TAM 010: John McIntyre – How To Plan Copy That Sells
In episode 10, I chat with John McIntyre “The Autoresponder Guy”. We discuss how to plan your copy to match your customer. You need to get the right message to the right customer at the right time.
John takes us through the process of planning your customer segments, and making sure you are writing copy that resonates with them at every step of the buying cycle. Listen to find out how you can plan your autoresponder sequences to be selling 24/7.
- How to plan your email copy for audience
- How to segment your list
- Make sure you get the right message to the right customer at the right time
- Common email sequences
- How to plan you list segments
- Managing your customer touch points
Links Mentioned In The Show
John: Everything anyone will ever need. It's basically, once you've been in it you won't need to add to anything else ever again in life.
Barry: Sitting down in a beach with a coconut living the dream.
Announcer: Welcome to The Active Marketer podcast where we talk about how to design, automate, and scale your business to the next level using sales and marketing automation. You can find out all the tips, tactics, and techniques you need to get more customers and sell more stuff over at theactivemarketer.com. Now here's your host Barry Moore.
Barry: Hello podcast listener and welcome podcast listener and welcome to episode 10 of The Active Marketer podcast. I'm your host Barry Moore. This week we've got another interview for you and it's with John McIntyre, The Autoresponder guy. John is crackerjack copywriter over there at themcmethod.com and since a marketing automation is absolutely zero use to you without good copy inside of it, I decided to have John come on the show and we're talking about what kind of sequences you need in your business, how you need to go about planning out that copy to make sure it's as effective as possible. We're also doing a webinar on the first of April. We talk a little about that in the podcast and obviously I'll be sending out an email to all you guys shortly with all the details and how you can use copywriting with marketing automation to build yourself an automatic selling machine.
All right before we get to that episode as always it's the shameless social proof segment where we read out iTunes reviews. We got another five-star review in the iTunes store. It's from Makela from Tradies VA. It says, “Love the great tips. Great content and guess I seem to learn something new in each episode.” Thank you very much Makela. I love your podcast as well. It's really really great resource for anybody that owns a business and you can find that at the Tradies Business Show podcast. Just do a search in iTunes. I'm sure you can find it. All right so let's get into this week's episode with John McIntyre. I'd like to welcome to the show now John McIntyre, copywriter extraordinaire over there at themcmethod.com, also widely known as The Autoresponder Guy. John welcome.
John: Thanks for having me Barry. It's good to be here.
Barry: Pleasure. I really wanted to get a copywriter on board because a lot of the questions I get from the people at The Active Marketer is all about, “Yeah I've got this great tool,” or, “I wanna move to marketing automation,” but they really don't know how to drive it. So maybe if we start out talking about marketing automation systems and then we can talk a little bit about what kind of copy you need to put in there to get your business humming. So it sound all right?
John: Sounds good to me man. Let's do it.
Barry: All right. I think a lot of people have probably come to me and probably a lot of them that come to you as well have probably gone the normal route of they know they're supposed to build a list so they put some sort of opt-in on their website and that gets people onto this list in the back and most people probably start with MailChimp or AWeber or something like that and then if they use it for a while they find out that those systems kind of quickly become unscalable or you end up with 20 different lists with 20 different opt-ins and all that kind of stuff.
So then the normal progression is there, “Well I need to move onto a marketing automation system like ONTRAPORT, or Infusionsoft, back to campaign, Drip, something like that. Something that allows me to have one list and tag those people based on their behaviour, based on their interest, or whatever. But the question that I get from a lot of people is, “All right. I've got this great marketing automation tool. I've just bought it. I've set it all up. I'm ready to go. What do I do with it then?” And that all comes down to copywriting. So you are The Autoresponder Guy so what are the most kind of common Autoresponder series that people need to be using in their business?
John: I think it helps to take a step back to go to first of like why even have one in the first place?
Barry: Fair enough.
John: It's very hard to prescribe say you need to have these three sequences or these five sequences. What's really important when you go into this kind of game is that you need to think strategically. The person who has the most strategic mindset is usually going to get the best results. So it's not about just like say sign it. Some people think it's as simple as going and getting say Active Campaign or one of the other marketing automation platforms, and you sign up and you add some emails and then you're going to make $1 millions, make millions.
Barry: Isn't that how it works?
John: I wish. It's not as simple as that. The software is only really as powerful as the person using it. It's sort of like the vehicle. You could have a Ferrari but if you don't know how to drive it, you're not going to go very far. So it's a bit like that. Like Active Campaign and these platforms, they're really really powerful and this is why we're talking about it here, it's so that people can instead of just sitting there and using Active Campaign to do the same thing that Aweber does when they could just have Aweber … you have got to map things out. You have got to really think about it like from strategically with that big picture perspective about what really matters and then you go into the nuts and bolts of like, “All right we need these three campaigns and we can add … I mean we can write those emails.”
So about those campaigns, the way to think about it is really to answer the question of why use marketing automation in the first place? And the reason why is when someone visits your site and they sign up to the email list, chances are within the running of your business there's going to be a bunch of different times when you're going to want to email people and one of those times is going to be when they first sign up. Depending on the business model, when they first sign up you want to at least say, “Hey,” you need to get them on the phone, tell them about the product that you've got, something like that. There's going to be a sequence as well when they become a customer. Once they become a customer, you want to put them on some kind of a campaign so that they're receiving communication from you on a regular basis. So you stay top of mind and so they respect you and they know you as the leader, as the main authority in that niche or in that industry.
That's what that's going to do, and you're also going to be able to sell them stuff afterwards because as a lot of people find out once they get more experience with business is that the money is really in the backend. You make most of the profits selling to people who've already bought stuff so you're going to want to have an email list for your customers, so that's two segments. Segments is you might say a batch or a section. It doesn't really matter what you call it but basically a group of people within your audience, within your entire list. A segment might, maybe you have 1000 people on your email list and 500 of them, that would be a segment okay? So you've got two segments right there. People who just sign up, prospects, and then customers.
The reason you use marketing automation stuff, to get a bit more advanced with this, is that you don't want to be sending your customers emails that are going to your prospects because you're probably asking your prospects to buy stuff and if you're asking your customers to buy stuff that they've already bought, you're going to look unprofessional and they're also probably going to think you're a bit pushy and just not very good at setting this whole thing up.
Barry: Absolutely. I hate that when like I've already bought a product from you and you keep selling me that product.
John: Exactly and that happens a lot. And that's really the why of like where I said there you want a couple of different segments. The problem with Aweber and MailChimp is that it's a pain in the ass. Your automatic segmenting, basically marketing automation, with Aweber or MailChimp or any of the free platforms, it's clunky. Aweber doesn't even have some of these features. You have to buy additional add-ons to Aweber to actually make it work like this. What marketing automation software is going to do is it's going to allow you to email some of these segments in a more streamlined fashion so that when someone buys the product, they are automatically removed from the prospects list and added to the customer list and it automatically knows that they are a customer so it's not going to send them the emails that are going out to the prospects, okay?
John: That's just to start with. Then as far like when it comes to campaigns, to go back to the original idea of you have got to look at the big picture, is in every business there's going to be different segments and part of that is to do with a different sale cycle in the sense of if you've got a long sale cycle that might take at least say four to six weeks where you want to get on the phone, you have a quick chat. This is something that I do. I get on the phone with someone for about 20 minutes to find out if they are a good fit and if they are not a good fit, I'll basically say, “Here's … here's the advice I can give you but we can't help you right now. You need to go and do this first.” And then some of those people that I chat to for 20 minutes, I'll book another call with them a few days or a week later for an hour and then I'll have another one for an hour later on where I'll pitch them.
I have that segment and I also have a segment where people want to … they don't want to hire me, they just want to write their emails themselves so I don't want to be sending the people who want to write their emails themselves the same emails that I'm sending to the people who would rather just hire me because they require different things. The people who want to write them themself, they need a product that's going to teach them how to write it themselves and the people who want to hire someone, they just need to get on the phone with me. So what you can do with the marketing automation with something like Active Campaign is instead of … You can't really do this with Aweber.
You might be able to do this with MailChimp but Active Campaign makes this really easy because you can, when someone signs up, you can then say offer them a survey where you say, “You know would you rather write your emails yourself or hire someone to write them for … for you?” And then based on what they click, they will go into a different sequence or a different campaign within a software and be sent the communication that they need to make the decision to buy the product or to get on the phone with me and have a chat. Does that make sense?
Barry: Absolutely and I want to loop back to some gold nuggets there. Just to tidy that one up, it's all about getting the right message to the right customer at the right time, right? You want to hit them with the message that they are most receptive at that time. So if they've expressed an interest in product XYZ, don't show them product ABC information. As you said, don't try to pitch to somebody who doesn't actually want your product. You need that segmenting there to make sure that you're sending the right message to the right segment at the right time. But I want to loop back. There was a gold nugget there that we just kind of glossed over there. Your gold is really those customers that have bought from you before or those customers that have just bought from you.
As soon as they buy from you, you want to start warming them up to what you do, why they should be happy about their decision to buy that, how they are going to get the most out of that product or service that they just bought so that one you eliminate buyers or more straight off the bat so that they know all of a sudden they are getting a five to seven-day onboarding sequence where it's telling them, “Thank you very much for … for buying our product or buying our service. Here's where you can get the support. If you have any questions, go here. Here's a couple of videos on how you can get started straight away.”
And then the next day it might be, “Here's some key features,” or, “Here's some key common mistakes that people make when they are starting out. Make sure you avoid those by doing this, this, and this. Here's some key features that are really going to take you to the next level. You might wanna investigate this, and this.” So you're holding their hand through the whole post-purchase process and making them feel really really good about the decision and then at the end of that sequence you can either hit them up for a cross sale or more importantly maybe hit them up for a testimony or a referral to somebody else while they're feeling happy about the decision they just made.
John: Exactly. One of the easiest ways to add in some profit is just to sell an up sale which is what McDonald's does when they sell you, “Would you like fries with that? And so would you like a drink with that?” And so like the easiest time to make a sale is right after you've just made a sale but then once it comes to that email sequence, you can walk them through the product. What you can also do is you could set up a campaign where basically instead of just sending people, “All right you bought this product. Now are you interested in this one?” You could actually find out and be like send them an email about X topic. Say like if we're doing the online marketing, you could send them an email about SEO and then link to an article that does SEO.
So what's going to happen is when they get that email, you can use the software, that say tag them with SEO. Basically you'll find out when someone clicks that they are interested in search engine optimization and when you know that they are interested in that, then you want to send them information specifically related to search engine optimization. What you do is if you've got a search engine optimization product or service, before you just used to go and email them about a product. What you do first is you send them an email that says something about search engine optimization then links to something. If the prospect clicks the link in that email, the software will then trigger out a promotion sequence for the search engine optimization. It takes them off that list, puts them onto a different email list, sends them that communication to sell them that product. Makes them much more likely to buy because they are getting something that's specifically targeted to them because they are actually interested in SEO.
Anyone who's not interested won't even get those promotion emails and the person after those three-email promotion sequence will get automatically transferred back to the main list and go back into it and get more emails. So you can think about it. It's sort of like a maze. It's choose your own adventure when it comes to email marketing. It's going to make such an amazing difference over the long term in the business.
Barry: I was talking to Andre [Shepron 00:13:00]. I was talking to James Shrimp [inaudible 00:13:03] key. I asked him how many sequences he had in his business and I think he said if I remember it, it was like 53 or 56 or something like that.
John: It was Andre or James?
Barry: That was James. I know Andre does a very similar thing. He drops people off the soap opera sequence onto some sub-sequence and then brings them back again which brings up a good point. I was talking to Jason VandeBoom the CEO of Active Campaign the other day and I asked him what's the common mistake most people make when they start using the platform and he said, “Failure to plan, you know, and our three pillars are design, automate, and scale and design's the … the first one for a very good reason. You need to think through how you provide value for your customer and how … what paths through your business you want them to take or you want to guide them on so that you can preplan out those tags and those sequences ahead of time and then it all just works.” So John you've got a lot of people come through your business wanting Autoresponders. What are the common ones that most people seem to need in their business?
John: The most common ones are going to be number one is going to be the prospect sequence. So someone visits the site and they sign up and they buy something. Sorry they don't buy. They haven't bought anything yet so they signed there. They basically signed up and they need some kind of sequence that's going to convert the prospects into customers and get them to buy usually a cheap product which is called a loss leader or a trip wire or something like that. That would be one sequence, getting first time prospects who've never bought anything to make a purchase. Another sequence is say for customers and it might be a straight sequence for customers who bought one product that just does 6 emails or 10 emails or something like that, sends it out and basically makes them buy more product. They'd be the main ones.
You can go as complex as you want with this and an example is a client that I'm working with right now. So he sells one product. He's got about five or six other products. There's two funnels and he's got five or six product per funnel. And so he'll sell one product and then what he wants to do is automate the process by which he follows up with those customers after that. He sends out broadcasts and he makes some okay money from that but he wants to do is then instead of that, you create this automated process so that he can walk away and go sit on the beach while his automated email system goes and makes those sales for him.
What we are going to put together, what we are going to do with him, is it will be that sequence that I just mentioned. Call it like the ever green rotation funnel and the way it works is you've got email one is a content email so let's say someone buys a product and they've had the upsell and then you have, “All right so great … thanks for buying the product. Here's some other cool stuff.” After we're finished that, he might only have two or three emails after they bought the product then it's like what next? If you have a number of different products, I think this could work really, really well. And so what you do is you send out one content email. By content, it's really just good will. Say something cool. Give them a tip. Give them some great information. Touch base with them, something just kind. You're not trying to pitch them.
Email number two is a trigger email and that's so you might maybe write something about search engine optimization. If they click that link, they get moved to a separate list. So they've removed from that main list and they'd go to a separate list and they get a four-email promotion for a product that you sell about search engine optimization. Whether they buy or they don't buy, at the end of that four-email sequence they go back to the main list again. Now the people who visit the sales page and don't buy, you can use the software to be like well if they visited this page but they didn't buy, send them this email. If at any point during that four-email promotion they visited your website and they didn't buy, you can then trigger an email at them and say, “Hey we noticed you visited the page but you didn't buy. Here's 10% off,” or something like that, so you're going to remind them to go back. We could say just remind them that it's still there, it's waiting for them, and here are the benefits.
And maybe email two you could say, “Well here's a discount because we still … you still haven't bought it yet.” So then we come back whether they buy or they don't buy, they go back onto the original sequence where it's a content email, then the trigger email. And then when they get back on there, they get another content email to establish the goodwill and the rapport and the trust again and then they get another trigger email, this time for say pay-per-click marketing and they go through that four-email promotion sequence again if they click on that link.
And so you might have five or six products and this is what we're doing with this client. They might have say six products, so six rotations and what's cool is when they get to the end of rotation number six, some people would think that that's the end of the funnel and it could be or what you could do is just then when they finish the end of that sequence you could just take them all the way back to the beginning. And I think that's the thing. If that was a three-month sequence, that three months would just be running in perpetuity. It would be running all the time and I think that's pretty powerful.
Barry: Yeah and you can keep track of which sequences you don't want to drop them into based on the tags they have. The way that you can track the lifestyle or the lifecycle of one of these customers is basically all you need is three tags. So you need a prospect tag so this person is a prospect for our service, then you need a lead tag so they've expressed an interest in this particular service. If they've come and like you said they've clicked on the SEO page and they've had a look at it and they've read it and they may go back a couple of time, now they are a lead for that. They've expressed an interest in it so we tag them with a lead tag for SEO and then once they've bought, then we tag them with a customer tag for SEO, they are actually a customer of that service now. Then when we start looping back through the sequence is you can just say, “You know if this person is a customer, has that customer SEO tag, well then don't send them … don't send them down this particular sequence.”
John: That's right.
Barry: So that's the real power behind it is you know your customer and they choose their own adventure as you said, and they build their own customer profile, and they build their own interest map basically or we use topic tags to keep track of what topics people are interested in so that we know if someone has this particular topic tag, they've looked at these pages on our website so they've got a topic tag of automation or whatever that we know they're interested in. We can start customising which sequences they get based on what topics they are interested in.
John: It's pretty powerful when you think about it.
Barry: It's great. You're having the customer self-select what messages they want to receive. It's brilliant, really brilliant. So what's the best way for people to get started? They can come to you and get the copy written themselves or perhaps join your community, learn how to do it themselves, or get you to do it straight off the bat but is there a kind of a methodology you go through to figure out what copy needs to be in those emails?
John: There is but once again you need to go back to that planning stage of when like your man at Active Campaign mentioned where before you do any of that, before you start running copy, you need to figure out which segments you're going to write the copy for. So instead of just sitting down to, “I'm gonna write these emails,” sit down and figure out what segments do you have. How could you split up your audience into specific groups that really would be benefit from getting different information from you? So you've obviously got prospects and customers but then you might have people who maybe you've got prospects for one type of product and prospects for the service or prospects who just joined and then prospects who have moved on to the second stage. Maybe they've had one phone call with you so you want to put them on to a different segment after they've had a phone call.
And so you can do all these different interesting things like that. Now the size of your business and the amount of leads you're getting is going to affect how much is going to be worth going to that kind of effort but before you do any of the technical like sitting down and writing stuff, you really want to figure out what are those segments and then once you have those segments it's just figuring out what do you need to say to them to move them to the next step. With mine, when it comes to the services I'm not trying to sell those services on the site because it's quite expensive to hire me. So someone is not going to pay the fee that I'm asking just on a webpage via PayPal. It's not going to happen plus it's custom so I can't give them a stock price.
So what I do is get them on the phone. The step is number one to get them to reply to an email and then step two is to get them on the phone as soon as possible and because I understand that, that's how the emails work. It's very simple. Someone signs up, first email just says, “Hey thanks for getting in touch. I just saw you visited this page and, uh, you're looking for an email copywriter. You know when's a good time to have a chat?” Like it's that easy or if you want to send out like content, give them some tips. Talk to them. Give them some advice that's going to help them achieve an objective. People ever complicate this. They think it's you need to be a great writer, you need to really understand words, and all that sort of stuff. It's not really. You just think about who is this person and what do I need to say to them? Like what should I say to them? And most people can figure this kind of thing out once you get out there and work.
Barry: For sure. You touched on a good thing there too is that a lot of people think our marketing automation or email marketing or marketing automation is just sending out emails to people but you can also use it to manage your own internal workload and make sure that you've got touch points with your customer. So I do a very similar sort of thing when we talk automation with some of our customers. I want to get them onto Skype or I want to get them on a phone call so I could talk about their business and maybe plan out some of those segments with them on what they need to do and how they need to get it set up. In the background at Active campaign, I've got a pipeline set up that says, “Right this person … this person has expressed an interest in a call so boom! All right let's schedule a call. Okay call has been scheduled.”
Now that sends me a reminder that there's a date that I need to talk to this person and so I need to do some prep work and then afterwards I get another reminder from the system that I need to follow up with that person. So I'm automating the workflow and it's got nothing to do with emails going out. It's all got to do with the internal workflow within the business. That's another great thing you can do with a marketing automation tool like Active Campaign that you can't do with those other ones like Aweber, or MailChimp, or something like that. It's not just automating emails, it's automating your workflow so you don't miss a step and you don't leave a customer waiting there for some sort of contact or some sort of service from you that you haven't provided because it's fallen through the crack somewhere.
Barry: Fantastic. All right John. That was fantastic. I think that's given everyone a good kind of starting platform. Just to summarise that, you want to really sit down and plan out your segments of your audience or your target audience and plan out those flows through your business. What do we want to offer them? What's the next step after they've done that? What's the next step after they've done that?
Just get on a whiteboard, just get on a notebook, start mapping out your customer avatars, and what you have to offer them and then you can sit down and plan out the general flows and how you want to talk to them and when you want to talk to them and then you can go back and get that copy written or write it yourself and then start building those sequences inside your tool. And as you said at the very beginning, a tool is not a strategy. It's just a tool. A hammer is not going to build you a house if you don't have any building skills so you really need a blue print for what you want to do first and then you can use these kind of tools to build it out.
John: That's right. Nailed it.
Barry: Beautiful. All right John. I know you've got a upcoming webinar with a really fantastic guest in a couple of weeks, so why don't you tell everybody about that a little bit?
John: All right said this webinar so the fantastic guest is Barry Moore. Man he's great.
Barry: I love that guy.
John: He's amazing, right? Man he's the guru of gurus when it comes to automation. Basically Barry and I decided to put together a webinar which is on more or less what we've talked about here and the goal of the webinar is to teach you how to build a completely automated marketing platform for your business basically so that you can put leads in it at the top. Put traffic in it at the top so that when someone visits your site and at the bottom pop out leads and the customers. So whether it's you want to get someone on the phone or you want to sell product, whether you want to get them to read an article, take action on something, the whole goal of this webinar is to give you a process that you can follow to set up what you might call an automatic sales machine. I know that sounds a little bit cheesy but that's what it is.
This is what marketing automation does is it allows you to automate that process from when someone joins, using software and just emails, software and emails. It automates that entire process to take them from cold lead. It gives them information they need to make a decision. So it understands their psychology. I want to teach you how to write the actual emails themselves, what to put in them, how to do your call to actions, and how to get them to your site or make them pick up the phone so they'll call you up and start handing you money to buy the stuff that you're selling. So that's what we're going to do in this webinar and I'm pretty pumped. In two weeks. We just put together date today.
Barry: I'm really looking forward to it. I think between the two of us, we've got everything that someone needs to just get up and going with a turnkey solution to really pump their business and take it to the next level.
John: Everything anyone will ever need.
Barry: That's right.
John: It's basically, once you've been in it is you won't need to add to anything else ever again in life.
Barry: You'll just be sitting down in a beach with the coconut living the dream.
John: You'll be a billionaire on the beach but the date man, we should mention the date. It's 3 p.m. We got 3 p.m. Central Standard Time on April 1. Sorry that will be April Fool's Day actually. This is not an April Fool's joke. This is a real webinar and it's happening on April Fool's Day in the US. You're going to be in Australia Barry.
Barry: Absolutely. I will be getting up early to drop some value bombs on everyone.
John: All right. I think it will be 6 a.m. where you are.
Barry: It will. Good thing it's not a video webinar.
John: You'd have to clean up your hair, right?
Barry: I would have to clean up my hair but I probably will be in boardshorts.
John: That's all right man. That's what it's about, right? Someone sets up the platform, sets off that so they sit in boardshorts too, right? That's the whole goal.
John: Cool. Barry it's been good man.
Barry: Thanks man. I'm looking forward to the webinar brother.
John: Have some fun. Talk soon.
Barry: See you. There you go. Great interview with John McIntyre there. I'd like to thank him for stopping by The Active Marketer podcast and you can find all the show notes for this episode and leave us a comment overall in theactivemarketer.com/theautoresponderguy and as we said we'll be doing a webinar together on the first of April so don't miss out on that. I'll be sending out details shortly and there'll be more details over on the show notes as well. So we see you next time back with another tactical 20 podcast. See you next week everybody.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Active Marketer podcast. You can find the show notes and all the latest marketing automation news over at theactivemarketer.com