[02:50] Hey, Phil. Welcome to the show.
[02:54] Very well. Thank you. Good to have you here for our, we’ll call it a virtual coffee meeting amongst entrepreneurs. So for me, for the people in my audience who aren’t familiar with you, let’s start there. Who are you, and what is your expertise in the world?
[03:25] So you’re an email marketer?
[03:30] Okay, and you and you do this for your clients.
[03:34] So what type of company typically do you work with?
[03:56] Okay. And we’re going to make me the guinea pig today, with my, I mean, you know I have two email lists. I have one for my Bright Ideas audience and we can actually talk about some of the things in climate.
[04:08] Oh, cool. So we can talk a little bit about that because it really is a lead generation funnel for Flowster software. So let me give you the two challenges that I’m working on, and then we’ll talk through how you think I should be solving them. So Bright Ideas does not yet have a very complex funnel at all. Basically, people up to recently people would come and they would join the list, and they get roughly an email per week after the indoctrination series that would show them what podcasts we produced each week—not rocket science by any stretch of the imagination.
As of late, I’ve been working pretty diligently on creating an entirely new funnel that’ll have one lead magnet at a minimum. Over time, there will be more. Then people, when they get into the funnel, we ask them because there’s kind of three segments in my audience. Number one is the “Newbie Entrepreneur: who is aspiring to build a business; it’s typically an e-commerce business. Then I have a segment that are “E-commerce Entrepreneurs”; they’re either running their own brand or they’re an Amazon wholesale reseller like me. And then the third segment, because I do interview a lot of brands on what’s making them successful, as I’m going to undoubtedly attract other brands, other brand owners, because as a SaaS founder, I love listening to interviews with other SaaS founders. So if I’m producing interviews with brand owners, I’m going to have a segment that’s “Brand Owners.”
So we’re sending them in the indoctrination series, “Hey, which one of these people are you…? Click this link so that we can segment them.” And then the new folks will go into an automated webinar that teaches them all about, if you want to become a reseller in Amazon, this is what the business is like, and this is how you can get started, and this is what you need to do. There’ll be an offer at the end of that webinar. The middle lane of the highway, people who are—and all of this, by the way is to drive users into my Flowster software application—so the middle lane of the highway is, “Hey, I’m already an Amazon reseller, maybe I’m not as successful as I want to be.” For them, we start giving them free templates from our WEBS product. Our WEBS product is this collection of Amazon reseller workflows. We’ve sold millions of dollars worth of it over the last few years. And again, the offer there is to ultimately get them to sign up for WEBS. So we’re, “Hey, here’s some free stuff, check it out. If you think it’s really really good, why don’t you buy the thing,” and the thing being WEBS.
And then for the brand’s—same idea. If a brand wants to run their own Seller Central account, they probably don’t have any procedures to do it. So we’re saying, “Look, we’ve got this huge stack of procedures over here. We call it WEBS, you can get it as well. So that’s the Bright Ideas funnel and that’s not quite what I’ve just explained. We’ll probably be live by the time this interview is published, but as we’re recording it today, on July 14th, it’s not live yet. I’m putting the finishing touches on it because there’s scarcity and deadlines and all this other stuff because that’s what you need to make a funnel work.
Then over on Flowster, we have 5000 users—500 of which are paid. So we’ve got 4500 people in what we call our “freemium farm.” And obviously, like every other software company on planet Earth, we’d like more of those people to come and become paid users. So that is going to be the next funnel that I get to when I finish redoing the Bright Ideas funnels. I got to figure out, “Well, what can I do to get more of these people to want to sign up for the software and become a kick paid customer.” So those are my use cases; those are the problems I want to solve. I figured that if we talked through this, the audience will get some benefit out of it. So over to you.
[07:58] No, we can talk whatever you want to talk about. First time will pave the way.
[08:14] That’s pretty close. We’ve got three different automations and active campaigns. All the content is written, all the calls to action are there, the automated webinar has been created, the products have been created. Pretty much, we’re in the QA phase of that now. Why? Are you going to make me redo it all?
[08:44] Yeah. Not stuck, but where I think you might be able to, we could sort of pop up, and you could ask me questions about the strategies that we’re using, that I used, and maybe there are things that you think I could be doing better. I’d be very interested in hearing that So feel free to ask me as much detail as you like there, and we’ll see where we go.
[09:20] So we’re just basically asking them a question. We’re basically saying, “Here’s three link. Click the one that is most applicable,” because. And we phrase it in such a way as to make it beneficial to them. We don’t like…”We don’t want to send you irrelevant content. So to make sure you get the content that’s most relevant to you, tell us what type of business you run.” And all the links just go to a page that says “Thanks for the feedback.” Like, it’s not anything magical on the page. And we try to make that really clear to them. We say to them like, “Don’t click more than one link. Don’t click them all. They all go to the same page. Like, you’re not going to do yourself any favors by clicking the link that’s not relevant because it’s just going to confuse our system.” So that’s basically as much strategery, as we have in the segment themselves.
[10:39] Yeah, well. So let’s say someone’s new. They come in, they get the first email that says, “Hey, welcome to Bright Ideas,. Cool. Happy to have you in the community. What type of business do you run?” “I’m an Amazon reseller.” They click that link that then moves them to the second automation that is specific to the offer and the indoctrination sequence that are specific to the Amazon reseller. So then they’re gonna get an email, “Hey, thanks very much for telling me you’re an Amazon reseller. Here’s some great free resource,” you know, like, “I know you want to make progress right away, here’s some of my best stuff for you like right now. And it’s all free; go check it out.”
[11:32] Should be. Should be because the content that they’re going to get is all highly educational. It’s all very targeted and very specific. And obviously, yes, it does lead up to an offer at the end because we’re in the middle lane. We’re trying to get them to sign up for what we call WEBS.
In the newbie lane, which is my full collection of procedures for reselling on Amazon because that’s the business they’re in and I’ve seen lots of people buy it and they’ve had lots of success and we’ve had a ton of success with it. So it’s relevant, it’s the no brainer offer. In the newbie lane, we’ve made a smaller version of WEBS that’s less expensive, essentially. Because the new folks—they don’t have the budget, they don’t have the experience than in the working capital—so they have scarce resources. So we’ve tried to create a product that is more aligned with scarce resources.
[12:32] So I’ve been selling WEBS for two years. And while I have not personally had a conversation with every single person because it’s like a 1000 people…
[12:40] No, I could never. I have talked to a pretty decent number, like, over the years, maybe I’ve talked to 100. And when I say talk to—survey responses, email messages, one-on-one phone calls—any variety of ways where they’ve told me where they’re at in their business. And I would say there’s definitely a skew to people who are starting out. But oftentimes, they’re coming with some private label experience or some retail arbitrage experience, which are two other business models for reselling products on Amazon. And they’ve had like a moderate amount of success, but not nearly enough. And so they look at me in the success that we’ve had and they’re like, “Well, I want to do what Trent’s doing, so I’m going to buy Trent’s product because clearly it’s working for him.” So I would say most of the people that buy WEBS are doing somewhere between zero and maybe a couple hundred grand a year on Amazon, but they aspire to get into the millions like we’re doing.
[13:52] They sort of fit together. So WEBS is just content—pictures, words, so forth. But it needs to be actionable content because they’re procedures and you’re going to then assign these procedures to people that are on your team. So it WEBS lives in the Flowster software application because the software application is basically a blank canvas. It allows you to create your own procedures if you don’t have any, and then assign those procedures to people on your team so that they can do all this repeatable work on an ongoing basis.
So if you consider Flowster to be a blank canvas, WEBS is like giving it a paint job that is specific to reselling products on Amazon because all the procedures are pre-made for you. We could go out and make like a set of procedures for property managers and put it in Flowster, and then that would be a different paint job, or dentists, and that would be a different paint job. We just don’t have those procedures right now because that’s not our target market.
[15:11] Correct. Flowster does, I mean we’ve done a decent job with SEO. So we do get people from all over planet Earth signing up, like literally every single day, that we weren’t necessarily directly marketing to, and they might not be e-commerce sellers. We have attorneys that use it. We have other industries that use it because they googled like “SOP templates” or “SOP templates for software” because there’s just various phrases that we’ve targeted with our content. So in that freemium farm of 4500 people, they’re not all going to be e-commerce people, but they are all people who saw enough value in having procedures in their business to want to sign up for a free account with Flowster and at least check it out.
[16:11] Yes, our marketing is all very focused…
[16:14] It’s correct. Correct. Cool.
[16:35] So we haven’t done a very—for a lack of time and resources—we haven’t done a great job with that yet. Because essentially, the way the freemium model currently works is you can come sign up for Flowster and you can add or create up to five templates in your account. And when you go to do number six, it’s going to prompt you to say, “Well, you got to pay now.” So the thinking was, in the beginning, “Well, if we can get…” Sp we’ve tried like cold email outreach, which worked reasonably well. But it was a micro test, and it’s not a niche that we’re aggressively pursuing, but we basically would say, “Hey, mister marketing agency owner, here’s these five templates that are all associated with growth. Here they are for free, go check them out,” and people would sign up and, and the thinking was, well, if they start using those five, and there’s an assumption there—if they actually start using them—then they would think this is really cool. And then when they want to get number six, Flowster says, “Well, now you got to pay.” And that undoubtedly happens; it just doesn’t happen often enough. And I think that there’s a couple of reasons for that.
One is that we have been working on, you know, in the last couple of months, we had to determine, first of all, do we really want to focus on e-commerce of all the markets that we could take—like independent of WEBS—all the markets that we could serve with Flowster, does e-commerce actually make the most sense? And we concluded that for us, yes, that was the case. And that was a decision that was only made like a couple of weeks ago. And then we, you know, we don’t have great ways so far—and this was actually a topic in our management meeting yesterday—of ensuring that people are getting, you know, engaged—those freemium users who came in and they signed up, or maybe they downloaded one template. For all we know, they logged in, they looked once and then they never came back again. I don’t even know off the top of my head how many of those freemium people are super active. I have an idea and I could get my CTO to run a query against the database, but like it’s not readily available—but it’s not nearly enough.
And that’s one of the problems that…I’m designing the Bright Ideas funnel to help with that. But if people find Flowster first, they’re never going to get in the Bright Ideas funnel. So we’re going to have to do similar things in the Flowster funnel to create segmentation and engagement. But even that said, we still have 4500 people in the database, who at one point in time signed up and/or are using it at some level, but they haven’t kicked over into a paid account yet. And that would be, in my opinion, the low hanging fruit. And I’d like to go and try and maximize those conversions first.
[20:06] Oh, absolutely it is.
[20:18] So the way it works currently is that there are three different types of users, two of which are paid. We call them the “Administrator User,” which is the power to do anything. We call them the “Member User,” which is you work for the administrator, and you want to be able to assign—you want to be able to create workflows, edit workflows, and assign workflows to the third type of user which we call a “Guest.”
Guests are free accounts; they’re typically your virtual assistants. So if I’m, like, the owner, like in my use case, I own this Amazon business, a guy named Mitch works for me, he runs that Amazon business, and then we have eight VA’s on the team. So I’m the admin, Mitch is the member, we’re both paid accounts—if I didn’t know Flowster—and those eight VAs are all free because they’re all called “Guest” accounts. Because all a Guest can do is log in and do the work that was assigned to them; they can’t assign work to other people. They can’t create, edit or delete templates. They can just do the work that was assigned to them.
[21:33] I don’t know. I’m actually taking notes as we’re having this conversation. I know my CTO could probably write a query against a database and find out.
[21:48] We’re actually considering moving to a trial, like a 2-week or 3-week trial, that at the end of that trial, either you’re going to stop using it or you’re going to pay. One of the two. I suspect that’s what we’re going to change our pricing to, but we haven’t finished our research yet.
[23:08] So there is, we did go through quite a bit of effort to create that first workflow that’s kind of an educational workflow to help inaugurate people to the platform. So you’re saying from a user experience, “Yes, that was there, but it was kind of like drinking from a firehose”?
[23:28] So may they be.
[24:18] You’re 8% of the way into the welcome series. You’ve received the first email, you’re queued up. So the first email comes a day later. You’re going to get one that invites you to the Facebook group. Then you’re going to, a day after that, get an email that’s along the lines of “Save time with premade industries templates.” So that’s going to introduce you to the Flowster marketplace, which maybe we need to be doing that sooner. I’m not sure. After that, we’re going to talk to you about our Zapier integration. After that, we’re going to talk to you how you can make money with our affiliate program. After that, we’re going to talk to you about voting on new features. Like if even if there’s things that, like, just let you know that we have a place where you can vote on new features. And then, after that we ask you for a review. As I read through that, I think, meh, it’s not really that good.
[25:58] Yeah, I would agree with you completely.
[26:21] Yeah, and that was exactly what we were talking about on our meeting yesterday, as a matter of fact.
[26:26] Because just the sequence of emails is so 1999; they should be emails that are specific to the actions that you are or aren’t taking. For example, the calendar feature is a really, really great feature for staying organized. And if you don’t visit the calendar feature within the first 24 or 48 hours, I should be sending you an email with a video with me saying, “Hey, did you check out the calendar feature? I noticed you haven’t checked out the calendar feature. Here’s why I love it. You should actually start using it.” And we could then figure out what are all those key pages that people should be visiting or, and then create triggers that if they’re not being visited, that we then send the correct messaging to them. And I can envision in my mind that that could be a very dynamic funnel that would do a much better job than what we have now of creating early adoption and engagement.
[28:15] Yeah, I know exactly what that could be. Like, for me, I have a daily checklist of all the things that I need So it’s a workflow. I run every single day, and that’s why I start my day in my calendar in Flowster every single day because it’s like, I gotta check my audiences for comments. I got to check my analytics, I got to check my lead forms, I got to check my revenue numbers. Like, there’s just the stuff that I’ve got to check. I could, and it’s very specific to me, but I could easily create a more generic version for the e-commerce business owner which they could then edit and populate with whatever specific links they want to do, but I would be giving them a framework that would then be a scheduled workflow. So Flowster would then be saying every single day, “Hey, come”—I mean, that would be a habit for me.
[29:15] And then if that’s the only…because presumably, in a typical small-ish e-commerce business, the first person to sign up is probably one of the leadership team of that company. If they get jazzed about using it to keep themselves organized, the next logical step, especially if we feed them some content, is going to be stuff that they can then use to delegate to their tea, which is going to cause them to invite more people into their division, which is going to push them towards the payment threshold.
[30:11] Yeah, because the boss says, “Hey, we need to find some kind of software platform to help us with procedures. Go find one.” Or the junior person wasn’t even directed to do that; they just happened to be doing some googling or they saw one of our ads, and then they signed up and they said, “Oh, man, this thing really cool. Does it make my job easier?”
[30:31] Yeah. So we’ve got to make sure that we identify who our personas are.
[31:10] So for the 4500 folks who were basically floating around in the freemium farm. My thinking is that once I have these lanes on my highway built that are going to create this engagement for the various personas, I would then want to send some direct emails and do some Facebook messages and maybe even some retargeting ads to get people to take the action necessary to get them to self-select who are you, so they get going down the right lane on the highway?
[32:27] Yeah. I mean, we could have, because Flowsters has been around now for almost two years, we could have people in the freemium farm who logged in, you know, two years ago and never logged in since.
[32:35] It’s not even what it is anymore.
[32:59] Okay. So if I wanted to hire you to do all this for me, I could, right?
[33:07] Well, what is your business model? Do you just advise clients? Or do you execute for clients as well?
[33:56] Yeah. How much experience do you have with the Active Campaign app?
[34:03] You do? Okay.
[34:30] Yeah, yeah. Okay, so we have the right tool.
[34:35] Okay. Any parting words of wisdoms, gotchas, things to watch out for?
[35:14] I had no idea. Really?
[35:25] So in Bright Ideas, I send them all for me because Bright Ideas is very much a personal brand. But Flowster is not intended to be a personal brand, so they’re not going to come from…Flowster, the way they’re written now is there going to come from support@flowster. So what else would I send them from?
[35:55] Okay. And then I can have the replies from John go to—because I want the replies to go to the support team.
[36:06] And where did you…? I mean, is this your opinion? Or is there data to support this?
But this is one of those things that if you’re…don’t have it, and it likes to, say an audience that’s clean and truly opted in, and you’re sending from support@ or info@, your reputation from the servers that are receiving your message—it just goes down. It’s like you get demerits. And so I just started to read up on like, how do I start to clean some of these accounts up, and that was just one thing. It’s like, it improves your standing in terms of how you’re perceived, your account is perceived by the server’s, but it’s something that a lot of people don’t know.
[37:07] Yeah. I mean, my CTO, he’s pretty knowledgeable when it comes to email marketing because he’s done quite a bit of it from the technical aspect of it because he’s been in the software space for a while. But I don’t think that he knew, or he and I have never talked about that sending from support@ or something like that was actually going to be detrimental to our deliverability.
[37:47] Yep, yep yep. Makes perfect sense. Alright. So for folks, Phil, who, if anyone has been listening to this, and they’re thinking, “Hey, I want to work with Phil.” What’s the easiest way for them to get in touch with you?
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