Carla Miner is joined by Greg Jenkins from Monkeypod Marketing helps us answer a listener questions—how to segment your list, and how to keep promotions fresh?
Dusey: Hello, listeners. This is Dusey, your host of The Small Business Success Podcast. Today, we have a Q&A episode for you, so we've got a question from one of our listeners. We love it when you guys send us questions. You can send those to us at smallbusinesssuccess.com/questions. We have two special guests with us today, first of all we have Carla Miner. Hello, Carla.
Carla MIner: [00:00:30] Hi, how are you?
Dusey: She is joining us from Infusionsoft. I'm good -- sorry, I just ignored your question. Carla, tell us a little bit about what you do here.
Carla MIner: Yes. So, I am a Training Specialist here at Infusionsoft, and prior to that I was a Getting Started Coach, so I have been in the app and trained on small business success, and marketing, and special things like that.
Carla MIner: So that's what my specialty is.
Dusey: Very good, very good. And then we also have joining us today Greg Jenkins form Monkeypod Marketing. Hey, Greg, [00:01:00] how's it going?
Greg Jenkins: What's up, everyone? I'm super pumped to be here. Yeah, it's going really well. Thanks.
Dusey: Tell us a little bit about what you do with Monkeypod Marketing.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, so Monkeypod Marketing is focused on education, specifically for small business owners, and even more specifically, for Infusionsoft users, so I take that Infusionsoft learning curve and I try to minimize it for folks and try to eliminate some of those obstacles and barriers that people come across as they're trying to navigate the software and get an ROI out of it.
Dusey: Fantastic. So you may have noticed, [00:01:30] listeners at home, that both of our guests are Infusionsoft experts today. The main reason for that is that we got a question talking about ... that mentions Infusionsoft specifically. I'll go ahead and read it for you, but if you're not an Infusionsoft customer -- don't worry. There's gonna be plenty of tactics here that you can use in your marketing automation as well. So, here's the question from anonymous: how can I maximize Infusionsoft easily to segment my audience, and keep my content and promotions relevant and fresh? [00:02:00] And just to give you a little bit of background on this, there's a stage four business.
If you're still learning our stages of small business success, go check out our episode that we had a while back on it. I think it's in the 30 somewhere. I should look that up exactly, or you can search for it on our Knowledge Center on learn.infusionsoft.com. But a stage four business, a few million in revenue, four to ten employees, over five years in the business -- just to give you a little bit of context about this person that's asking about how to maximize Infusionsoft, segment audience, keep content and promotions relevant and [00:02:30] fresh. So, Greg, do you have anything right off the bat just with some of that information? What do you start thinking about?
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, absolutely. So, the first thing that I want to comment is just kudos and congratulations to this business for growing as large as they have, especially if they haven't been adopting clear and thorough segmentation tactics because that means that they have a lot of opportunity there. But, Dusey, like you alluded to, this is a question that I think every small business should be asking. [00:03:00] Just as a reminder, Infusionsoft is a tool and it's an awesome tool at that, but the concepts that we're gonna discuss today are not specific to Infusionsoft. Segmentation is a theory and is a practice that small businesses should be implementing and adopting regardless of the platform that you choose.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, I got a couple of thoughts, but specifically do you know the story -- and I'm guessing that Carla or Dusey, at least one of you, probably both of you know -- the "I Have Pain" story [00:03:30] from the Infusionsoft history annals?
Carla MIner: Yeah.
Dusey: Yes. I believe in one of the early episodes we talked about this, so our listeners might even have an inkling of what it is, but I'd love to hear your point of view on it.
Greg Jenkins: Sure, yeah. The short version is Infusionsoft in its early days was a custom software company building custom solutions and one evening they got a call from a gentleman who started the conversation with, "I have pain," and it was just a really awkward to call a software company at nine o'clock on a Wednesday.
Dusey: [00:04:00] Yeah, "Who are you? Are you hurt? Do you need to call 911?"
Greg Jenkins: Exactly, yeah. But what had happened was this gentleman had sent an offer, had sent a promotion, to his list and he had included people who had already purchased that product, and so you guys can all imagine that pain when you have customers who have put their trust in you and then you go right back to them and show them what they just bought at a lower price. That doesn't necessarily build relational equity, right?
Dusey: Yeah. That's ... I just get ... [00:04:30] Every time I think of that, I just sink a little bit.
Carla MIner: Do you have pain?
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, well the good news is that Infusionsoft was built to solve that problem, right? At its very basics, Infusionsoft is a CRM that allows you to see insights as to what your relationship looks like with different aspects of your audience -- and that is segmentation in a nutshell. So, I got a few ideas here for ways to talk about, or reasons that you should be segmenting and ways to segment, but I just [00:05:00] want to have you guys weigh in -- is there anything you want to add from a context perspective to this question?
Carla MIner: The first thing that comes to my mind when people think of that is they only want to hear what they opted in to hear. The simplest example would be like to give to our customers is like a pet store. If I'm interested in cats, don't send me any information about dogs, and vice versa. It all comes down to: what are the expectations and meeting those expectations of your customers. That helps with that segmentation.
Greg Jenkins: Exactly. Yeah, [00:05:30] so that is in a nutshell the essence of what is called "Permission-based Marketing" and there's an excellent book by Seth Godin on that topic, but the concept is people want the things that they're interested in, and they don't care who else you serve, right? As a business, you probably serve more than one demographic. You probably solve more than one problem, but your customers don't care who else you are a good fit for. The more quickly and efficiently you can communicate that, "I have what you're looking for," the more successful [00:06:00] your relationship with any individual is gonna be. At the end of the day, that's what marketing automation affords for us, is the ability to cultivate unique and individual relationships with different aspects of our audience based on what we know about them.
Dusey: I think ... In my experience, it can be surprising, even for a small business that has done a good job at narrowly targeting their audience, and we've talked about that on the podcast before, how important it is to really get narrow about who it is that you're serving, to go after them. Even once you've sliced that as thin as you possibly can, [00:06:30] there's still quite a bit of variation in there in terms of how you're gonna speak to various customers and ... It'd be very rare the business that could get to the point where they have a single message and a single way that they talk about whatever it is that they provide to all of their customers.
Carla MIner: And to add to that, even if the exact same customer profile as every single person that you're communicating with, where they are in the customer journey with you is very different. So if they're a lead that hasn't purchased [00:07:00] yet, or if they've purchased for the very firs time, or they're a reoccurring loyal customer, what you say to those customers is that much More important in how you go about communicating to them.
Greg Jenkins: Totally. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Well said, Carla. So, with regards to Infusionsoft, there are a couple of different ways that you can store information about your audience, and primarily that is contact fields, including custom contact fields, and then also tags. Tags are this kind of mystery wrapped in an [00:07:30] enigma in Infusionsoft because they mean something different to everyone. But at their base, Infusionsoft tags are a segmentation tool. They're a label that you apply to your various customers and prospects denoting something that you've learned about them. One aspect of segmentation that I think a lot of people forget is your customers are offering information to you. Your prospects are telling you about themselves every time they do something. So when they sign up for a blog subscription, or for [00:08:00] an ebook, or for your tip series, or whatever it is that you offer, they're raising their hand and saying, "Yes, this is what I want and this is who I am."
Now the key distinction for Infusionsoft users and marketers in general is what are you doing with that information? Are you listening to what your prospects are already telling you? I find that most people aren't. When your prospects click links, they're expressing psychographic information about what they're interested in, what their attitudes are, what their opinions are, and you should [00:08:30] be taking the time to source that information and then turning it around into meaningful lessons for your market.
Dusey: Absolutely. Yeah, I think taking that time to think ... Yeah, just the behavior that they do with how they interact with your emails, how they interact with your marketing and with your website can start to tell you a lot. There are other ways, like you said, of getting different kind of psychographic information about them, but even starting from that base level is a great place to start.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, and psychographic is a portion of the equation, right? But you also [00:09:00] want to give them the opportunity to tell you about themselves, and some people forget that this is a win-win, right? If you are able to clearly segment your audience, what's that gonna translate into is more meaningful messages, more pertinent and relevant information that you get to the right people sooner. It's gonna result also in the converse of that which is less messages that don't pertain to them.
Greg Jenkins: You're gonna condition them to think that every time you show [00:09:30] up in their inbox, it's something valuable. It's something that they want, and you're gonna build that rapport and that trust that comes along with having them feel like you're listening. It's not magic, but it does take a little foresight to be able to say, "I'm gonna send out a blog post with links to these three topics," so how are you gonna use that information, and if you're gonna use it, how are you gonna track it? That's where it comes down to the strategy of whether it's applying a tag or setting a custom field value so that you can use that information in the future.
Dusey: I think thinking [00:10:00] about it that way is really helpful for those that might have concerns about automating their emails and saying, "Well, the thing that I like about being a small business is that I have personal connection with these people, that I am sending these emails out myself," but if you can take the time to really think about what the majority of your conversations look like, the way that you would talk to different people in different stages of your buying process and get that part of it automated, it can still feel very personal, it can still [00:10:30] be very brand-building, and it doesn't mean that you're not available for those actual personal interactions when the time, or the need, warrants it.
Carla MIner: It adds to the fact that you are building a relationship, so someone might argue, "Well, if I'm going to gather all this information, then when somebody signs up for my ebook I'm gonna have to ask for them to fill out a 20 question application in order to understand who they are," and all reality is they're giving you a little bit of themselves over time. If [00:11:00] you're doing your due diligence and collecting that information, and learning about them, and building that relationship through their behaviors and activities, over time you're going to be able to cater to them much better than you would somebody just coming through your pipeline.
Dusey: Yeah, absolutely.
Greg Jenkins: And it comes down to having the discipline to only ask for information that you need and plan to use, right? A lot of people will ask questions just to learn about their prospects, but they never do anything with that information. I like to encourage people to be a little bit more judicious about [00:11:30] the barrier for entry in terms of what questions they're requiring form people and at what stages. But, Dusey, to your point, yeah this is ... I think that there's a misconception about automation that it takes you out of your business, when in reality I think ... and it can if it's done poorly, but I think automation when it's done well should be seamless and it should multiply what you would do anyway.
This is an example of that, right? The more you're able to segment, the more personal and [00:12:00] targeted those conversations are going to be. If you only had one customer, that's how you would interact with them anyway, and so what you're doing is you're taking the things that you would do on an individual scale and you're using automation to be able to leave a larger footprint.
Dusey: Absolutely. Now, before we start recording, I heard a phrase from you that was reverse engineering permission-based marketing, and I would love for you to kind of walk through what that means and how that can help our listeners.
Greg Jenkins: Sure. So, permission- [00:12:30] based marketing is the concept that you have to obtain permission, specifically about a certain topic or about a certain message before you can deliver it to them. So if you, for example, sign up for my blog post, I'm not gonna start emailing you about my courses because I don't have that permission, and some people misunderstand and they think permission is a blanket statement, so as soon as you give them your email address they're gonna use it and abuse it in whatever way that they feel like they want to. So the reverse engineering aspect comes from ...
Rather [00:13:00] than assuming a blanket permission for everything, I do the opposite where I don't email you about things unless you have explicitly said, "Yeah, that's what I would like," and so rather than taking your message and sending it to everyone and letting some people opt out and refining it that way, I send my messages to really small segments of people and then I let them ask for the things that are important to them. I build my list in sort of a bottom up sort of way where it starts out really narrow and segmented and they only get the things that they asked for [00:13:30] based on the appetite that they express.
Carla MIner: I think that would be the perfect way of going about doing that. I mean, I've talked to many people about permission-based marketing and the idea of just because ... a lot of small businesses, they change over time. They redevelop; they redesign themselves and at that moment, as soon as you've changed who you are, you've lost the permission from your list. They only wanted what they originally signed up for, not you. They didn't opt into you, they opt into [00:14:00] that specific thing. Taking the time to realize that and going through that process, like you're saying, is that much more beneficial for you in the end over time.
Dusey: I think most of our listeners can relate to the experience of doing it the other way, of that blanket permission, right? I know there've been many time where maybe I signed up for something because it seemed interesting at the time -- I do a lot of this podcast stuff and video stuff, so I'm like, "Oh, let me get some great information," and in the back of my mind I know I'm gonna start learning [00:14:30] more about this company ... But I'm getting bombarded with emails that are completely irrelevant to me. I go hit unsubscribe, and there's that big checklist of a million things that you can choose and I'm like, "Too late -- all of them! I don't want any of them anymore, right?"
Carla MIner: "I'm over it."
Dusey: Yep, I'm over it.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, that's it. There's a lot of people ... they prune their list by letting people opt out. They just email everyone everything and they say, "Whatever, they'll figure out what buckets they belong in," and I would challenge people. That's kind of the lazy way of going about it. As a subscriber, we all [00:15:00] kind of cringe when you think about that mentality for a marketer. But as a marketer, people continue to justify it because they say, "Well, I don't know about these people, so they might be interested," and they sure might, but I would argue, or I would contend that you're probably doing more damage to your brand by being in front of people at times that they don't want you in front of them. If you're just a little bit more patient and you take the time to build that relationship and listen to what your prospects are telling you, I feel pretty confident that you would be more successful with that in the long run.
Dusey: Yeah, and you could design ... How we kind of started this conversation, [00:15:30] you can design your experience to give them those opportunities regularly to opt in to those other parts of your marketing if they're interested, and making sure that they're getting those touch bases here and there of, "Hey, we've got this other newsletter, or we've got this other series of emails," or whatever it is that you're wanting to get more people hooked on, you can slowly kind of start to spread that out. That's, I think, a far more effective way of finding those people that are really interested in what you're doing.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, so I think some key summary [00:16:00] points for folks who have made it to this point are that you should ... Yes, of course, you should segment, but that kind of goes without saying. If you know the first few things about marketing, segmentation is a term that you've heard before. But segmentation should come with a plan, and you should think about the things that are important to you, the problems that you solve, and then how will people self-select or will you ask them explicitly, "Which one of these buckets do you fit into?" And then, of course, be judicious and strategic about where in your customer journey you introduce, [00:16:30] or collect, that information and how you're gonna use it moving forward.
Dusey: Awesome. Fantastic. So, along these lines, we have traded a post that also directly answers this question where ... the part that is, "Keeping my content and promotions relevant and fresh." We have a post that is 26 best examples of sales promotions to inspire your next offer, so these are a bunch of different ideas if you're trying to think of ways to fill out [00:17:00] your email marketing, different ways to grab people's attention, and these promotions ... there's a good place in the funnel where it's somebody that's interested, maybe they've purchased once before and you're trying to get them to purchase again.
There's lots of great ideas in here of different ways that you can try to keep your content fresh, and the relevant part of it, I think, goes back to the segmentation that we were talking about earlier. If you want to check this out, this list of 26 best examples of sales promotions, go to bit.ly/26salespromos -- [00:17:30] all one word, all lowercase. That's bit.ly/26salespromos, and also at the bottom of that, there's a link to an ebook that is specifically about flash sales, which is another type of promotion that dives in really deeply if you really want to think through exactly how that promotion is gonna work.
So those are some resources for you, our listeners. I hope you guys find those useful. Do you have any thoughts before we leave, either you Carla, or you Greg, on just different kind of promotion ideas, [00:18:00] that second part of his question there, keeping his promotions relevant and fresh -- his content and promotions.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, so I'll chime in first, and then, Carla, I'll let you clean up my mess, but what I would recommend is not overthinking this. If you have a product, whatever that product or that service is that you plan to promote, and you know that you don't want to promote it to people who already have it -- well, it's as simple as what are you going to do to denote, or annotate, or segment [00:18:30] the people who have already taken that action, who have already bought that product. At Infusionsoft, it's probably a tag, but in any other system you're gonna have your own way -- the marketing systems are all sophisticated enough to track that -- but you're gonna have your own way of removing that group. And then in the future, whether it's a campaign or an email broadcast, whenever you promote that product, well, you're gonna use that tag as a suppression to make sure people who have already taken that action don't get it.
I'm talking about purchases, here, but it's the same [00:19:00] thing for downloading content, or registering for a webinar, right? If you have any action you want people to take, make sure you know how to find people who have already taken that action so you can remove them from the messages encouraging them to do so.
Carla MIner: That's awesome. The other thing I would like to add is when you're thinking about content, and promotions, and communications to your listeners or readers, it's important to think that just because you're the subject matter expert in an industry, not to content dump on your [00:19:30] readers. If you have a lot that you would like to share, give it to them in little bite-sized pieces, little golden nuggets, because then you have a lot that you can share and that gives you a good timeline to think about all the little golden nuggets that you can share over time.
Dusey: Awesome. My pice of advice around trying to come up with new idea for content promotions is check out what your competitors are doing. It doesn't necessarily mean to copy them -- if they're doing something great then go right ahead. But check out what they're doing and see ... you might get some good ideas from them, put [00:20:00] your own spin on it. They might be going about it a completely different way. The other thing I would say is even though we talked a lot about really defining your target audience and getting narrow on it, you can go wide on your content if you have a good idea of who your customers and potential customers are.
In a previous episode, we talked about if there's a company that all they do is sell trees, well you can start off talking about trees, but then you might create more content that's around just gardening in general, and [00:20:30] then you might realize, "Well, a lot of my customers like gardening and they're also have more information about landscaping, and you know what, they're also really into home decorating," so I might get some tangential content that's close to whatever the lifestyle is that kind of connects with that specific reason that they're interested win your brand in the first place. That's on the content side of it, but you can kind of still use that same thinking about promotions of, "Well, who is my target customer and what are they interested in? There might be some way that I can tie into promotion to things [00:21:00] that they're interested in that aren't really directly the sorts of things that I'm normally typically worried about."
Check out your competitors and kind of broaden your content ideas of what content could be, and that should give you a lot of thought for ... a lot of things to think about: to write in your emails, blog posts, social, wherever you're putting it.
Greg Jenkins: I don't know about you guys, but I'm kind of a marketing nerd where I sign Up for a lot of stuff just to see what people are doing and to experience the way that they talk to me, and how frequently, [00:21:30] and about which topics. I've learned a lot of things that I'd like to do, but I also see quite a few things that I want to make sure I avoid.
Dusey: Right, yeah. You can learn both ways from that. That's fantastic. Well, thank you very much to our special guests. Carla and Greg, thanks for joining us on The Small Business Success Podcast.
Carla MIner: Thank you.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, my pleasure. Thanks, Dusey.
Dusey: And Greg, could you tell us a little bit ... I know you mentioned Monkeypod Marketing, that you help teach people about Infusionsoft and kind of get them up and going so they can get a quick ROI on their investment in Infusionsoft. [00:22:00] Maybe you can tell us just a little bit more about that business before we head out.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah. So, my goal is to help entrepreneurs feel comfortable navigating around Infusionsoft, and, of course, Infusionsoft is an investment. It's silly that a lot of people sidestep that conversation. As any investment, it just needs to pay for itself. It needs to do that and then some. So my whole goal is to help people overcome that initial learning curve, or maybe the learning curve that they'd putting off, so that they can take ownership of their app and put it to work for them. I'm not the type [00:22:30] of guy where I do work for people; I'm not looking for one-on-one projects where I can do the work for people, but if you're interested in learning Infusionsoft, and rolling up your sleeves, and tackling it on your own, then I'm gonna help you with the education side of things and support you through that.
Dusey: That's fantastic.
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, thanks.
Dusey: If someone is interested in working with you, where should they go to check you out?
Greg Jenkins: Yeah, so you could find more about me at the website, which is monkeypodmarketing.com. I have an active blog there where I talk about small business tips, [00:23:00] strategies, and Infusionsoft hacks and best practices -- anything to support entrepreneurs. I have a fairly active YouTube channel, and you can find me on Twitter or ... I'm active in most of the Facebook forums as well.
Dusey: That's fantastic. So, definitely to our listeners that are Infusionsoft customers, go check that stuff out. He has a lot of great training material there, so go get to know Greg over there. And again, thank you both for joining us on The Small Business Success Podcast. Two reminders: if you wanted to check out that blog post with all those promo ideas, that was bit.ly/26salespromos -- [00:23:30] and if you have a question for us that you would like us to answer on this podcast, go to smallbusinesssuccess.com/questions. Submit your questions there and we will get to them as soon as we can.
And lastly, if you are interested in implementing these tips into your business, check out Infusionsoft. You can use our CRM, email marketing, and campaign tools, and get coaching for two weeks without spending a dime. I'd definitely recommend it if you've been thinking about how to organize your sales and marketing, but aren't sure you're ready to take the plunge. [00:24:00] You'll quickly see the value that you can get out of having everything in one place with Infusionsoft. Just go to bit.ly/sbsfreetrial to sign up. That's bit.ly/sbsfreetrial -- SBS as in Small Business Success free trial. Thanks for your time, and this has been another episode of The Small Business Success Podcast.