Episode 52 | Posted on

Marketing Automation That Keeps Your Customers Engaged with Joel Bower

Joel Bower, the CEO of Skirmish Strategies, is always looking for new and better ways to leverage every single resource he has going into his business, from the members on his team to the technologies they have at their disposal, and he loves bringing this talent to other entrepreneurs and teaching them how to make the most of their resources, too. Joel’s dedication to every aspect of his life has given him a profound understanding of true peak performance. Leveraging has allowed him to give his all – all day, every day – both in Skirmish Strategies, to our amazing fans, and with his family.

In this Episode

  • [01:08] – Joel starts out our conversation by talking about how to know what should be automated and what should not be.
  • [02:58] – Joel gives us a warning about some of the things that can go very wrong when automation is done poorly.
  • [04:58] – We talk about the importance of understanding the social media platforms you are using.
  • [06:29] – Joel talks about the benefits of Snapchat, Periscope, and Facebook Live for building quick interactive content.
  • [07:28] – We discuss how those live platforms have begun to bring back a feeling of T.V. shows with a trusted anchor.
  • [08:50] – Joel’s love of learning is clear as he tells us about a few of his favorite places to learn more about marketing, including: Frank Kern’s Alchemy Session and Inner Circle, and Russell Brunson’s Marketing in Your Car.
  • [10:58] – He shares some of his favorite tools in marketing automation and talks about the benefit of using multiple tools in your business.
  • [12:16] – Joel explains the importance of testing different entry points for your customers in order to make the best use of all the available tools.
  • [14:15] – We discuss several ideas for how to effectively research our customers’ entry and pain points.
  • [16:02] – Joel walks us through his process of automating steps in his business by first refining the process himself and then doing in depth training with his team about both the process and the overarching purpose of the process.
  • [19:12] – Joel gives us some practical wisdom about bringing on people to your team, hiring VA’s, managing teams for complex projects, testing the proficiency of your team in ways that limit the possibility of negative impact to your company, and determining when it is best to outsource, hire, or use an agency for particular services.
  • [27:19] – We talk about some of our favorite tools for segmenting decision points and gaining clarity about our marketing at every stage of the process.
  • [29:55] – When asked if video sales letters or long form sales letters are still effective Joel says “Everything done well is still working and it works for the same reason it worked originally.”
  • [30:16] – Joel tells us that an effective sales funnel should leverage whatever it is that you are already doing well as well as build contingency plans to use the information gained from customers, especially when they drop off at some point. He gives some great examples of funnels done well.
  • [35:19] – We talk about conferences and speakers we love as well as a few past guests on the Marketing Speak Podcast, including: Molly Pittman, Joe Pulizzi, and Jay Abraham.

Transcript

Hello and welcome to Marketing Speak. I’m your host Stephan Spencer. Today, we have Joel Bower with us. Joel is the CEO of Skirmish Strategies. He has over a decade of experience running and starting businesses, dozens of businesses in different industries. He is currently running a number of successful physical and information product businesses. He’s got a brand new online course that’s launching on October 1st, called VA Master Class, and a membership site that’s going to be launching in the month of October as well called Leverage Monthly. Joel is a public speaker, marketing consultant, and a business trainer. Joel, it’s great to you on the show.

Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.

Let’s start with the topic of marketing automation. It’s a big buzzword that people are talking about nowadays. You’re an expert in that. What sort of things can you automate in marketing and what can’t you? What do you recommend?

That is actually a great question. That’s where we spend most of our time when we’re looking at systems. You want that front facing, that contact point to be as authentic as real as possible. But then you have these powerful tools that can make social media posting a breeze where you can load everything up one at the beginning of the month and it loads all month long. It’s finding that refinement of, “Okay great, I can preload but now I’m not being responsive to what’s going on with live events, or what’s coming out in the industry, or what are other people saying.” We get to be a part of the bigger conversation. What we find is it having a balance, knowing your customer well enough to be able to preload content but then still add those pieces where you’re going to come back in and actually interact live. That changes that. That really does bring enough forward that A, it refines the copy that you are preloading, cause you are getting that front face time with customers or actually being involved in conversations on Twitter and Facebook, then bringing that information back to your content. That’s one of the first things is like we’re always very cautious when it comes to customer phasing. That’s where the most damage is going to be done. If you do it wrong, or someone’s like, “Oh, okay. This is just the bot, I’m done here.” That could be a major problem.  The biggest place we see that is actually in email sequences. People really are tired of just being blasted. They don’t want to see that no one was thinking about them or what they wanted. It’s weird because the same people go, “Oh, I hate these automated bots.” When you add a dynamic piece to it, “We noticed that you didn’t watch the previous video. We want to make sure you got it. It’s a great value.” They know that’s automated. They know that there’s been a bot set up but they don’t feel it because you went to the extra step of actually understanding where they are.

Yeah, makes a lot of sense. One of the worst things that can happen is let’s say you’ve set up a webinar to appear to be live but it’s not, it’s pre-recorded, and you’re trying to fake them out. Let’s say that they’re a few minutes late and the webinar starts apparently live right when they got there. It’s so obvious. What are some of the biggest faux pas that people need to not do in terms of automation?

They have to make sure that they’ve tested it. I’m so surprised that the number of times they’ve said, “Okay, this would be the automated sequence,” but they never went and clicked on the buttons. They never went through the sequence. They never got the emails themselves. It happens all the time. They’ll send people to weird places, or just conversation doesn’t make sense, or like you said with the webinar, it’s just awful. They could even fix that in a way to make it make sense, or just tell the truth and make sure that the marketing supported what emails they were getting added to the value and increased the importance of it. There’s so many ways to play that. That’s really not going through your system, I think it’s where the biggest flaws I’ve ever seen. It takes extra. Some people get caught up in more the technology side and go, “Okay, well great, I set up all these tags in Infusionsoft, or in ClickFunnels, and I know where they’re going to happen but I don’t know how to test them because then I’ll have to wait for the sequence to happen to me. That could be seven days later.” That’s too much work. They skip it. All kinds of mistakes are made in automation.

All kinds of mistakes are made in automation.

As far as email marketing, what were some of the biggest faux pas you’ve seen?

I always loved sequences that reference timepieces that obviously are two years old. They just had an automated follow up sequence and never thought about it. They’re just so happy to be out of the content or just done with the content, they don’t think about it.  That does happen sadly a lot, especially with larger companies.

Right, yup. Or Hey, first name, and actually sells the thing.

Yeah, I do love the bracketed first name. It feels that they’re talking to me.

Yeah, exactly. I feel so good for it. What about faux pas with regards to social media?

With social media, not understanding the platform is where I see the biggest mistakes. Each platform has kind of a way that a consumer wants to interact with it, a way that they’re willing to be marketed to that works, and others that really just run against the grain. Early on, there seemed to be a lot of, “Okay, create this content once, then just run it everywhere.” A great example is if you’re coming back to LinkedIn where it has a much more professional vibe, people are looking for more of a feel of legitimacy. You can’t be too cheeky in the presentation of it or go too extreme where you think you’re just talking to a buddy or over sensationalize necessarily. It’s more they want to feel that you are entering at a professional level in that conversation. For Twitter, sometimes that actually is a complete opposite. It’s as friendly as you can be so they feel like there’s a real person there, because things are happening so fast if you can add any character or personality to it, it’s pretty amazing. In social media, go learn the platforms you’re on. Not everybody should be on every platform. Not every business is going to do well on every platform. Go in there and actually act as a person using the medium. Read as much as you can about what people are saying, about what they like and don’t like. Even what the experts are saying are working right now, get multiple different views from different perspectives. You’ll start to get a real understanding for this is its own ecosystem. It behaves in a certain way. If you can figure that out and respect it, you’ll get a lot of response and a lot of growth in those platforms.

Sure. Are you very bullish on Snapchat?

No. I actually haven’t done a lot of Snapchat, I have partners that use it and they swear by it. They say they just absolutely love it. Periscope and Facebook Live seem to be forward going more for a quick interaction piece that’s live and now.

Yup. I quite like Facebook Live. I have a new Mevo Camera. Have you heard of this thing?

No.

Oh it’s so cool. It’s at getmevo.com. Brand new and it will live stream to Facebook Live or Periscope, and I forget where else. What it’ll do is you have an interface, you operate via the iPhone or your iPad, or whatever. You can zoom in on different scenes or different camera angles while you’re filming.

That is fantastic.

Yes, really cool. Have you been doing much Facebook Live?

I personally haven’t, but my clients definitely have. It is taking off and it’s a great way to get interaction with a lot of people fast.

What’s been the most innovative use that your clients have done with live stream video or really just innovative uses that you’ve seen out in the market place?

Actually, I do like what my clients have done with it. They’ve been trying to bring back this feeling of a TV Show, a broadcast that has a schedule. They’re very involved in podcasting and they love that platform but there’s lack of immediacy sometimes, when people consume the content. The live event, there’s a large portion of the audience that wants to be there now. Having it like a TV Show, then having that interaction on the feed at the same time, they’re showing up for an event rather than just waiting to get the content when they’re ready. That’s what I really actually enjoy is the back to that TV Show. I do really like the feel of a TV Show again. It’s like we got away from that cause content was being shoved at us so quickly that we lost that piece that really was I think strong in past media. There is an anchor that you really trust and understand, and they’re bringing the truth to you kind of thing.

Yeah. Is there a particular show that you quite like on video? Like on Facebook Live or Periscope?

I actually really enjoy what Frank Kern is doing. I think there’s been a major switch in how he is presenting himself out of the market place. He has one of the most dialed in personas while keeping a lot of his character and personality. It’s really fun to watch.

Yeah, he’s great. He’s very entertaining, very funny.

Yeah.

Do you take much training yourself? Do you go to Frank Kern’s trainings and masterminds, and thing like that, or any other particular gurus that you follow?

Yeah, I do a lot of training. That’s something I realized early on and why I chose marketing as one of my core things. It’s because I love how much it’s changing, how often. To stay on top of it, you have to be really consuming, and educating, and love to learn. Curran is one of the people I really enjoy. I have gone to his events, he did an alchemy session. He’s doing a new inner circle boat. Just amazing material. He really has it dialed in. Russell Brunson is someone I’m enjoying a lot right now. He really does the testing. It’s so nice to see he gets in there. He really just loves the, has so much passion for the whole thing. He gets in there and learns the funnels and learns what’s working, what’s not, and is ready to give it back.  He’s such a joy to his content. He really loves what he’s doing.

Yeah. I love his podcast, Marketing In Your Car. That’s a lot of fun. Yeah. You a really get a sense for what he’s like, his personality, and how he thinks, it’s just so real. He’s literally in his car, driving in his morning commute or whatever. He’s chewing out somebody for cutting him off. You hear the turn signal and stuff going on in the background. It’s very real.

Yeah. I caught a Facebook Live, he was showing off his cry out therapy chamber in his house. I just thought it was funny. He was just so excited, he’s like showing his nitrogen enters in. It’s real, he’s not afraid to share his life. There isn’t any pretense. He’s not hiding anything. It’s really great to watch. It seem like even the people that I think are trying to be true to themselves all the times tend to slip in. This is business of an act the certain way, you lose a lot of that depth of character. With him, he’s just showing it all. It’s fantastic.

Yeah, he’s great. He runs an event. What was that called, Funnel Hacker. Have you been to that event?

I couldn’t. I had another event at the same time but I wanted to.

Yeah, me too. I had a conflict as well. I heard good things about it but I haven’t been to it yet. You use ClickFunnels, I presume.

Oh absolutely. I love ClickFunnels. I swear by it.

There are lot of different tools out there. ClickFunnels is one of them. You could use Leadpages, you can use Infusionsoft, Ontraport, number of solutions out there. What are your favorites? What are the best in your opinion and why?

We almost always run a combination of ClickFunnels and Infusionsoft. A lot of powerful techniques for automation for webinar sequences and evergreen content, and captures, it’s just phenomenal in Infusionsoft. We run it through with Leadpages using as they progress through the system the pages. We can still see our funnel conversion numbers and what’s going on there. We haven’t had the chance to play some of their social scoring systems that have that trigger inside ClickFunnels but I’m actually really curious about it. We have so much we’re building, it’s been hard. I love how easy it is to make the pages and be able to make it the way you want including adding custom coding for say automated countdown timers. How much of it is already built in is fantastic. Those tools combined I think give you a lot of power and a lot of range. I’m hearing people that are using ClickFunnels alone and they said they love it. I just have so much training in Infusionsoft, it’s one of the things like I think I want to do this, and I know how to do it there.

You mentioned automated countdown timers. There are a lot of different tips and tricks that will help improve conversion rate on a landing page or a squeeze page. Countdown timers is one, it’s creating some urgency and scarcity. What other tips and tricks do you recommend for somebody’s landing page?

The biggest win on landing pages I think come down to actually doing a lot research on your customer base. Finding what actually excites them, what they want, what they’re looking for. Even if you’re doing a program, like in your case, you’re doing a program on SEO, why does someone want to learn SEO? What’s the behind that that you can really start to push on? I’d start with audience profiling first. That’s not to say that you’re only selling to this person but to get a range of why are people consuming what you have to offer. Make sure that those promises are happening in there or even that you’re testing different entry points. It’s one thing to have a report capture that comes in and say okay, well I’m going to always market it with a name of the report and that’s it. That’s where you can learn a lot is to switch out those titles with, “Okay, well this person, the reason they want to learn SEO is because they want traffic, they’re having trouble with the paid traffic forms. They’re not finding that they can get as much from it long term. They want to have some organic traffic coming back or they know they’re supposed to do it but they don’t know enough about it to really know what to do. They all have different reasons why they’re coming in. I would start with that. Once that’s in place, then all the other, the countdown sequences. Giving someone pressure to get something they want doesn’t quite do the job. If it’s something they really want, adding pressure timers, reminders that they might be missing out on this great piece of content. All those other automation pieces come into play.

Right. If you haven’t identified the pain point, you’re off the track. Whatever kind of bells and whistles that you’re going to apply to landing pages isn’t going to work. What are your favorite tools or techniques for identifying these pain points during the profiling? Are you using SurveyMonkey, or you’re doing it all within Infusionsoft, or what sort of tools?

For the tools alone, we have done SurveyMonkeys. I think the place that it starts though is always before that. It’s walking yourself through your customer’s journey. Even if you’re not 100% right, doing just the thought experiment of, “Okay, I wonder why would they be looking at my page? How did they get here? Where did they come from? What would they really want? What is going on in their business right now that makes them want this?” Starting with that gives you a place to use all the survey information, or know what question to ask. At least you’re doing your homework, I mean do the groundwork first and then those questions will make a lot more sense. I’ve seen so many people go, “Everybody’s telling me if I want to learn about my audience, I have to do a survey.” They get a survey, the information gets back and they can never use it because it wasn’t usable content. The questions weren’t asked in a way that actually answered any issues because they just went, “I wonder how much they’re willing to pay for a product? What product titles do they want?” You might be completely off mark but after a brainstorming session with your team, or just thinking through it yourself, then talking to some of your clients, you’ll know what those questions are that are missing.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Understand what the customer journey is, do your brainstorming, do a focus group with some customers or prospective customers, and then formulate your survey or questionnaire.

Yeah. I’ve had brands completely launch off of that. Doing that alpha group outreach is what we call it. We don’t know what we have yet but we know we’re starting something. They were just like, “Whatever it is, just let me know. After talking to you, I want it.” We’ve had products actually launched off of that.

Not everything should be automated or can be automated. What would you recommend for the non-automatable stuff? How do I get more people involved? How do I solve these problems in a way that doesn’t put me in front of the keyboard 24/7? This would fall in line with your new product, the VA Master Class. How do you gain leverage through virtual assistants, through offshore teams, and what have you, what are your recommendations there?

Yeah. I start by getting really clear of what we’re doing and what we need. I usually take responsibility to learn anything new. If we’re trying a new software, or we’re trying a new application, or new concept in social media, I like to be at the forefront of the testing of that. I want to refine it. I want to make sure it does fit our brand before I try to systemize it and send it to somebody else. It’s really hard to know if someone did a good job if you’ve never done it, if you’ve never touched it. I generally start with doing the process then thinking, “How can we optimize this? How can I get this done faster even if it was just me doing it.” I keep working and refining. When I get to a place where I feel like this is something I can finally tell someone from start to finish, this is exactly what I want done and I know the results I’m getting, I’m clear on how I measure it cause I did it for a while for myself, that’s when I start looking at systemizing it through outside sources, through VAs, or through other people in my team. At that point, it’s really about getting clear instructions on how do I distill what I think is best in there. I do this for a very particular reason. I didn’t quite explain it. It’s my business. That is not something that I take lightly. I also have a lot more desire to make sure it happens the right way. If I try to get an employee to do that, even if they’re very talented, there’s always a piece of me that wants to know it really well first, to make sure the pieces that I’m really trying to drive forward, the strategic level elements are always being held into the tactical level so that if that person out there doing that, I know that they’re at least doing it at this base level of standards. It is fitting into where I’m heading. After that, I get the items very clear. I start to break it down, here’s what the task items are. Here’s the concepts I want overarching it in case there’s any creative thinking on their part. I want them to have at least when they look at that task, every time they look at it, they see kind of what I thought was the key elements that have to happen. Then, I have generally delivery methods or some sort of reporting so that I’m getting that information back to me so I can make sure that I’m still getting a check in. There’s so often, people, especially entrepreneurs, I get it, we’re so overwhelmed. It’s not that I haven’t made the mistake, I’m just learning not to. I guess it’s overwhelmed that I just want to hand it to someone. Say, “You know the design, just go ahead and make banners.” Two weeks go by, there’s back and forth, I still don’t like him. If I’ve just taken 15 minutes to look through banners that I liked online and say, “Hey, this is what I’m really looking for.” If I’ve done that extra piece to instill what I want into the process, we get a lot faster to results. I have someone that’s growing in their ability to serve my company and my audience.

Do you have a set of protocols or series of checklists? Do you create a library of screen casts? What does the library look like? What’s the information portal, or training regimen that you put people through when you on board them?

The on boarding is generally starting with lower, clearer projects. I’m not taking it all the way to the finish line. If I’m having someone, I’m testing their writing ability. I’m not going to have them front faced post something to my group. It’s not going to happen. What I’ll first do is I’ll have them maybe do a headline exercise, that’s how I work them up. I give them feedback on that, refine them as writer and what it is to write for us. Eventually, I’ll do something weird. Maybe they’re writing post but then there’s a writer always reviewing it. Basically, an editor doing final check that I trust, that I know they’re writing for a long time. It’s basically stages of they have the ability to prove themselves, then move into where there’s less and less in between of them getting the idea and concept early, then moving with it.

What would be some of the key things that people get wrong when they’re bringing on a VA or they’re hiring a virtual team? Let’s say they found some team out of the Philippines. They’re going to delegate  big projects other than just like, “Okay, here are the keys, create a whole bunch of banners for me.” What are some of the other mistakes that you see?

Yeah. That is a fantastic question because that is one where we’re seeing a lot of mistakes. Actually, people that really need help and support entrepreneurs, I tried hiring someone from the Philippines and it just didn’t work. They didn’t get concepts right, they didn’t have the skills of a manager, or they started grouping that everybody from the Philippines is going to be the same. It’s like any culture, there is a large group of people over there, there’s massive difference in their abilities and skills. Even if they have similar levels of skills, it might not be a fit for you and how you like to interact. I’d say that the first thing that I see people doing that messes it up is they’ve been told a lot about like this kind of one off work. It’s a low entry thing to be able to drop $20 and hopefully get a banner that’s holding you up and building your website. As you’re starting out as an entrepreneur, that can seem like a lot of money but what you don’t really get is the time it takes to make sure that the quality is there, that it really does represent you. If you have someone that’s just one off, you have to spend all that time getting them to speed on what you really want, back and forth. By the time they even have a glimmer of what you need, they’re done with the project and they’re moving on. They’re like I can’t do any more iterations, or you have to pay for it and the price starts going up. We find that looking at even hiring a part time or a full time position, either one of those, is a much better way to go about it. It forces you to do two things though. First, you think about your business differently, because now you’re a manager and owner, you’re not just, “Okay, I’m an entrepreneur trying to get everything done.” This thing’s in my way. You now have to go, “Okay, I need on going work for this person.” You have to start thinking about how to get that value back out of having someone on payroll or on a regular basis. I like it because it forces you to start thinking bigger. It does really get you out of that perception of like, “No, the logo’s the only thing that’s holding me up.” Every design piece that you have coming down the chute is holding you up right now. If you want to keep thinking about that or hoping that someone at Fiverr is going to help you, or that you can hire someone for a one off project, you have you retrain them every time. Six months later, you spent way more time and spent way more money than it would have cost just to get someone on staff. It is a fear of like, “What if I don’t know what to give them and now I’m just wasting money?”

You have to start thinking about how to get that value back out of having someone on payroll or on a regular basis. I like it because it forces you to start thinking bigger. Click To Tweet

Right. Yeah. I say quality assurance is one of the biggest things to make sure that you have in place. One way that I’ve done it is I’ve had a VA supervisor, somebody based here in the states who is really reliable, meticulous, and detail oriented. She is in charge of overseeing all the other VAs. That seems to work pretty well.

Yeah, I fully agree. I’m lucky enough to have one of my business partners takes that roles. She’s phenomenal at it. If you can do that quality assurance before anything even gets back to you, it can save you a ton of time. It is a matter of where your business is. If you’re an early starting stage that was the more example I gave, as you get later, if you can take someone who’s really talented that you really trust, and you have the relationship with, they can suddenly have a team of people under them. That’s way more affordable that if you had to hire all of the same employees here in the US, there’s a lot they can do, and a lot they can accomplish. I really like that strategy.

Yeah. What if you’re looking for a specialist? Let’s say Infusionsoft, or Leadpages, or ClickFunnel, or all the above, whatever. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into being a good implementer. The person doing the hiring probably is not a good implementer, they don’t know all the right questions to be able to fare out whether the person is legit or is just blowing smokes. What’s your process that you recommend for somebody to hire a good Infusionsoft person, or automation person, whatever?

Those are one of those areas I think are critically important. Something going wrong is the difference of losing your business or not. I don’t take those very lightly. I start by looking at people. I don’t want someone who’s okay at Infusionsoft. I don’t want a string of people who are okay at Infusionsoft. I want to know someone really can do it. I know that gets expensive but then I start to look to services is usually what I’ll do at that level.

Right. You favor using a service, an agency, over just an individual in the case of something really specialized like Infusionsoft.

Yeah, I do.

Got it, okay. What about the marketing pieces to a sales funnel. Let’s say a video sales letter, or a long form sales letter, the trip wire, all that sort of stuff. Let’s talk about what are some of the best practices that you’ve seen work best for you and your clients?

Okay. The biggest thing I’m seeing right now, and I’m absolutely loving, is something that I’m really excited that technology is finally making it easy. That is truly segmenting your audience at every level and knowing where someone is in an ad sequence. You can keep moving them up the channel by thinking about where they actually are. That is one of the most exciting things that I’m seeing right now. Best practices is really thinking about, it’s not just one channel and you’re going to feed them all the way through. What happens if? What if they don’t click on the video? What if they don’t download the report? What are you doing now? What if they came through the ad but didn’t respond? What do you do next? That is I think where the more exciting stuff is happening in marketing because it’s finally allowing the technology to add some human understanding. I really do love the movement towards that. Beyond that, when you’re early in the cycle, or anything before you’re pitching someone heavy, give them value. Really do add more than they would think is what you’re going to add. People say that all the time, people like Gary Vaynerchuk, he really pushes, “Give your best stuff first. Get out there and give the biggest thing you have.” That’s going to decide if they ever see you again, if they ever care to. I think that is critically important. If you can deliver massive value upfront, they’ll want to know more about you. They’ll want to pay for your programs, they’ll stick around, maybe they won’t buy the first time but they know, hey every time he offers me something, I’m going to jump in because last time he really delivered. That’s a business built, not just a channel working.

Right. That’s good advice, add massive value and do it upfront. Frank Kern describes it as give results in advance.

Yes. I do love that method. Because then you have to think about what would they walk away with? Did they do something, did their business get better? Fantastic.

Yup. The segmenting, there’s a lot of decision points in different branches in the tree. It can get really complicated. Is there a particular solution that you like to go with or recommend for templating this out, not having to figure this all out, reinventing the wheel from scratch every time. Digital Marketer for example has a product they call the Machine which has figured out a lot of different Infusionsoft sequences. Any favorites?

I’ll thank Frank Kern for this, it’s a program called Lucidcharts. It’s basically just a process diagram thing but it’s really easy, it’s fluid. If you’ve ever done processes diagram, it forces what you think is just a big chunk thought into okay, what decision is being made here? What decision point? Now, what happens? We walk through all of our sequences there before we put them into Infusionsoft. In Infusionsoft, we have obviously another visual representation, that’s been really nice. As long as you know what your sections are, what your sequences really are and name them correctly, you can get pretty far off seeing a visual flow through your system. Knowing, “Hey, this is kind of being left out there. What happens when they do this? I didn’t do anything yet.” Lucidchart, I recommend, anybody can go and jump in there. It allows you to think beyond what the Infusionsoft system allows. Or if you’re using multiple systems outside, you’re using ClickFunnels or any of the others, that’s at least a visual representation. It’s a great place to start because it start seeing more concrete and now it’s real to build, just go section by section.

Right, cool. Have you heard of a product called GERU?

Yeah. I actually got to click around the interface. It was interesting but I didn’t get a long stint with it, just enough to play with it.

Right. It’s pretty cool. I signed up with the tool. They’re about to launch 2.0 version of it. John Reese’ product. It basically allows you to run simulations and say what if we got a funnel that looked like this at these kind of conversation rates at each step of the funnel, what would happen? What if we got double the opt-in rate or responses, or whatever? Very cool.

Yeah. I did. I did some made up modeling. I’ve done everything in spreadsheets so I have a lot of, whenever I build a new channel, I’m already working out those privileges conversions at every conversion point. It was nice that you can just tackle it on and play with any of the percentages. There’s fall off rates if you had a membership site, it was really neat.

Yeah. That’s something to consider checking out, GERU. I’ll put links, we’ll have links to all the different products and things that we’ve talked about in the show notes by the way. Be sure to go to the Marketing Speak website for all that. What about video sales letters? Are those still effective? VSLs, or long form sales letters, are those still effective? What are you seeing in the market place?

Yes. Everything done well is still working. It works for the same reason it worked originally, the concepts are still working. There is a place where it’s novel. They seem to work better so you can get away with more. People think, “Oh, this is going to change everything.” The truth is the fundamentals still work. People still need to see it in a certain way. Some people don’t consume video very well, some people need to see it in written forms, some long form sales letters are stronger there. You have to know your audience again. If you’re going for maybe baby boomers in high range, maybe you don’t want us to do a lot of social media interaction, Facebook Live. You want to get the content, maybe a longer thing that they can actually print out and read at their own time, or even mail it to them so they have a physical form. They are all working long form sales letters, I see those convert all the time. The videos are powerful because they allow someone to get a feel for you. That doesn’t mean that everybody should be on video, some people that’s not what you want. They’re not as I guess crafted in speaking skills. They don’t really come off well. You have to be very careful about who the actor or the star is for those pieces.

Alright. Let’s talk about the most effective funnels out there. Let’s say that somebody hires you to do some funnel build outs. What are the kinds of funnels that you’re building? Are they survey funnels? Are they lead magnet? Opt in to get a free PDF? Is it more like somebody coming in from Facebook to a blog post, then you retarget them later with lead magnet? What is a good funnel build out or series of funnel build outs in your opinion?

That’s two questions. Starting with the client first, I would be looking for leveraging whatever they have already going. If they have a good customer list, I’m going to try to find ways to interact and really widen that back up, get some more interaction with them, offer offers that we know they want and have wanted in the past. You first start seeing what we can bring out of there to feed them to the channel. Next, I’d be looking at paid forms. I think the trick to paid forms especially as competition is coming in is to have a contingency plan. You’re paying for the person to come click on something, or interact with something on the frontend. Everybody stops and goes, “Oh, that ad didn’t work.” Even if you’re going to test, have a contingency, have something, okay great, I know more about them than I did before they clicked. What did they click on? Why did they interact with it? Now, can I add something and actually target them again with retargeting to move them to the next level and keep that conversation going? That long tail of saying hey no. I paid just to open this conversation with them here even if this ad doesn’t absolutely crush it, it’s making me a huge ROI. If I’m taking everything and I’m doing in the testing and saying, “Okay, let’s see what happens after they’ve interacted with this first one. See if we get stronger and move them forward that way.” That is the biggest thing I’m seeing in funnels is just have contingency plans for what’s happening next and keep eyes on the prize. I guess knowing where you want them to exactly to going, keep the communication pointing in that direction while taking care of where they are.

Sure, cool. Any particular favorite examples of very effectively done sequences, funnels. Todd Herman for example does this 90 Day Year program which I think is a really well done program but it’s also a really well done marketing campaign with very nice looking landing page and email sequence. He’s got great joint venture partners, and so forth. It’s all around just really well executed. Another great one is Michael Port, he wrote Public Speaking, really impressed with his funnel. All the details have been seem to. Any favorite examples of products or campaigns with great funnels?

I really like, I think it’s well structured and always done beautiful channels is Digital Marketer. I really do like that they know that they want to convert someone to a customer early. That changed the perception and how someone feels about the brand. You can see that in all of their channels. They have very on par like content, the people are definitely interested in now. They’re feeding it through, always have some new guide. Almost immediately, there’s that $7 offer. They’ve really stuck to even everybody knows what’s going on, they’re still really sticking this. Get this piece, get this layout, this diagram, this design, this small course. Whatever it is, they’re really try to move people over that line because they have gotten that long tail value of a customer. Once they’ve converted you as customer, they know you behave different. They can also reward you better for it. They’ll start feeding you stronger ads as you move up. I guess it keeps it clean. They’re not thinking like three steps down your channel, “Okay, this could be that entrepreneur that isn’t really thinking about it but doesn’t really know what they’re doing yet, doesn’t really want to invest anything in it, or doesn’t like training programs.” They know by that step this person is a learner. They have interacted with the brand. That they like the material they’re offering. They have a much stronger way to keep moving them forward.

Yeah, I’m a fan of Digital Marketer as well. I’ve had Molly Pittman on the show. Great episode. Listeners, be sure to check out Molly Pittman’s episode of Marketing Speak podcast. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. Do you go to the Traffic and Conversion Summit Conference that Digital Marketer puts on?

I went to one a couple of years ago. It is one of the strongest grouping of content that I’ve seen like actionable. I think it’s a phenomenal job. I really like Ryan Deiss.

Yeah. It’s a great conference. I just signed up for their next year’s conference. They just released early bird tickets. It always sells out so don’t wait too long on it.

I got my whole team going to the Content and Commerce. We have a lot of businesses that are in the ecommerce space. That’s next where we’re going to.

Yup. Basically, Digital Marketer’s competing with Content Marketing World.

Yeah.

Yeah. Content Marketing World is a great conference. I’ll be speaking at that in the next week. I’ve actually had Joe Pulizzi, the founder of Content Marketing World and Content Marketing Institute on this podcast too.

Nice.

Any other conferences or masterminds that you want to mention that are your favorites or worthy of mentioning?

I’ll go back to Dan Kennedy. He always nails it. He’s been around for so long. All of the ideas and concepts I think that are coming out of new marketers. People that we think are legends now but they are all Dan Kennedy trained. I always stay in contact with what content is coming out of GKIC and what they’re doing next. Just Dan Kennedy’s take on how the market is shifting and bringing us back to the basics. Absolute love. I would highly recommend going to GKIC event.

Dan Kennedy’s take on how the market is shifting and bringing us back to the basics. Absolute love. I would highly recommend going to GKIC event.

Yup. I was recently at their Super Conference in late April.

Nice.

Yup. I’m going to have Dan Kennedy on the show actually.

Really? Awesome. That’s going to be fun.

That was a big deal to get him.

He’s the Godfather of modern marketing.

Although, I don’t know. Maybe Jav or him. He’s also a guest of the show. I’ve had everybody. Anybody who’s awesome, either an upcoming guest or he’s already been on. Are you putting on any live events? Like two day, or three day seminars, or do you have any in the works that you’re thinking about putting up?

We are not at the moment. We are really diving in deep on the programs and making sure that they grow with our audience, especially with the monthly one. We really want that to be a building of our base. The people we’ve really taken care of from as early as they interacted with us so that they continue through and become very strong base. It’s been our focus. We’ll probably go to events but I don’t see that next 12 months or anytime soon.

Got it. It’s a lot of work. I’ve been working on trying to get a live event going here for my fan base, it’s a three days seminar. It’s a lot of expense, it’s a lot of planning and effort. If you don’t fill the seats, you’re on the hook. Big contract with the hotel and everything. It’s a big deal.

There has been a trend I’ve seen in early entrepreneurs where they have a 1/8 day event on the backend of a larger event. One that really like a big event, like the Conference Aversion or Content and Commerce. Throwing a one day event and they really market it out to their crowd. If you know that your audience or the people you’ve been targeting for a while are likely to be at an event, you can always do that. It’s easier for them to make it there because it’s just extending a flight.

Yup, that’s true. Or, you could rent out a suite, do some lunch and learns or breakfast executive briefings. Bring in an analyst or somebody, have a headliner, do an early morning thing.

That’s fantastic. That’s done so much in more of the corporate world. Bringing that back to information products would be great.

Cool. How would somebody, if they were interested in working with you, how would they get in touch? Or if they wanted to sign up with your master class or your membership site, what’s the next step?

The easiest way to get a hold of us is skirmishstrategies.com. On that, our programs are prominently displayed about mid level. Any of the opt-ins will take you into our sequences also and get you a little bit of, we always have an indoctrination or sort of goodwill piece at the beginning so you get to know who we are. That’s probably the cleanest way to get started. Check us out and see what’s going on and see what you like. As far as social, you can find me on Facebook at joelbower/skirmishstrategies is the handle, or @JoelBowerReal on Twitter.

Awesome. Well, thank you Joel. It was great having you on. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

Sure, thank you.

Yup. Listeners, be sure to check out the show notes for all the links, all the different resources and tools that we mentioned throughout the show. We also create a checklist of the top things that you should do based on advice given during this episode. Be sure to download that PDF checklist. This is Stephan Spencer signing off. We’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak.

Important Links:

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ It is time to test your email sequences. Go and sign up just like you would if you were a customer. Read each email that comes as though you have never seen it, follow the links. Make a plan to test regularly, particularly after you make any changes.

☑ Make a list of all the social network platforms that your company uses. Take time to look at your stats. Do you understand each platform? Which ones do you need to take time to study more?

☑ Review the live feed videos that your company has put out in the last six months? Do they feel ‘real’? Do they invite interaction? Make a plan to improve both the quality and content of your live streams going forward.

☑ Schedule a brainstorming session with your team, a mastermind group, customers, and mentors to help you come up with a comprehensive list of your customers possible entry points.

☑ Are you segmenting your audience to your best advantage? Where are all of the places that you have people enter, drop off, or become stagnant within your marketing plan? Make a plan to address these points with your team.

☑ Make it a priority to visit with members of your team to talk about your overarching goal for your company and how their job fits with that. Learn about the tasks they do. This process will help you ensure the marketing steps your company is taking are moving you in the direction you want to go.

☑ Take an honest inventory of where your marketing strategies are working and where they are not. Formulate a plan to revamp or improve in those areas that are no longer working so well.

☑ Are you leveraging the things that your company already does well? Think of one or two things that you and your team are AMAZING at, then come up with 10 ways you can expand on them.

☑ Look at your data, pinpoint a few places where people have dropped off your radar screen or gone from very engaged to not very engaged. Time to play detective. Comb through your data and see if you can pinpoint what may have caused the departure. Don’t be afraid to use a direct approach, call someone up and ask them how you annoyed them or what caused them to drop off

☑ Take time this week to go check out the marketing wisdom on www.SkirmishStrategies.com.

About Joel Bower

Joel is the CEO of Skirmish Strategies and with over a decade of experience running and starting dozens of different businesses. He is currently running a number of successful physical and information product businesses. He is also a public speaker, marketing consultant, and business trainer.

 

 

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