6 Rules of Automation

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When in you’re in the email marketing world, trying to sell a product, service or your wisdom, automation rules are so helpful with your email lists. In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, an automation rule is something that allows you to perform actions based on setting and conditions that you specify. And let me just say this – they save you SO much time and can seriously help you passively increase your revenue.

In this post, I'm going to cover six of them. There's obviously a lot more complexity that you could add to your automation rules and your set up, but we'll start pretty basic and then build up from there. How does that sound?

For the sake of continuity, let's use the process of selling my book, Authority, as an example for this blog.

First off, I want you to notice two things:

  1. That these rules start simple.
  2. That they build on each other as they go.

No need for frills with this, so let’s just jump in.

Rule 1- Automated sales pitches.

This is where the sale begins.

Many people who sell products do it in one or two big launches a year. That’s a tried and true method that works really well for people who have big products. However, if you’re working on a smaller level with pitches that last throughout the year instead of one or two big pushes, you’ve got to consider one big thing- People will find out about your launch at different times.

Here’s the deal: Say I’m starting the launch for Authority. I had a lot of people sign up on the first day who received the first email in my book launch sequence. The next day these people receive the second email in the sequence, but what about a new subscriber who just found out about me that day?

I don’t want them receiving the second email even though it’s technically the second day of my launch. They might not know what I’m talking about and I’m mostly likely too deep into a pitch for them to get invested in finding out more. They need to start from the beginning.

This is why our automated sales pitch is perfect. It’s timed perfectly to each subscriber as they they find you. It’s makes their journey with your product more personal and happen in their own time.

Rule 2- Tag your customers.

Let’s be real. If you're using tools like Aweber and MailChimp, you don't have access to real tagging. In those tools, if you have the same subscriber on a few different lists, that one subscriber is counted as multiple, different people.

If you're using a more professional level tool, like Infusionsoft or ConvertKit – something that actually has tags, then you can give each subscriber one profile and they can be on as many lists and given as many tags as you have. Here’s a screenshot of ConvertKit.

tagging your audience helps you segment

It’s super straightforward to set up and is a really easy trigger and action set up, – think a “if this, then that” – where you can run some really powerful automations in a simple way.

Here’s how it works: Inside ConvertKit, I’ve created a tag called “Downloaded Book”. When someone subscribers to our book, all I have to do is add that tag to their profile and now I’ll always know that they already have that book. And I can keep tagging them with other products they’ve shown interest in or easily untag them when they’ve moved on to something else.

These tags will also help you segment your subscribers…which I’ll tell you about later on.

Rule 3- Exclude all those people who have already bought.

With ConvertKit, it's just one check-box.

exclude subscribers in segments

As soon as someone purchases Authority, I want to stop sending them pitch emails corresponding with this product. I’ve spent all this time sending them educational content, sales pitches, sending them more educational content and so on. Once they’ve made their purchase, I don’t want to worry about accidentally pitching them again.

By clicking just one box, I can easily exclude subscribers so they won’t continue receiving emails they’ve already bought into. That also means I’m free to pitch even harder to the people who are still on that list.

Rule 4- Trigger actions with a link.

Alright, so this one is really simple but has a ton of power to it. Link triggers are how you start segmenting your lists. Here’s how they work:

If you click through from an email to my Authority sales pages, you’re automatically being tagged as “Interested in Authority”. This link trigger helps me know who’s most interested in Authority so I can pitch just to them and continue giving them directed messaging.

Need another example? Ok, let’s say you’ve got 500 subscribers and you’ve created a new email course that only pertains to maybe 300 of them. Instead of boring those other 200 subscribers, you can send out an email to the whole list saying, “Hey, I made this new thing and I think you’d love it. If you want to take a free email course, just click here (ps- this is where you put your link trigger) and you’ll be auto-opted in.” That way your whole list will see that you created something new, but only the ones interested will click the link to be enrolled in the course.

Rule 5- Down-sell at the end of your launch.

This is effectively the same things as Rule 4 only we’re specifically clicking through the checkout page instead of any other action.

Here’s how automations will help you down-sell:

I know who’s interested in Authority by all the link triggers they’ve clicked through in my sequences and all the tags I’ve added to their profile. I also know who has already purchased Authority from the link triggers in my checkout page. I can combine the knowledge of both these tags at the end of my launch to specifically target subscribers who still haven’t purchased the book. I can actually pitch pretty hard here because it’s going to a small segment of subscribers who are really active so the messaging will be perfectly tailored to them.

After the launch closes, if I want to run a down-sell, the subscribers still in this group who were interested but never purchased are who I would continue to market to.

Rule 6- Segment your subscribers.

This is something taken from Pat Flynn. He runs his entire email list through ConvertKit and in his onboarding sequence he asks some questions. This is a screenshot taken right out of the first email you receive from his once you sign up to learn more:

how to segment your subscribers

The answers are, “I don't have a business yet”, “I'm at zero to five hundred a month”, or “I'm over five hundred dollars a month”. By having his audience compete this one-question survey, each person is tagged based on their answer. Now he can segment subscribers based on what level they're at in their business.

Pat doesn't need to send an email about setting up WordPress to someone who's already making over $500 a month. They've got that covered. But if you don't have a business yet, maybe you're stuck on something like that.

That segmenting is really powerful. Pat actually takes it to the next level where he does some automated pitching based on what you interact with, but that kind of intensely targeted segmentation can be for another discussion later.

Save time and increase your revenue

As a blogger busy building your business, it’s important to set up processes wherever possible. Your time is valuable and you need to put it toward the most important tasks of the day. I truly believe these automation rules will help you by drive results while also eliminating  so much time spent on your email marketing.

So take some time and make sure you’re utilizing these rules to the best of your ability. Soon you’ll find yourself freer for all that big-picture thinking.

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Nathan Barry

In previous careers Nathan has been a designer, author, and blogger. After learning the power of email marketing he gave up a successful blogging career to build ConvertKit. Outside of work Nathan spends his time playing soccer, woodworking, and chasing after his two little boys.

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