I’ve always been a firm believer that communication is the key to success in business. Connecting with customers and prospects using personalized and relevant information builds credibility, and over time, that credibility leads to brand loyalty. In fact, research shows 44% of people don’t hire service providers who are slow to follow up.
But I also remember those early years when I started my business and there never seemed to be enough hours in the day. I knew I needed to respond quickly to requests from customers and leads to secure the sale. All too often, however, I found it difficult to pull together the necessary information to follow up in a timely manner. To say it was exhausting is an understatement.
Perhaps this scenario is playing out in your own business today. Is it difficult to work on growing the business because you’re immersed in the day-to-day follow up required to move prospects and customers through the funnel? If so, automating your communications can help. Imagine sending a lead relevant information that moves them closer to a sale while you’re on vacation or notifying existing customers about new product offerings or a special offer while you’re balancing the books.
Automation can help you promptly send tailored communications to your customers based on their actions any time, anywhere. Let’s look at the best practices for effectively and efficiently engaging with prospects and customers.
Don’t keep prospects waiting. A potential customer is the most interested in hearing from your company when they sign up for your email list or complete a form on your website. Automatically sending a personalized welcome message allows you to engage new leads as soon as someone submits information or signs up for your newsletter. You can even include a link to book an appointment or to receive a discount on their first purchase. This simple, timely message can help move them further into the sales funnel.
Appointment or Event Reminders
Make sure your customers have all the information they need to attend your webinar, meeting, or event. Utilize automated text and email messages to efficiently manage your event registrations as well as attendee communication before, during and after an event. And you can help reduce appointment no-shows with automatic reminders sent via text and/or email. Be sure you include a means of contacting you in case they need to reschedule. You can even send broadcast text or email messages to notify your other customers of open appointment slots resulting from cancellations, which can lead to additional business.
Abandoned Cart Notifications
The convenience of online shopping is one of the reasons it continues to grow. But shopping anywhere, anytime also means customers can easily get distracted before they complete their purchase. Small business owners know every sale is important and that abandoned carts can have a significant impact on the bottom line over time. You can send reminder texts automatically asking customers to return to the site and complete the checkout process. This can help secure revenue that might have been lost otherwise.
Seasonal or limited time offers can attract new customers or reward existing ones already loyal to your business. Whether you want to communicate promotions to all your customers and prospects at once or select just a small segment based on pre-set criteria, you can leverage automation to simultaneously notify them. You can also send messages automatically regarding new services or products. This can entice customers you may not have heard from in a while to come back to your site to see your new offerings.
You may offer subscriptions for the services or products that customers purchase on a regular basis. These customers ensure your business has a steady stream of revenue, so you want to make it easy for them to remember to renew their subscriptions. You can help drive repeat business by sending email or text messages automatically on the anniversary of the customer’s purchase date, notifying them it’s time to renew. Be sure to include a link directing the customer back to the renewal form to make the purchase process easy.
Consistent and relevant communication can enhance the overall customer experience, but it can also seem like a full-time job in and of itself. Leveraging automation to send texts and emails enables you to keep prospects engaged, nurtured, and moving closer to a sale, freeing you to focus on other facets of your business. Just as important, you can leverage automated communications to stay top of mind with current customers to drive repeat sales, ensuring long-term, recurring revenue. Regardless of where your prospects and customers are in their journey, automatically tying your communications to the customer’s actions lets you get the right message, to the right clients, at the right time.
Clate Mask is the founder and CEO of Keap, a maker of sales and marketing automation software for small businesses. He also is co-author of “Conquer the Chaos: How to Grow a Successful Small Business Without Going Crazy.”
Welcome email stock photo by Catherine Douglas/Shutterstock