Claire Williams is a very talented artist, and when Jon met her many years ago, she was making the most of her art and her artistic abilities.
Over time, Claire decided to automate her business online and because of her experience with it, became an expert in the business automation world.
Today, Claire is going to explain to us in detail today how we can do it. In fact, she states that Amazon does it all the time and if they can do it, so can you — no matter the size of your business.
She is also going to share with us how to rank your clients in order of importance — which I learned quite a bit myself during this interview.
Automation is a fascinating subject and I cannot wait to have Claire share with you about her process.
How to Automate Your Business Like Amazon
Claire who owns EBiz Wisdom, works with business owners who feel overwhelmed or burned out… or both. Entrepreneurs who feel that the direction in which their life and business is going, is out of alignment with their original vision.
You know, when it just doesn’t feel right anymore.
And that often happens when your business strategy, and the way you work – the way you manage your business, and your mindset, are out of alignment with your vision, your goals and the lifestyle you want to lead as a business owner.
Claire has never met any business owner yet that has told her, ‘Oh I love to feel stressed and run ragged and pulled in 10 million different directions. I love it when my mind and body are constantly in overload.’ I mean, who wants that?
But it’s the reality for many of us.
Build Your Vision and Your Dream, But Not at the Cost of Family or Health
So, as business owners, we want to build our vision, grow our business and get to those financial goals and beyond – but it shouldn’t be at the cost of our health and our sanity.
And it certainly shouldn’t be at the cost of our freedom and time for family and friends.
And it doesn’t have to be.
Claire helps business owners to realign themselves with their vision – whether it be their original vision or a new vision, because we all change, we all evolve.
She helps them redefine their goals and milestones for their business and personal life (because they are intrinsically related) – your business goals will alter how you live your life,
and your personal goals will alter what you’re willing to put into your business, energy-wise and mindset-wise.
And from there she guides you as you work together on the ‘how’. How are you going to bring your vision to life? How are you going to reach your goals?
So on the business side of things, she looks at how you’re currently managing your time, how you’re managing your business and what your marketing strategy looks like, and how that’s being implemented.
She asks questions like —
- Do you have a team to support you, for example?
- Are they A-players?
- Are you playing to your strengths?
- What does your marketing look like?
- Is it automated?
Now, Claire’s big love is marketing, especially online marketing and automation. So a lot of her focus is working with business owners to find those big holes in their marketing.
Find the Holes in Your Marketing and Plug Them
If you imagine a big leaky bucket – it’s just like fixing the holes to stop the water from gushing out, only in this instance, it’s not water – it’s potential sales.
So Claire will take a look at your automation. She will help you answer things like — how can you automate the marketing of your business, to grow and scale it, so that it makes you more money, quicker?
And to be honest, that’s the biggest benefit of automation that most people understand straight away. Automation helps you scale your business in multitudes.
But automating the marketing of your business goes much further than that.
When you think of automation, you’re likely to think of marketing that’s very dry, very impersonal. And that might have been the case 10 years ago.
But technology has advanced now so much, that you can use it to automate a really personalized experience to your prospects and your customers.
Make it Personal for Each Customer
For example, you can track your customer’s behavior – what they click, the pages they visit,you can track when they click a link on an email, when they login to your Members Area (if you have an online Members’ Area, which I recommend that you do).
You can get to know them so that you can deliver more of what they want, make them offers that they’re most likely to be interested in, know which days they’re more likely to engage in your content, etc.
This is just scratching the surface — the list of possibilities are endless, basically.
But as an example, say you run an artisan bakery. And you have a Members Area where you deliver free content to your email subscribers.
So your email subscribers get an email from you (which is automated of course), and in that email contains a link that automatically logs them into your Members Area and takes them straight to the content.
So in other words, they don’t even have to know that they’re going to a Members Area. To them they could just be going to a page on your site.
The difference is that, because they’re within the Members Area, you can track their behavior and deliver personalized content,personalized messages and ads to them, based on that behavior.
You know, these days, technology is so advanced that it can deliver your prospects and customers emails, and show them content in the Members Area that are about exactly what they’re most interested in.
So say you’re a nutritionist that has a small health food shop, and a client has just had a session with you, and you’ve put them on a gluten free diet.
You can just log that in your automated marketing system – that this particular customer is on a gluten-free diet. And if you set it up that way, your automated marketing system will take it from there.
Your marketing system can be automated in a way that it will then deliver emails and content in your Members Area, all about the gluten-free lifestyle.
Maybe you share recipe ideas with them, maybe you send them a link to a cheat sheet that lists the do’s and don’ts.
Maybe you show them a personalized ad in the Members Area that has a coupon code that encourages them to buy more gluten-free products from your health food shop.
The possibilities are literally, endless.
Then say the system picks up that the same customer has visited an article in your Members Area, but this time it’s about diabetic recipe ideas.
Maybe you’ve seen that client again and they’ve found out that they’re diabetic too. You can set your system up so that once that customer has received your content on the gluten-free lifestyle, it then delivers content to them about diabetic diet options, for example.
Or if you see your client again, and feel that they’d be better off moving from the gluten free track to the diabetic track on your system, you can go ahead and do that at a click of a button.
They’re now receiving emails about the diabetic lifestyle, they’re seeing articles in the Members Area about it, and they’re seeing personalized ads that encourage them to buy supplements and food from your health food shop, that all help with this diabetic lifestyle.
You can even show personalized ads that offer a discount to clients who haven’t visited you in, say 60 days.
Offer an Incentive For Them to Come Back
Give them an incentive to come back. Returning customers are far cheaper and easier to sell to than getting new ones.
So why not set up a system that tracks how engaged your customers are, and that will automatically follow up with them and serve offer them discounts when their custom tailors off.
You have that all automated, you know that all of that is going on behind the scenes, and because it’s been set up once, you don’t have to worry about it again. You can focus on other things.
So with marketing automation you can basically serve up content to them that they’re interested in because they’ve either purchased something from you or they’ve clicked on something or visited a page that indicates that they’re interested in a certain topic.
And the more personalized you can make a prospect’s experience, the more you can show you care by delivering content they’re most interested in, the more you can delight them with amazing value, the more they’ll come to know and trust you.
And that increases the chances of them becoming a customer.
And by the same token, the more personalized an experience you can deliver to your customers after purchase, the more you nurture them and show them you care – that you don’t disappear straight after the sale.
That’s where you create fiercely loyal customers that will become raving fans. They’re the ones that will repeat buy from you, and they’re the ones that will recommend your business to others within a blink of an eye, because they love what you do so much.
The problem is, as business owners, we know there’s a million things to do. It’s not scalable for many of us, especially if you’re a small business owner. But these days, this can all be done with automation.
So getting to know your customers and having them get to know you and your business is another benefit.
And of course, the stronger you make that relationship, the more likely customers will buy, which all adds to your bottom line.
Free Up Your Mind Space
But there’s a third benefit to automation that business owners don’t tend to consider and that is that it frees up your time and your mind space.
And that’s because when you automate something, it may take time upfront to set it up, but after that, by and large, it’s a case of set it and forget it.
And so long as you’re juggling all of these balls, wearing all of these hats, you’re not really giving enough attention to actively growing your business.
That means your business isn’t growing as fast as it could because you’re not able to make time for the more important things that you should be doing as a business owner.
There’s that famous saying that business owners should not be working in their business but on their business.
Well how much of your time do you spend working on your business? Probably no where near enough time as you should be.
And all of that ‘busy’ work where you’re working in your business, that’s using up precious mind space. Our minds are a bit like the RAM in a computer.
It can only process so much data at any one time, right? So the aim is to offload as much data as possible, to free it up for more important things.
Now, if your mind is choc full to the brim of…
- ‘this should be happening tomorrow
- did that go out yesterday?
- I need to follow up with this client and give them that information
- I need to chase up billing for that client’
All of these type questions and things that you should do, that’s where you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Because that precious mind space should be used for more high-level things.
Put Your Marketing on Auto-Pilot
So a big part of what Claire does is work with business owners and recommend ways in which you can use automation to scale your business dramatically.
And that means putting a large part of your marketing on auto-pilot.
It means that your marketing works no matter what you and your team is doing – day, night, whether you’re on holiday, whether you’re sick, whatever. You’ve built a marketing machine that works for you on auto-pilot, regardless.
And that frees up your time to focus on what you should be focusing on as a business owner – working on your business as opposed to in it.
And it frees up time to spend with family, friends, leisure pursuits – all of that fun stuff, that usually gets put on the back burner because biz owners are so run ragged by the marketing of their business.
Now some owners who are listening to this show might automatically decide that automation isn’t for them because it sounds too complicated to implement.
Claire says that she would be thee first to put heere hands up and say, there is a steep learning curve. She didn’t learn all of this overnight. It took time.
And if you’re inclined to do it then you can definitely go ahead and learn how to automate. This is one of the most valuable things you could do as a business owner.
But we don’t all want to have to learn it. Many of us don’t have the time to learn it, never mind the time to implement it. Because implementing it takes time too.
But thankfully there is a middle ground. There are many experts out there who are biting at the bit to setup your marketing automation for you.
The key though, is to know exactly what you want to automate, the order in which you want to automate it, and the way in which you want to automate it too.
Because here’s the thing, if you don’t really know what to automate then you’ll be at these experts’ mercy in terms of what they think you should be implementing and how you should be implementing it.
And there are thousands of ways you can do that.
You know, just because you’re automating doesn’t necessarily mean your business will be successful. What you’re automating and the way in which it’s automated will make or break it.
So what your aim is, as a business owner, is how to automate your business in the most efficient way possible, that matches your values and is aligned with how your customers think and act.
You know, I’m a big fan of the 80/20 rule. And that rule applies here – we want to apply the 20% of automation that will get you 80% of the results, not the other way round.
And this is where Claire comes in.
She will bridge the gap between your high level vision and goals and help you figure out what the next logical steps are for you in terms of automation.
For example, she might work with you to flesh out the spec so that the people who are implementing your system create exactly the system you want, without room for interpretation.
Claire believes automation, especially when it comes to marketing, should be a vital part of any business owner’s strategy.
And in fact, the smaller your business, the smaller your team, the less hours you have to get everything done.
In that case, it’s even more critical to offload as much of the marketing tasks as possible, to an automated, marketing system.
Prioritizing Your Customer List
Claire uses RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) to prioritize her customer list. RFM Analysis does sound very dry and boring but it’s gold dust.
It’s a way to identify who your very best customers are. It’s also a way to identify those customers who might be slipping away from you but aren’t quite lost yet. And you can also identify those customers who are highly unlikely to buy from you ever again.
So RFM is based on three metrics:
Recency, Frequency, and Monetary values. And it’s always in that particular order.
So the customers who have bought most recently from you are most likely to be the most engaged and most likely to buy from you again soon.
So that’s Recency and that always comes first in your RFM analysis, it’s always the most important metric that carries the most weight.
Then comes Frequency. So if a customer has bought lots from you, then they are more likely to buy from you again than from someone who hasn’t.
But that comes after Recency. So according to RFM, someone who has recently bought from you but hasn’t bought many times from you, is far more likely to buy again from you sometime soon, because they have purchased more recently.
On the other hand, someone who has bought lots from you in the past, but hasn’t bought from you in say, a year, is less likely to buy from you again.
Then comes Monetary. So if a customer has spent a lot of money with you, then that is also a factor to consider, but it’s actually the least important factor of all.
So if someone has bought recently from you, and has purchased many times from you, but they haven’t spent much money with you, they are still far more likely to buy again from you in the short term than someone who has spent lots of money with you but hasn’t bought from you in a long time, and hasn’t made as many purchases.
Score Your Customers
So we measure this by giving each customer a rating from 1-5. 5 being the best, most engaged. 1 being the worst, and least engaged.
So if a customer has a score of ‘555’ then you know that they are one of the very best, most loyal customers you have, of all your customers.
It means they have scored 5 out of 5 for Recency, 5 out of 5 for Frequency, and 5 out of 5 for Monetary. Or in other words, of all of your customers, they’ve bought the most recently, the most frequently and they’ve spent the most with you.
So that’s at the top end of the RFM scale.
At the bottom end of the scale, is a customer that scores ‘111’. If they score ‘111’, then you know that they are the least engaged and probably highly unlikely to buy again from you.
They haven’t bought from you in the longest time, they have made the least number of repeat purchases, and they have spent the least overall.
So you can automate the calculation of RFM. Every so often you can have your system calculate your customer base’s RFM score.
What Do You Do With All This Data?
Well for one, you can use it to identify your very best customers, your ‘555’s, your ‘554s’ and your ‘545’s.
Maybe you can put them on an automated sequence that asks them for a testimonial, for example. You know, these are your best, most loyal customers, so if anyone’s going to provide you with a glowing testimonial for your site and printer material like brochures, it’s going to be these customers.
Or you can send them a gift. And again, this can be automated by linking up your marketing system to a fulfillment service.
Maybe send them flowers, or a gift card to thank them for their loyalty. Thoughtful things that will help them to love you and your brand even more, basically.
So say, every 4 months, the system would calculate a customer’s RFM score, see that their score is ‘555’ and that would trigger the system to send them whatever is next on your ‘gift’ list.
So you might think, “Well I don’t want to send a customer an expensive gift if they haven’t spent much money with me yet”.
So there’s a way around that too – you can basically set it to be triggered once they’ve spent a specific amount with you.
So for example, say you’re a hair dresser, you can set it so that once a client has spent £300 over the course of their time with you, you send them out a gift card to a local restaurant or something like that.
You can also use RFM to identify those customers who might be slipping through the net. So those would be the customers who are heading towards the lower end of the scale…
… in other words, you’re on your way to losing them, but there’s still hope.
So that depends on your criteria. That kind of customer might be a 444, a 434, or a 443. It might even be as low as a 333. That’s up to you.
You know your customers the best, and the more you run this, the more you’ll get a feel for the point at which customers are less likely to respond.
So for these customers, your aim is to get them back.
For example, you might run a campaign for these customers where you might offer a BIG discount that literally makes it a no-brainer for them to return and buy from you. A
nd RFM helps because you only really want to make that offer to those specific customers. You don’t want to offer this to your 555s because you know you’d be losing money – they’re buying from you anyway.
And something else that RFM opens the door to, is direct mail.
Direct Mail and RFM
So, you can actually automate sending out direct mail and you won’t have to lift a finger. You could set it up (or have it set up for you) so that your automated system identifies a specific criteria.
Your system would have a specific range in the RFM scores, and only send direct mail to those customers.
If marketing is all about fighting to get your ideal customer’s attention, then that means that there’s a massive opportunity here.
We used to be inundated with direct mail. Now it’s very rare to see direct mail in the mailbox. We’re often surprised to receive it and if it’s any good, we often look at it as well.
But it can be expensive, so you don’t want to send out direct mail to every single prospect and every single customer.
And that’s where RFM comes in. You can use RFM to send it to only those customers that you want to target.
It could be your best customers, your ‘555’s, your ‘554s’ and your ‘545’s. Or it could be to the customers that you may be about to lose, your ‘444’s, your ‘434’s, your ‘443’s, and even your ‘333’s if you’re ready to go down even further.
The key here is to remember that the further down the scoreboard you go, the less likely a customer is to engage with you. And that data is priceless when it comes to deciding where you’re going to spend your precious advertising budget.
Claire has shared some fascinating information with us here today. Be sure to download the transcript and share this with your staff and friends.