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Building A Great First Impression: Our Working To Live Email Automation

Building A Great First Impression: Our Working To Live Email Automation

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You could argue that our initial email automation is the most important touchpoint we'll have with a new email subscriber.

If you've read a few of these posts then you know we're aren't big on "marketing funnels" (or "sifters" as we prefer to call them), yet, that's precisely what our Working To Live email automation is. A person will visit our Wandering Aimfully website, sign up for our email list, and get sent five helpful emails using a framework we've created that helps organize your business around the life you actually want.

If you want to take a moment to read our existing Working To Live framework, go ahead and do that. We'll wait.

Alright, you ready to see exactly how we're setting up our one and only "sifter" for Wandering Aimfully? How we're starting a website visitor down the path of potentially becoming a paying member, while also giving that person a TON of value right after subscribing to our email list?

 

The strategy: Why have an intro series for your email list?

When someone first signs up for your email list, we believe that is the best time to really qualify them as a subscriber.

We have no intention of having a bunch of subscribers for the vanity metrics (we've been down that path before, Jason specifically, and it's a mistake we aren't looking to repeat). We’re trying to attract people who will be engaged, helpful, hard-working members of the Wandering Aimfully (WAIM) community.

Our goal with creating an intro email sequence is to:

  1. Give a brand new email subscriber a taste of what we teach at Wandering Aimfully and how we teach it.
  2. Lead with immense value right out of the gate so someone wants to keep coming back for more.

If our content feels too entrepreneurial to them or the tone isn’t right or we're just not what they expected, we'd rather they unsubscribe in those first few days so we're not paying for an unqualified subscriber or diluting our list with someone who'll never become a customer of ours.

🔥 Jason and Carol’s Ninja Hot Tip: A person is THE MOST engaged they will ever be when they first sign up for your email list. What content can you send them immediately to take advantage of the fresh attention they're offering you?

 

The email series: Creating the right content to attract your ideal customer

So you might be wondering…how do I know what to teach or what value to provide in my own email series (AKA automation)? Our advice is to reverse-engineer the answer based on the type of person you want to attract for whatever the goal of your list is. 

The goal of our list is to ultimately covert people to paying WAIM memberships. This means that we want to attract folks who would benefit from the Wandering Aimfully membership, and who would be engaged, contributing members of the community.

This means we want them to be: 

  • most likely an independent creative, either working for themselves or at a company, but interested in having a side hustle or going independent full time
  • a desire to live with intention (they don’t want to make money for money’s sake)
  • they aren’t afraid of putting in effort  

We knew right away that we already had a piece of content perfectly tailored for this goal and this type of person: our Working To Live workshop.

Working To Live was a live workshop we taught in conjunction with our first BuyOurFuture launch, and it’s by far one of the things we’ve gotten the most positive feedback on. It teaches a few key steps for identifying the lifestyle you want to lead, making time in your schedule to integrate those lifestyle activities, then identifying where you need your business to be financially and squeezing more dollars out of your business to get there. We aren't teaching secondhand knowledge, this is our actual experience, boiled down to a very digestible and actionable set of principles and tasks.

Working To Live encompasses SO many different elements of who we’re trying to target with Wandering Aimfully. It teaches business and monetization strategies, but only in the context of trying to help someone live out more of their own values. This is something we consider most core to our mission and your differentiator—we share with you business advice to earn more, but only so that you can LIVE more. It shares mindset shifts and tactical, practical steps.

Plus, it’s no walk in the park. It takes real effort and isn’t short or quick to read through. That is intentional. The kind of person who really dives into the Working To Live content and fills out the worksheets is going to be someone who isn’t afraid of doing work and knows how to take action to improve their life, which is exactly who we want to target for our WAIM membership*.

*Important note: We understand that 100% of our email subscribers will not become paying members. We are also looking to create really strong subscribers, whether they purchase something from us or not. We want doers and action takers to get our weekly emails, not people who believe in overnight success or that you can flip on a switch to make money with online business. 

So, in developing your own intro email series, ask yourself: What piece of content do you consider most core to your mission and your differentiator?

🔥 Jason and Carol’s Ninja Hot Tip: Remember to develop your intro series content with the type of person in mind that you're trying to attract. 

  

Converting Working To Live from a video workshop into an email series

In the video discussing this Working To Live email series below (Unedited Meeting, heyo!), you'll see us contemplate the format of this series. Do we keep it to email? Do we record short videos to add personality? Create a custom experience on our site? 

As you'll see, ultimately we decide to keep it strictly to email and in written form. Mostly this decision stems from our desire to keep it simple to begin with—an "MVP" or "minimum viable product" if you will—as we can always build on this later on once we know people resonate with the content.

🔥 Jason and Carol’s Ninja Hot Tip: As you're thinking about the format of your content, go with your MVP but make notes on how it could be improved in the future. Strive for less technical bells and whistles out of the gates, and focus on delivering content that's very helpful to your subscribers. 

 

Here’s how we broke the workshop content down into each email in the 5-part series

Oh, if we didn't mention, we turning the Working To Live (WTL) framework into a 5-part daily email automation that starts the moment after someone subscribes to our list. So, ya, now we clearly said that. Our apologies if every email's content below isn't clearly explained, we have to save some of the magic for the actual emails!

  • Email #1 - Lesson 1: Identifying your ideal lifestyle
    • Introduction of WTL mindset/framework
    • Exercise: Identify your ideal (Answer 6 Qs in a Typeform worksheet)
       
  • Email #2 - Lesson 2: Scheduling life FIRST
    • Taking Step #2 and #3 from the Working To Live article and combining
    • Scheduling your life first (Typeform Qs)
      • Calendar blocking exercise
      • Non-negotiables and nice-to-haves
    • Life metrics broken into measurable goals (also Typeform Qs)
       
  • Email #3 - Lesson 3: How much money do you *really* need?
    • Identify your MMM Number 
      • Use our MMM Number formula to come up with how much money they actually need to aim for each month
      • Bonus: Offer budgeting exercises and challenge them to compare the answers to questions to real numbers (do an expense tracking exercise) 
      • Can we help them find an ah-ha moment with their money right now?
         
  • Email #4 - Lesson 4: How you can start earning more
    • Make up the gap (what can help you get to the life/MMM you want?)
      • Product / Marketing / New Revenue Streams
      • Our decision tree for how to get more money out of your business
      • Strategies and tactics to make it happen
         
  • Email #5 - Wrap-up: What are you willing to sacrifice?
    • Wrap up WTL and talk about short-term financial sacrifices to get what you actually want (short term pain for long term gain!)
    • Link to WTL recorded workshop page (which has downloads)
    • Included paragraph to prepare them for our weekly Monday emails from us

 

Why we decided to do self-paced email series rather than a drip sequence once a day

It's worth noting here that we decided to make this email series self-paced, meaning if a user completes an exercise, they'll automatically move to the next lesson in the series (rather than a mandatory time period of one email per day over the course of five days.) We made this decision because we don’t like to hold information hostage. We want people to move through Working To Live on their terms if they’re engaged in that moment. This creates a better experience for the subscriber and it means the series is designed for a more “action-oriented” subscriber. (It does create more technical work for us, but, this isn't our first email automation rodeo, hence why we're willing to add more technical bells and whistles).

 

What the 5-part email workflow architecture looks like in Drip

*Note: It's about to get super-fancy-complicated up in here. If you like nerding out on automation stuff, keep reading! If you're easily overwhelmed, skip this section and remember to start simple and you can always add in automation later!

FIRST, THE SUBscriber submits our form (subscribes!)

  • User subscribes through one of our site forms 
    • Form redirects to "/thanks" page on WAIM site after submission telling them to double opt-in
    • User gets confirmation email, clicks confirmation link to complete double opt-in
    • Link click on double opt-in confirmation directs to "/confirmed" page on WAIM site (on this page, user learns a bit about why Working To Live is important, a reminder of who we are, and a note that their first lesson is on the way.)
  • In Drip, an automation rule is triggered, which applies the tag “Registered: WAIM Newsletter”
 The form used in this automation rule is just a test right now but will be our real forms in the future!

The form used in this automation rule is just a test right now but will be our real forms in the future!

 

THE ONBOARDING SHELL

  • “Registered: WAIM Newsletter” triggers the “WAIM - Onboarding Shell” workflow to begin:
    • Inside the Onboarding Shell workflow, the user starts the “WAIM - Working To Live” workflow:
 The reason for the onboarding shell is so that we can make changes or edits to the various parts of our email sequence without changing the whole thing. Isolating Working To Live to its own workflow within a larger workflow means we can make major changes to it without affecting users who are at the various other stages in the larger Onboarding Shell (like any sales sequences after the intro series.) Super nerdy, we know.

The reason for the onboarding shell is so that we can make changes or edits to the various parts of our email sequence without changing the whole thing. Isolating Working To Live to its own workflow within a larger workflow means we can make major changes to it without affecting users who are at the various other stages in the larger Onboarding Shell (like any sales sequences after the intro series.) Super nerdy, we know.

the working to live self-paced workflow

  • This workflow first applies the “Started Workflow: Working To Live” tag (so we know at a glance when a user has entered the workflow)
  • Then it immediately sends Email #1

Here's where it gets more complex and where the series becomes "self-paced."

Two different things happen depending on whether a user fills out the lesson worksheet (Typeform) or simply opens the email and doesn't take any action.

IF they fill out the lesson worksheet (Typeform), this happens:

 Typeform worksheet to Drip Event in Zapier

Typeform worksheet to Drip Event in Zapier

  • Thanks to a zap we have set up in Zapier, IF a user completes the lesson worksheet via Typeform, Drip will record the event "Completed WTL Lesson 1"
  • The green steps in the workflow below are "goals" meaning if a user takes that action, they'll automatically slide down the workflow to that step. 
  • So, if a user fills out the worksheet, it triggers the zap, records the event in Drip, which in turn triggers the goal and they move on, receiving the next email lesson. Huzzah for doing the work!
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If they DO NOT fill out the lesson worksheet in Typeform, then they do not move to the green goal, they stay at the red step above and wait until the following day at 7am when Drip will record a "force completed" event which moves them along to the "Forced Completed" goal in green and they continue in the sequence to the next day's email. 

*If you're in the least bit interested in Drip and the powerful automation features it offers, check out Brennan Dunn's work and his Mastering Drip course. He's who we learned all of this from. It may seem complex now but once you understand it you can do such powerful things!

You get the picture from here! A user either moves through each lesson by filling out each email's Typeform OR they get one lesson each day at 7am thanks to the workflow. 

One other cool part of the workflow, before each new email gets sent, we have a decision tree that asks if a user completed the lesson worksheet. If the answer is yes, this fancy action updates a custom field on their account with a "score."

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This score is super powerful becuase it basically tells us how engaged they are with the material, which in turn allows us to do fun email things like send a special back-door sales sequence to any users that have a score of 4 (ie. they completed all 4 lesson worksheets.)

Phew! Did you stick with us through that?? We'll be diving more into how we use email automations at a much later date (especially with our WAIM members). 

🔥 Jason and Carol’s Ninja Hot Tip: It's 1000% okay if you just want to do a very simple email automation with no fancy triggers, shells (not even puka shells), etc. A standard daily drip email automation is a great place to start!

 

How to set up the Typeform worksheets

If you want to consider using the self-paced email format with Typeform, there are a few key things you should know. First, when you set up your Typeform, you'll have to create what's called a "hidden field." Hidden fields allow you to pass through data you already have to your form. 

 Here you can see the hidden field "email" added to our worksheet, plus we have a confirmation question that allows someone to confirm it is in fact their email address.

Here you can see the hidden field "email" added to our worksheet, plus we have a confirmation question that allows someone to confirm it is in fact their email address.

To pass the data through to the hidden field, you just need to add a character string a the end of the Typeform link like this: 
https://madevibrant.typeform.com/[unique_typeform_id]?email=xxxxx

If you replace the "xxxxx" with an email address, the hidden field will show up as that email address throughout the form. This is necessary because it's the only way to pass the Drip users email address to the Typeform for when the Zapier zap needs to record the event of whether they completed the worksheet:

 The hidden field is what tells Drip which subscriber's account to apply the event to.

The hidden field is what tells Drip which subscriber's account to apply the event to.

So, for example, if I were to use the URL: https://madevibrant.typeform.com/[unique_typeform_id]?email=hello@wanderingaimfully.com then this is what a user would see in the worksheet:

But that begs the question...how do you include every person's unique email address in the link to the worksheet? The answer is...you use a handy dandy thing called liquid in Drip! By making the link to the worksheet end in "email={{ subscriber.email }}" that basically just tells Drip: Whoever the subscriber is that clicks on this link in their email, pass that email address through to the link (and the hidden field in Typeform.)

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That's how we track whether a person fills out the worksheet or not, and this is what allows us to make the series self-paced (and track their engagement.)

If you understand all of this, you have reached Nerd Level 3,000 and we welcome you to the club 🤓💾.

 

Watch the full unedited meeting video about everything you read here!

The video below is yet another unedited meeting where we start with a topic and then have actionable next steps by the end of the discussion. You'll get to see decisions happen in real-time, especially related to complexity, content decisions, and what we're willing to sacrifice or not for our email series.

Hope you enjoy!

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