Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Automated Marketing Services You Can Offer


Interested in growing and scaling your business? Are you tired of having to cobble together a bunch of different tools and manual processes just to serve your clients, putting obstacles in your way to adding new revenue streams?

Imagine if you could utilize a single platform for much of your client’s sales, and marketing is even automated a lot of that. Would that help you streamline your agency and grow your bottom line?

That’s what the fourth episode of The MarTech Show recently covered. You can listen to the whole show here:

Here’s an overview of that conversation.


A Conversation with High Level’s Chase Buckner

Mike Allton: Now agency owners know just how much of a challenge it is to onboard new account reps for your business. You need to introduce them to your agency’s internal practices and culture, and get them up to speed on the client accounts. You want them to train them on a bajillion different tools.

For that reason alone, platforms that offer agencies a variety of features and functions all within a single dashboard are a lifesaver, but it’s more than that. Account reps who are saving time by automating and streamlining tasks are able to devote more time to the task that clients really need and value.

What kinds of features and functions are we really talking about here?

That’s exactly what Chase Buckner of High Level is going to talk about. After Chase built a full service agency from scratch that grew to over seven figures in ARR, he decided to work with and help more marketing agencies, and is doing that now with the team where he’s the director of product marketing for over four years. He has helped educate agencies and everything that high level can do for them to help them grow and scale their business.

First, we want to make sure that everybody understands who you are and what you do. Tell us about your role at High Level and what High Level does for marketing agencies and clients.

Chase: We’ve grown pretty quickly over the past five years, and so I’ve worn several hats and had many different titles, but my latest one is Director of Product Marketing. My team’s job is to basically take what our product teams create and roll out new features pretty quickly. So, every week, there’s at least a dozen new features or upgrades that roll out, and it’s our job to make sure that our customers are aware of what’s new, what they can do, and what changed. That’s where we spend our time in the world of product marketing, but I also get to do fun things like this and just talk about the product.

Again, I am a former actually failed agency owner but successful agency COO.

And so I’ve been on the other side of the fence. I’ve sat right where our customers sit. And so I get to be the voice of the customer in a lot of the internal meetings and then come talk to agencies on shows like this. It’s been a wild ride so far.

Mike: We know that you have five services at High Level that empower agencies like myself. I love that backstory, but before we get in, can we talk about some of the automations for a moment. What are the general benefits for any agency like mine? And how can they implement these?

Chase: High Level is like a marketer’s toolkit. We try to build all the features that you would need to do full stack marketing. So build forms that go into landing pages, CRM, custom fields, all that kind of stuff.

One of the most powerful things that you can do with High Level is to use automation for new leads. So if you’re running Facebook ads like most agencies do, probably lead ads, you can basically integrate your lead ad form directly with High Level. Anybody who fills out a lead ad immediately becomes a contact in the system, and then we can automate things like emails and text messages. We can even do a couple of cool things that I’ll say in a second. But what’s most important is to understand the time frame.

There was a big study by a guy who was a professor at MIT, who—long story short—proved that the most important thing when it comes to converting leads is time. There’s basically a five minute window where if you can engage the lead within five minutes, your odds of closing the lead jump up drastically. And if you miss the five minute window, the odds of closing that lead fall off a cliff.

When we look at what happens in our client’s businesses every day, the odds of them engaging every lead within five minutes of it being created is basically zero. That creates this classic moment of hopping on that first call with a client at the end of month one. You’ve generated a ton of leads on Facebook at a good cost. And the client says, “What are you talking about? These leads stink. Nobody has shown up. Nobody has bought anything.” And that’s because clients are used to referrals, not leads off the internet where we have a five minute window to engage them. How do we fix this? We leverage automation.

A new lead comes in. Of course, we’re going to send an email. We all do that. But we can also send text messages, which have much higher open rates and reply rates. And then we have this automation called the Fast Five where if the lead doesn’t reply within two minutes to that text message, we actually call the client. And when they answer, it’ll play a whisper message that you can control, and it’ll basically say, “You have a new lead. The lead’s name is Bob Smith. Press a key to connect Bob.” And if they do that, the system calls the lead, and if the lead answers, we bridge the call.

We’re trying to put clients on the phone with their leads two minutes after the lead was created—if the lead hasn’t already replied to the text message. And if that doesn’t work, we can do things like ringless voicemail. As soon as you do that, you see your lead to booking and your conversion rates skyrocket, because again it’s just math. You’ve got to engage them within the first five minutes, and that’s just a real challenge for humans. But for robots, it’s pretty easy.

Mike: As an agency perspective, that sounds amazing. As the leads per perspective, I’m thinking, “Wait a minute. I’m gonna email, SMS message, and a phone call, all within five minutes. That sounds risky to me.” Is it possible to have too much automation or to automate the wrong things? 

Chase: It’s all fully customizable. Right? But in our experience, definitely not. If you’re claiming all of that five minutes is where you’re in the mind state of that, we can all relate to it: If you engage a lead, you reach out maybe a day or two later because you just couldn’t get to it. They can’t even remember what the heck the thing was that they claimed. And that’s because too much time has gone by. And so again, this MIT professor proved that the magic happens within those first five minutes. So you’ve got to do everything that you can.

And also I would remember that the automation shuts itself down. So if you reply, you’re not going to get the rest of it. If you take the next step and book or whatever it may be in the flow, you’re not going to get the rest of the automations. You want to be cognizant of that, but I would say no. You need to leverage it and take every shot you can to get that lead to engage. And that doesn’t mean spamming. I like to teach people that your first text message should be something lighthearted and easy to answer.

If I’m working with a dentist and they’re running a free teeth whitening campaign, my first text is gonna be, “Hey, Chase. Thanks for claiming our free teeth whitening voucher. Have you ever had your teeth whitened before?” Something that sparks a conversation. As soon as you get the conversation in motion, then the math is on your side. You’re going to have a better chance of getting that lead actually paying for a cleaning or whatever it is that they need to do in order to redeem the promotion.

Robin: Chase, I love the fact that you said time kills all deals or it can actually kill a deal if you wait too long. I think that’s so powerful. Can you tell us what the first automation is in this marketing service?

Chase: Lots of folks come in because they heard they can get all their tools in one place. But then people discover you can white label High Level, which means I can resell it as my own software under my own agency’s brand. That has really fueled a lot of our growth because it enables an agency to open up a software as a service arm to the business.

CallRail put out a report last year that basically said the churn rate of typical agency services includes traditional services like SEO, PPC, and reputation management. These types of things have high churn rates, whereas software is really low. We have this suite within the suite of five tools that we recommend every agency install for their clients and sell as their own software because they’re automated but so powerful. So it creates a SaaS utility bill for an agency.

What we often see is this stabilizes your agency because your SEO is like this every month. Sometimes we get a bunch of clients, and then we lose a bunch, and it’s really hard to forecast whereas when you start selling SAS, it starts growing really steadily. And so the first one is just the SMS chat widget.

This is just enabling a business to communicate via text messaging.

If you’re like me, your blood pressure actually jumps up when you see somebody’s calling you. We don’t want to talk on the phone anymore. Most businesses have not enabled themselves to communicate with their prospects and customers via text message yet.

The quickest way to do that is giving you a chat widget. You put it on your site. It pops up the little widget. That message is the gateway that comes into the system as a text message. When you reply inside of High Level, it goes back to their phone as a text message. The user doesn’t have to sit on the website anymore with live chat waiting for somebody to reply.

They can go do whatever they’re going to do because the message is gonna come back via SMS. Doing that is the number one easiest way to automate and create an automated service for your agency that your clients will pay for. All of a sudden, we’re getting all these chats coming in off our site. These leads were ignoring you before because they didn’t want to have to call you. Now that they can chat with you, it’s a different story.

2. Missed Call Text Back

Chase: So we get text messages coming in. We’re building our database of contacts with phone numbers that we can communicate via SMS. When you have SMS capability, you can do all sorts of amazing things like the next one, which we call the Missed Call text back.

Statistically, small businesses miss more than half of their inbound phone calls every day, which sounds crazy, but when you actually look into what’s happening at business, it makes all the sense in the world. The front desk person is busy checking people in. They’ve got to pick up breakfast or lunch. They’re taking out the trash. They’re escorting people or wherever they need to go. So it all adds up to missed calls.

What we can do when we’re SMS-enabled is just to say anybody who calls in and doesn’t get an answer immediately sends them a text message back that says, “Sorry we missed your call. How can we help?” Think about the amount of business that saves from that lead or prospect going and calling the next competitor.

Again, the simple automated feature just creates so much value, because you’re recuperating sales that were going to competitors automated.

What’s interesting is seeing businesses realize if you can do that, you can just send all of our phone calls into voicemail and then text them back. 

Why would we want to do that? Well, because it’s so much easier. Text messaging is asynchronous. Somebody can manage ten to twenty text message conversations at the same time, but they can only do one phone call at a time. Once they start sending these Missed Call texts, they see their staff realize text message marketing is amazing. They can do so much more so much more quickly, because it’s all here in text format.

3. Google Business Chat

Chase: Most business owners don’t even know this exists.

So in your Google Business profile, you can activate what’s called Google Chat. When you do that, in your Google Business profile listing, Google Maps, or in Google, it pops up your listing, and there’s a new button that says chat so they can chat with a business without actually leaving Google. Hate to break it to everyone, but Google doesn’t actually want you leaving the search result. They want to get you everything that you need without you having to actually jump over to anybody’s website. When you activate the other statistic I like to reference is the average business gets over a thousand visits to the Google Business profile every month.

People hate to call. What do you think is going to happen if all of a sudden they can start chatting with you right from your listing? When you connect your Google Business profile to High Level, we automatically turn it on for you, and we pull those conversations right into the same stream with all the text messages. Your clients can now answer SMS, and they can also chat with people on Google that don’t even leave Google to have conversations with your business.

The first time I ever set this up for somebody was for a friend of mine who has a restaurant. They didn’t want another thing to manage and thought this sounded confusing, but I insisted it all goes in the same place. We turned it on, and within the first hour, the first Google chat came in, asking how to buy a gift certificate. My friend just laughed. The first inquiry that came through was somebody asking how to spend money. And so that’s exactly what happens when we activate Google Business Chat.

4. Fast Five Automation

Mike: That resonates with us at Agorapulse, because that’s exactly how we approach social media. We’ve got an inbox, all the different messages that are coming in from all the different social panels. Social profiles all go into that one place. It just makes it so much easier. So I totally get that. 

Chase: So that’s the fourth one, which is fast five automation, which basically fires every time a new lead comes in.

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5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Chase: The fifth one is the elephant in the room, which is AI. 

We’ve been busy integrating AI across the platform. Based anywhere you can write anything, you can use AI to assist you anywhere. You can create an image. If you’re building an email, you can use AI to generate the image, but we also have full blown conversation AI.

This means that you can go in there (or have your client go in), and you can literally just feed the AI your client’s website and it’ll learn everything that is on the site. You can feed it Google Docs. You can manually create FAQs. The bot learns everything about your client’s business, and then you can turn it on across any of the channels you want.

You can turn it on the SMS channel, the Google Business Chat channel, or Facebook messaging, if you want. You can now use WhatsApp in High Level. The conversational AI waits to converse with people who chat in, and it knows everything.

Going back to that five minute window of opportunity, you could switch to live chat mode, put it on your website, and then have the AI converse with people. When you think about how many times a day a business answers the same questions over and over, right? For example, a restaurant is asked how many times a day they get if they have gluten free or vegetarian options. Chatbots can handle all of these constantly asked questions, and they never sleep, they never get sick. They never take vacation. The AI becomes the employee that every business dreams of having, and now we can spin them up in a couple of minutes and prepare them to have conversations.

I’m just blown away at how fast this has happened. I can’t foresee any business ever saying no, either. Why wouldn’t you want a fully trained employee that never gets sick, never takes vacations, and immediately answers anybody chatting on your website or off Google? We’re at the very beginning of this, but I think it’s gonna be massive.

If you haven’t started playing with Conversation AI, I would definitely check it out.

Mike: That is huge. I just want to make sure this is clear for our audience: When you’re training this AI, you’re training it specifically and exclusively on your own data and information. Is that right?

Chase: That’s right.

Mike: You’re only feeding it your own website or your own documents. You’re not pulling data from the rest of the web, which means I’m assuming there is no danger that this bot would hallucinate and make up responses that don’t exist based on your website’s information.

Chase: Right. Anybody using AI is in the very early stages of this. Sometimes the bots will spit out like a goofy reply, so I always recommend you have the bot introduce itself as a bot. But a lot of businesses want people to think it’s a real person because it’s that good. Until it says something goofy. And that’s why I like to let people know it’s a bot. In my experience, when it does that, it doesn’t say something that’s so far off base. Like, you almost still think it’s a human. 

So, again, this is where prompting and the way that you craft your FAQs can change conversations. We’re all going to have to get good at prompting, which is something you’ve never thought about even just six months ago, or a year ago, but this idea of telling AI to interact with every word you use is critical, as it completely changes the way that your AI learns and talks.

It’s a whole new world out there. We’re already seeing how much businesses love this thing because it immediately replies and 98% of the time, it does a really good job. We use AI for conversations, but we’re also using it for review replies or to get preference from Google. There’s all sorts of implications.

The conversation to me is the most powerful because the AI can be there all day and night, answering these questions that your staff wastes time answering over and over and saying the same things. 

The implications of artificial intelligence are just insane. And we’re just at the very, very beginning of it. So 2024 is going to be wild, not just for my company, but across the board.

You can find Chase Buckner on Twitter at @wcbuckner, on LinkedIn, or at chase@gohighlevel.com.

The MarTech show hosted by Robin Diamond and Mike Alton, powered by Agorapulse, the number-one rated social media management solution, which you can learn more about at agorapulse.com.

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