Originally published in “This Month in Elgin March 2020”

If you have a product or service that can easily be sold on-line to an audience that extends beyond geographic boundaries, you should be absolutely taking full advantage of automated marketing tools.

If words like “MailChimp”, “Kajabi” or “ConvertKit” gives you hives, fear not. Spending some effort in learning these tools will give you the ability to tailor and broadcast your message to the people who are most likely to need your product or service.

One online guy I’m a fan of is Paul Jarvis (I mentioned his book Company of One in a previous article). Every Sunday he sends out a comprehensive newsletter on topics that he has researched and that he feels his audience would appreciate. He has been delivering this free content for years. If you find you like his tone of voice, his expertise, and the topics he covers, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the next one.

Once you’re on his “list”, you are a valuable potential sale. His business model is centred around delivering course materials online and so once in while, he will send a message that a particular course is going to begin, or that he is hosting a live Q&A webinar if you are curious and want to know more. Since you already appreciate the information he has been giving you for free and see him as an expert in his field, you are less likely to bristle when he is in “sales mode”. And if you ever do find yourself wanting to learn the content that his course delivers, of course you are most likely to register for his course versus anyone else offering similar products.

Jarvis exclusively uses MailChimp to create and automatically schedule the messages for his Sunday newsletter list (to deliver the free content); and in the case that you signed up to learn more about a particular course via a webinar, to automate follow up emails that get sent every few days immediately following the webinar; and even to deliver his actual courses. In other words, during his day-to-day he creates all of this content and sets up how it should be automated, but doesn’t have to present when the actual content gets sent out. Building this all out naturally takes a great deal of time, but once the process is in place, it is just a matter of maintaining and tweaking it from year to year based on updated information or customer feedback, with minimal manual work on his end!

If you are a creative writer, you might consider sending out a newsletter with excerpts from the novel you are writing. If you are a retail store selling pet products, you might send out seasonal info about pet health. If you are a charity, you might send out stories about the impact you are making on the community.

I mentioned Kajabi, which will do all this and a great deal more, as well as ConvertKit, which is a product similar to MailChimp. All of these tools will not only help you understand who your leads are, but can even process payments and help you deliver messaging that will make a fierce believer out of your customers.

Happy automating!