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Some Just Want to Text

why_we_love_text_messaging

I’m about to write regarding something that’s usually met with rolled eyes and sighs or reluctant acknowledgement – Text Messaging.
Yes, yes. I know. Texting is the bane of most “responsible” adults because all they see nowadays is their kids or other younger people staring at their phones with thumbs flying to tweet, text, or instant message their “friends”.
But here’s the question I must ask you: Would you really turn away a perfectly willing customer just because they prefer to text message rather than call you to schedule a job? I didn’t think so.

Customers Texting You

Consumer’s lives today move at breakneck speed. Between meetings, running kids to soccer practice, catching up on social media, and keeping dinner from burning, they don’t have time for hardly anything – especially conversations that aren’t convenient to have during the day. If you’ve noticed a change in the dynamic of phone calls with your customers, there’s a reason – they’re busy.
Picture this: Mrs. Jones is a busy mom of 3. While her two oldest are at school, she’s running errands of all sorts with her youngest in tow. She’s constantly thinking about the PTA meeting she has this evening, whether or not to buy Lucky Charms or the “organic, non-GMO” cereal that her kids won’t touch, and the article she’s been asked to write for her part-time job. As she’s hurrying through the grocery store, she walks through the cleaning isle and spots a bottle of some junky surfactant-loaded spot remover and realizes, “Shoot. I need to get our carpet cleaned before the party on Saturday, but I don’t have time to call them right now.”
After a quick Google search, she finds a local Chem-Dry’s listing and sees that, lo and behold, she can TEXT them to ask about availability! She taps the “message” button your listing and you’ve got an engaged customer that wants an appointment, STAT!

How Do I Do That? And What’s the $$$?

Google to the rescue! You probably didn’t know it, but you can set up text messaging with your Google My Business listing without any cost or risk of divulging your cell number. Your customer never sees it. In fact, they see a dummy number that Google assigns to you. YOU, however, WILL see your customer’s number.
When you log into your Google My Business account, you’ll see several menu options on the left side of the screen. Select “Messaging”. You’ll enter the mobile phone number you want to use for texting and verify it with a code that Google will send you. After that, you’re all set. You’ll be able to craft an outgoing message that automatically responds when your customer starts the conversation.
I tinkered around with this on my own and found it very intuitive. I even had a short text message conversation with the business (myself).
You see on the right how such a conversation might work for you. Pretty easy, right?
Do you think you could handle this? OF COURSE you can!
Oh, and guess what else… It’s FREE! That’s right. It costs you precisely $0.00. Since most of you probably have an unlimited text messaging plan, there’s no need to worry about any cost whatsoever.

Why Should I? Will I Ever Really Need It?

Short Answer:  Because it’s easy and it’s cheap.
Long Answer: While you may not have that many customers come to you via text message, you don’t really know how many of your customers you’re missing until you try it out.
People today are getting more and more reserved and giving them the option to text you to arrange service could be just one other way to set yourself apart from the competition. It’s not hard, and it shows courtesy and deference to people who may not be able to comfortably contact you otherwise. You just won a loyal customer because you let them contact you on their terms.

Big Takeaway:

Texting isn’t going away anytime soon. If there’s an opportunity to quickly and easily capture a customer via text message, why wouldn’t you do it?
  1. Set up your Google listing with a mobile phone number for texting.
  2. Craft a welcoming message to potential customers.
  3. Keep your phone available and answer promptly!
Text messaging is another potential funnel to bring customers in to your business. Get yourself set up or schedule an appointment to get some help.
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Marketing to Millennials

Let’s just get this out in the open, even though I don’t identify as one, I’m technically a millennial. That means I know a bit about how my generation thinks. Let’s talk about how you can better connect with your most “connected” group of potential customers ever.

Think FAST

Even though millennials are well-known for wanting to take
life at their own pace (aka the “Peter Pan” generation putting off adult decisions as long as possible), that doesn’t mean they move like a 3-toed sloth.
Millennials, in a very general way of speaking, want things fast. Like, lightning fast. They grew up in a world of credit cards, drive-thru windows, pop-tarts, and instant gratification. They HATE waiting with a fiery passion. They have the shortest attention spans of any generation (thank you twinkies), and “know everything” – or, at least, they know someone who does (Google). They’re all “busy”, whether with jobs, friends, or keeping up on “OITNB.”
If you’re going to land one of these customers, and it’s worthwhile to do so (I’ll explain later), you’re going to have to be ready to respond at their pace. That means:
  • A quick, mobile-responsive website
  • Text messaging (for those that don’t like actually *talking* on their phones)
  • Prompt e-mail responses
  • Being at the TOP of the list on Google searches so they don’t have to look very far

Leverage Connectivity

Millennials and their devices are virtually inseparable. 94% of college students in 2007 (I know, 10 years ago) owned a personal computer and 94% of them owned a mobile phone. They’re so well-connected, it’s ridiculous. But all that connectivity means good things for your business – if you play your cards right.
With the overwhelming presence of opinions online, it’s important for you to leverage the opinions that paint you in a good light. With social media giving everyone a voice, A shockingly high percentage of them have a Facebook account and at least one Google account (I actually have FOUR).
Here’s what you should do with your millennial customers to make sure you get more than just your money’s worth:
  • REVIEWS, REVIEWS, REVIEWS – If you satisfy your customer, you won’t get a review without solicitation. Blow them away, and you might get one. Let them down, and you will certainly get one.
  • Connect with them to find more like them. “Lookalike” audiences are a new trend allowing platforms like Facebook to find more potential customers for you based on the characteristics they know about your current customers.
  • Give them a coupon code to TEXT to their friends. Reward their referrals.

Make Them Feel Special

They’ll never admit it, but millennials are narcissists. They’re very egocentric, which means everything comes down to how it affects them. Even when it comes to their “causes”, they care about those things because it makes them look or feel better.
Take a little extra effort to pander their ego and make them feel special. They’re accustomed to it – they’ve been told they’re special since kindergarten. While you can market en masse, find ways to make your marketing personalized – as if you took the time to reach out only to them and their needs.
  • Custom e-mail/mailing campaigns that dynamically inject their name.
  • Throw in a “bonus” just for them on that job. Even if it’s just standard procedure.
  • Get a text-enabled tracking number and hand it out as a personal contact number you only give to “your favorite customers”.

Big Takeaway:

Millennials aren’t as complicated as they sound. Frustrating? Sure. Quirky? Absolutely. But they’re going to be your best customers if you treat them right. Remember these things:
  1. They move quickly. You’ll have to keep up.
  2. They’re well connected. Use their connections to grow your business.
  3. Make them feel special because, in their minds, they’re the only customers that matter to you.
Take the steps that will grow your business online. I can also help you with any of these things.
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Advertising on Google for Free

Yes, you read that correctly – FREE. Doesn’t cost you a dime. And it’s easy. We’re not talking about the complexity of AdWords. This is something you could do from your phone. All you need is a few minutes.

Google “Posts”

Google My Business has recently released a new feature called
“Posts” that allow you to highlight specials, services, and other media directly below your Google listing in search results.
See the example that I’ve shared below where TNT Chem-Dry in Nashville has leveraged the space below their Google listing to feature a special for carpet cleaning, tile cleaning, and highlighting their reviews. This costs NOTHING! Let’s show you how to do it.
TNTCD Google Posts

Creating “Posts”

Start by signing into your Google My Business account. When you get to your home screen, you’ll see a menu like this over to your left.

You’ll not only have access to your reviews and other information here, but you’ll notice the “New” feature pointing to “Posts”. Click there.

 

 

On the next screen, you’ll see something that looks like this. If you click anywhere in the white box, you’ll be given a screen like the one you see below.

Now you get to create your post.

I’d recommend doing something with a picture that you either downloaded from the Gateway or a high-resolution photo you took yourself. Maybe a before/after shot.

You can also make it an “event” adding dates for the promotion and create a button to drive action like “reserve” or “get offer” which take them to a page on your website.

The Finished Product

By the time you’re done, you should have something resembling what you see to the right.

I’ve highlighted the allergen study results, added a time frame, and made a compelling offer for people to call.

It took me about 5 minutes to put this together. See how easy it is?

Big Takeaway:

It’s not very often that Google gives you the chance to advertise for FREE. Take advantage of every opportunity they give you. This will be especially relevant if you’re working on building up your online reviews, too!
  1. Update your Google My Business listing.
  2. Pick 2-3 pictures that you can create a “post” with.
  3. Make some alluring posts that can drive customers to call your business!
This is a HUGE opportunity that can really benefit your business. Don’t miss out on it! If you’d like some help, click here to schedule an appointment with me.