phonewagon, Author at PhoneWagon
How Planning Our Holiday Party Inspired Us To Launch 2-Way Texting

How Planning Our Holiday Party Inspired Us To Launch 2-Way Texting

In early December I began planning our company holiday dinner. We had 10 people and I wanted to find a place that could host us as a private party. I knew someone that used to be an Executive Assistant at a pretty large tech company so I sent her a text to ask for some recommendations.

Taylor txt

After some quick details, she fired off a ton of options. Needless to say, she came through with a ton of awesome options.

Smartmockups

Typically with private events, there’s a set menu (prix fixe) and the venue charges based on the number of people attending. After she sent me these recommendations, I began googling them to see if they had availability and what the price person was going to be.

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Consumers want information instantly

To my surprise, none of the restaurants she mentioned published their private event availability online. They all had a section on their website for private events but the call-to-action button to “get a quote” or “book now” led to an online form (which seemed to be powered by Tripleseat).

After reviewing the website, location, and menu of the options that she gave me, I decided to inquire about availability and pricing with one of these restaurants which I’m going to call Booster (changing name so I don’t make them mad).

Booster has a dedicated private event page that included a lot of information, including pictures of the event space, a link to their private events deck, and an online form to request availability. I had almost everything I needed to make a decision from the information they provided on their website and event deck with the exception of one crucial piece – availability.

Since I didn’t know if they were available and I needed more information on booking the space, I filled out the form on their website. I did this at 6pm on December 12th and I was looking for availability on December 19th (yes, a bit last minute).

innqiurety

Consumers don’t like to wait

After I submitted this inquiry, I thought of another restaurant called Black Derby that might be a good fit for our holiday party. I’ve been to this restaurant a number of times so I had the phone number of the manager. I decided to text her and see if they could possibly accommodate us.

Ellen text

I sent her a text at 6:12pm on Dec 12th, just 3 minutes after I submitted the online form for Booster. She responded instantly and told me it was possible. A couple hours later, at 8:05pm, I asked her if they had availability for our desired date of 12/19. She told me that they had availability to host our event and even sent me a sample menu along with full pricing ($75 per person, no minimum spend).

Ellent Text 2

I stopped by the restaurant that night and checked out the space. It was perfect for what we were looking for so I decided to book it.

Consumers need to be engaged throughout the sales cycle

Over the next week we continued the text conversation as we sorted out details like the menu, decorations for the table, and hiring a violinist. I wanted everything to be perfect.

ellen text 3

Everything was pretty much solidified by Saturday, Dec 15th.

You will lose business if you don’t respond to leads fast enough

Funny enough, at this point, I hadn’t even heard back from Booster. They were actually my first choice as they were recommended to me from a friend (social proof) and had a ton of information on their website that looked like they would be a perfect fit for our company holiday dinner.

On Monday, Dec 17th, just 2 days before our holiday dinner, I received an email back from Booster. They informed me that they could accommodate us in their main dining room but there would be a prix fixe menu AND a minimum spend per person (which I did not remember seeing anywhere on their site previously).

Response text

Remember, I originally inquired on December 12th and didn’t receive this response until December 17th. Within those 5 days, I had already chosen another restaurant to host our event.

Since I work with thousands of businesses that are focused on generating leads and turning those leads into customers, this process made me think a lot about how businesses are interacting with their leads and customers.

Consumers want access to information instantly. They have the entire internet in the palm of their hands at all times. And when they are searching for information on a business, that is their priority at that time. But priorities change. And that’s why it’s so important for businesses to engage with consumers when they’re searching, not waiting hours or days to respond.

When I finally had time to search for a restaurant for our holiday dinner, I wanted to get everything done on the same day. This helps me cross the item off my to-do list so I can focus on another task. I didn’t want the process to drag out over days or weeks. If Booster had simply replied instantly to my inquiry or allowed me to ask them a question via text message, they most likely would have won our business and generated an incremental $2,000 (our bill from the holiday party).

Consumers want information through text messages

That’s when it hit me – consumers need to be able to text businesses and businesses need to respond instantly. A lot of times a simple text message can push a prospect over the edge and turn them into a customer. For me, it was knowing if there was availability on our desired date for our holiday party. Other examples might include someone that needs to know if a restaurant can accommodate a certain food allergy or a prospective patient that wants to know if a top-rated dentist takes a certain type of insurance. There’s a ton of examples where one final piece of information is all that is needed for consumers to make a buying decision and text messages are usually the best way to provide that information.

Text with your customers using PhoneWagon

Today I’m excited to announce that PhoneWagon is launching 2-way text messaging. Initially, we are launching this feature through an integration with Slack, allowing our customers to send and receive text messages on any of their PhoneWagon numbers directly inside of Slack. In the coming weeks, we will build this into our web-based interface as well as into our integrations with other CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce.

Google just announced last week that they are testing a “message this business” in search ads for local businesses. Businesses can now use a PhoneWagon number in their Google My Business listing and enable it to be a “textable” number.

With PhoneWagon enabling businesses to text with their customers through a shared inbox (and/or slack channel), businesses are able to respond faster to every lead and deliver a superior customer experience. This results in more sales, happier customers, and a higher return on ad spend.

SMS Design

Bringing it all together

Here’s an example of how it works. In this example, I send a text message to the phone number on the website and it goes into a shared slack channel where one of my teammates responds immediately.

Want to try it out? Sign up for free here: https://phonewagon.com/free-trial/

4 Lead Generation Secrets You Never Know Before

4 Lead Generation Secrets You Never Know Before

There has been a significant level of eCommerce development in recent times thanks to the increased use of the internet amongst mobile phone users. People have taken this cue and have decided to join the eCommerce train. There are lots of firms that already have a website managed by a good eCommerce development company that has adequate knowledge of eCommerce development. Even a website does not guarantee total success. Talking about success in business, it happens in stages. The stage we will be concerning ourselves with is the stage of lead generation.

Lead generation, just like it means in every other niche that uses it, is the process of picking the right person who is most likely to subscribe to what you have. It does not mean that the person has bought your product or subscribes a service; it means the person has the capacity to and will do so with the right environment being put in place. Though they may not have taken the “leap of faith”, they are most likely to say at least 87%. There are some secrets of lead generation you never knew before that will be fleshed out in this article. Most times people struggle with generating leads for their business. With this article, you will be able to identify where you have not been doing it correctly.

Secret 1: Identify the proper prospects

This is the question of “who is likely to be up for what I have to offer?” A comedian once made a joke that the type of car you drive will determine what roadside salespersons will market to you. This is because these roadside salespersons know that a man driving a Mercedes is more likely to subscribe to an expensive air freshener more than a man driving the 2001 model of a Toyota Camry. This is the ideology you should employ when selling your business to your prospects. The man driving a Toyota Camry is also more likely to subscribe to a cheaper air freshener that will most likely have the same effect while the man driving a Mercedes may see it as not being authentic.

2. Don’t just stop at marketing

It is in your own interest to follow up on your prospects if you want to generate sales leads. Your marketing department can do a great job but not all customers may be disposed to buy your product at that point in time. Some may be able to for financial reasons, others maybe because of the fact they want to think it through while others may just want to give it time to see if the desire to do so may fade away. This is where your sales team comes in. Your sales department should do their best to bring the product or service very close to the target consumer as to motivate him to get it. They can do this by organizing promotional sales, freebies and so on. Despite the fact that you want to make sales, its not best to shove your product and service in your prospect’s face as it may scare that person away.

3. Don’t make it obvious that you’re all about sales

This is very necessary as nobody wants to be sold to, everyone wants what they can benefit from. Your marketing department should drive its strategy at how people need to do something that is for their own good. Of course, what they need to do will be related to your business. You can start a campaign for an insect-free and healthy environment when you produce an insect repellant that has no side effect on the respiratory system. Instead of just telling them to buy your insect repellant alone, you can educate them on alternative healthy means of removing the insect from their homes.  You should work with content marketing that equips the consumer of your goods with adequate information.

4. Work with feedback and always conduct reviews

This is very important for your continued growth. You just have to continue doing this in order to foster development and consistency in your business. Always gather feedback from all your prospects. It doesn’t matter whether he subscribes to your service or not. Most firms tend to focus on just one side of this aspect but that doesn’t make it the best. Getting information from both sides will help you determine both why people have been leaving as well as why they’ve been staying.

The above points are aimed at not just generating leads but generating leads that will turn into sales.

Campaign Tracking Software Can Bolster Your Marketing Campaign

Campaign Tracking Software Can Bolster Your Marketing Campaign

Marketing campaigns are great ways of promoting your business. Every business venture requires attention. Even a website designed by a good ecommerce development company needs the traffic to be able to showcase its prowess. Any marketer with knowledge of ecommerce development will tell you not to undermine the importance of people in a business. Marketing campaigns are the most assured way of drawing attention to your business. Without any form of marketing or promotion, your business will be a beautiful gem hidden in the sands with nobody aware of its presence. With marketing, however, your business will become known to more people and this will increase the likelihood of people patronizing your business.

Marketing campaigns may be an assured way of promoting your business but if you employ the wrong strategy or campaign then you may end up with a futile marketing effort. Technology has been an integral part of eCommerce as it has helped make a lot of things easier. You as a marketer can make the most out of the various technological advancements to your advantage. These technological advancements could be the difference between a regular marketing campaign and a precise and effective marketing campaign. One technological advancement that could be of help to you is call tracking. This article will help you realize 5 ways call tracking software can bolster your marketing campaign.

It makes you ascertain which keywords are most effective

When individuals call, they are likely to inquire based on what captured their attention from your campaign. Their choice of words will help to ascertain which set of keywords caught their attention or made them curious enough to make an inquiry. This can help you tailor your marketing campaign based on the information you receive so far.

You will be able to identify the locality of your major prospects or customers

With call tracking software, you will be able to identify which area holds the majority of your customers. Every call has an address attached based on the place or position from which the caller is making his call. With call tracking software, you will be able to pinpoint where your potential customers are and direct your marketing campaign to that area.

Know the age range/gender/class of your prospects

The best way to serve somebody better is to have knowledge of the person you are serving. Even the most sophisticated of firms could look like amateurs if they fail to take this fact into consideration. You don’t want to sew a tight-fitting dress for a pregnant woman. Depending on the call tracking software you are using, you can ascertain as much as the class, gender or age range of your prospects. With this information in hand, you can decide if you need to re-strategize your marketing campaign or not.

Track how you are faring in different regions and department

Most firms are more focused on how much information the customer is providing about him/herself without taking note of how much organizational information the customer is providing. With call tracking, you can monitor how your branches are faring as well as the departments contained in those branches. You will be provided with adequate information about your organization as well as your level of service delivery. The best way to market your business is by providing a marketable business and call tracking software will provide you with information about how marketable your business is.

Know your most effective marketing campaign for a particular product or service

This is the crown of this whole thing. With call tracking software, you will be able to ascertain which has been the most effective and for which service. This is very important as you will be able to be more direct in your marketing campaign instead of throwing your grain everywhere. Most marketing campaigns are usually based on the trial and error method but with call tracking software, you will know where your target is and aim for it.

Marketers are often so concerned about generating leads than making sales. Leads will not bring in the money bit sales will. A successful marketing campaign is judged by how much sales it brings not by the number of leads it generates. With call tracking software, you can improve your chances of making more sales by focusing on those most interested in what you have to offer.

How to get missed calls text message notifications

How to get missed calls text message notifications

Let me start off with a pretty big statement – businesses are losing billions of dollars each year because of missed calls. Yes – billions… with a “b”. Missed call notifications can help cut into this massive loss by setting up a simple text notification to send if there’s a missed call.

Why is the number so high?

It starts with the fact that 62% of phone calls to small businesses are missed. That’s right – over half of the incoming calls to a business phone system are going straight to voicemail. This is an enormous number that not only severely limits your ability to ultimately turn the inbound phone call into a customer but it’s also poor customer experience.

78% of customers buy from the first business that responds.

It doesn’t matter if you have an Apple iPhone or an Android, if you miss a call from a lead then they are most likely going to call a competitor. Even if you call them back within 5-10 minutes, it could be too late. They could have already hired someone else, they could be back at work with their phone on do not disturb, or maybe now they just aren’t simply seeing your call on their lock screen.

 

There are definitely ways you can prevent missed calls like setting up an IVR or creating a custom call flow that has unanswered calls go to an answering service. You can also setup an automated text message to send to missed calls. For this example, I’m going to pretend that you don’t have those setup (which I would recommend doing).

Many business owners and marketers want to know in real-time, via a text message notification, when inbound calls are missed. These calls are the result of marketing campaigns working and you want to turn these inbound phone calls into happy paying customers.

Here’s 4 easy steps on how to set up text message notifications for missed calls in PhoneWagon:

Step 1: Use Zapier To Create A Zap With PhoneWagon

Once you create the zap, make sure you integrate with the correct PhoneWagon account credentials and choose the company that you are creating the text message notification for. This can be found within the Zap under the notification settings.

Step 2: Create a Filter For Missed Calls Only

This is where you tell the system to only send a text message for missed calls. The status that we use on the backend for missed calls is “no-answer”. Whenever PhoneWagon creates a call log we assign a status to that call. Most of the times the status will change from the beginning of the call to the end of the call. Create a filter here for “Call Status”, (Text) Exactly matches, and then type “no-answer”.

Step 3: Setup SMS by Zapier – Send SMS

This is an important step because you are not using PhoneWagon to send this new message. As soon as we release our mobile phone app on iOS and Android, you will be able to setup the message alerts directly from your mobile device (as long as you aren’t still using an iPhone 6… just kidding, it’ll work on iPhone 6 as well). With this SMS by Zapier Trigger zap, you will need verify your phone number to authorize them to send you text messages for missed calls. Check your caller id for the automated text that they will send you with the verification code. It’s usually a short code that they are messaging from but either way your phone will show notifications on the front of an unread sms notification. Open that text up and verify your phone number. Usually it won’t send the verification code to virtual phone numbers to prevent fraud.

Step 4: Configure your text message template

This is where you can customize what information you receive in the missed call text message notification. This of this similar to an email notification that you get automatically when certain things trigger it. I like to show caller’s phone number, source, keyword, the number they dialed, landing page, and whether they’re a first time caller or repeat caller.

 

And that’s it. You can save your zap and now you will receive a text message anytime you get a missed call. The good thing about this is that if you’re a marketer and the phone calls aren’t going to your phone, you can now get notified in real-time when there’s a missed call. This enables you to either dial back ad spend or ensure that you put a solution in place to prevent missed calls.

Here’s what you’ll see:

missed call zap 6

 

If you want to reduce missed calls and increase ROI on ad spend, sign up for a free PhoneWagon account today. If you need help troubleshooting your setup in Zapier or if you text messages aren’t sending, please reach out to us so we can help resolve the issue. There are rare cases where you phone won’t have service or you don’t have wifi and the text wont send. But those use cases are incredibly rare like when your google account goes down – it pretty much doesn’t happen. We offer a white-glove setup and implementation and will help train you and your clients on best practices!

Increase Close Rates By Sending Leads Into Slack

Increase Close Rates By Sending Leads Into Slack

Lead response time is one of the most important factors in determining your close rate. There are tons of data that supports the fact that responding to leads quickly will increase your close rate.

This article from Vendasta on Lead Response Time has some pretty eye-opening takeaways:

  • 78% of customers buy from the first responder
  • Only 7% of companies respond to new leads within 5 minutes
  • Sales conversions are 391% higher in the first minute
  • After 5 minutes there’s an 80% decrease in lead quality
  • 55% of companies take 5+ days to respond.

Obviously these all scream that you need to follow up quickly with your leads. Literally your money and business depend on it.

If you want to improve inbound close rates, the first thing you need to do is decrease lead response time, ideally to under 1 minute.

Bring Lead Notifications into Slack

Most organizations are using Slack for internal communications. Team members spend the majority of their day in Slack interacting with other team members. By bringing lead notifications, whether that’s from web forms, phone calls, live chats, or text messages, you’ll be able to decrease your lead response time and close more sales. Guaranteed.

Let me tell you about what we did at PhoneWagon.

Our inbound lead volume was relatively strong. We notified our sales team via email whenever a new lead signed up. However, after talking to the team, we realized that they weren’t seeing the email notifications as fast as we need them to.  

We needed an option that was more efficient than email notifications and also allow our entire team to comment on lead status without having to pull up our CRM.

I decided to create an integration into Slack and push all of our new leads into our sales channel. I also integrated our live chat via Intercom and phone calls and text messages via PhoneWagon into Slack as well. This gave our entire team real-time visibility when we received any inbound lead – whether it was a sign up, live chat, phone call, or text.

After we implemented pushing our leads into Slack, we noticed a 50% decrease in response time (moving from an average of 3 minutes to less than 1.5 minutes). Our close rate also increased from 28% to 34% from lead to sale.

Leverage Marketing Data in Slack

To increase close rates, you want to be able to leverage data from your marketing campaigns. When we push our leads into Slack we also add marketing data like the source, campaign, keyword, landing page, UTM, and much more. This helps us work the leads quickly with the right context.

1. Marketing Data Provides Context

By seeing rich, marketing data about a caller before I answer, I’m able to tailor my conversation based on the keyword they search or the landing page they’re calling from.

call slack1

 

2. Frictionless Collaboration on Lead Quality

Additionally, by pushing our leads into Slack we’re able to communicate with the rest of the team about the quality of the lead. In this particular example, the customer needed outbound calling which we don’t currently have. Our AE recommended they look into another program called Close.io.  

call slack phone tracking

 

3. Competition For Fastest Lead Response Time

By viewing your leads in Slack you’ve removed friction (typically of having to search through the CRM) and enabled your sales team to respond lightning fast to all leads.

Conclusion

It’s no debate that they faster you respond to a lead the more likely you are to close that deal. If your team uses Slack and you want to increase close rate and response time for new leads, you need to setup your new leads to go directly into Slack in real-time.

Are you ready to push your phone calls and text messages into Slack? Are you ready to have a 2-way SMS conversation with your customers directly from Slack. Sign up for a free PhoneWagon account today and increase your close rates.