I like Perry Marshall. I think he’s a smart guy. And I think the recent class he gave on autoresponders (sequences of email messages that fire off in a specified order) was probably worth the $4,000 he charged for it.
But since he’s not giving the class at the moment, and if you don’t happen to have $4,000, I thought I’d expand on a few good points he made in this article. Yes, the article was written to encourage you to buy the course. But the points are still valid.
Complex systems can make you a lean, mean competitive machine
King Crankypants Dan Kennedy is a big proponent of this. He advocates making your marketing sequences and processes so complicated that your competitors wouldn’t steal them if you sat down with a whiteboard and a pot of coffee and drew out a map for them.
(Being Dan Kennedy, he then goes on to call those competitors lazy, stupid, disgusting and weak.)
When you look at an entire mature marketing system, the thing seems completely overwhelming. Even if a competitor is hungry enough to attack it, a good marketing sequence generally has too many pieces to easily steal the whole thing.
The cool part is, these processes are actually easier to create than they are to understand. Complex isn’t the same thing as difficult. You make each little piece one at a time, then string them together. It’s the WATTS Towers marketing technique.
Add to the system over time, tweaking it here and adjusting it there. And you automate the delivery, so it never gets overwhelming.
There’s complex, and there’s complex
Some of the more advanced shopping cart systems have complicated systems you can rig up to pitch upsells and cross-sells and subfunnels (oh my). These systems are expensive if you’re just starting out, and the learning curve isn’t trivial.
And then, to be able to upsell or cross-sell, you have to have a bunch of products. It’s great for a mature business, but intimidating when you’re still trying to get things off the ground. Or if you’re a consultant, and you have essentially one product: an hour of your time.
An email autoresponder is a pretty simple animal, in comparison. Just a sequence of communication that moves customers in a nice, neat conveyer belt. Invite a prospect into the system by asking her to opt in to get something free and good. Then move her smoothly through different stages until the finished product—a happy customer—pops out the other end.
An autoresponder can be as short or as long as you like. You can have a three-day sequence or a three-year one. And you can put together as many sequences as you want to.
You can absolutely do this
It’s just not that hard to set up a 10-step (or 30, or 300) sequence in an autoresponder and let that do the selling for you. Yes, it helps to have a few “no-selling” sales techniques under your belt. But you don’t have to be a marketing genius or a code monkey to make it happen.
That’s why Perry Marshall’s $4,000 course was actually a fair deal. If you have a good product and you know how to find (or buy) traffic, a halfway decent autoresponder sequence will be worth a lot more to you than $4,000.
He marketed that course to businesses who have those pieces in place and want to quickly start using this nifty tool to do a lot more business. He never intended it for solo entrepreneurs (unless they’re doing very nicely) or struggling consultants or nonprofits.
Get ready, I’m going to pitch you something
If you like the sound of the autoresponder thing but $4,000 seems like a scary amount of money to pay for a class on how to write an email newsletter, you might start small.
If you’re newish here, I’ve got a free class on how to write an email newsletter and/or autoresponder. It has 10 lessons (I imagine I’ll probably add more as I think of new ideas) and comes with free bonus pictures of monkeys, flowers, cute children and lemonade stands.
It looks a lot like this blog, in other words. You can sign up for it here.
If your project feels stalled because marketing and creating content seem overwhelming, or you never know what to say on your blog, or you’re overwhelmed and hyperventilating thinking of how to get started, I can definitely help you with that.
OK, the pitch is over, you can open your eyes now
You know, the usual good stuff.