So, let me give you a little bit of a background, when I was working for a family business, which was very small, I was in charge of marketing and sales and a lot of other stuff and I had to figure out, how to make time as well as the company's money in order to make it more efficient and make it work like a big company in order for it to make more sales without having to necessarily hire more people or have very complicated processes.
So, back in the day of course that was like in 2004, a lot of the work was actually still done by hand. We had to fill out a lot of paperwork, a lot of the sales forms, actually all the sales forms were done on paper and there was a lot of stuff that was still not digital. So, of course one of the first steps to being able to automate your business and make it work more efficient is for you to start digitalizing all of your processes. So, I'm guessing you're going to be already using your computer for most of your business tasks and your daily day-to-day things; otherwise if you’re not, that's definitely the first step. Think about everything that you do by hand, if you still doing it by hand, you first must digitalize it, once you're able to digitalize things such as your online sales or actually having sales online rather than only over the phone as well as managing all of your contacts and all of your sales related tasks both through email or through what's called a CRM system, a customer’s relationship management system, then you'll be able to actually have everything on the computer.
Once you have everything on the computer then you for sure can do a lot of amazing stuff with today's technology. So, let me start by explaining the most important thing. Today there's a lot of what are called SAAS services - software as a service, which means software used to be before on your computer installed and it would take a lot of technicians to be able to connect your computer to other computers, right, then you would have an internal server, a computer that would be inside your company and then all of your other users will connect to that server. Today things are much much different and you don't really need an actual server on your company or at least most companies that are small don't need it and instead all of your software actually now lives online, what's called cloud-based.
So the amazing thing about that is that, first you have to have a big upfront costs because you really, you just need to pay a small monthly fee every month and then whenever you want, you can stop it. And the most amazing thing other than the cost is that you can actually connect one software with the other and that's why the whole topic of marketing automation and business automation comes into place. Why? Because now that all the software's online, basically it means it's on the internet and now that it's on the internet, you can actually have one software talk to the other one because it's already online. There's no need to have a physical computer which is in your business to connect to some other computer that might not be actually on the internet.
So, there's a language called the API or it's actually more of a format that each software creates in order to be able to be accessed by the other. So, today there's a lot of tools that allow one software to connect to the other one and that's in a way the basic principle of how you can automate stuff but of course for that you need a special platform or a special software that tells one software to do something with the other software, so that they talk to each other and then you are basically creating a machine that works on its own automatically.
So, of course in every one of these Friday episodes, I'm going to go in-depth, a little bit more in-depth into show you exactly how each of these elements works but for now let me give you the introduction visually by showing my screen so that you understand, kind of how this visually looks like.
For example, this is a simple automated process for sending emails. So you can do a lot of business automation and also marketing automation. Most of the stuff that we're going to talk about is going to be about marketing but there's also many other things that you can do that are not related to marketing. Okay?
So for example right here we start by creating a trigger, a trigger is something that happens in order for this marketing automation flow to begin. Ok, in this case I'm showing you, Agile CRM which is a software for contact relationship management, for managing all your sales contacts as well as for marketing automation for doing a lot of marketing related tasks to make your business processes faster.
In this case we created a campaign called "request reviews from clients". We wanted to make it automatic to request people to review us on google in this case, so instead of manually having to email, them asking them for a review, we created a whole process. In this case we created a little bit more complex than normal just for showcasing purposes but this is actually an active campaign that we're using. So once the trigger, triggers this campaign and [unclear - 05:36] I'm talking about the trigger right now; let’s just assume we added manually, a contact to this trigger, what's going to happen is that we are going to send them the first email, saying, " hey you know, please thank you for being our customer, please check out these links in order to review us on google. I'm not at all going to open the emails right now, the fact is that you know, we're going to send that email and then the computer is going to check whether the email was opened or not? If it was not opened then we're probably going to send them the same email; if it was opened then we are going to wait, in this case for around seven days, we can click here and edit it, we put it eight days. So this is it, we're going to wait for eight days and then check, if anything got clicked, that's the next step. If it did get clicked, any of the links then we could even transfer it to another process or we can send them another email reminding of, "hey you know we saw that you opened the email but you didn't click on the link to review our company." And then we'll remind them to do it again. Okay.
And basically this can go on and on and on for as long as you want. And of course this whole process, all of it, happens for each contact automatically, instead of having need to pay a real person to have to do this manually by sending an email through outlook or through Gmail. So, that's just a very small peak about something that you can actually automate and that's of course within in this case, a CRM system which is called Agile CRM.
Another thing that we can do is use this thing called "Zapier", think about Zapier as the main platform that lets you connect over 800 different software that is web-based SAAS, software as a service with each other. Okay?
So this is one of the most amazing tools that will help you save a lot of time in all of your daily marketing sales and lots of other types of tasks. Ok, here there is literally hundreds of different apps that you can connect with each other. In this case, I'm going to show you just a quick view. Here we have several folders for different types of tasks and this one that I have selected right now is the CRM related folder.
So, in this case, for example I have created a task or an automation that every time somebody fills out Donna's Google leads form, this is just a regular google forms, as soon as somebody fills out that form, it will automatically save that contact into the CRM, so that's a quick way to show you how we can automate something, instead of manually having to save the information into the CRM which is the database of your contacts, we can just automate it. So, let's take a look quickly at how, something like this looks like, so you get an idea of what it really means to automate stuff.
Like everything that's related to marketing automation, you must have first some sort of trigger, so in this case the first trigger is whenever there's a new response in the spreadsheet, then you want something to happen. That's the next step, the action, so what do we want it to happen? In this case we chose that every time there is a new response on an online form from google sheets or google forms, we want to create a new contact in Agile CRM. And then we actually just need to map the fields, which is the information that was submitted from the forms, that's a little purple icon. You want to make sure that first name goes into the first name field inside the CRM and so on and so on. And then once we have this running, we save it and then it'll just check it every 15 minutes and it'll be done automatically; so that's just another example. Okay?
Just to give you an idea, here's kind of a diagram from convert flow of all the different things that you have to do to actually automate a lot of different things related to marketing such as email marketing, retargeting, analytics, using a CRM, a contact form; so this is how a diagram with... sort of vaguely represent all the different things that you have to do to automate it. In this case convert flow is trying to offer you a different solution so that you get to get the people's information quicker but the point is, in this diagram we're trying to see the flow of information from one place to the other all of which could be automated. So there's other software that lets you automate stuff such as active campaign or drip from lead pages.
There's a lot of tools out there that let you make once the work for defining what do you want to automate and then it will automate it for it you all the time.
So, that's kind of a brief introduction, we're not going to make this presentations very long. We have a whole PowerPoint presentation that's three hours long and I'm going to be presenting soon that will show you a lot of different stuff and that's part of what we're going to be doing on every Friday, going through each of the different examples of how you can automate your marketing in sales.
So, as a summary let's just recap the following. First thing that you need to do is to digitalize your entire business, okay. Once you can digitalize all of your business, then you're able to actually use web-based software, usually starting with a CRM as your home base for putting all of your information that's related to your contacts, which you know... the contacts are the people we are going to sell to. And then once you have that CRM you can connect many other software such as email marketing software, forms from your website, QuickBooks for example for accounting purposes and many other things.
So we're going to be talking about that soon. I hope that you come back and you get to learn a lot about marketing automation and technology and how this can help your small business. Thank you so much for coming in and I hope to see you next time.