AskPat 253 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 253 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Before we get to today's question from Katie, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is Lynda.com. You can actually learn so much stuff on Lynda.com. There is over 3,000 courses on all different types of topics like web development, photography, visual design, and business, and all different types of software that you probably use, and you could probably use more effectively, and you can learn how to do that on Lynda.com with their super-high-quality studio quality video courses. These aren't little, silly YouTube videos. These are really professionally done, and there's a lot of other tools to go along with those videos to help you meet your goals and whatever it is you're trying to do. There's so many courses out there I recommend, from productivity to business writing to getting out of a rut to things on Photoshop and InDesign and all the tools that you might be using. So, if you'd like to check it out, you can get a 10-day free trial, used to be seven, they've actually extended it to a 10-day free trial. You can check out unlimited access to all their courses by going to Lynda.com/AskPat.
Awesome. Let's get to today's question from Katie.
Katie: Hi, Pat. I'm Katie Davis from KatieDavis.com. First, thank you for all your juicy information. I kind of want to spend my entire minute telling you how awesome you are. Anytime I can help you, please tell me. My goal for 2014 was to double my list, and I actually increased it by almost 300%. Now I'm about to rebrand and redesign my site completely, so where I was once just helping tech-phobic children's writers establish their platforms through video, I'm now broadening to all writers. So, I'm trying to figure out how to operate my list the most effectively. When I started, everyone was just added to one main list and I have 60 evergreen autoresponders that go out every 21 days as a newsletter providing valuable content. For timely events like webinars or a new course, I send a broadcast. I love my peeps, and I don't want to annoy, or worse, abuse them. I'm very careful, especially since my community is incredibly sensitive to being sold to. Many are not used to the marketing end of things. How can I take this list that I've had for quite a while, and clean it up and organize it, so I'm better serving my subscribers and so it's also better serving my business? Is it even necessary to keep it active through an evergreen newsletter? When someone buys something, should I move them to a different list? And then how is what I send those people different from what I'm sending people who are on the original list? Should I or how do I use the list for a funnel? I think that's pretty much enough for now. Thank you so much, Pat.
Pat Flynn: Katie, thank you so much for the question, and it's super cool to hear from you. To those of you out there listening, Katie and I are actually pretty good friends. We've just met a few times in person. We've had coffee together, but we've talked business and also talked life with each other as well. She has sent a couple children's books to my family, and we read them, and we love them, Katie. You are amazing. I'm just so happy to hear that you're expanding in this way, because whenever I talk about people starting their own businesses, it's good to niche down, right? You want to start in that small niche, and then eventually over time, you get so big, and become so authoritative that you can then expand. You're at that point now. So you're a children's author, and you're helping and providing services and value and information to other children's writers, and now you're serving all writers. So this is a perfect example of somebody who is working hard, who has down what they needed to do to build authority in a space, and is now able to expand out.
Now, you have specific questions about your email list, which is very, very important, and I think it's very interesting because you've built this list of people who are in a specific target, this children's authors' group that you have in your list, and now you're looking to expand out. So there's a few things you can do there. I think it's really cool that you have this pool of children's authors. Now you want to start creating other pools of different kinds of authors as well, and I think on the front end, even before we talk about what you do with your existing list, on the front end, you want to start to be able to think about, how can I segment my list so if I do have children's authors, maybe they can go into that autoresponder where you were providing value to all those other children's authors? Maybe there's some content on there that is universal, that can also go in an autoresponder that is for another list, another group of different types of authors.
And so, again, you're going to have to map this out, and that's absolutely what I would recommend. I would either get a big whiteboard and start to just start with all of the places where people enter your site, and then where they go and how they go, and that will help you form these different lists, and you don't want to create too many of them, and I've gotten a lot of advice from other people, people with enormous lists in the past, because I've been looking at how to tag my audience and also how to segment them into different email lists so I can better provide for them as well. I think that's a big reason why we want to do this. We don't want to just send everybody everything, because not everything is going to appeal or benefit everybody. So when you can segment your lists, and you can understand who is in this bucket and who's in this bucket and who's in this bucket, you can send each of them certain things that will help provide more value, also help you get in more tune with them, build a relationship with them even more, because you're speaking their language, you're giving them the information that they need, and not anything that somebody else might need and they don't, and you're able to create these funnels that will perfectly align with products that are suited just for them. You might even have a universal product that's suited for everybody, but if you speak their language, if you talk about their specific niche and the problems that they have and the solution that you can provide, there it is. And it might just so happen to be that solution for other people as well, but you're speaking the language of your target audience, and when you segment your list, you're able to narrow down exactly what you need to say in order to make action happen, whether that action is to take certain calls to actions like to do certain things, or to make things happen in their lives, or to purchase something that you have to offer as well.
So, mapping out the entire process is going to help as well, and this is something that I've been doing lately. This is why I think Infusionsoft is actually pretty cool software to get into, because I've seen the dashboards of a lot of my friends' Infusionsoft platforms, and it's visual. It's completely visual, and it's literally dragging, dropping, and it's a little harder to set up, but once you get it, you can see the funnels as they are. You're creating these bubbles and when people go here and they do this, they get sent here, and if they enter here, this is where they go, and these are the emails they get. It's all visual. It's a little bit harder with something like AWeber or Constant Contact or MailChimp in terms of segmenting your list and tagging people.
So, on the front end, that's what I would do. I would discover where on your site are people subscribing and what are they into. You might even want to explore options like what Clay Collins talks about, who is from Leadpages. He talks about creating specific giveaways for specific topics that you write about. So, maybe this is something you're planning on doing in the future, Katie. Maybe you are going to branch out of writing specifically for children's authors, which is what I'm assuming you're doing, but that doesn't mean you have to always write content that's going to appeal to everybody. That means you could potentially write blog posts that are specific to some other group of authors, and in that particular post, maybe it's for sci-fi writers. I don't know, I'm just saying that. But maybe at the end of that post, you'd use a tool like LeadPages to deliver an opt-in, a lead magnet that is a two-page PDF on the top 10 tips to help sci-fi writers break through the competition. Or maybe it's an article for beginner sci-fi writers, and here are the elements of all the most successful sci-fi books out there. That's something even I would want to download if I was into sci-fi writing, and that's something I'd maybe consider in the future, but anyway … We all know that Back to the Future is my favorite movie, and that's definitely sci-fi. Where was I going? Any time I talk about Back to the Future, I lose track, because … Now I wish I could just go back in time and start this over again. Boom!
Anyway, okay. Where was I going with that? Oh, yeah. So, you have this specific lead magnet so that people who are interested in that article, who you know are going to be interested in sci-fi, are going to subscribe on that page, and they get put into a specific list or funnel if you will, for people who are in the sci-fi industry, and then they get down the emails that you get and they're specifically written toward them. Now, I wouldn't recommend, you don't necessarily need 60 emails per group, and I would start small too. I mean, you want to segment not too many, you don't want to have too many tags or too many different lists, and this advice that I got from other people who have big lists is essentially, what you need to start out with is a list for people who are not customers and a list for people who are customers.
So, that brings to your question, okay, so what happens when people buy? Do they get put into a different list? Yes. They absolutely should, so that when you send out promotional emails for products, you know not to send it to them. So you can send it to the people who are on the prospect list, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't send those other people emails anymore, and yes, they should be absolutely out of that autoresponder, which, really, its purpose is to provide value, but also drive people into your products and courses, and then when they get into a specific course even, for example … Maybe you offer three products and they buy Product One. If they buy Product One, you can tag those people using a tool like InfusionSoft, and then be able to put them down a funnel that gives them information about how to use that product, how to get started with it, some success stories that came out of it for example, maybe getting in on a Q&A with you, and a webinar just for those specific people who purchased Product One. And then that can be not only a away to provide value just for them, in a very specific way for them, but that is also a funnel to get people into Product Two and Product Three, and then maybe people buy Product Two from your Product One list, and then they get put down a similar funnel. Maybe people bypassed Product One, and they continue to go down your autoresponder sequence that they originally went through signing up, and then they get offered Product Two, and that one happens to be perfect for them, and then you can help pitch Product One or Product Three, again based on tagging.
And that's why InfusionSoft is so powerful, is because you can tag people based on what products they buy, and then be able to send emails out specifically to those people, knowing what they purchased and what they didn't, so that you can then provide a better experience for them. You're not asking them to buy something they've already purchased. It just makes it so much easier. So, Katie, I would recommend exploring InfusionSoft or some other tool like that. You don't have to start out with something like that if you just think visually and map out what's happening, then you can make things happen with that.
Now, in terms of your existing list, what I would do is if you feel like you've given them enough information to build this incredible relationship with them, which I feel like you have, especially over that many emails, and the type of information I know you could share. I feel like you want to be completely honest with them. That's my approach, always. Whenever I'm trying to figure out what to do, I always think, okay, how can I be completely honest? What would be the honest approach here? And I think the idea would be to let your audience know, through this existing list that you have, the new direction of the brand, so that they know a transition's coming. It builds hype and excitement. You can even reveal some things that you have planned, and things like that. They might, as you're doing that, share your stuff with other authors that they know who they might be like, “Wow, Katie's doing this other stuff now, and I know you're an author, maybe you should follow her for the children's book stuff, but I know she's branching out now … she's branching out now, and her stuff is awesome.”
So, you might get people to get excited for you for that. You can also use them to help you move forward and find direction for you and your business, Katie, because a lot of times, those people who know your brand are going to be some of the best people to tap into to understand what to do next, or what not to do next, and also it makes them feel like they're involved. So they're invested a little bit in what you're doing, and they'll be more excited when it comes out. I would just keep that list separate, but give them the option of being able to subscribe to any of the other ones that you then create, so, any of the other entry points that you're doing to have in the future on your site as well. I wouldn't put them through a totally brand new autoresponder. I would keep them completely separate. They're sort of like your legacy group, and I think it's important, and also you know that they're children's authors as well, and that's important too, and you can have children author specific things there as well.
So, yeah, that's what I would do, and I think if you haven't done this already, this is a bonus tip here. This is for everybody out there who has an audience that they have already. You definitely want to create an ambassador group, so as your business continues to grow, you're going to find people in your audience who just love you no matter what you do. Just people who they won't care what you do next, they're just going to follow you anywhere and everywhere you go. You want to segment those people as well, and maybe not in an email list, but just know who they are and perhaps put them into a Facebook group or something like that, so that way you can keep them up to date on what's going on, and get direct feedback from them, and also call upon them when things are launching, when you come out with new books, and when you need advice, and when you want to share something cool, get them excited. You can always go to them, and it doesn't have to be such a big group. I have an ambassador list of a few hundred people right now, out of the hundreds of thousands that visit my site every month, and it's really cool just to know those people are there, and I love them to death.
So, anyway, just a bonus idea for you out there, Katie, and hopefully this information helps. It's a lot to think about. It's hard for me to give you a complete answer here in 12 minutes. We'd have to sit down for a couple hours together and map this all out and figure it out, to see what parts of your site people are subscribing on already, and what you can do to segment new lists and things like that. But hopefully this answers your question. If anybody else out there has any other advice or information that they feel would help Katie, just head on over to Twitter and use the hashtag #AskPat253 for episode 253; that's #AskPat253, and Katie, I'm sure, would appreciate that as well.
So, Katie, thank you so much for the question. An AskPat t-shirt will be headed your way. I can't wait to see you in person again, and maybe you'll be wearing that t-shirt the next time I see you. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, all you have to do is head on over to AskPat.com, and you can check it out and ask a question right there.
I also want to thank today's sponsor, which is Lynda.com. You know, it's the beginning of the year. It's the perfect time to start to learn new skills, to be able to put them into use, to have a better year. The best year ever. And Lynda.com is definitely the place to go, with over 3,000 different courses to choose from. I've even used Lynda.com myself for a number of different things. It's how I keep up to date with a lot of the new software updates that are coming out, for a lot of tools that I use. There's some screen flow videos in there as well. I use it to keep track of what I can do to better advance my skills on the DSLR camera, which is really cool. There's some great DSLR tutorials there as well. And these aren't just little YouTube videos. They bring people in the studio and they film them, and they're great. And they come with worksheets and things to help you accomplish these goals that you want to accomplish. So, if you'd like to give Lynda.com a shot and try it out for 10 days, you get access to the complete site, all the tutorials and courses for 10 days for free if you go to Lynda.com/AskPat.
Awesome, and thank you so much for joining me today. And as always, I like to end with a quote, and today's quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson. And he says, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you into something else is the great accomplishment.” Be yourself, people. I'm here for you. Take care, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
Try out all of Lynda.com's courses for free for seven days.