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Season 4 Episode 7: Automating the Funnel Process without Becoming a Robot with Ben Dell from MissingLettr

Thinking of creating a funnel without the fuss?

While automating your funnel process can be very efficient for your business, how can you create this without becoming a robot? 

Learn from MissingLettr founder and CEO Benjamin Dell.

5:22 Ben’s story with entrepreneurship

17:54 Ben discusses automation

39:04 what’s the most effective lead magnet

Transcript:

Hey guys. Megan here. Thank you so much for joining me today. I have an interview today with someone who I was so excited to have. Here I am talking to Bendle then is the founder of a number of assists, companies like Missinglettr. Hey, what’s up? And more recently on board flu, which I haven’t heard about. So you’re going to have to give me the scoop on that. He previously owned a Web agency for over ten years, which was acquired during this time.

He also launched a number of startups, as you know, a copy. It’s just what are you going to do to help?

And so much I learned it can only guess like expressions of it. Let me, but then is also passionate about empowering businesses and brands with tools to help them succeed. So then you are a fucking baller. You are just what I found. I’m sorry guys bit, but when I bought Missinglettr on ABC, I know what two years ago was the first one on there to actually three years ago I think the first one.

Yeah, well maybe like it changed my business because. As a blog, when I was doing like a lifestyle blog, it was such a good upswell for sponsored posts to say, like, we’ll add a one year rotation and things and then Missinglettr does all of that in a second.

But just thank you so much for Missinglettr and I haven’t tried help yourself or on board yet. But let’s start at the beginning, like. Talk about the brain of Ben, how did this all get started? There’s a dark, dark place. Thank you so much for sharing those kind of thoughts. It’s it’s it’s when you’re when you’re running something doesn’t matter what the scale is. You almost always hear the bad stuff as you should.

You need to hear when things are not going so well and you need to hear the critical thoughts. But it’s so unfair that you actually do that, even if you have boodles of happy customers. You know, very rarely. I mean, we don’t do it ourselves. You know, we tend to kind of put off of TripAdvisor reviews only when it goes poorly. So thank you for taking the time to say that it helps. It’s great to hear.

And it’s the sort of thing that Spurs is on now. That’s just me sort of deviating and delaying from the of what’s inside my brain question.

What? I don’t know. I mean, it’s I’ve always been, as you said in the intro, I’ve always been sort of passionate about helping businesses succeed. And that’s a really broad generic sort of statement being a bit more specific. I like saving time. I hate efficient inefficiency. And so what I tend to find is that almost anything that I do day to day, I’m frustrated. Nine times out of ten, I’m thinking, why am I doing it this way or why am I being forced to do it this way?

Why hasn’t someone come up with a better way of doing this? Because there’s always something that could be improved.

Or maybe I just have a bad habit of seeing things that way. And so consequently, the ideas are never in short supply. I always have a thought as to the way that something can be improved. Of course, the trick the challenge is to handpick and and incubate those ideas that actually have legs.

Quite often it’s the case that you just need to wrap it up and live with the inefficiency of the thing because, hey, that’s just the way the world works.

So, yeah, that’s kind of I’m always frustrated is probably the way I would sort of simplify it if the person of the entrepreneur is.

Absolutely. When you started your first business with the Web agency, that was first No.

Few before then of varying, but not not sort of substantial success, I suppose, but, yeah, just sort of small, small little startups here and there and. Yeah, just. I guess it’s thinking about your audience and where they might be in their sort of life and journey. The agency was started as a result of me sort of realizing sort of 15 years ago that there’s still a huge amount that I need to learn.

There’s still a huge amount of maturity that I need to build up. There’s a lot of commercial experience, relationship building sort of skills. And I need to develop and all these sorts of things that that you need to be successful in whatever walk of life, whatever that business is that you have. And I think creating that agency back when I did was at a point when I realized that I didn’t really have all of the things that I needed to take some of my previous startup ideas through to full fruition.

I co-founded a couple of companies and a couple of them did fairly well in their own right. But nothing really that that gave me the confidence that I could I should be through. Right. Doing more of that. So it was a bit of schooling, a bit of necessity that getting clients through the door is somewhat easier than starting a business, starting a business or an online business from a reoccurring standpoint. And sometimes those are the tough decisions that you need to make.

You know, you’re building a family or you’re starting one. You’re just trying to establish yourself as an individual. And sometimes you have to take the unsexy paths because they are necessary at the time. And so necessary for me was was starting an agency and started off pure consultancy, morphed into sort of creating an agency, started building a team.

And before you know it, you’re kind of committed to the cause. And you’ve got a team, you’ve got a bricks and mortar office, you’ve got projects that are running for six months and longer, and it’s now become something that you can’t just walk away from. And it was something I thoroughly enjoyed. But but certainly by the end of it, it was very, very clear to me that my passion and also by that point, my skills were were not in client work, but more in building things and coming up with ideas for myself.

What do you think was the catalyst for making you realize that was there one specific time or were you just burning out of control?

That I think it’s no single single thing. I don’t think that not that I can recall anyway. I think it’s one of those things that just builds up over time.

When you when you work on one business for ten years, you start seeing start to see patterns. There is a bit of burnout there as well. An emotional burnout, I think, more than anything, because I’ve worked so hard and now as I have in the past. So it wasn’t the physicality of it, but more the emotional sort of side of it.

And, you know, for anyone who’s using the clients of the world, it’s very cyclical, both in terms of cash flow, but also in terms of the emotional sort of roller coaster.

And I start a project, you deliver it, you hopefully get a happy customer at the end of it, and then you have to start again. So it’s having to constantly get yourself back on that horse. And then when you when it’s sort of coupled with this idea that you’re delivering things of value for your clients as much as you want them to have that value, you’re sort of waving goodbye to it and sort of seeing them go off on that journey.

And you’re only part of that very, very sort of initial sort of part of the project.

So, yeah, it was that sort of continual sort of realization that that it wasn’t where my heart was and it just built up over time.

And, you know, you hear about leverage. And for me, it was just that critical mass of that feeling that I described got to a point where, you know, leverage was enough, that it made me realize that actually no need to jump out and and do the next thing. When did the Missinglettr start festering in your head, when did you start thinking, like, let me let me look at this and see what’s going on?

So that was whilst at the agency? It was it was a side project. We we we set up and ran alongside it and fortunately started building a bit of traction, not enough that one could confidently jump ship. It helped that I was able to find an acquirer for the agency, but it was enough of a suggestion that there was something there that it gave us the confidence to jump ship.

But now the idea was very, very simply from seeing, you know, working with our clients every single day. We were building high end sort of Web applications, but invariably they would include some sort of blog. And so although we weren’t writing the content, we were we were creating the platform that they could, you know, add to their blog posts to and showcase them to the world and all that sort of thing. And one thing I noticed was that pretty much all of our customers were really, really good at coming up with a bit of a content strategy.

They knew that they had to publish a blog post once a month or once a week or whatever it was. They knew the topics that they wanted to talk about. They’d thought about SEO and the right phrases to use all that sort of stuff.

But almost none of them knew what to do or even knew that they had to do was do something once they published the blog post so they would click, publish and WordPress or in our case, in our platform. And then that was it. They were just like Wayne’s World. They would expect them to of turn up. And it just sort of struck me that, again, coming back to that hatred for inefficiency that I described at the beginning, it just felt horribly inefficient, because for those that did realize that they had to do something to promote those blog posts, they were basically creating horrible word Excel spreadsheets and recreating the content, rehashing it, kind of looking at their blog post and going, well, I need to turn that into a hundred and forty characters as it was back then.

Tweets or Facebook posts or whatever it was. And they were just, you know, you could hear their brains were thinking, how do I turn that sentence into something that works for a tweet? And they come up with five different variations of the title. And it was just time consuming and inefficiency for me was someone having invested a lot of emotional and intellectual capital in writing that long form blog post and then having to redo it simply because they want to put it through a different medium.

And so that was really where where Missinglettr was born on the one side to help people come up with a really simple way of creating a repeatable blog promotion strategy, you know, without them having to think about it. And secondly, to actually reuse that intellectual capital that they put into that blog post and actually automatically turn that into social posts so that all they have to do is just sense, check it. They just have to review what we’ve suggested.

And if they’re happy, go. And then it drips out over their social over to their social accounts over the next 12 months. Missinglettr, keep them on board. These are all major undertakings. How are you bound? It’s not really an ecosystem together, right? They’re all kind of just their own separate teams, separate businesses, separate directions.

Summit, for example, is is is funded through, through, through and through an investor or two, whereas the others are self-funded. So they all are intentionally set up to be separate and to have their own sort of paths, as well as an entrepreneur who is.

Busy. What tips have you learned to help mitigate this with family life, with balance? Like, how much coffee are you drinking to keep people? That’s all we keep all of these plates in the. Well, she says as he picks up his cup of coffee so well, I think look like anyone. I think the family life, health balance, all that sort of stuff is is it always an ongoing project? I don’t sure. I’ve seen lots of people who have got a great sort of set up in it, and it works well for them.

But for me personally, it’s something that I’m always working on. Don’t think I’ll ever get to anybody again, because for me, it’s a it’s a compromise. The way I know I work does have an impact on on other things, family life balance and everything else. And I found a happy medium. I don’t I tend not to work after after six. I tend not to work at weekends apart from catching up on emails and those sorts things, because I hate turning up on a Monday morning with a long list of support tickets or emails or whatever it might be.

So I do that. But other than that, I tend to sort of shut off.

But the one thing that I’ve learned, because you will always be busy, whether you like silly like me, and try and create multiple businesses or whether you have one, as you say, you’re still incredibly busy.

And so the one thing that I think that you can think about and and if you don’t think about, you can apply is to really get honest on what it is that you actually deliver or bring to the table that say to be more accurate, what is your what is your superpower? What do you bring to the table? And and what does that mean for your sort of business execution strategy and how you then run it?

And, you know, whatever your superpower is today might not be the superpower that you have tomorrow.

It’s something that will evolve and you should evolve over time, creating a business that complements that is, I think, quite important. So for me, you know, I love creating new ideas. I like, you know, shaking up industries and bringing new things to the market. But it has to be something that I’ve taken ownership from the beginning. I’m very, very good at bringing, building, doing pretty much everything that if you think about an incubator, so everything that is required to bring a new software business to market.

So building the thing from a technical standpoint, designing it, marketing it, promoting it, engaging with those early customers, getting that first bit of revenue, it’s stupidly busy, but it’s the bit I really thrive on. And I can get something from my head to the market and with revenue very, very quickly, quicker than I’ve ever seen anyone else do it. But I almost immediately get bored. Not bored is the wrong word, but I, I get drained emotionally over it much once it’s established itself and it’s got a bunch of customers it doesn’t have, if it’s got a new challenge in front of it and needs to be redirected or redesigned or something, that we’re entering a new market that sort of invigorates me.

But the day to day sort of running is not where my skills are, not the sort of CEO or founder that will that cares. Literally cares. I do. I almost don’t to to to do the daily stand ups, to do the let’s do a 360 review. You know, let’s let’s make sure that we’ve got a proper business plan. You know, those things bore me. But that, just to be clear, does not mean that I don’t see the value in them.

Absolutely incredible. I’m just the worst person to to deal with them. So to sort of summarize this, what I’ve learned for me personally and I would I would I would sort of encourage those listening to think about how this might apply in your case. What I’ve learned in a pithy way for me is that I’m a really, really good founder, but I’m absolutely stinking, terrible SEO.

And that’s how I then operate my set up as it stands today.

Maybe I’ll become the polar opposite next month and we’ll switch things around that. But for now, that’s that’s kind of where my interests and also my skills life.

It sounds like you are really good at delegating and recognizing what needs to be delegated in automated, which is it’s missinglettr automate delegating to robots.

Yes, I’m actually very bad at delegating to people, which is why when it gets that boring stage where you need to start thinking about teams, I like when I was in to run it because you know me. But to delegate you have to micromanage or you have to manage to some extent you to sort things out. You have to make sure you’re communicating properly. And for me, that’s just a waste of time. It’s just I’ve got to now spend some time of my day explaining something to someone so I know I can see the value in it, of course, but it’s not where I thrive.

So actually I’m really bad at delegating it. And that’s why I like to I’m able to kind of incubate and focus on that very, very early stage because it doesn’t require that dedication. I literally do everything myself until a point is reached where it either can’t or it shouldn’t. And then it’s about scaling it out as quickly as possible so that it takes me out of that day to day operational sort of standpoint. The business does not need me or want me in that sort of mode, I think.

Can you talk more about the can’t or shouldn’t? When do you realize that this is something that you can’t or shouldn’t be handling and it needs to go off and go do something?

So it’s definitely a case by case basis, I think for sure. I think definitely not one of those things you should be. Assuming that you can take a checklist for me and apply it to pretty much every situation, it’s something that I can go back to running an agency and we should be all we should all we all do those things that gets us to where we are today or we’re doing now to hopefully get us to where we are.

And it’s those things that actually teach us that ability to judge what’s going on and that ability to really get that intuition about what you’re seeing, what you’re experiencing, what you expect to happen. And over time, I’ve just built a bit of an intuition about what you’re talking about there, as I when is the right time to scale? When is the right time to step back a little bit? When is the time to step in a bit more? Doesn’t mean I get it right.

I probably get it wrong more than I get it right. But I’ve got a fairly good sense for that. And it’s just something that you you build up with over time. But some obvious things would be when you are literally doing more things than you have time for, when you’re doing the things that if you are honest with yourself, you shouldn’t really be doing that aren’t really talking about what your real sort of superpower is. If you find that you’re doing more things that aren’t in that superpower bucket, then it’s really a waste of you.

You know, you should not be doing those things because you’re the one doing the bookkeeping or the things that are vitally important, but not really where your skills should be applied.

Did using that reminds me of when I ran my first business and I had to do everything because I wanted to look busy. I wanted to be like impressively busy, stupidly, just doing all that. It is benefited, especially me. It did not benefit me to be that person.

And so when I close the business and I went into. This line I really took a hard stare from. I don’t need to impress anybody with the amount of desire because I’m going to be busy no matter what. Let’s automate something and get get this out of my brain. So. When do you recommend people start looking at automating, adding more robots, adding more automation if that happens? Do you think that people should learn to build it first?

Or do you think that if this isn’t your strong suit, then just start with automation?

So I think it’s it’s a really good question. And it’s at the core of of many of my businesses, actually. They all have automation involved to some extent, certainly missinglettr, because it takes that literally creates 12 months worth of social content and then automates the dripping of the U.S. accounts over that time.

And I think it’s really, really important, whether it’s Missinglettr or anything else, that you just remember that automation is a tool to use, not get out of jail card. It’s something that should should should be used to amplify something good that you already have to start with. You know, one of those things clearly is content you’ve got to have, you know, if we think about automating content in some capacity, you’ve got to have good content to start with.

And because if you don’t, then you are automating rubbish. And what is the point of that? Yes, you’re automating rubbish quicker than you can can do it yourself, but you’re still, you know, spewing out rubbish.

So really make sure that you are automating for the right reasons whether you will know whether it’s the right time, if you have something of value to share. And this could be it could be a webinar that you have, you know, perfective, you know, you’re doing manually every I mean, I personally don’t like repeated webinars, you know, one of those sort of sign up. And it appears to be live. And personally, I hate that.

But just as a case in point, in theory, let’s imagine that that’s a good thing and you should be doing that and you shouldn’t. But that’s the money you should. And you spend weeks and weeks and weeks doing it manually yourself. And you’ve kind of done the good webinars, you’ve done the bad, you’ve tweaked your language, you tweak the back and all that sort of stuff. And it really works. And actually people are converting that.

They’re engaging with the product you’re presenting and it’s working at that point.

You have clearly a good bit of content that is delivering what you set out for it to deliver. Now, in that example is a good point at which you can at least ask that question.

Should I assume it finally start automating and then maybe you start sort of doing an automated webinar because you know that the source material is of a good enough quality.

And the same goes with missinglettr and blog posts. You know, if you if you have not yet started publishing blog posts, by definition, you have nothing to automate. Maybe you have started, but you’re doing it once every sort of 12 months. You know, you’re publishing a blog post once every six months, 12 months. You now have content, but do you have it enough for it to be a pain point? So I would always recommend doing it manually first, because then you at least understand the steps that are involved.

But more importantly, particularly when it comes to social, it’s not good enough just to be just to think of automation as a robotic output, but as an extension of you and your brand. That’s what you should be aspiring towards. And that’s certainly what we aspire towards. And with a missinglettr and why we built it, it should be seen. Automation should be seen as a natural output, as an organic output. So learn about how you like to engage with your your your audience over social media.

What sort of imagery do you like? What sort of tone of language do that manually. First, understand what works and what resonates, and then you can start thinking about how to automate and scale that up. Well, speaking specifically to social media, I think it runs a. There’s a tightrope, right, that we have to walk between automating and just completely losing, losing the voice and just not engaging. And so this is going to go back to early.

But when you just launched which which those who are on it, Missinglettr has a new feature that pulls in content from other creators that you’re offering more value based content on a regular schedule. So you get a view it’s you. And here’s a really interesting topic from somebody else. How do you recommend people guess balance it, but. But when did people go over the cliff of just too much? It’s a good example, so just taking a step back, we have to kind of cool products within with Missinglettr one is the the drip campaigns that run over a 12 month period by default.

And that’s dripping out social posts relating to that blog post that it’s based on. And it’s going to your audience. But crucially, it’s your content that you’re kind of promoting. I suppose you’re right, as you alluded to, is a new product we’ve launched that is a content discovery platform, a way of curating and finding content from other people within your niche, within your industry or topics just generally that you know your audience like. And it’s a way of sharing.

Industry relevant content with your audience and it’s not your content, it’s someone else’s. And so this is a good sort of example of of of how an automation or just marketing strategy, I suppose, in my opinion, should work and use the word balance before it is. Absolutely. I think all about balance.

Your balance will be different from mine and someone else’s. So you find your own sort of equilibrium.

But simply promoting your own stuff on social media is not good enough these days. And the exact opposite is also a poor decision. You know, just sharing other people’s you need to be promoting your stuff as well as other people’s clearly not competitors.

You know, you want to make sure that you are adding sharing information rather than sharing services and other things, although there’s no reason why you couldn’t share a service, if it’s complementary finding that balance, because at the end of the day, you want to deliver value to your audience. You want them to be following your accounts because you’re sharing some high worth blog posts that you have written and that you think your audience will enjoy. But you also kind of just peppering it with with other people’s and it keeps them engaged and it helps build that trust, which I think is really important.

And thirdly, you know, just writing one off social content, you know, don’t underestimate the power of that. This is one area where it isn’t automated. And although one could you certainly shouldn’t be. But it’s the it’s the triage of you with this triangle of types of things that I think any any social output should be doing. One is your own content, and you can automate that through missinglettr that have to, you know, your blog, post, your videos, whatever it is, other people’s which you can do through curated.

But you could just create that yourself through social channels and nothing else. And then the third one is just one off pieces that that you shared, which could be opinions on state of play in the industry. That could be comical, you know, doesn’t really matter what they are, but it’s really one off stuff that is designed not to scale. That is just you communicating with your audience. And and for me, you want to have all three sort of involved in your sort of social output.

And I like the thought about one off just as a. Well, the tent pole, I guess, is the way to say, like this is something that you specifically want you to pay attention to, and they think that it definitely increases the value that you’re providing to your audience. But. It also just shows you’re human and it’s not just you’re not just following a bot, I promise I am a person talking to you and trying to have this conversation, which.

This is my Segway into talking about marketing as a conversation, and I know that Missinglettr helps you get that top of the funnel, right, with just making sure that people are getting eyes on what they what you’re putting out. But I want to talk about going into. Hey, Summit, which would you say is that more of the. It must be more the middle of the rhythm because it’s more of just a conversation.

Yeah, yeah.

So because you I mean, yes, I mean, it’s still part of a funnel is definitely not the bottom of the funnel because invariably summit is a virtual summit platform.

It’s a platform that helps you connect all of the pieces that are needed in order to deliver a virtual summit, including payment sponsors, speakers, speaker management, referrals, all that sort of stuff, and, of course, deliver the talks.

And so invariably, you’re doing that because you’re using it as a lead magnet or some form of regeneration for your business.

So there will be a funnel believe beneath that. But equally, it is a destination. And so it sits somewhere in the middle there that you’re probably doing a level of dance or emailing or list or social posts that are designed to drive people to your virtual summit. And then from there, you can you can do more. But, yeah, you’re absolutely right. It’s what’s powerful about virtual summits. It’s a conversational sort of opportunity to build a community, but also strike conversations up with with your with your attendees, with your with your ideal target customer.

And you can had the summits on his summit, but you want to run your own. So what kind of recommendations do you have for people who want to either become speaker or start something like what kind of conversations have you seen that have been most effective in the middle of the funnel in this kind of world?

Conversations with attendees or or with just in terms of the sort of the practicalities of putting on a summit, that’s a good question.

I guess it would probably be both. I was thinking more of the philosophy behind it than the technical, but we can talk about both. Yeah, so I suppose from a philosophical standpoint and how you go about sort of structuring your summit, I think what’s really powerful about Summit is that actually there is no nesh that is too niche.

And what’s really great about that is that let’s imagine you are broadly in the marketing space as a business or as a consultant or product or whatever you want to put on a virtual summit.

You could just put on a broad, hey, we’re all about. This a marketing, you know, 20, 21 sort of summit. And that’s actually there’s huge value in doing both that that you could do that and you would maybe have different categories or topics within there and different tracks, if you will. Different things around different subsets within there. But actually where we see a lot of value and the bits that I quite enjoyed are where you go really metion.

You sort of delve down into a really specific area because it really affords you the opportunity to specifically bring in your ideal customer around a very specific thing. And for anyone that that has come along and to attend that summit, you know a lot more about them because of the content that you’re putting on than if you were to put on something a lot more broad. Yes. You know, they’re generally interested in marketing, if you did the broad one.

But to what extent are they a perfect fit for you? Remember, this is still almost always a part of a funnel. So if you’re specifically focused as a business on paid up, it’s through Facebook specifically, then do that sort of doing something around that specific subject matter to start with. Then the conversations that you have with your attendees, with your speakers, with the sponsors that you find this is what’s really great. It’s a genuine ecosystem in a way that a blog post just isn’t, you know, and a very basic level of summit is just a piece of content.

It’s a more interactive one, but it’s a it’s a piece of content. But whereas with a blog post, you write it once in isolation and you deliver it and then you kind of the promotion, you get people to read it here. You’re building an ecosystem, an ecosystem of attendees, speakers and potentially sponsors as well.

And if you’re doing it, then this is why I love doing the more niche, not because all of those those three areas that the attendees, the speakers and sponsors, they’re tailored around that niche man. That’s powerful because the sponsors, they’re potential partners, you know, that you could do some partnerships with because why would they sponsor your you’re very niched out summit if they weren’t interested in that space as well? Maybe you’ve got a shared customer base, things like that.

The speakers are also people who really care about and are on a knowledgeable in your area, whether they’re your next hire or a consultant that you might bring in, you could do webinars with them later on and do some different funds separate from that. And then, of course, the attendees, you know, as I said before, you know, that they are really keen on that particular thing. So, yeah, really, really cool. Lots of fun to be have the.

Let’s talk about the technical aspects of it, let’s say, OK, I am I want to do a summit, so be on it. I think it would be a really cool idea. My audience is kind of like let’s say I have a couple of bands, but I don’t have a huge fanbase yet. How the hell do I get started with what kind of timeline do you usually or what have you seen has been the most successful method of doing so?

One of the first decisions you need to make with a voter summit is whether you’re going to be charging for it in terms of tickets to T to sort of access the content. A hybrid, which is where it’s partially free or partially paid to maybe the first day is free or met the first two sessions or something, or whether it’s entirely free. And I think this is probably the most important decision that you will make. And it should in most cases, take a pinch of salt, depend upon the stage and the exposure that your business at that time has.

So if you’re if you don’t have that huge list, as you mentioned, and you’re kind of you know, this is kind of an early stage opportunity to try to find potential customers, et cetera, I would advise just do it free.

You can always do and on later on, you know, sort of follow ups, because the reality is, if you are delivering genuinely good value in terms of content, it’s actually a lot easier than you think to bring people through the door and actually, you know, get them to sign up and watch that content.

At the end of the day, it’s free, depending on the integration that the video integration that you use to deliver the talk, it can either be life. But in most cases, that’s. So that’s really attractive as well as people. They can sort of check in and out as they need to.

And it’s.

It’s one of those unique marketing sort of destinations or strategies that unless you’re doing a bad job with it, which is possible, it’s very difficult to make it feel like it’s scummy or or difficult, you know, because it is just outand out content value, assuming you’ve brought in the right people to talk and it’s again oriented around the right subject matter, it’s very difficult to make it appear as anything other than, hey, this is huge value. You’re going to learn some really great stuff.

And by the way, it’s free. You know what you’re going to learn from experts in the field.

Where’s the downside? So, yeah, it’s it’s something that I find is a lot easier than you think. And actually, in terms of bringing in those experts as well, even if you’re at that early stage and you don’t yet have as contacts or that sort of capital worth within the industry, actually far easier than you think to get people to actually sign up to be a speaker. The genesis for a summit occurred about two years ago when I realized that some but I wanted to put on a summit, quite frankly, for Missinglettr.

And anyway, long story short, I decided to put on a one hundred speaker strong summit. And I don’t think I had in fact, I had one person. I probably approached about one hundred two hundred three people to speak and I think just one person. So I said, no, it’s and none of them asked to be paid for it. Now you certainly can have a collaborative of speaker that will expect it. And you may out of the gate, you know, say that this is a paid gig because that’s just the way you want to do things.

But certainly it’s not required.

And so, yeah, all those things that you may have as expectations around how summits work kind of throw them out because this is a totally different way of working and both. Business and attendee, in my experience thus far, love it, they just get huge amounts of value. It’s just Win-Win for everyone. When you’re reaching out to people, let’s see what’s on the flip side and say that you want to be a speaker, you want to start looking into broadening, using as a marketing touch point for you and getting more asses in the seats for your platform.

What do you recommend people start branching into that? Well, there’s a very, very easy way.

You’ve got to pay some income. We have a speaker directory, which is a great way of actually just just registering yourself based on your sort of national interests and your experience, of course, and all that sort of stuff.

And then other people who are putting on summits can discover you and actually reach out proactively. So actually, again, a lot easier than you think. But other than that, it’s the basic sort of LinkedIn profile and getting a few speaker engagements under your belt.

And and because of the last year and everything that’s happened in the world, there’s been a massive without hesitation sort of acceleration in virtual summits for for very practical reasons. But that means that there’s a lot of summits going online. So if you are specifically looking to talk at summits, promise you won’t take long to find a bunch of people in your area of interest and then just reach out to the people running it. And if they have already filled up their speakership at that time, almost certainly that that putting them on again, a lot of our customers are now doing summits every couple of months.

Some are doing more frequently than that. So it doesn’t need to be this once in a lifetime or once a year kind of thing. So there’s lots of ways of slicing it. When you’re putting on your presentation, what have you seen as the most effective? We find it or I guess like what what have you seen? It’s been really effective in terms of getting people off onto your platform. Is it discounts? Is it really plea bargains? Have you noticed any patterns with that?

Yeah, that’s an interesting one. No real patterns that I can share at this stage other than the obvious things, and it’s it’s this is where it, in my opinion, shouldn’t be any different than than than the other sort of marketing strategies that you might be playing with them.

And that is that hopefully you’re doing it in a mature, ethical way, that you are delivering value first before you expect to extract value, i.e. cash from the customer.

And as long as you follow those principles, it’s really quite easy to sort of sort of dovetail that into the events.

What does that mean in practical terms? Well, if you are if you are doing a summit on on Facebook, as we discussed before, and you have 20 speakers all from that area and your business is is is maybe a bit of software that deals with that, maybe you could offer them a free trial that it’s exclusive to to those attendees that maybe your trial is normally 30 days. Maybe you could offer a 60 day trial, for example. You know that they care about their subject matter.

And then you can start offering things. And and also you can even sort of segment even deeper than that, because through the registration process, you can actually have custom questions so that you could then further segment, have you started doing paid advertising? What is your budget on average month? And so these are all things to help you understand. How can we deliver more value? So, yeah, I would just recommend don’t assume that you can just have a sledgehammer and you can convert customers at the end of it for the sake of it.

It’s about seeing them, as you said right in the beginning, about being part of that ongoing sort of funnel. What is the next piece of content that you can get in front of them? And just making sure also in a non sort of scummy to the way that that that you have a service that is available for them to sign up to and almost always that well. So once let’s say we’ve gotten them out of the middle of the tunnel, they’ve converted right through the funnel.

What do you recommend people do to keep the conversation going so they can be very helpful for underflow, I guess? To what success have you seen when it comes to keeping a customer relationship separate from a virtual summit?

I mean, just just generally, once they’ve gone through the summit, it converted at the bottom of the funnel. They’re now paying customers. What kind of marketing do you think is really good for keeping that conversation going and keeping that relationship?

Yeah. So now we’re talking about retention, which is which which is a just a really boring word for keeping your customer engaged. And it doesn’t it shouldn’t take rocket science to sort of realize that the very best way you can do that is to be natural and to, as you said, have a conversation, but keep that conversation running. And there are multiple ways of doing it. And you probably shouldn’t do just one of them. You should do a few of them.

And so some of those are automated email sequences, which which which is the automated side of it.

So making sure that, you know, they’re up to date once a week or once every two weeks when you release new features so that they’re allowed to be part of that conversation around, oh, cool company X, Y, Z, they’ve decided that they thought about that challenge or they fixed that bug that I had last week.

That’s one level that you should be doing at the very bare minimum. You’ve then got your blog posts that that although that initially designed to attract referrals and new leads, probably they’re touching on subject matters that your existing customers care.

In fact, they almost certainly should do so. You can share those with them as well. And again, just show that you’re continuing to sort of add to this intellectual wealth of of knowledge that that you think they might enjoy.

And then the other sort of category is just being honest and open and natural and having real conversations. So whether that’s on social. One thing I like to do with Facebook, with Missinglettr, is have Facebook, a Facebook group, which is private, but our customers are on there and it’s just me and, you know, sometimes people from my team just posting and saying hello and letting people know what’s going on and listening when things things go on. So just doing the basics and making them aware that you are still around.

So again, just like we talked about before with with kind of your marketing strategy, having that sort of combination balance of automated with with with other peoples, with yours, with with one off sort of things.

The same kind of goes for attention. You get those automated things sort of working, but also complement it with one of little hey, how’s everyone doing? I’m doing a, you know, an open office hours next week on Zoome. Let’s do a Facebook live that’s doing things like that. To show that you’re still alive is really important.

Well, I guess then what’s in my head is that there are so many different options for so many different ways to automate the market to get the same. But people can just go over over the top and I think get overwhelmed by the sometimes over and over. Missing the conversation, part of it, you know what I mean? It is missing the. Thinking everything, everything can just be box. And when do you recommend people to take a step back and say, OK.

I have maybe done gone too far with this and I need to get back in touch base and kind of a little. Yeah, I think it’s interesting because I think. The time at which you you can afford as a company to step back and do less of the the personal outreach that the personality that you want to deliver. So, for example, a lot of the emails that come out from, you know, the one off emails updating this or that, posts from Facebook on the Facebook group, a lot of them are from me.

I’ll sign them off as me. I’ll have them sent from my email. And they explicitly say, if there’s any questions, just hit reply. And I look and reply to everything. I do that because I want to make sure that that conversation is real. But as you are alluding to, there is a point at which it becomes impractical. But what you need to be careful of, I think, is that just because it’s impractical doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

What you also need to make sure is that along with the impracticality is that it’s not a necessity, because I think when talking about software, you know, we just think about software companies for a second.

When you are confident that the product itself is ticking over it, it doesn’t raise more questions than it answers. It is simple to navigate and people are just getting the value immediately from it.

Once you’re happy that that is the case, then you can afford to, to a certain extent, cut out a lot of those personal things because people don’t need to be reminded of the product that you’ve got a hyper viral, hyper engaging, sticky product that people are just coming back to and using every day because they need to.

And you’re almost in that sort of the relationships as an individual, as a as a personality or manager in the company or a community outreach person or whatever might be almost surplus to requirements. And so that should be the goal, I think.

Now, the reality is that that is kind of an unknown in most cases and unachievable nirvana, a point at which are you really ever fully ready to take your foot off the gas and say it’s a perfect engine, the machine is doing what exactly should be and it doesn’t need any sort of individual to do it.

The reality is it’s almost always a bit of this, a bit of that.

But you want certainly more of it working really, really well before you start taking a step of not just because it’s impractical, but because it’s a necessity.

Well, I’m not sure because we’re getting out of time, but I want to make sure that you’re still tell me more about jumping on board because we haven’t even touched it.

So help yourself is a like a new help center, if you will, a way to combine all of those disparate health sources that you have spread around the Web, which when you first launch a business, you pretty much just have a knowledge base where you might just have a blog and you publish and post about new features on there or something. But as is often the case, as you mature as a business, as you broaden your reach, you are creating content designed to help your customer.

So this is not about funnel stuff. This is about engaging with your or assisting your customer with information that they might need. You start creating content, really spread out and wide sort of array of places, or certainly you should be, because you should be experimenting with different mediums and everything else. So hopefully if you do things right, you are still creating blog posts, talking about new features that you’ve released or industry reports. You know, looking back at last year, you do also have a mature knowledge base, but you’re also doing Zune recordings and big market webinar replays.

You’ve also got promo videos and demo videos and YouTube and Vimeo, and you have Trello boards with roadmap features. And you just have all this information that is when it comes to it all designed to help and help inform and educate your customer.

Based on whatever it is they’re trying to get help with, whether it’s fixing something, adding something, kicking something, they’ve hit a problem, whatever it might be, and I think whatever it might be. But if all lives everywhere, how on earth do you get it in front of people in one single place? You shouldn’t expect them for obvious reasons to, well, go and search YouTube. We might have a demo video over there and go to our knowledge base and go look for over there.

And yet nine times out of ten customers will create help, dot example, dot com or whatever their business name is, and it will link directly to their knowledge base, forgetting the fact that there’s a whole world of other information and material that should be in front of their customers as well.

So we’re on a mission to kind of reinvent the help dot sort of help center, if you will. So that’s helpful. And the normal flow I’ll just be really, really pithy is totally different.

End of the spectrum is a bit more technical, specifically designed for growth teams or more specifically, onboarding teams within SAS companies. For those that care about what their trial users are doing from the moment they become a trial to the moment they end up being a trial, hopefully because they’ve converted. But often the case because they’ve abandoned, they’ve canceled. And if understanding, what are they doing within your product and and what do you as a company therefore need to do more or less of?

So it’s kind of like an analytics and reporting tool for SAS trial users. Just to see the. We are running out of time. So what have you discovered that you want people to know? I’ve got I don’t know. You don’t want me. And I go on for ten minutes, even with a specific question, with an open ended question. God, Halbertal know probably best. I don’t answer that one. Honestly, as we were saying, the Megan, I very rarely come to these conversations with specific things I want to cover.

So therefore no nothing.

Unless you have any questions for me, I, I’m pretty happy when well happy people who don’t want to give it to me personally at Bendat will be on Twitter missinglettr. You can find it missing al-Attiyah dot com.

Yes, it does have a missinglettr in there, which I still think is clever, but I’m always reminded whenever I have to explain it, that is perhaps a little bit too clever of those missinglettr all one word without the E from the end of letter. In fact, we also have missinglettr spelt fully and it will return to three years ago.

I want to pass the words.

I want to check out what you had to say, some dot com for the actual summit, a summit and dot com help shelf dot com or on board flow dot com. It is not, but this has been awesome pleasure. Thanks very much for reaching out and always fun to have these conversations.

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