Solopreneurs have an overwhelming amount of work to do. Between maintaining their sites, networking, social media, taxes and – oh yes- the work they actually get paid for, it’s almost too much. For some, it’s definitely too much – it’s not uncommon for solopreneurs to work 60, 80, occasionally even 100 hours a week.
That’s no fun, and the lack of fun isn’t even the worst part. It’s a great way to go out of business. You can’t keep that pace up forever. Fortunately, there are ways to pare down your to do list. Marketing automation is one of the best places to start.
Let’s pause here and define marketing automation. I am not talking about complex, expensive software systems that require hours of training to use and end up needing hours a week to maintain.
What I am talking about is a tool you’ve already got – your GetResponse account. There are some clever features in your account that can help you attract clients and customers, and bring them through the buying cycle in a customized way that pretty much runs on autopilot.
Ready to go? Here’s the speed course in GetResponse marketing automation for solopreneurs.
Determine who are your ideal clients or customers
We are going to talk about cool features and automation triggers, but that’s not actually what delivers the magic here. The magic is in the strategy, and the strategy starts with the end in mind.
So think back over the last year or so. Who were your very best clients or customers? Try to define them. In marketing terms, this is called a profile. There’s no need to get fancy with your profiles – 10 page documents aren’t required. But a half page description is a good idea.
Ask yourself: Does your ideal client/customer have a title? Do they read certain websites? Do they have specific needs and concerns? Do they tend to like social media, videos, search engines, or webinars?
Try to define your ideal clients or customers into 2-5 different profiles. Keep in mind that more is not better here: Keep your profiles list as short as possible.
Determine how your ideal clients or customers found you
How do you build relationships with your best clients/customers? If that sounds a little too touchy-feely, use the marketing term and ask yourself “What’s their sales funnel?” Sales funnels are the paths people take to find you, trust you and then buy from you.
Typically, it takes about 10 different interactions with a company before a customer is ready to buy. Those ten “touches” will be different for every company and every buyer. Sometimes the buying cycle is super-short, like 5 minutes. Other times it takes two years.
To illustrate what two buying processes or sales funnels might look like, here are the sales funnels for an affiliate and a consultant:
Think about the buying process (or sales funnel) your top 20% of clients or customers when through. Write out a few of the paths they took to become your customers or clients in a flow chart like the ones above.
Now that you know whom you’re going after and how to go after them – now we add the automation. Enter one of the best marketing automation tools you could ask for: your GetResponse account.
Autoresponders are the original marketing automation tool
The first and most obvious way you can automate your emails is to use autoresponders. Those are email messages that are queued up and sent at intervals you define, with messages you can write months or even years in advance.
Autoresponders are often used for ecourses. The site owner writes a series of emails (say 20 different email messages for the entire course), then sets the autoresponder to send each new subscribe a new lesson every, say, 3 days. It could be every 5 days, or every week. Set it to whatever you want. You could actually use an autoresponder to even fake a weekly newsletter, but there’s an easy alternative that can deliver more timely content.
RSS to Email is AOK
While you could fake a weekly email as an autoresponder, it’s better to set up RSS to email in your GetResponse account. Once RSS to email is working, every time you write a blog post your subscribers will get an email. This can save you hours (even days) of work over the course of a year.
There’s a nice video tutorial on how to set up RSS to email here:
Gettin’ fancy: Event-based Autoresponders
Autoresponders and RSS to email are just the start of what’s possible. Did you know you can send people an autoresponder based on which link they click in an email? You can. It’s in your account under Messages > Create Autoresponder.
You could use this feature to offer an ecourse on a specific topic. Say you’re an affiliate for home theatre systems. You’ve reviewed your top affiliate links and discovered people tend to come to them through your home theatre setup videos.
You could offer the first video in the series as a link in your weekly email. Then, the people who are interested in those setup videos could get that video series. You’ll have identified who is likely to be a high-value prospect and you’ll be giving them content tailored exactly to their interests.
For another example, say you’re a social media consultant. You’ve built a Facebook presence for several clients now, and it tends to be work that’s easy for you, that you get paid really well to do, and that your clients love. So what if you created an ecourse of how to build a Facebook presence, with a little link at the bottom of each ecourse email offering “done for you” services?
Only some of your email subscribers will click through on this link, but for the ones that do, you’ll have segmented out the potential high value clients, and be delivering them content that’s 100% on target for them. Sweet.
Ninja lead magnet trick
If you’ve been following along with the GetResponse blog, you know how big we are on creating lead magnets for your email opt-ins. Ok – maybe you call lead magnets “freebies”, “free reports” signup incentives, even “ethical bribes” – but whatever you call them, they’re the extra-valueable pieces of content you offer website visitors in exchange for their emails.
Well, there’s a ninja technique to lead magnets. You can offer more than one.
If you’ve got two, three, or four different high-quality pieces of content that are worth trading for an email address, you can create different opt-in forms for each lead magnet. Then you can place those special opt-in offers near content that’s related to the opt-in. For example – you put the SEO lead magnet offer at the bottom of any post you write about SEO. You put the Facebook opt-in offer at the bottom of any post you write about Facebook.
Those are just examples. Depending on your marketing funnel, you could offer lead magnets specifically designed to attract the interest of website visitors at different phases of the buying cycle.
Here’s where it gets funky: And you can automatically move people from one campaign to another as they move through the buying cycle.
You set up an automation rule in your GetResponse account.
To find this feature, go to the Dashboard and select the campaign pull-down menu in the upper right hand corner. Click “Automation” below the list of your campaigns.
How to use automation rules
As an example, let’s assume you’ve got a fairly simple buying cycle. First, people get your “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO”, then they get “The Intermediate Guide to SEO”, finally, they get “The Advanced Guide to SEO”. Each report has it’s own opt-in form, and it’s own campaign within your GetResponse account.
To move people through the buying cycle, you create a rule that whenever someone signs up for “The Intermediate Guide to SEO”, GetResponse takes them off the campaign for “The Beginner’s Guide”.
In the next step through the buying cycle, when they request “The Advanced Guide to SEO”, you can set up another rule to remove them from The Intermediate Guide list once they’re confirmed for The Advanced list.
There are dozens of way to use these automation techniques in your business. Carefully applied, they can take most of the heavy lifting for client or customer education off your to do list.
Are you using any of these automation tricks in your email marketing? Are you using anything I didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.