A client recently asked about my personal best practices for Infusionsoft. So I've decided to organize them into what I'm calling my "10 Infusionsoft Commandments." I'm pretty sure this list isn't exhaustive but will provide you with a nice little perspective on how I approach marketing automation with the app.
Commandment #1 - "Thou Shalt Collect As Much Data As Possible"
Your marketing communications are only as good as what you know about your prospects and customers. If you want to scale while keeping the "personal touch," use your leveraged ears to listen to your prospects. In Infusionsoft, your ears are "tags."
Tags are labels you place on a contact's record every time they do or tell you something. And unlike human filters and faulty memories, tags will always be there as reminders (during live human interaction) or as criteria to be used in conditions to send the right message to the right person at the right time.
Commandment #2 - "Thou Shalt Track Every Click"
You should rarely be using the regular hyperlink tool in Infusionsoft. I only use it when pressed for time. And even then, I vow to correct it later.
Every link sent in an e-mail should be an automation link. How else will you know if they have clicked? (Sure, if you're a savvy user, you may run some type of page loading script that can run actions when they hit your landing page, but for most people, automation links are the way to go).
Automation links are powerful because you can run actions when the user clicks on them. For starters, you can tag them "Clicked E-mail XYZ." This tag alone can be used to determine if they should receive a second or third follow-up reminding them to take the desired action. If they've gotten the tag, you can simply take another approach since they've clearly clicked but haven't bought. Not tracking this sort of activity is a grave mistake.
Commandment #3 - "Thou Shalt Use Conditions For Most E-mails"
Sure, some e-mails are meant for all prospects in a particular sequence. But if all your e-mails are being sent to all prospects, you're probably not harnessing the full power of Infusionsoft.
If you're adhering to this commandment, your sequences will hardly ever have steps labeled, "Send An E-mail." Instead, they'll use the "Run Some Actions" step instead. Why? Because, you can't run conditions on the former. But if you choose, "Run Some Actions," and simply place the same e-mail inside the action set, you'll notice a magical little button underneath it that says: "Only run this action when certain rules are met."
This simple checkbox, "Only run this action when certain rules are met," is the heart of my follow-up strategy. It allows you to make certain rules that must be true in order for the prospect to receive the step. One example might be sending an e-mail to everyone who clicked the last e-mail. You'd simply create a rule (aka - "condition") that says: "must have 'clicked xyz e-mail' tag."
Without conditions, my philosophy of "scaling personal attention" would be impossible.
Commandment #4 - "Thou Shalt Incorporate Other Marketing Channels"
If you're like me, the affordable cost of e-mail marketing is most definitely appealing to you. But as I had to learn, effective marketing is never an outright expense, only an investment. Using Infusionsoft only for e-mail marketing is like having a Ferrari parked in the garage everyday. You've got a beautiful, exotic car that's not being driven like it should.
The power of Infusionsoft is that it can integrate just about every marketing channel you'll need. If generating leads online, e-mail communications will get the conversation started. But at some point, either through an "Address Getting Offer" or other means, you'll get their address and start following up offline. If you're like me, you're giving them a reason to give you their mobile number right upfront (to join my free "Monday Music Minute" Tip-Of-The-Week mobile club, which sends up to 3 years worth of automated text messages every Monday).
When they've passed a certain threshold, you can even create an automatic task that appears in your sales rep's dashboard instructing them to call the client to move them forward.
The point is: E-mail is no longer enough. Especially in this new economy. The marketer who surrounds prospects and customers with what I've coined, "360 Degree Marketing" will win.
Commandment #5 - "Thou Shalt Limit Number of Front End Follow Up Sequences"
When you have too many front end sequences, you'll soon end up with a single prospect on 10 concurrent sequences receiving an uncontrollable amount of e-mails.
On the other hand, when you use few front end sequences (which are executed from a web form the user submits), you can better control exactly which sequences they get on and how often they are communicated with. This is not to say you're not taking advantage of the Infusionsoft follow-up machine. You're just being a little more strategic with how users get on each follow-up sequence.
I'll talk about my Follow-Up Pyramid concept one day (so far, limited to consulting clients) but it includes starting users at a base level follow up sequence, which limits frequent communication. Then, once the prospect has proven themselves to be interested in your material (by the number of tags they have accumulated by clicking links), you can bump them up to the next follow up sequence, which increases the frequency of communications. Once they've passed another threshold, they are bumped up to a more frequent, more aggressive follow-up sequence. All the way up to a fifth level (Pareto's Top 20% group), which may communicate with them every 1-3 days.
Remember, an uninterested prospect will never want to hear from you and your marketing should never be based on this "bottom of the pyramid" group. Conversely, you may find that a rabid customer can't get enough of you!
The lesson here is that the ascension all happens in the backend. They start with preferably ONE front end sequence but eventually rise to the top, 4 sequences later. Replicate this concept in every major funnel (lead, customer, fan) and watch your profits soar.
Commandment #6 - "Thou Shalt Never Let Technology Limit Goals"
Perhaps you've heard of all the neat things Infusionsoft can do outside of its core functionality, but you're afraid to explore the API (which is basically what allows Infusionsoft to talk to outside services and websites). In fact, I still can't fully explain API. All I know is my programmer knows how to build stuff that works with it.
For example, I wanted to be able to store how much a customer has spent in a custom field. I wasn't satisfied with only seeing it in the upper right hand corner. I wanted that same number inside a custom field so that I can use it to determine which customers get direct mail, Starbucks cards, cookies, Cheesecake Factory certificates, and more.
I simply went on vworker.com (others include odesk.com & elance.com) and found someone to make it happen. I copied and pasted the Infusionsoft Developers site to them and a day later, I had a script with instructions on where to use it in my sequence. Bada bing, bada boom!
Commandment #7 - "Thou Shalt Never Waste A Campaign Step"
Just because it's a step in your follow-up sequence doesn't mean it will get opened, read, or clicked. Never before in all of human history has your prospect been this distracted, interrupted, and stretched. To waste a step that didn't even get seen is a huge error.
Going back to commandment #2, if you've tracked every click, you'll know exactly what they've done, or lack thereof. If you want to change up the headline of the step, go ahead. But I'm here to tell you that in most cases, that isn't necessary. You simply create another step a few weeks in the future but choose the same action set from the drop down rather than creating a new one. Now you've got the same action set running on, say, day 10 and day 40. Just make sure the e-mail is conditioned upon them NOT having the appropriate tag for clicking on that particular link.
Commandment #8 - "Thou Shalt Not Be Scared Of The Word 'No'"
My favorite saying is, "The Sale Doesn't Start Until They Say No." And it's true. Everything before that is considered "window shopping" to me. Assuming you're targeting the right person, when they've failed to raise their hands or take you up on your next step should be when the fun starts. That's when you pull out every creative means of exposing them to another element of your offering.
If e-mail's not working, move them to a teleseminar. If that doesn't work (because they are still "tagless"), put them on a live or automated webinar. If they still haven't moved, send them a direct mail package (assuming you've gotten their address or they're an existing customer). If that doesnt' work, try a series of online videos to re-educate and indoctrinate. If none of these leveraged communications work, put a live rep on them. But then, at least you'll know they've been exposed to your offering so much that the phone sale can start there rather than in the beginning.
"Bob, this is Jermaine. Hey, you've downloaded my report, attended my teleseminar, logged on to my webinar, received my package in the mail --- and you still haven't bought? What's wrong with you?!?" (believe it or not, the Director of Tennis at my country club has positioned himself as this cool, say-what's-on-his-mind kinda guy and this is exactly how he comes at me when I've failed to schedule more tennis lessons.)
"Are you still serious about your game? Didn't you say you want to get out there with the big boys one day? Well, what are you doing?" (Michael Chang happens to live in my community and plays at the same club).
Again, the sale doesn't start until they say no.
Commandment #9 - "Thou Shalt Never Fear E-mailing The Right Person Too Much"
As mentioned in commandment #5, the right person will welcome more frequent e-mails while a single e-mail per month can be too much for the uninterested prospect.
Follow best practices and e-mail compliancy by mailing double opt-ins, making it easy to unsubscribe, and nourishing your list with good content, and you should be fine. Incorporate my follow-up pyramid, which bases frequency of follow-up on responsiveness, and rest assured that only your highest qualified, most interested and engaged prospects will be hearing from you more often.
Never let whiners and complainers dictate your marketing, that is, unless the complaints are overwhelming. If so, you may need to go back to the drawing board.
Commandment #10 - "Thou Shalt Ascend Customers"
The real profits come from repeat, rabid fans. In fact, Vilfredo Pareto taught us just how skewed the relationship between cause and effect really is. Simply put, a relatively small percentage of customers will make up the bulk of your revenues and an even smaller percentage will be largely responsible for most of your profits.
It is the duty of your marketing to systematically identify these prospects and ascend them up your chain of offerings. Through the follow-up pyramid and various buying pattern thresholds (like number of orders, total spent, days since last order, days between repeat orders), you can determine who to spend the most marketing dollars on. If the prospect has bought every product you've produced but is yet to join your thousand dollar coaching program, they deserve to receive your best marketing, even if that means taking them offline with a shock n awe package.
Perfect example - to promote his super conference, Dan Kennedy sent a personalized "Wanted: Dead or Alive" campaign in a tubular mailing with a huge bullet inside (consistent with his "Wild Wild West" conference theme). I've never forgotten that promotion and still have it til this day. That's the power of an expensive "Shock N Awe" direct mail piece targeted at a top client (who he can afford to spend that much because I've proven myself):
Break any one of these commandments at your own peril. Embrace them and watch your sales and profits soar.
Until next time,
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