and I always tell people, you know, that's like two hours of a good consultant's time, and you have access to there's probably going to be 20 people in that room that you can learn something from. So definitely take a look.
I find people usually have, like, a $649 dollar question that gets answered at it in just one thing.
Yep, absolutely. Go. All right. Well, should we talk leads? Yep, let's talk leads.
All right. Thanks, everybody, for joining today. As Carrie said, I'm Aaron Weiche. Super excited to be talking to you guys today about something I've been very passionate about for the last couple of years, and that's the combination of text messaging and conversion. To set the table, one thing that I've seen, and keep in mind my past before running software companies was 15 plus years in digital agencies, building websites, search campaigns, social campaigns, all of those elements, and I can easily say that conversion for most people just consider conversion to be an afterthought. It's not as high impact as increasing traffic, rankings, social media followers, email opens, and other metrics that seem more exciting. However, conversion is extremely valuable. To get you interested in the topic, I will share some marketing campaigns that worked and see if I can get you to care about conversion. The first one I want to mention is "Got Conversion," which is a play on the "Got Milk" campaign. If you're a child of the '80s, you'll understand it. If not, don't worry; we can focus on more current campaigns, like Burger King's latest Whopper commercial. Also, as you might expect, I'll be talking about Air Jordans, which always interest me.
I hope that taglines from famous brands and campaigns can bring you into the world of conversion. However, some of them apply better than others. For example, Target's slogan "Expect more, pay less" is a significant reason why you should care about your website's conversion rate. Improving your conversion rate lowers customer acquisition costs, captures more value from the traffic you already have, and boosts your bottom line. Most channels see customer acquisition costs continue to rise, so improving conversion is essential.
Another example is Red Bull's slogan, "Conversion gives you wings." Increasing your conversion rate and lead opportunities can improve your bottom line and boost sales. You need these metrics to grow your business. As we continue to see costs rise, we must take a closer look at other aspects, like conversion, to see what we can do to squeeze more juice out of the traffic already on our site.
If there is one thing to take away from my presentation today, it's this: being easy to work with is the new Golden Rule of business. In such a competitive marketplace, being easy to work with is what everyone seeks, whether it's B2B or B2C. You want to be easy to find, easy to pick, and easy to work with throughout the entire process. Being easy to work with leads to excellent reviews, referrals, and raving fans.
Now let's look at some key elements of conversion. The first one is content, which should come as no surprise. When people land on your website, they need to absorb information, build trust, and determine if you're a good fit for them. Content plays a critical role in achieving these goals. It's not just about delivering any content; it's about delivering the right content in the right format. Content should be interactive, well-structured, scannable, and visually appealing. Your content is what people will find you for and what will attract the right audience.
And that's so key because if you're bringing all of the wrong type of people that might need your service or connect with you, it's going to be harder to get conversions out of that traffic because you're bringing in the wrong target. As we alluded to, content builds trust, and lastly, content is easily what can separate you. Depending upon your industry, your business type, the customers and prospects that you're going after, this is definitely going to vary. But it might be the personality of your business, it might be the history of your business, it might be how you deliver it, it might be the cool factor, the wow factor. But there are things you need to cover in your content that help differentiate you from all the other choices that are out there because, at the end of the day, we all have competitors.
Now let's take a look at calls to action. To me, in doing a lot of testing of these, and going through different elements, here are the things that really stand out to me as part of your calls to action on your site that are really important. Number one: focused and short, right to the point. Try to use as few words as possible, cut out the fluff, make sure that you provide clear direction with the intention, what they're going to get, what you enable them to do, what is the task that they can complete by taking that action. The use of social proof, offers, things like that for motivation. This can come in a number of different forms, right? Social proof can be reviews, it can be the number of people using you, or recently signing up. It can be how fast you're going to respond to people. But how do you bring in something that helps build confidence in them communicating with you? As we'll talk a lot about today, options, are you giving customers the right options to communicate how they want to communicate? To me, this is a massive one in being easy to work with. You're not forcing them into one path, one funnel only, one way, or two ways to communicate with you. You allow them to communicate the way that they want to. And lastly, visible. I'm a big believer that your CTAs should always be visible and right in front of the user. They shouldn't have to hunt for what the next step is with you. That shouldn't be an adventure. It should be something that's straightforward and always in front of them whenever they take in enough content, get enough answers, or feel trust enough to take the next step with you.
So when we look at this at Lead Ferno, we build these kinds of elements into our own product. So here are examples of some of the floating CTAs that we place on websites. So you can see each of these has different combinations, and it's finding the right combinations that work for your business. Is it driving a free estimate and using reviews and offering text as a channel? Is it making them aware that yes, we welcome questions, please do it and you get a quick reply so you can contact us? Is it using an offer of money off a first service, or a specific type of service or product? Getting to speak with an expert, a human being, very important to people. So when you see these as we go through these other elements, you're going to see these things come together, and you can start to understand how do I create a call to action that embraces these types of CTAs that we're talking about and has the right elements for your business and your audience to get them to convert.
When we examine the options available on various channels, it's all about giving the customer the power to work how they want to work. In this day and age, it's crucial to expand options and allow the customer to choose. This is similar to payment options - businesses have long displayed stickers indicating which types of payment they accept, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and even cryptocurrency. By demonstrating flexibility, businesses can accept various forms of payment, making it easier for customers to conduct transactions.
It's important to understand that these options are constantly expanding, and businesses must adapt to meet the needs of their customers. Centralizing communication options is one way to accomplish this. Instead of having contact options hidden throughout the site, it's better to display them in a single view. This makes it easier for customers to see their options and make their preferred choice.
Of course, staples like calling, emailing, and online forms should still be available. But businesses must also consider other channels, such as text messaging, which is becoming increasingly popular. In a recent survey conducted by the speaker, text messaging was the preferred communication method for respondents, ranking higher than phone calls and email.
This trend is only growing, especially among age groups between 35 to 54 years old. In this age range, text messaging is preferred over phone calls by almost 2x and over email by almost 3x. This indicates that businesses must pay close attention to the changing preferences of their customers and adapt accordingly.
The only age group that we saw not wanting to communicate, number one by text, was the 55 plus. And that was just by a slim margin over phone calls. Interestingly enough, what we saw in the 18 to 24-year-old group, text messaging was still number one, but direct messaging apps were even in front of email. So, Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, specific platforms that they're on and they utilize a lot. Those messaging platforms are where they want to communicate more so than the static of email.
So, overall, a couple of different surveys produce these numbers. 74 percent of consumers want to be able to text a business and 89 want two-way messaging with businesses and brands. We want the convenience. We want to be able to use channels that we're familiar with and that work best for us in our busy lives. The direct messaging channels that are available and out there for businesses are many, but some of the main ones include Facebook Messenger and obviously Google's Business Messages, which Google has played around with a lot of different messaging services. This one is stuck for the last couple of years. We'll see if that continues. But Google Business Messages enables you to enable a chat button within your Google business profile. And we're seeing a little bit of expansion in the places and the ways that they show this. But these are just two more entrance points on platforms that your prospects and customers are spending a lot of time on that you likely want to be connecting with them there.
Now, the next one that I'm probably the biggest proponent of is always visible CTAs. And what my diagram here is trying to show is just when it's always on the screen, it's always available to that user. So, a lot of times we'll see people with calls to action in either the top of the screen in the header and then in the footer at the bottom of the screen or at the end of the content. Well, I always like to consider our mobile audience just because that is again half of the audience that's out there. It might even be more depending upon the type of site or service. And when you really look into a lot of businesses and first-time people coming to your site, it's more than likely going to be mobile based on their search habits when they're searching what they're looking for.
So, even if you get better at it and you start inserting other calls to action in the middle of your content, which a lot of us do, you still are running the risk of there not being a call to action somewhere when they're on the screen and scrolling through and consuming that content. So, for me, really the best thing to do is to find the right kind of floating call to action that's always visible for the customer. The other thing that I like about this is then when you have site of 9, 15, 20, 500 pages, you're starting to take those and instead of just having a couple of pages focused on conversion and contact, you know, for so long the contact page has just been the staple of a small business website that they're dependent upon for conversion. When you have floating CTAs, now you're putting that contact page onto every page. You're making every page available to start a conversion and to start contact without leaving that page at any moment. So, now you're expanding it from one single contact page to making every single page a contact page on your website.
Centralizing options, I hinted at this earlier, but so many times you come into a web page, and in its layout, up top you might find the contact link and their phone number. A little further down, the content has a link to their free estimate form, one of their main calls to action. Then, a little later in the content, is their newsletter sign-up. And then we get down further into the footer, and here's the first time you see their email address. So, you're really counting on-- and as you all know, possibly from paying attention to analytics or other tracking tools you might use-- you're not getting all your customers to scroll your entire page. They're missing a lot of your CTAs. They don't even know that they're available. So, that's why I'm in favor of utilizing CTAs that, when you access them and they're on screen, they then provide you with a choice of what those options are. So, you can centralize your top two, three, four CTAs that are available to them, so they can see, 'Oh, I can text. I can book something right now. I can fill out a form for a free estimate. I can call this business. I get their contact form. I can chat with them.' Whatever that might look like, centralizing these is really important. It would be no different than if you pull up to the drive-thru at McDonald's, and in the menu, and seeing everything you want to order in one piece. You had to drive another five feet to see the chicken sandwiches and pull up another 10 feet to see French fry sizes, and another 20 feet to see the types of ice cream that you want or a shake or anything else. That would be extremely frustrating. It's not ideal. You want your choices in one place and to be able to choose from them just like a menu. And then response time lastly.
This is where the user engages with you, and the action they take here ends up being something that can help you build towards the goal of ultimately landing that customer. So, very long-term, we've always known that these are phone calls, contacts, or estimate form fills, but this now includes texting and messaging in chat. The availability to book or request a call with you or send an email - these interaction layers are so extremely important to be able to engage with customers in the right way, to meet their needs, to show that you're easy to work with, and that you're an expert in all of those different elements. Ultimately, you're trying to get them to a transaction, and for some businesses, you have a transaction that can sit all the way on the surface. If you're an e-commerce site, it might be a purchase or a payment. It might be signing up for an account, or it might be booking something a little bit more solid on a calendar to come in. But getting people all the way to this transaction state is usually highly dependent on that interaction layer coming before that. So you really need to think about how do those first two, the action and the interaction layers, really lay the groundwork and foster clients into that transaction layer that you're ultimately after to get a sale and generate revenue.
So, let's take a dive further into the area that we're talking about today, and that's really known as conversational conversion. How do we use texting and messaging to bring those customers through that layer and into that transaction layer with you?
Number one, I think one of the key elements of this is already baked into the channel, but it also needs to be kind of worked into your vibe and your strategy, which is to be approachable. For so long, I think businesses have rushed to our CTAs being such a "buy now," "buy from us," "take advantage of a sale." It's so transaction-driven that we've really failed to make our websites feel like this is an extension where we want to help you. We want to engage, and we want to build trust with you. So, you really need to think about how can we use CTAs that invite questions? That questions aren't a bother. No question is dumb. We're here to help. We're going to connect you with experts. You really want to come across as being easy to talk to. That's the point of conversational conversion. We're willing to start a conversation, and it's extremely easy based on these messaging channels that we're offering to you. It's a great way for you to get a good feel if we're someone that can help you. When you lead with being approachable, I really think that these are things that help you get more leads.
The second part is the act of conversation, which is really key in building trust. Human interaction through texting builds that trust so much quicker than just something very static and emotionless through transferring emails. There's a way because texting is already a personal channel. It's where it started. That even when it's being used for business, it still feels personal. You're connecting one to one with a human on the other side. There are ways to inject personality, light use of emojis, things like that, to quickly build that connection and make them feel good about the engagement. These messaging channels make that conversation easy because it can happen on the consumer's time when they need to. They get alerts, they're getting fast replies from you, they can respond quickly, they can engage, disengage, and pick it back up, and it's still in this great channel. We see that consumers have more confidence too because where we have filled out and sent emails, filled
Out forms that never go answered. This has not been our experience with texting. We see that people reply to us via text, and the engagement is there. We know things get seen right. Text messaging has a 98% open rate, whereas email can be in the low 20s, depending upon how things fall and if they perceive it to be of the right reach out at the right time. And lastly, it's specific to need. You're able to deliver personalized one-to-one experiences tailored to exactly what they're looking for, so it really makes it easy to focus on details. And I also look text conversations are drawn out. No one wants to type out a long conversation, so we get right to the point. No one wants to read along conversation, so we're also not sending it to them that way. I left just the other day, my wife sent out a text message and apologized for it being long, and it was only like a paragraph. It would have been a short email, but it felt as a long text message. So within that, you're able to get to exactly what people's needs are. It cuts out the fluff, uh, cuts out reading between the lines. A lot of times, it gets right to what's important. This still offers you a receipt of the conversation. I know a lot of people default to email to have things in writing from what the business said they do, to what you asked for, to what was agreed upon. When you have that over text, it still gives you that receipt of conversation, which also helps foster, um, trust in it. And lastly, as we've already hit upon, it is a personal channel, um, and that again just makes it feel like an experience you're having one-to-one.
So when we take a look at all these different messaging solutions that are out, this is usually the first question that gets answered. Or because live chat's been around for more than a decade, people have already tried it. It might be working for them, and they don't love it. It might be working for them, and they do love it, um, or they're looking at this, you know, how do I start with live chat, and should I be looking at something like web to text? Well, first, if the term web to text is new to you, let's make sure I quickly get you up to speed on that. It's basically putting a widget on your site just as you would with, like, a live chat widget, but instead, it prompts a quick form just asking for your name, number, and the first message. And once that's submitted, all the further communication for them is through their SMS app. For the business, you're likely using it through a business texting app like Leadferno business messaging app that allows you to communicate through multiple members of your staff with that consumer. But it's just as simple as doing this. I really think this is so much better of a route to go to because this allows you to start text conversations from any type of device, tablet, desktop, anything that's not wired up to text messaging. If you just link to your text messaging phone number and it opens your SMS app with the number pre-populated, that's not going to work as well because now you're not capturing their name, and if they try to do that on a computer, I want to quickly ask this question and then I have to run to a meeting or do something else. They're not able to do that from the computer. They'd have to go jump on the website from their phone, duplicate what they're doing to start that conversation. So here's just a quick visual. You click the "Ask Us" button, fill out the quick form, and now the business is replying, and the customer can interact with everything else through their SMS app, which is portable. They get notifications, and it's the number one app they're using now. I still think live chat has its place and areas where it's valuable. I think e-commerce is perfect for it, where you answer questions in the moment when they're waiting to add something to a shopping cart or making sure not to remove it, that it's the right fit, the right size, and they understood a detail right. It's definitely important. And then in the B2B space as well, where your prospect might not be as willing to give up their personal cell phone if they don't have a dedicated work number and things like that. But I can definitely tell you we have B2B customers, and we're seeing that change come into B2B as well. Again, because texting just makes our life easier. This is where people are taking their B2B relationships as well. One massive flaw that I see in live chat, if you follow me on Twitter, I often post these live chat fails. I have a folder on my computer full of these, but there's a number of different things where I see businesses fail with live chat. One, and I'll address this with some stats, one of the biggest things I see is the "We're offline" or "We're currently unavailable." To me, this is like getting to your contact page and it being a 404 or not working or the form's not there. So when we look at that, it's just so important to understand that you want a contact solution that's always on to capture. You really shouldn't be cutting someone off and saying, "Hey, this button said 'live chat,' but that's not really what we're offering right now. We're just offering an email form." The reason they likely are choosing Live Chat is that they prefer that channel and speed of interaction and what they want to get done over email, over filling out yet another form that they're unsure if it'll get answered or returned. The other things I see are we open a live chat, we get told we're going to have to wait some amount of time before we can be connected to an agent. We jump into other browser tabs, and then I'll send him and say, "We're like, 'Oh crap, I was in a live chat.'" You come back, and you get a message over on the left side where it's like, "Hey, haven't heard from you. I don't know if you're here, you know what happened." And they're gone. Now you have to re-enter the queue. And then something I've been seeing more of lately is people using these different chat tools and Lead nurturing tools as they only do a couple of small things. So, just like this one that I had, I asked one question, they answered that question, and then they ended the chat. The only way I could do more is if I hopped on a call. And to me, this is just horrible lead nurturing. Like, you didn't even find out if you actually answered my question correctly if that led to further questions from me. So, I see all types of things that basically end the chat, or it says it's a live chat, and it's just a chatbot to get your name and your number, and then they're going to contact you through one of the channels I actually didn't want to be contacted through. So, live chat can really be a challenge for some SMBs...
[Full unedited transcript available on request - email online @localu.org for information]