Unsure where to start?
Too many email marketing platforms to choose from?
Then this podcast is for you. This week I’m joined by Chris Davis who is the Educational Director of Content of Active Campaign. We’re going to take a deep dive into what active campaign is doing behind the scenes, how you can go about selecting an email service provider, and how to get started with email marketing and automation.
Where You Were and Where You End Up Might not be so Different
It’s important to understand where you came from and why. Chris tells us, “A lot of times you’re doing something and just don’t know how important, or know how what you’re doing now can be impactful, perhaps in another area or industry.”
You see, Chris started out as an engineer, studied formally, and worked for 7 years programming microprocessors. The nitty gritty 1’s and 0’s coding in a laboratory with no windows.
Before long, he found himself asking, “What am I here for?” That’s when he left to start a web development firm. It was short-lived, but he came to understand that the magic wasn’t in the website but what was behind the website. That’s when Chris was introduced email marketing and soon after email automation.
He mentions learning a tool many small businesses were using but struggling with. The goal was to take this difficult and hard to manage tool and make it easier on clients by managing it for them. The tool? InfusionSoft
Chris quickly learned that InfusionSoft wasn’t catered for SaaS companies but learned how to use it. It was that knowledge that leads him to dominate the space.
It was then that it hit him, “I’ve been in the automation space the whole time, but never connected the two.” When the opportunity came to take on the role of education and building out content came up with Active Campaign, he shares that he jumped on it and hasn’t looked back
What Is Marketing Automation?
Chris defines marketing automation as the process of employing technology to continually execute your marketing strategy. It’s not new, but it’s new to the small business owner. Technology replacing human beings hadn’t been available to small business to this scale, but big businesses have been using automation a long time.
With the advancement of technology, it makes it more accessible to all levels of business ownership. A small business owner can operate as an enterprise and thus dawns a new day for the small business. Instead of hiring staff to do your marketing, employ technology to do it for you.
Chris explains that there comes a point where you pay the price for ignorance. How realistic is it that every business owner can respond to every customer inquiry manually within 5 minutes? As business increases, it becomes a near-impossible task. Therefore, Chris counsels that you want to use the platform, a marketing tool like Active campaign, to alleviate some of that.
If you want to have an email go out within 5 minutes of someone signing up, it’s as easy as a checkbox using Active Campaign. That’s how easy it becomes to ensure it happens.
Most business owners don’t have that box to check, and they simply don’t know how much money they are leaving on the table.
Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Platform
Did you know that there is an invisible ceiling with most platforms? Chris explains that there is a point to where you can’t go any further. To where you’ll have to adopt a new technology or platform to move forward. If you are just starting out, it’s all synonymous to you.
Don’t read reviews, it’s specific to that situation. If you aren’t using it like they do, then it’s worthless. Best thing is to try it yourself.
As found in Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Chris says you need to “Begin with the end in mind”. You know, at some point, you want to be profitable. You want your business to have growth.
Active Campaign is a platform that allows you to come in, as a beginner, and grow with the tool; no need to convert to a new platform with each growth spurt.
For example, if you are a Mailchimp user, there will be limitations. It’s designed for the beginner to intermediate user. Then you used to jump to Infusionsoft which is advanced level . Very few make that jump successfully. Active Campaign can stretch the entire spectrum. Now you don’t have to make the leap, you take gradual growth path.
Top 3 Automations Every Business Owner Should Start With
If you follow Chris’s training on Active Campaign, or if you pop into his office hours, you’ll hear he constantly tell people to reduce the audience and cater the message. Instead of building one giant, fancy automaton on one page, he likes to break them up.
Chris’ favorite? When a user submits a form, and the automation sends out an email 3 or 4 times, spread a few days apart, always leading them to the bottom goal. If they buy at email two, it automatically cuts off the rest of the emails and moves them into a paid subscriber list.
If you understand the buyer process, you know right after purchase the buyer’s remorse kicks in. After a big purchase, we first become emotional. This is when we feel the most unsure. Later we become rational, and we’re walking through the rationalizations to ease our minds. You don’t want to send your message at the wrong point.
Engagement automation; Watches what you do, sees if you’re engaged, and if not, it checks in when unengaged at 30 days. Those 30, 60, 90 day engagement tags can be helpful because it can help isolate where the hot leads are.
Khierstyn mentions that she uses a system that automatically unsubscribes folks when they haven’t interacted within a period of time. It keeps the list clean from inactive users.
Chris agrees that if you need to do something, adapt Khierstyn’s approach. Popular teachings go that you need a huge list, and how to get your next huge chunk of leads. What they don’t tell you is that maybe 1200 are engaging. Since you pay to do every seat, why would you pay for dead leads?
The bigger your list, the higher the chance people will not be engaging. 25-30% open rate is the target. An open rate below that says your messaging isn’t aligned with your audience.
Chris proclaims he is a champion of the idea that, “we don’t send broadcast emails, ever. We make it easy to send a targeted message to your audience.” When you send targeted messaging, your open rate jumps 10%.
Example, let’s say you sell apparel for both men and women. You have a new fall line and you want to show it to your customer base. Instead of sending one blast to all individuals in one list, he recommends you separate them into 2 emails and target to each gender specifically. It’s easier to create and email for women that they will like, and another for men which will appeal to them, rather than an email that has to appeal to both simultaneously.
Segmenting, How Do We Do It?
Chris explains that there are a few different ways to implement your segmenting. For starters,
when you import your pre-existing subscribers you can map each column to a custom field. This gives you control right at the point of importing. Now that all the contacts are in, you can use the custom fields to segment your messaging.
Many don’t know the power of speaking to smaller groups. We’re not saying discriminate or ostracize any section of your viewership, just tailor your message to smaller audiences to increase engagement.
If you have to spend 5 minutes to create a few more segments and send targeted messages to get a higher open rate, it’s worth it. It’s more mature automation.
Templates are Starting Points, not Solutions
Clickfunnels, and other such software, have pre-built funnels, but you still need to customize them. There is a lot of customization that has to happen.
Chris advises, “A template is a starting point, a light framework for you to work within.” When you don’t have them, it becomes overwhelming, you have unanswered questions, and you’re prone to analysis paralysis kicks in, and you don’t do anything.
Templates are necessary but some people have taken it too far. It’s not just plug and play and BOOM success. When you do best practices, you are always going to win. That’s the hardest thing for people to understand. Marketing automation isn’t the solution, you are the solution and automation is the strategy.
You are the business owner. It’s up to you to know your audience and to know what offer to place in front of them. Chris says, “We (Active Campaign) will support you, help you, and get that message out, but we don’t do it for you.”
Going in, you need to watch your numbers and edit your message until it hits the mark. Watch the results, tweak the words and images, so that it continues to be more and more appealing to your specific audience.
Up Your Split-Testing Game
Khierstyn asked a golden question – How can you use split testing to up your game? Chris breaks it down.
If you want to send a broadcast, or campaign, with a message to your list or group of people, you can split test the headline. After 2 hours, once one of the titles has a higher open rate, it resends the winner to the other 50% automatically. However, it’s not just headlines Active Campaign lets you split test.
Let’s say you want to implement this into an email series. You can use the automation builder to split paths. You can monitor and track send times. Set one run up for every day, the other for every 3 days, and the read-open rate winner automatically takes over the process. It’s next level awesome.
Split path is a recent launch and you can do so many things. You can split paths for promotions too. Such an automation that delivers a coupon until Friday and you don’t’ have to worry about turning it off. It becomes set it and forget it.
Where Do Most People Get Stuck Starting Up?
Chris warns, “Not realizing how much they already know. Technology introduces a barrier.” Everyone knows how to write on paper. Take that and put it onto an iPad Pro with that new pen… writing with the Pro is totally different than writing on paper. Technology adds a layer of complexity to make it uncomfortable.
Many business owners understand marketing and know what to do, but add the technology and they lose their way. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can build a blueprint to achieve it. “That’s what I spend most of my time working with business owners on” Chris shares.
You need a blueprint. Most already have the blueprint though don’t’ know how to convert that into a working process. Some don’t even know how to get it down. I recommend you get to the point where you have your blueprint and you’re positioned for success. Then it’s all about execution.
Introduction: Expert Secrets to Leverage Email Automation and See Results
[04:23] Where You Were and Where You End Up Might not be so Different
[08:40] What IS Marketing Automation?
[14:20] Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Platform
[21:20] Top 3 Automations Every Business Owner Should Start With
[28:54] Segmenting, How Do We Do It?
[33:43] Templates are Starting Points not Solutions
[38:15] Up Your Split-Testing Game
[41:25] Where do Most People get Stuck Starting Up?
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