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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Automated responses-email? SMS? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
2286 Posts

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Since my magic business will be part-time only for some years to come, and does not allow me the luxury of doing magic business on the phone, I'm looking at ways to communicate with customers using email and SMS text. Besides the initial contact of "Who are you? and what can you do for me?" (and "Ho much do you cost?"), there are other issues of maintaining contact.

So I'm just trying to get an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of these two ways to automate responses to your customers, and how they can figure in to creating and siezing opportunities to give customers what they need and want.

Here's my thoughts:
-- A customer searches the web, finds me, and wants to know more. They fill out a contact form on my web site and get and automated response via email. The automated response might simply be "Thanks for thinking of me. I'll send a personal reply within one business day."
-- A parent who brought their child to a birthday party wants to contact me. Every child goes home with something with my contact info. That icludes web address, an automated reply email address, and maybe an automated reply SMS shortcode.
-- I'm looking at James Munson's "Hollywood Squares" for a closer for a larger family show. One of the benefits of this routine is that the card they take home has your contact info and instructions on how to do the trick. Maybe instead of printed instructions, a line saying "Would you like to perform this for your frineds and family? Text ~this~ to ~shortcode~". The idea is getting them while they're in the emotional surge of liking the trick. There would also be an auto-respond email they can use at home later if they prefer.
-- All my thank you notes and other customer contacts would have something like "Do you want to know when I have a special offer? Text ~this~ to ~shortcode~ to receive text notices. Email ~this~ to ~my email~ to receive email notices."

How does this sound? Am I on the right track? Am I abusing cusomers? Am I abusing these systems? Am I missing the fuller potentail of these contacts? In my situation, should I be doing something else entirely different?

Ed
Tim Zager
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Loyal user
Kansas City
222 Posts

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Ed,

I'm not entirely sure I follow what you're trying to do, but why would you want to automate so many things? Seems like the less personal your communication is, the harder it will be to get the gig. Again, maybe I'm not understanding your 'plan'.

I'm a firm believer in using your show as the primary means to market your services... which means a lot of personal interaction with your prospects.

Tim
.
Make sure your customers never lose your information,
with a Digital Business Card.
Donald Dunphy
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Victoria, BC, Canada
7374 Posts

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I'm no expert on booking by email, or sending texts. My strength is in a phone conversation.

However, my experience with birthday customers (one of the markets you seem interested in working) is that parents are often looking to get information quickly (and therefor, make a booking), and won't wait a day for further information. Unless they are looking specifically for you, they won't wait. They'll move on to try someone else on their list.

Often, if you wait too long to return a call or reply to an email, you've lost your window of opportunity.

This is why some performers use autoresponders & email series with show info, to reply quickly. They read the customers' email, choose the appropriate responder, and set it in motion, ASAP.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
MikeClay
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Atlanta GA
734 Posts

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I have gone as far as to have a assistant who gets paid for every gig she books..

the SMS stuff I use as client loyalty and lead generation and not as part of the booking
Ed_Millis
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Yuma, AZ
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Tim: My business will be very part-time, with my regular job and family taking up the bulk of my time for now. While I'm at a show, I can talk to people. But when I leave, I'm almost always immediately involved in something else.

Donald: That "won't wait a day for more info" gap is what I'm trying to fill. I may not have the time to talk them through any lengthy discussions for a day or two. If I can give them a way to get most of the information they want automatically, whether it's texting them a link they can explore on my web site, or just a short bit of info, I'm communicating at least that much. And if they ask for more, I can at least call and set an appointment to discuss things with them.

Most of the thoughts about the SMS autorespond are "capture the moment". If they see me and are interested at that moment, I'd like them to have a way to get my info right then. If it's a birthday party, it's probably small enough for them to come talk to me, and their child will take home something.

But if it's a larger event, they might not feel comfortable coming backstage, I might not be available for a few minutes, they can get distracted by friends, etc. I'm just thinking that maybe there's a way to capture their moment of interest and give them a method to get my info right then.

At the least, I've then captured the contact info of people who expressed some kind of interest in me. That warrents a "Thank You" response, and an offer to get something free or a discounted show or such. And maybe I can't capture them at that moment, but they might be open to receiving a notice of my next public show, a special offer of a contest or magic kit, a special promotion for a discounted show, etc.

Than again, maybe _I'm_ just captured by the possibilities of a new technology toy, and it really wouldn't be useful.

Ed
Scott Burton
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Birthday clients often want to speak in the evening when they are off work. When I was doing birthdays, I often had huge difficulty connecting with clients because I would be in my home office during the day but busy with family stuff in the evenings. May not be that big of an issue in your particular case.

Do you have a lunch break or coffee break at work where you could remotely check your email once or twice a day?

Don't get too ahead of yourself or over-complicate the situation (sorry for being a broken record). Keeping it simple is often the best strategy.
TheDean
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Reno, Nevada
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I think the simple idea is… since more n’ more people (Not All, Just More…) are going through the entire interview and buying process online a simple auto responder message IS a great idea to assure your new relationships that:

=a) You actually RECEIVED the eMail!
(That is NOT a sure thing is today’s world!)

=b) That you ARE a real person!
(Even thought it is a responder…)

=c) You DO care about them and their events and outcomes.
(YOU took the time to at-least set up a auto reply… just-like a voicemail for our phones!)

=d) GIVES them something POSITIVE (Moving Towards Marketing…) to DO while they are waiting for your LIVE Reply. (Send them to you web, a personal thank-you video, offer more info, add value, answer simple questions, give samples… etc)

…all this (and more) while they are ‘waiting’ for us to simply reply!

Think about this: (and I haven’t really thought about this either that much… me bad!)

“How would your prospective buying relationships feel/response (most likely) if, when they CALLED You, their was NO OUTGOING MESSAGE letting them know they’ve actually REACHED anyone successfully?” (as in reason “a” above.)

Well, as I think about it too… that is kinda’ like voicemail with no message…

I realize that it IS an ‘accepted’ convention of the internet to have to WAIT for a live reply in some fashion, but the current, relevant technology of today (and for some time now…) DOES allow for us to ‘auto-respond’, (Even IF it is the ‘out of office’ message most email systems have today!) so I’m thinking… why not?

I will be looking more closely at this as well… THANKS!

I realize it ain’t perfect… cuz “depending on HOW we set it all up”, everyone would get the auto-reply no matter how many times they email us! (Again, DEPENDING on how we set it all up!)

I also know that there are a plethora of systems and services that WILL set support and supply us with these systems so it DOES, in fact work more cohesively with our over-all relationship and booking process… David Farr’s ‘Amazing System’ comes to mind.

Thanks for reminding me and getting me to also think again about all this techno-stuff!

“Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire… so Book More Shows, Make More Money and Help More People! …‘not’ necessarily in that order!"

Find Your Passion… DO Your Purpose… Make It Profitable!

Live “L.O.V.E.” Everyday!
Life Of Vibrant Expression!

I am at your service and in HIS Service,
Deano (Helping You Succeed) in Reno
<><

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Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
Scott Burton
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If it's free with your phone or whatever, go for it. What I meant to say is that you don't have to rush into a contract with an autoresponder service until you're more established. No sense signing a $400 a year contract (as I was with 1shoppingcart) when you haven't sold any gigs yet. A person can spend a fortune on marketing if one is not careful and selective.

Keeping things simple and as cost effective as possible in the beginning helped me a ton when I quit my job and needed to support my family from day #1. It is a business, after all, and costs are important to control when business is being established. Really, the basics of marketing and relationship building doesn't have to cost much at all. A land-line phone and a pair of shoes - and you've got all you need to create a successful business. Later on, you can get more fancy.
TheDean
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Reno, Nevada
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Scott... I agree that no matter what we do, it should be relevant to our business model and desired direction, goals and outcomes.

I DO NOT have a "system" set up for myself per say either. I said that, even though I DO have a comprehensive responder set up. I just don’t use those things to the degree I cold, maybe should.

Honestly, I STILL do most all of my business offline using online to “support” that relationship model so I haven’t needed all the technology per say, BUT I can see how it would be helpful especially as we move along into the future.

Just sayin' “Why Not” if and when it a good match. (But that is true of ANY marketing or system we employ.)


“Success isn't a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire… so Book More Shows, Make More Money and Help More People! …‘not’ necessarily in that order!"

Find Your Passion… DO Your Purpose… Make It Profitable!

Live “L.O.V.E.” Everyday!
Life Of Vibrant Expression!

I am at your service and in HIS Service,
Deano (Helping You Succeed) in Reno
<><

PS – MORE KILLER FREE STUFF!
Grab Your 100% FREE, No Foolin’ Success Event Playback AND Downloadable GIFTS Now?
http://www.EntertainersSuperConference.com

JOIN ME for Free Business Tips and Success Shares... and FUN-Stuff, of course!
= http://www.FaceBook.com/TheDeanOfSuccess
= http://www.YouTube.com/TheDeanOfSuccess
= http://www.Twitter.com/DeanOfSuccess
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
Ed_Millis
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Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
2286 Posts

Profile of Ed_Millis
There are free web forms services that will allow you to generate automatic responses. Ditto for SMS shortcode. And all that expands even more if you can write a basic php or other script to parse keywords and send back a response based on what the customer sent in to you.

Ed
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