[Active Campaign] Encouraging Engagement in Emails

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In this video Meredith shows you how to use the conditional waiting time settings in your automated sequences to encourage readers to click a link or reply to the email. Essentially it means offering some kind of reward for doing so.

[Active Campaign] Creating Conditional Content in Emails

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A useful way to segment an audience is by creating conditional content – ie. content specific to a particular group on your email list – often associated with particular tags. eg. People with TAG 1 see content A; people with TAG 2 see content B etc. Meredith Eisenberg of https://SoloBizHacker.com shows you how to create conditional content in Active Campaign.

[Active Campaign] Using Goals to Take Someone Out of an Email Sequence

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Meredith shows you how to use goals in Active Campaign to take people out of an email sales sequence once they have purchased the product. There’s nothing more annoying to a customer than keep getting emails trying to sell them the product they have just purchased – it makes it really feel that you are not paying them any attention!

Huge Shift – Are You Being Left Behind?

There is currently a huge shift going on in the online business world, a shift that is being driven by the evolution of consumers and consumer expectations that has really taken place in only the last couple of years.

It is what we call the “Netflix difference”.

Does anyone watch cable anymore? I mean what kind of a business model is it when you have to spend at least $150 per month to get a whole bunch of channels you never watch, and when there is something you want to watch you have to be there at the time they say to watch it?

Why do that when for $10 per month and an internet connection you can watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it? That’s the “Netflix Difference”.

Consumers are getting used to having more choice – and used to having their choices on-demand. As an online business owner you can ignore this trend at your peril – just don’t be surprised if you get run over by other business owners who have embraced the change.

And that change is AI (artificial intelligence).

We’re not talking Skynet or killer robots here.

In business terms, we are talking about providing customers with a more tailored and personalized experience, providing them with what they are looking for, when they are looking for it. However, by utilizing the latest AI driven technologies you can do this auto-magically – combining analytics, email marketing and social media to get more visibility, convert more prospects into customers, and to get customers to buy more.

Sounds awesome, I hear you thinking, but I don’t have a clue how to do any of that! Don’t worry, you don’t have to struggle with this alone – there are people who know how to do this – like us.

So what kind of customer processes are we talking about – and how is this going to help my business?

There are basically only 3 ways to grow a business –

  • Get more customers,
  • Sell higher priced items to customers,
  • Get current customers to purchase more frequently.

So let’s give you some examples of how AI driven data and autoresponder-based CRMs can help you with all three –

Visibility
Some autoresponders (like Active Campaign) allow you to create a custom audience on Facebook based on the actions they take in your emails. So, for example, you can send out an email (and or SMS, if you have their phone number), and a Facebook Ad – to everyone who clicked a link in a previous email sending them to your web page about your retreat (you need a minimum of 100 people to create a custom audience).

You can also track where they are through any given sequence. So, for example, if they are doing your multi-part e-course and they finish the final lesson, you can send them a message through Facebook Messenger through Chat Bot saying “Congratulations on finishing the course! Have you thought about scheduling a Roadmap session with us?”

One of the benefits of your email service working together with Facebook is that you can engineer it so that people see you in multiple places – its all building those essential 11 touch points you need before someone takes notice of you.

Be Seen Everywhere
Retargeting is where you build an audience through people who have been pixeled by Facebook when they visit one or more of your website pages. Facebook ads can be targeted to people who have been pixeled, specifically. You have probably experienced the sensation yourself where you have been researching a product in Amazon only to have that product appear in an ad next time your visit your Facebook page – that’s ‘retargeting’ – and it is a vital component of making yourself visible on the web.

So, for instance, let’s say that you are doing an outreach campaign on LinkedIn. Not only are people seeing your messages and content on the LinkedIn platform itself, but you can download your contacts from LinkedIn and create a custom audience in Facebook and target them with Facebook Ads. You suddenly have jumped into their universe in multiple ways so that when you suggest getting on a phone call in your LinkedIn messaging, chances are they have seen you on Facebook too, are more aware of you and therefore more likely to accept that invitation. That is very different to just being seen in one place – eg. feeling like you are being bombarded by someone’s emails, or always seeing someone’s Facebook Ads in your stream. The trick is to be seen in multiple different places rather than too much in just one place.

The beauty of retargeted ads is that they are a lot less expensive than normal ads – you just need a minimum of 100 pixeled people for it to work.

So then these individuals may well have have seen the information on your website, on Facebook – and they will probably get an email too, if they are on your email list; LinkedIn if they come from a LinkedIn messaging campaign, and maybe other social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. It is in that way that you achieve the multiple touch points – and a lot of that can be automated – and tracked (see below).

That automation can then be set up to take them out of that custom audience and/or email promo sequence at anytime they make a purchase of that product. That way you don’t keep bombarding them with ads and emails when they have already bought the product.

You can then go on to create a target audience of the people who bought the product and target THEM with ads for another product in your line, or an accessory to the first product – as an upsell to that audience. Remember, it is far easier to sell to a customer who has already bought something from you than it is to sell to a new customer.

Prospect Segmenting
When someone first subscribes to your list via an optin offer, you should take the time to get to know them – and also to get them in the right segments in your list.

So your first email after a sign up might be “Hi, thank you for signing up – here’s a little bit about us, here’s what to expect from me, I’d love to learn little bit more about you so I can better help you with what you need….” This will allow you to collect valuable information about your new prospect.

It can be as simple as ‘reply to this message’, maybe with an automation to ask them again if you haven’t heard back from them in a certain time – or it could be setting a series of questions with links to blog posts so you can track what they are interested in by what link they click on:

click here if you sell physical products …
click here if you sell information products …
click here if you sell one-on-one services …

So, for instance, if they indicate they sell physical products by clicking that link, in the next follow-up email (automated), you might talk about the problems that you see people selling physical products having – which is a really personalized message – it is clear that you have taken notice of what the prospect is interested in.

This sequence is almost like doing a survey over the course of a couple of messages in order to get to know people better.

Customers like to feel that you are paying attention to them and it helps build that ‘like and trust’ with the customer. Nothing is more annoying to a customer than having bought a product, being continually targeted by emails and Facebook ads that are pitching them for the very same product. It makes them feel like no-one is paying attention to what they are doing.

As marketers, we may understand that it is a mass email going out to a whole list but, to the customer, that email is from you to him/her. And if there is anything off in your message to them in terms of where they are then that’s going to shoot down the trust and likability factor immediately. (There is nothing more annoying than to get emails pitching a product you already own!)

Some of the data that can be used for segmenting includes (but isn’t limited to):

How they got on your list (what lead magnets they’ve signed up for)
The pages they’ve visited on your site (if your autoresponder has site tracking)
The links they’ve clicked in your emails (this is a great way of getting demographic info)
The products they’ve purchased
The actions they’ve taken on your site (have they opened messages, shared your content…)

As you can see… the possibilities are endless. Plus, modern autoresponders, like Active Campaign, make it easy to create slight variations of messages to go out to different groups. This is called conditional content – and is a big timesaver.

Another way to segment your audience is to use lead scoring.

Lead Scoring
Lead Scoring is the ability to assign a points value to different actions that your prospect takes. For example, you might assign 1 point if they visit a web page, 5 points if they share your content on social media, 10 points if they sign up for your free optin, 15 points if the purchase a small tripwire product, such as your book. Then you can create trigger points so that, for example, if they reach 20 points you know they must be interested in what you have to offer as they have taken more than 2 interactions with your online presence, so that triggers a particular automated email sequence based on their interests, and with the aim of getting them to purchase a higher priced item – all done completely automatically and trigger by a prospects interactions with your various web presences. You want to get people while they are interested in you – and before that interest wanders on to something – or somebody – else.

Another way that lead scoring can be very valuable in rewarding your very best customers – your evangelists – is to track the things they do and when they have done enough ‘things’ (per their lead score), it triggers some kind of reward – maybe a free mug, or tee-shirt, or even a coupon-based reward of some sort.

Customer service > upselling
This is the place where people leave the most money on the table. Business owners tend to be very focused on getting people to purchase, but then having got the sale they ignore the customer and move on to the next prospective sale.

As we said previously, it is, in fact, far easier to get someone to buy again, having previously spent money with you, than it is to get someone new to buy.

What well executed automation for customer service does is meets people where they are and helps them consume your product, helps them give feedback, and helps them move on to the next product and/or re-purchase.

So, for example, we have a client that sells flavored olive oil sourced from particular olive producers. The olive oil comes in fairly small bottles, when compared to supermarket brands, and she has calculated from customer’s experiences that one bottle usually lasts for about one month.

So her first message is “Hey, what did you think of the olive oil? Here’s a little bit about me and my olive farmers (it helps them feel good about the product choice they made), and while you are at it, if you would like to send an invitation for a friend to try it, here’s a 50% off coupon for them. It is a nice, customer-focused message – any customer would feel good about receiving that message.

A follow-on message might be “Hey, here’s my favorite salad dressing recipe for the oil flavor you purchased), again, this is where conditional content can vary depending on what they purchased) – AND which might include a particular mozarella cheese for which there is an affiliate partnership, so she is making money on that too.

Then, about week three, you send a message saying “Hey, hope you enjoyed the olive oil – are you ready for your next bottle yet – here’s a coupon for your next bottle?”

So even though it is an automated email sequence, because it is based on the specific product that they purchased, it feels very personal.

You can then go on to get deeper to learn more about the customer by asking questions in the message – “Are you using the olive oil mainly to dip? For salad dressings? Or for cooking? Each question might be linked to an appropriate recipe and by clicking on a particular link they can go into a new sequence that is more specific to that choice. So if they click on the salad recipe link they get more content pertaining to salad dressing recipes.

So the next message in the sequence might be “Hey, I know you can create some great salad dressings with {product they purchased } but you might be interested in this new flavor which makes some great salad dressings as well.

This kind of sequence is not something you build all at once and then you are done – it is something that is built over time from customer date and experiences with your products. But it will certainly create more upsell opportunities and repeat business by using such sequences = more revenue = more growth.

AI can help you gain visibility with more prospects, convert more of those prospects into customers (because you appear to know them better), and get those customers to both buy more AND refer more friends to you – all the ways to grow your business – and all done auto-magically.

The question is, are you going to be an online business that benefits from this new shift – or are you going to be one of those left behind.

Tips on Managing Priorities with Your Team Members

Say you have a clear marketing goal defined and a marketing strategy ready to go. Well done! However, if you want to make sure you reach your goal, you need to make sure that your team is all on the same page. If your team members’ individual priorities don’t align with your overall priorities or there are differences in opinion on how things should be done, this can cause conflict and derail your plan.

Here are some best practices for keeping everyone in your team on the same page.

Articulate Your Goals

Make sure that every team member fully understands your goals. Articulate why the goal you’ve chosen is the first priority, as well as the reasons for the way you’ve prioritized your tasks. Seek questions and comments and ask your team members for feedback. They may have valid suggestions on how to do things differently.

Help Team Members Manage Individual Priorities

Meet with your team members one-on-one and help them manage their own individual priorities. They may have trouble doing this by themselves and may need your guidance as a mentor. If a team member is having problems, they may not feel comfortable approaching you about it. But if you have regular coaching sessions, you can make sure they’re on track.

Transparency and Visibility

Make everything completely visible to everyone. In addition to clearly stating goals and priorities at the outset, you should also have reference materials for team members to refer to. Goals, priorities, and progress should be posted in high visibility areas. Create a collaborative environment based around this shared information.
Use Software Tools

Use a team management software program like Asana, GetFlow, or Teamstuff to help organize the project. Your team can communicate through the tool, as well as charting each member’s individual progress and the progress of the team as a whole in a way that’s easily visible to all.

Open Communication

Make every effort to create an environment of open communication where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions and asking questions. Create this environment virtually through online communication tools, in meetings, and in one-on-one sessions with individual team members.

Offer Continual Training and Coaching

If a team member feels that a task is not suitable for them or has problems, it may just be a matter of training. Through regular check-ins with your team members, try to find these weak areas and offer whatever training they might need.

Keep Priorities Flexible

Although you need a definitive plan with priorities in place, don’t be afraid to make changes if necessary. The conditions surrounding your progress may make this necessary. For example, you may find that you have a deficit in certain resources which makes a particular task difficult to complete at present. You can then bring another task up in your list of priorities and save this for later for when it’s more feasible.

Keep Long-Term Goals in Mind

Along with the one goal you’re working towards now, keep your long-term goals on the horizon as well. Clearly state to the other members of your organization your five or ten-year plan as well as the goal at hand.

Feel like you are always marketing but not getting the results?

Check out our Fast & Focused Marketing Plan course. Skip the learning curve and do what works! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

How to Prioritize Your Goals as Your Business Grows

Goal setting is important for any business, but your goals are likely to change as you grow from a small to a mid-sized or large business. If you learn good goal-setting habits early on in the life of your business, this will help you adapt as your organization starts to scale up.

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

It’s always useful to have a variety of both short-term and long-term goals. Right now, you’re probably thinking mostly in the short-term. You want your business to grow. You need to grow your list or social media following; you have specific sales goals you need to reach; you want to launch your new product.

But what happens once you reach this short-term goal? You may find yourself adrift wondering what to tackle next. This is why it’s important to look to the long-term as well.

Think about where your organization will be in five or ten years. What does success look like years down the road? What will be different then versus now?

Although you should focus on just one short-term goal at a time, keep a list of long-term goals as well to clarify the direction you want your business to go.

Think Small

When prioritizing goals right now, don’t be afraid to think small. In fact, it’s a good idea to set small, relatively easily attainable goals for the present. Don’t try to take on too much at once.

Small goals are great because:

 They’re attainable. Huge, lofty goals are likely to only frustrate and discourage a small business.
 The attainment of each goal is a learning process. You can learn from your small successes and failures.
 Manageable goals that you can reach keep motivation and morale high.
 Tackling small goals builds momentum that you can then put to bigger and better things.

Prioritizing Goals

You have many goals, both short-term and long-term, but you need to focus on just one at a time. How do you do this? The best way is to assess impact. Which of your goals will have the greatest impact on your business in the near future? This should be the one that you focus on first.

A few other things to consider are:

 Chronology. You may have one particular goal that logically comes ahead of other goals. For example, you want to build your email list before you start boosting sales through it.
 Resources. You may have resources at your disposal now that make a specific goal viable; for example, a new software program for social media marketing may motivate you to work on your goal of boosting your social media presence.
 Lack of resources. Likewise, a lack of resources may make one particular goal ideal rather than another. You may need tech help for a particular goal but currently you don’t know anyone who can provide it. You can set this goal on the backburner for now while you work on other things.

Always set goals and employ marketing strategies with your larger, long-term goals in mind. This will help to keep your business on track as you tackle various projects.

Feel like you are always marketing but not getting the results?

Check out our Fast & Focused Marketing Plan course. Skip the learning curve and do what works! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

How Multitasking Kills Your Productivity

“She’s a great worker. A real multitasker!”

Have you ever had a boss, manager, or co-worker say this about you? It sounds like a great compliment but it could be a sign that you’ve got a problem. We consider multitasking a virtue in the business world, but we are dead wrong. Multitasking isn’t a virtue; focusing on one thing at a time is. Here are the reasons why multitasking might be killing your productivity.

Our Brains Aren’t Designed to Multitask

You may feel like you’re productive when you’re multitasking, but you’re actually putting a great deal of strain on your brain. The human brain isn’t designed to switch between multiple tasks at once. Although it may seem seamless, you’re actually shifting gears slightly every time you move to another task. This gives your brain more to do, and this is the reason why multitasking burns you out.

Paying Attention Is Productive

We mistakenly think that multitasking is more productive. You’re doing more stuff at once, so you’re getting more done, right? But the truth is that narrowing your focus and zeroing in on one task at a time makes that task go faster and more smoothly. It will take more time to do multiple tasks at once than it would to do them in order.

Multitasking Multiplies Errors

You may not have noticed, but when you multitask, you make small errors you wouldn’t usually make. Go back over your work and check. Chances are you’ll find tiny mistakes which are the result of not giving the work the full attention it deserves. Focus on one task at a time and you’ll see higher quality work without the mistakes.

Multitasking-Induced Burnout

When you start off with your multiple tasks, you might feel that you’re highly productive and getting things done. But it’s likely that after a while, a feeling of stress and burnout will descend upon you, and you’ll find your nerves frazzled, snapping at your team members, and feeling like your computer could use a sound drop-kick. Multitasking causes stress, and this is why productivity experts and psychologists warn against it.

Prioritizing to the Rescue

There’s never any need to multitask when you know how to prioritize. Let’s say that you have five things to do. Why not do them all at once? Because instead, you can take each task and assign a level of priority to it. Now, you have five items on a list that goes from most important to least important. The truth is, you always have some tasks that are more important than others. If you prioritize, you’ll get the most important things done quickly and right.

Rub Your Tummy and Pat Your Head

Now, rub your stomach while patting your head and, if you really want to see why multitasking doesn’t work, whistle the melody of the last song you heard on the radio. You’ll find these three simple things exceedingly hard to do and this is a clear demonstration of why multitasking isn’t a good way to work.

Feel like you are always marketing but not getting the results?

Check out our Fast & Focused Marketing Plan course. Skip the learning curve and do what works! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Three Things That Active Campaign Makes Easy for Entrepreneurs

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Sometimes I feel like my relationship with Active Campaign is a bit like an after-school special where the heroine goes looking for an exciting new love interest only to find that the boy next store is the one she wanted all along.

I am always looking for the next, best, great tool.  I have App Sumo permanently bookmarked on my browser. I am constantly looking for new tools, and better ways of doing things…

Yet, I have been an Active Campaign user for the past five years (yes, I think I was an early adopter) and I haven’t even been tempted by the ease of ClickFunnels or the ability to transfer campaigns that ConvertKit has.  Active Campaign has always just worked for us.

I’ve been an Active Campaign consultant for the past 3 years and the company treats its consultants well.  We have made our investment back every year that we’ve been part of the program (that was not the case with us and Infusionsoft).

Recently, we got an inquiry from an agency that helps larger nonprofits with their marketing to help create some sequences to truly automate some business processes with Active Campaign.  So, I had a chance to jump under the hood and see what’s new.

I was impressed.  Last year, I helped out with some major internet marketing launches using Infusionsoft.  Many of the things we really struggled to do well in Infusionsoft turn out to be easy in Active Campaign.

  1. Tagging and Segmenting One of the most powerful things you can do with a modern email marketing tool is segmenting your list. Normally, this involves tagging people when they complete any action (click a link, forward a message, open a message, etc.).  The result is hundreds of tags (some more useful than others)  The segment builder keeps track of a lot of this data for you.  You can create segments without having to (remember to) create all the tags.
  2. Link Tracking in Google Analytics One of the most powerful ways track your email marketing effectiveness is through using UTM codes and passing information to Google Analytics.  Active Campaign will automatically create these links for you and pass the info to Google Analytics.  You do not need to worry about creating (and then remembering to use) UTM codes.  Very powerful indeed.
  3. Sync your Active Campaign list with your Facebook Custom Audiences   You have valuable information on your prospects in your email list.  Beyond knowing your prospects interests (through the lists that they’ve joined), you also know which customers are more active, where they are in your sales cycle etc.  Facebook retargeting is one of the most effective forms of marketing – and Active Campaign makes it very easy to create an automation to add and remove your prospects and customers from custom audiences.  You only need 100 people for a viable audience.At the Enterprise level, Active Campaign also pulls social media data on list members, which you can see when you use the Active Campaign chrome extension. This allows you to powerfully track your tribe all across several social networks and then tag them into audiences based on your connection. Powerful stuff here.

Want to learn more about Active Campaign see if it is a good fit for your business?  I would love to chat with you and help you find the right solutions for your coaching business.  E-mail and me we’ll get it set up – meredith [at] solobizhacker.com.

How to Create a Solid Foundation for Successful Marketing

There are probably a thousand marketing strategies you could employ at any given time. They come in all shapes and sizes. All you need to do is pick one and get started. But before you do, it’s important to have a strong foundation underlying your marketing. This is the basis on which your ultimate success rests.

Core Values

Your core values are the principles that underlie everything your organization believes, says, or does. It’s important to define these core values since they have such a huge effect on the direction your business will take. Without clearly defined core values, you’re just wandering around rudderless.

For example, you might choose “innovation” as a core value. This means that everything your business does should be somehow innovative. If your customers know you for this, you’ll know to avoid products, strategies, or methods that are outdated or appear ordinary.

Natural Strengths

An important part of a business’s foundation is an understanding of its natural strengths. Natural strengths are the things you’re good at without really trying. These are the qualities of your organization’s “personality.”

Your natural strength might be your effortlessly friendly customer service. Knowing that you talk to your customers just like old, close friends, you might choose an email marketing campaign as a marketing strategy, since it’s an intimate and friendly way to market to your audience.

Long-Term Goals

Your organization’s foundation should rest on clear and well-defined long-term goals. Long-term goals should show the direction you’ll take in the next five, ten, or even twenty years.

Long-term goals align with the core values and fundamentals of your business. But they also tell you where to go once you’ve reached a short-term goal. For example, you might grow your social media following to 1,000 people, but what then do you do with them? Look to your long-term goals to guide your next efforts.

Getting Everyone on the Same Page

The foundation of your organization gets its members on the same page. It provides a map of where your company is going. It also defines the culture of your company and makes it clear, so that everyone within it knows where they stand.

Before you get started on any marketing push, start by defining a few key business fundamentals:

1. What are your core values? Core values can be expressed as single words like “diversity,” “results-oriented,” “service,” or “flexibility.”
2. Identify your natural strengths. Try to think of the compliments you get from customers. What do they praise you for that comes naturally to you?
3. Identify a unique value proposition. This is a statement that explains what benefit you bring those who use your product or service, and what separates you from competitors.
4. Create a list of long-term goals that reach beyond the next year or next few years. Imagine where you want your organization to be at specific points in the future such as five years, ten years, and so on.

Once you’ve done this, write it up in a way that’s easy for those in your organization to understand and communicate it clearly to them.

Feel like you are always marketing but not getting the results?

Check out our Fast & Focused Marketing Plan course. Skip the learning curve and do what works! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

The Advantage of Focusing on One Goal at a Time

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If you’re the type of person who likes to be busy, you probably take on too many goals at one time. When you have too many goals, it has a habit of weighing you down, and this makes it harder to see any one of those goals through to the end. How do you handle this tendency? The best way is to narrow down your goals to just one and give it all of your focus and motivation. See it through before you start on the next.

Prioritize Your Goals

A common objection is, “But my business has multiple goals. I can’t just focus on one.”

Focusing on one goal doesn’t mean giving up the rest. What it means is focusing on one for the time being, and putting the others on the backburner for now. “For now” could be just this week or the next few months. The important thing is that you’re focusing.

You can decide which goal is the most important through prioritizing. Take a look at everything you’re working on now. Which of these will have the most positive impact on your business when it’s completed? This is the one you should focus on. You should also keep in mind your resources. You may have an important goal but lack the resources right now to carry it out.

Working Towards Your Goal is a Learning Experience

When you focus fully on one goal, you can learn valuable lessons from it. This is especially important if you’re a small business or solo entrepreneur with little experience marketing your business. As you work towards your goal employing marketing strategies, you’ll learn along the way which work and which don’t, and how to carry them out effectively. You can use this knowledge for future goals.

For example, you may decide to write guest blog posts in order to drive traffic to your site and spread awareness. Once you get started, you realize that you could write an email template for sending inquiries. The template explains who you are, why you’re an expert, and how your content could enrich the person’s blog. This saves a great deal of time and you can send out more inquiries, which leads to more blog posts.

This is the sort of thing you may not have learned if you were bogged down with several goals or strategies at once.

One Goal and One Marketing Strategy

If you want to really focus and get results, try focusing not only on one goal but on one marketing strategy as well. As the guest blogging example above illustrates, choosing just one strategy allows you to learn, streamline, and hone your skills. You can then add this strategy to your arsenal of techniques that you’ve used before.

People in the business world still sing the praises of multitasking, but any time management expert will tell you that, more often than not, it kills productivity and leads to burnout. Instead, the key to success is to narrow down and focus, and then move on to the next.

Feel like you are always marketing but not getting the results?

Check out our Fast & Focused Marketing Plan course. Skip the learning curve and do what works! CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
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