Jennifer Nelson is always on the lookout for the next new tool she can use to optimize her consulting business. Whenever she spots an opportunity, she immediately seeks out the knowledge she needs to implement it in her own work. This passion for innovation is how Jennifer became a certified Drip automation expert and a successful independent consultant and coach. Listen to this episode of DYF Podcast to see what strategies and innovations you can borrow from Jennifer and how to apply them to your daily practices. You’ll also hear her speak to the challenge of managing multiple funnels, what language is most effective with which clients, and how she gets her conference audiences to pay attention even after her presentation is over.
As a Drip certified automation expert, Jennifer Nelson has fully automated her own business and now works with others to introduce automation into their routines. Her goal is to enable her clients to focus on the creative work and projects at the core of their businesses rather than spending all their time on marketing or upkeep tasks. Jennifer takes a piecemeal approach when she works with freelancers and agencies. She works with her clients to find ways they can delegate day to day tasks in their businesses to machines.
Jennifer wasn’t always an independent automation superstar. She says about two years ago, she reached a point of reckoning in her career. She had been working comfortably at an ad/tech start up, but she needed to see what she could do on her own. Jennifer started a consulting business and began the quest for clients. She started with a newsletter which she distributed using the email platform, MailChimp. This helped, but once Jennifer started noticing what other people were able to do with automation, there was no turning back. Jennifer recalls an instance with one blogger she liked, “I read one of her blogs and then I downloaded something. It came immediately to my email as a PDF. I was like, ‘Oh my God. That’s cool,’ and how’d she do that? Then I learned that she was using ConvertKit. I was like, ‘Okay, let me sign up for ConvertKit.’”
By then, Jennifer was also following Brennan who sent an automated message that ended with “By the way, I used Drip to send out this email.” Jennifer was intrigued. When she attended the Leadpages conference 2 yrs ago, they offered the first ever Drip Certification Course. Energized by the conference and having already spent a lot of money to attend, she decided to shell out another $1000 to get certified. She feels more knowledge is never a bad thing. The course was hard at first because it was so new. She had her doubts but once it came time to test, she discovered she had learned the methods. Excited about automating her own business, Jennifer realized other people would need that service too so she niched herself as an automation specialist.
For her personal business, Jennifer has created three main funnels. Her website encourages people to book a call with her, and she has a 5 day email course. Drip also promotes her as a certified consultant which also drives her leads. Each funnel requires slightly different communication based on the clients’ familiarity with automation and its tools. When clients come to her via Drip, Jennifer talks with them about the software and what it can do. When speaking with other clients (who may not be familiar with what automation really means or the tools available), Jennifer generally asks them more open-ended questions like “How do you need to make your life easier?” and then offers ideas. Jennifer’s approach with these clients is to stay focused on the problem and the solution, ensuring the conversation is about marketing in general rather than specific software or options. She lets the client’s needs determine the solution. Jennifer’s background in advertising sales helps her “talk the marketing game” while demonstrating to her clients that she knows what she’s doing in the tech world.
Brennan agrees that aligning the language you use to the type of business you’re working with is key. He says that for more traditional businesses, the discussion framework will sound more like “Look, we’re going to basically package the stuff that your sales team is already doing into something that doesn’t require your sales team to constantly show up and do it (though of course, they’ll still be there to close the deal etc).” While you don’t want to talk down to your clients, you also want them to be able to connect with what you’re proposing and striking that balance can be tricky.
Another way Jennifer talks to her clients is through her email course. Jennifer created her five-day course, Email Automation 101, about a year ago and it has since become her most popular email series. The course came about because Jennifer had noticed she was meeting most of her clients in person and introducing them to the idea of automation for the first time. As a result, she was spending a lot of time on potential clients, explaining the principles to them before signing a contract or getting any assurance that she would be hired. This was costing her time and therefore money. So instead of continuing to try explaining automation to everyone she met, Jennifer started handing out her business cards to people she met at conferences and asking the new contacts to check out her course through LeadDigits. Of course she still met with a couple problems: people tend not to revisit the stack of business cards they’ve acquired after an event is over, and some are put off by LeadDigits for fear of spam texts.
Jennifer has more success at conferences when she is giving a presentation or workshop. Then, she can invite the audience to text the LeadDigits number to get her slide deck and she informs them that they’ll also be enrolling in her 5 day email course. Jennifer says the audience is more receptive in these cases due to the energy from the event and the accessibility of the information. She is striking while the iron is hot since she has just met the people reading these emails, they are riding the conference “can-do!” high, and because the emails are daily rather than weekly or monthly, the lead’s enthusiasm is maintained through to the end. She now spends far less time explaining what automation is, and her Email Automation 101 course emails have a 75% open rate and 11% click through rate. Jennifer also borrowed a tip she learned from Brennan in that she labels her emails according to their order (“email 1 out of 5” etc.). Her next objective with the Email Automation 101 course is to target this funnel towards one specific product but she is still testing which product that will be.
One thing Brennan recommends for boosting opt-ins is to maximize event contacts by saying “Hey, I have this 5 day email course, mind if I add you to it?” Though long-term this may not represent a ton of conversions, it is a good way to get close to a hundred percent opt-ins for a conference. Although this doesn’t scale as well as a landing page, it is one of a handful of opportunities Brennan notices for growing numbers in the wake of conferences. Another is creating a funnel based on automating messages to the people you’ve met. This would start with a message that reads something like: “”Hey, [Jenny], it’s been really cool talking. I actually have something that I think you might interested in. It’s a free course I’ve built on [XYZ]. Would it be cool if I send it to you when I go back to my office?” This tactic, which usually results in a strong uptick in opt-ins, may also present higher-quality leads since they have also already had a quick conversation with you and feel a connection to you as an individual.
As Jenny looks to the future in considering what course to feature at the end of her sales funnel, she knows that it is important to revisit each product months and even years after it was made. Jennifer says this is “so you don’t forget what you’ve done.” In reviewing her course, she noticed that in the end, it dumped customers onto her services page. She believes this is far too quick for a sales pitch so she’s refining her process now. The new version will include more specific questions for her customers. She’ll then give the prompt, “Do you find that booking meetings is annoying? I have a solution for that,” which will then link to a softer sales page. Coming from sales, it is hard for Jenny to scale back the hard sell. She says now she is first seeking a tripwire sale: inexpensive, low commitment, great service and value. Of course this little sale is intended to lead to a much bigger sale.
As Brennan points out, selling consulting which requires a large commitment from customers in both time and money, is a tall order for the end of this type of sales funnel. He recalls a youtube consultant he once used. This consultant sold introductory sessions in which he’d walk customers through spreadsheets he uses and would input their information. At the end of the session, the data could show if spending money on youtube ads would be worth it for the client. For Brennan, the $200 cost of the exploratory service was well worth it compared to the thousands he’d be spending in video production. At the end of the session, the consultant also sold a monthly retainer for helping businesses optimize their youtube ads. The high-value, personalized service of the initial call, made the retainer something Brennan could consider where a downloadable pdf or a course would not invite that commitment. Brennan suggests some type of paid roadmapping session for Jenny’s tripwire product.
Jennifer says she’s considering offering an audit to show customers their potential with email automation. She would offer an hour of her time to ask them what their funnel looks like now, spell out their current funnel and work with them to figure out the values of the different parts of the funnel. She’d ask: “What’s the value of a visitor? What’s the value if they’re on the client’s list? What changes would amplify each different point of the funnel?” This establishes the relationship between Jennifer and the customer, making them feel comfortable with her, and showing that she understands both their business and hers so she can help them. She’s also considering roadmapping or a low-cost worksheet to help them see ROI potential.
Jennifer also uses a Drift widget to ask customers who visit her site to tell her about their pain points. She says she gets some very in-depth responses since naturally, customers and visitors are already thinking about their businesses. She says this has lead to sales directly, but the other purpose of the tool is to get the potential lead into Jennifer’s Drip via a Zapier zap. From there, an automated message is sent saying “Hey, it looks like you were trying to book an appointment,” and it includes 4 days of follow up emails containing information similar to the automation question they asked. Since the customer is not yet on her list at that point, Jennifer’s automated emails invite them to join one of three courses she offers. She’s interested in re-targeting down the line to those who don’t. With Drip, she can push them into a custom audience and promote the email course to on Facebook to that audience. Once they opt-in to that email course, Drip can push them out of that custom audience. Jennifer says that because she’s looking for big ticket sales, every added sale could be worth the effort and automated follow up.
Jennifer has developed multiple entry points to her funnel. She has also perfected the art of strategically discuss marketing with clients based on who they are and their experience while also demonstrating her authority in that field. When she sees something working well for someone else, Jennifer sets her mind to learning how to make it work for her and her clients. She is constantly looking towards the next innovation or time saving tool and will gladly help you find yours!
For DYF podcast listeners, Jennifer has a special code to receive her 5 Day Email course, Automation 101. To receive those emails, text DYFJennifer to 44-222 where you’ll be prompted to enter your email address. From there, everything will be email-based. You can see her liquid tags for personalization in action and imagine what in your business you can personalize without having to re-invent or re-write each message.
Jennifer Miranda Nelson is a professional business marketing consultant and entrepreneur. She is the founder of Automate This!, a marketing consulting firm and JennyMiranda.com. She is driven to help others succeed in their lives and their businesses. When not consulting, teaching, or creating course material, you can usually find Jennifer taking a hike through the mountains of Los Angeles. She loves outdoor activities, and gets on her road bike whenever she can find the opportunity to.