In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Aaron Weiche. Aaron is the CEO and Co-founder of Leadferno, a business and text messaging platform to close more leads faster. Aaron is a digital marketing veteran of over 20 years founding and growing both digital marketing agencies and marketing software products.
Good business depends on great conversations, but email and other forms of business communication are slow, disjointed, and not the only way that consumers want to interact.
In this episode, I talk with CEO and Co-Founder of Leadferno, Aaron Weiche, about how Leadferno is powering businesses to create better conversations and close more leads faster with Omni-channel messaging – combining SMS and messaging tools from some of the internet’s biggest platforms.
Questions I ask Aaron Weiche:
- [2:00] How do you advise business owners who may quite frankly be fatigued from all of the available customer communication channels to manage all of them today?
- [3:35] Do you feel like we’re to the point where we must have some sort of immediate response for almost any business?
- [4:51] How are you trying with lead for an ode to differentiate what you’re offering from chatbots?
- [6:06] How do we balance the fact the having a chat or something similar could create a worse experience if you don’t have someone explicitly managing instantaneous responses?
- [7:24] Can you explain what your technology experience looks like?
- [8:48] Google My Business has integrated texting – are you able to or is it at least a roadmap plan to integrate into all of those services that are starting to offer this feature?
- [9:31] So many people are talking about SMS and how the open rates are higher, but many people don’t want their messaging app to turn into what email has become for a lot of people – how do you not fall into this?
- [13:07] Can you talk about some of the classic use cases for different industries where you’ve seen things like SMS reminders work effectively?
- [15:58] Could I create a number that people can text for the business without having to get another phone line/mobile device?
- [17:58] How does somebody get started in a way that isn’t disruptive necessarily to their current communication channels?
- [20:59] Where can people find out more about you and Leadferno?
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John Jantsch (00:00): Hey, duct tape marketing listener? We know you're always on the lookout for ways to more efficiently scale your business. That's why I'm so excited to chat about. I digress another show on the HubSpot podcast network. Troy Sandra is the host of, I digress, talks all about how you can eliminate complexity, complications and confusion from your business equation and create clarity to streamline strategy solutions that achieve scalable and sustainable success. Check out episode 24, start there 14 minutes or so strategy is power. You know, I love that idea. So listen, learn and grow with I digress on the HubSpot podcast network at hubspot.com/podcast network. Hello, and welcome to another episode of the duct tape marketing podcast. This is John Jansen. My guest today is Aaron Weiche is the CEO and co-founder of lead Ferno, a business and text messaging platform to close more deals faster. He's a digital marketing, or really been a veteran of digital marketing for over 20 years, founding and growing both digital marketing agencies and marketing software products. So Aaron, welcome to the show. Thanks
Aaron Weiche (01:24): For having me, John.
John Jantsch (01:25): So I think when I started my business, there were probably two ways that people could talk to a prospect or a customer. They could call them up on the phone or they could go to their place of business. But now it seems like we have about 45 different way, ways that we as businesses have to not only recognize that people want to use some of those, we have to now employ a lot of the technology that allows them. And we have to check all these channels that allow them to communicate. How do you, obviously your latest company lead for an AU is taking advantage of that fact, you know, the squad exists, but how do you advise business owners that, that are feeling a little fatigue really from the fact that, oh, great. Another place I have to go check and see if a customer wants something mean, how do we, how are we supposed to manage all of this today? You think?
Aaron Weiche (02:14): Yeah, I, I think it's just like anything with the internet where you have so many choices, you have to set your priorities and a checklist and say, how do I prioritize against this? It's not much different than the question of what social media channels should I put out there, but you really need to look at where do your customers want to communicate? Where are they interacting and what are choices that they're looking for, or are becoming ingrained in their behavior. And you don't have to do all 15 or 20 or 30, but you should definitely make a list of the top three or five and make sure you're well represented there. So you're easy to work with.
John Jantsch (02:52): So one of the things that I think is interesting about technology is I think there are a lot of cases where it is used to create a better experience. We're able to communicate faster. We are able to communicate on our own time when we want to, but there's also uses of technology to that. I think people are using almost as a shield as, Hey, I never have to talk to anybody anymore. I can use these bots. I know when I just want to find an answer to something. I'm not sure I want to go through the 47 telephone prompts or bot replies. So now we are obviously putting things like SMS or web to SMS or chat bots on websites so that people can get responses immediately. So is that, do you feel like that's where, to the point where that's just a must have some sort of immediate response for almost any business
Aaron Weiche (03:43): And immediate response? I think yes, a fully automated one. I'm still in the area of no I've yet personally to have a chat bot or an AI experience where I was like, that was awesome. That was the outcome I've wanted. I tend to have them on the other side of that. I look at, for the strictly through the eyes of the consumer, anytime you can set clear expectations, so you can get a quick reply that what you've sent over the wall has been received. Here's your expectation on when or how we're going to respond to you? Like those are great pluses. And if you can use technology to do that, you're just starting off the customer experience on the right foot.
John Jantsch (04:22): Yeah. I know for my case, if I want to make an eye exam at my eye doctor, I love it when I can just go on and pick a time and in the middle of the night or whatever I'm checking and done, done and done, but just as you described, hate it, when you basically have to trick the bot into giving you a real person, I want to exhaust all of your automated responses so I can talk to a real person. Um, tell me where you're trying to differentiate, because I know, I think there is a key distinction. I think everybody's Facebook has a chat bot. Most websites are a lot of websites anyway. Today have ch chat-bots. How are you trying with lead for an O to differentiate you what you're offering from chatbots? Because I think on the surface, that kind of looks look similar.
Aaron Weiche (05:00): Yeah. The really biggest reason or our biggest, why is conversion? How do we take people that end up on your website and start them into a conversation more, more than anything else that's out there. And in analyzing and looking at things, we really found that it was a combination of two things. One putting a clear call to action front and center for the user at all times. So we placed these floating buttons that are like, Hey, ask us a question over text. It's really easy. And then to using text as that communication channel, just because of where we've all evolved, that text is the way we communicate with our friends, our family, our coworkers, or our interests. So now you're combining something that's one tap away. And then you're also saying, do it over this channel that you're not going through a call tree. If you call in press this, then press this, leave a voicemail, don't hear back. You're not sending an email form into oblivion who gets it, will they ever get back to me? What does that look like? So that's what we're really going to is how do we start more convert conversations between the prospect and the business?
John Jantsch (06:07): Because the expectation become though, because this is, I have a lot of small businesses that we work with. They're like, yeah, we want to put this chat or some way for people at Texas, but we don't really want to have anybody actually responsible for it. Obviously I am guessing that the expectation for most people is, oh, if you've got a chat or you've got a way for me to text you, then I'm going to get a response pretty quickly. How do we balance the fact that it could actually create a worst experience? If the expectation is I'm going to get a great response.
Aaron Weiche (06:37): Yeah. And that's one of the things that a business really needs to think about and dig into with live chat products, especially because it is, and we've even seen, we've conducted our own research. Like the overwhelming expectation. When you click a live chat button is you're going to get help in seconds. And when that's not fulfilled, you're already starting off with a bad customer experience and that element being there. So you really need to think of, can we staff this? Can we make these things happen? What, what happens if you plug something in and it's fully automated and you take that experience, is it a pleasurable experience? Are you just putting it out there? And you're like, oh great. This will hopefully nurture my lead and get a few answers before we pick it up as a human. But what does that look like for the consumer?
John Jantsch (07:23): So maybe let's, let's explain just explicitly, how does your, or what are your, what is your technology experience look like? If somebody goes, there probably looks a little bit like, uh, a chat bubble, they start a conversation, but now that's going to somebody's phone and there, and then the reply is going to go back to the, the person's phone. Is that accurate? Yes.
Aaron Weiche (07:43): Yes. So for the consumer, what it looks like is they're on the website and they see this prompt to ask a question, they drop in their phone number and their name and what their question or comment is. And then the system automatically fires back a reply that says, great, thanks for reaching out. We're going to get back to you in this timeframe. If it's after business hours, it gives an after hours reply. So they know it won't be until the next morning, but then the communication is moved all into their messaging app on their phone. So everything from there taking place for the consumers, all inside that messaging app on our side, yes, they're inside of our app, which is also integrated with Facebook messenger. So no matter if it's a Facebook conversation, it's a text conversation that started on the website, or even a direct text message conversation directly to that number. The business's just using one interface and one system to be able to receive.
John Jantsch (08:38): So some other tools like Google, my business, for example, has integrated texting the business has sexually allow it. And then they have to put in what's the number it's going to go to. And all those kinds of things. Are you able to, or is at least a roadmap plan to integrate into all of those services now that are starting to offer this feature?
Aaron Weiche (08:56): Yes. Great question. A Google. My business messaging is on our short term roadmap. We look to have that in play. By the end of the year, we held back on that one. Facebook messaging is definitely rooted in definitely a unknown for most small businesses. Many are still discovering the messaging feature from GMB. And for those of you who follow along a little bit, Google is a started many different messaging platforms and tools only to be killed off, removed, pulled back out. So we also wanted to see, will this take hold before we, we sinked into connecting?
John Jantsch (09:28): Yeah. So it's very common when people are talking about SMS, the open rates compared to say email and the response rates, which obviously you get that it's there, we're responding, but I think it's also opened up a little bit of we're so used to getting email that maybe we get perturbed and we mark stuff as spam, or it goes to our trash folder, but there's certainly an opinion that people don't want that they don't want that their messaging app to turn into email. So obviously what you're talking about is somebody who's really, it's almost like a phone call. They've started the conversation. How do you not fall into that? Especially with some of the automation that can occur after that starts?
Aaron Weiche (10:12): Yeah, absolutely. For us as a platform, we have definitely taken the route of what we want to provide is help to text with the customer. Not at a customer. There are some things you might want to send appointment reminders, helpful items like that, but really at the end of the day, it's not about sending, Hey, here's our deal of the day. Here's our deal of the week deal of the month and trying to get in front of them in being involved with digital marketing for so long, it's easy to see once this becomes easy. Now let's turn this into a batch thing where we do a mass send and then people end up like, oh no. And that's even the interesting thing when you're trying to identify what works best to help your customers faster, live chat, often regresses to email when it's not available.
Aaron Weiche (10:52): And the whole reason a customer is likely selecting something like live chat or texting with that business is they're like, here's the channel. I'd rather communicate in that I can be more attentive. The communication cycle is a faster speed than digging through my email inbox, which if you've had the same email for 10, 20 years is very packed and it's hard to route that message out of there. So yeah, you really want to be conscious of the, the customer has signaled this expectation in a communication cycle. How can we fulfill that and make it happen? And then how can we be respectful moving forward that we use this to make your experience better, not for us to butt into your life and try to scream for it.
John Jantsch (11:33): Yeah. Because as you alluded to the temptation, is there once you capture that phone number, but I think just like all marketing channels and you run the risk of really ruining your ability to use it as an effective channel if you abused.
Aaron Weiche (11:46): Yep. Oh, the, the simple question and then is this truly valuable? My customer, right? Not just valuable to me because I want and leads and people that come back in, but am I actually helping them with this commission?
John Jantsch (11:58): And now let's hear a word from our sponsor. HubSpot CRM platform is easy to adopt and there are really two reasons. Two features that make this possible, that contact timeline and the mobile app and mobile keyboard HubSpot's contact timeline gives you the historical context. You need to get the work done and connect with customers because all of your customer data is in one place. It can serve as a single source of truth. In HubSpot, you can take an action, right from the contact timeline, make a call and roll a contact in the sequence, schedule a meeting, you've got it. And if you're on the go, you just use the mobile app to make it all happen and keep everything up to date. You don't even have to spend a lot of time training your team. You could be sure that all the contact information is going into one system, making your team more efficient, look better adoption with a CRM leads to better data, richer insights, and a bigger impact on your customer experience. Learn more about how you can scale your company without scaling [email protected] So can you, I know on your, I think at least on your website, you have some examples, but can you talk about some, what you think are classic use cases of this for maybe some different industries that you've seen effectively, maybe in some cases, like you said, the reminders and things, those are become pretty standard fare, but have you seen some kind of creative uses that, that are, that do qualify as that a truly useful to the customer?
Aaron Weiche (13:28): Yeah. One, the highest top of funnel questions is really where this is just of such use to people, the things where the consumer might have that feeling of, is this a dumb question? Should I even be asking this as we know in so many other ways of life, like hiding behind the keyboard is a really easy thing. Just starting a text conversation to ask that question and find out and feel like it's really non pressured, right? You're going to get the reply on your own timing. You can respond again on your own timing. The async synchronous nature of text conversation makes that easier. So that's one thing that we've really have seen explode for people that are using our system is we're just having more conversations with, with people that are earlier in the buying process. And if you're comfortable with that and you're comfortable with your sales process and nurturing them, you're going to invite that all day long.
Aaron Weiche (14:14): Yes. Let's have more of those conversations. I just don't want bottom of the funnel where they're super interested. Things like home services. We see it really helpful to, and like scheduling, right. Just easy to fire off. Hey, I have this issue. Here's what's wrong. When do you guys think you can make it out and easy to go back and forth to get an appliance, fixed a roof, looked at window appointment, whatever that might look like. So those are probably two of the biggest ones of answering questions and getting something scheduled that we just see happening over and over.
John Jantsch (14:45): Yeah. I can see some great emergency uses to locksmiths, things like that, where it's like, Hey, I got to get somebody now. And that person might be at home or in bed to get up. Yeah. All right. So this is good. Good. Go ahead. Go ahead. Here.
Aaron Weiche (14:58): I was just saying the thing that you reminded me of with that is with your phone, it makes it really easy to just to snap photos of what that problem or what that issue might be. So if there's a visual nature to it, it's really easy. I'm already used to texting photos, uh, all the time. So again, a very repeatable, comfortable process. So now I can send you photos of here's the leak, here's the crack in this. Here's how this is busted. Here's what I'm looking at. What does this error message mean on my, my oven or refrigerator? So it makes those things a lot easier and communication.
John Jantsch (15:28): Yeah. And just keeping the communication in one device, the mobile device, I think absolutely facilitates it. This is going to be a, like a really in the weeds question, but I'm just, I'm thinking of myself of a couple of clients I have, uh, that could say, yeah, we want to do this. Okay. I want to put this on my website and I want to have, I've got three technicians. I'll rotate them all through. So somebody is not always on call, but I'll have somebody Manning it. They hours. We want a minute. I don't want, they don't want to necessarily have their mobile devices that are part of the system. Could I, could I create a number that people are texting to? That is a, without me getting another phone line or another phone number or a another mobile device, is there a way to just connect it to the business and then rotate out to people's devices that are going to be doing the communicating?
Aaron Weiche (16:16): Yeah. W one is far as the numbers or the inbound communication goes when you create an account with us, we spin up a toll free number that you can start receiving texts and texting from. Then you also have the option to port. So if you have an existing landline that you've had for 10, 15 years, now, you can say, all right, our voice calls still go to the same place. But if it's data like SMS, then send it in into this tool. So great marketing experience here, because it allows you to say, Hey, text or call us at this same number that we've had for 10, 15 years. That's on our billboard, on our trucks, all those kinds of things. As a side note, I think, I don't know what the window looks like five years from now. I think if we see a number, I think the expectation will be, yeah, I can call or text that number.
Aaron Weiche (17:00): I think that's where we're headed with this, where it's of course, that you can do voice or text to the number that's advertised, but then how our system works is it's a shared inbox. So when messages come in, they just sit in an unassigned folder and then the user's able to grab them and say, I'm the one who is going to handle this. They can talk to the customer if they need to transfer it to another user on the system, they're able to do that. So if they're like, oh, Sarah is better equipped to help you based on your question or the expertise needed, or this is a service thing. And she's in charge of that. Now I can transfer that conversation to her and she can take it over to help the customer.
John Jantsch (17:35): Yeah. We've actually seen over the last five, 10 years, at least the phone number, having a great phone number is really that you've had for 20 years is almost doesn't matter anymore because everybody, just, everybody just Googles the number of whatever they see on the website. That's what calling or so it, everybody knows they can find phone numbers that way. So nobody keeps phone numbers like they used to what was going to ask you? I think I asked this already about some, some best practices, but how does, how does somebody get started in a way that isn't disruptive necessarily to their current communication channels? But again, I think one of the challenges I could see with some small businesses in particular is they go ahead and they set this up and they get one a day. And now it's actually more of a hassle to, to monitor or even pay attention to one a day. So is typically is a good practice to try to port as many people over to, Hey, we've got this new almost promoted. We have this new channel or a new way that you can communicate if that's the way you like to communicate and we really invite you to do it. Okay.
Aaron Weiche (18:38): Yeah. Um, to me that really points out marketing that you're offering this ease of communication is a big differentiator. And that's what we've seen with some of our successful customers where they not only are putting this widget on the website that starts text conversations, but their social media posts are saying, Hey, we're evolving. It's now you can set an appointment, request this, find out about that all by texting us, definitely easy and very simple to do that. I would say the biggest thing coming in is just really mindset for people. Technology always has all these options and different things you can do with it. And I don't say this in like a degrading way, but I've pointed it out over my years in technology who I don't know who coined this, but like a fool with a tool is still a fool. And so if you're not going into this with, I do want to talk to more customers, I do want to be a resource. I do want to answer things, or I want people on my team, even if there's two of us or 20 of us to be able to do that, then they're really, then again, you're looking for something fully automated where, oh, I can't bother with that. That's not important to me. So I really think that mindset of, I want the chance to connect with customers. Even if there's a sliver of hope, then it's on me to prove my value or to show them I'm the resources.
John Jantsch (19:53): Yeah. And I guess it's like when we first started going into social channels, it was like, put your Facebook page on your profile. You know what I mean? Just put your Facebook page on your website. So now it's just add another thing when it's Texas, um, at this number. Yeah.
Aaron Weiche (20:07): Yeah. And really by being to me an early adopter into it, like that's where you create the differentiation. That's going to be the biggest benefit to you, right? When you're the first one in your market, that's offering this, it just puts you leaps and bounds because you're expanding what the customer experience looks like as opposed to you hit later. So my, my last venture was in the world of online reviews. And in 2014 you were selling people that reviews mattered. And then in 2019, people are like reviews matter so much. I need to do something with it. And it's my gut feeling that we're headed that same way with text communication for businesses, that it won't be a differentiator in five. It's going to be a must have. But those that capitalize early will have used it to build a moat and build a reputation around, easy to work with super responsive.
Aaron Weiche (20:56): And that's who I'm going to keep my business with. Yeah. So her tell people where they can find out more about your work in and lead Ferno and invite them, check it out. Yeah, absolutely. Thanks lead for no.com. And you can see more about the product. You can book a demo, you can text with us, whatever you'd like to there at lead to Ferno on Twitter. And my personal is at Erin Waikiki, w E I C H E on Twitter. And I'm constantly, uh, tweeting about what we're up to with the product as well. Thanks for some by the duct tape marketing podcast, Aaron and congrats on the new venture. And hopefully we'll run into you one of these days when we all get back out there on the road. Again, that would be awesome. Thanks, John. All right. So that wraps up another episode. I want to thank you so much for tuning in and you know, we love those reviews and comments. And just generally tell me what you think also did you know that you could offer the duct tape marketing system, our system to your clients and build a complete marketing consulting coaching business, or maybe level up an agency with some additional services. That's right. Check out the duct tape marketing consultant network. You can find it at duct tape, marketing.com and just scroll down a little and find that offer our system to your clients tab.
Speaker 3 (22:16): [inaudible].
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