How to Use Mobile Marketing with Greg Hickman

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Grant Baldwin
Today we are joined by my good buddy and beautiful friend, Dr. Greg Hickman. I don’t think you’re a doctor. You’re pretty, you got that going for you. But the doctor thing is a stretch.

All right, so you run a company called Systemly. Why don’t you give us a high level view of what Systemly does?

Greg Hickman
Yeah, so we’re essentially a done-for-you sales funnel and marketing automation team for online entrepreneurs that create digital courses.

That is a beautiful elevator pitch. What the heck does that even mean though?

So we’re essentially an extension of our clients’ teams. We build out their sales funnels and help them implement marketing automation primarily with Infusionsoft, that helps them streamline their operations, make more money, work less, and not have to deal with the headache of being inside of their marketing automation tool.

Okay, so if you’re talking to my 10 year old daughter, that means that after someone signs up to the email list, then you’re trying to figure out the back end of what emails they’re going to get, when they’re going to get those, what they’re going to say, basically, what path you’re taking them on. Is that the nutshell?

Yeah, definitely. At the end of the day we help create the experience that any new person has with you from the moment they engage with you.

We’re going to talk about that and talk about some practical things that people can do and some taxes.

Especially going from stage, if someone just saw you speak how do we build that relationship with them long term? We’re going to get into that. I want to give some more context to how you got into what you’re doing and you’ve done a decent amount of speaking yourself. So how did Systemly come to be? What’s the nutshell story?

And I’ll go ahead and tell people if they want the full story, we did have you on our previous podcast, How Did You Get into That? We can link up to that episode for the full gamut, but what’s the high level view of how you got to, to what you’re doing now?

High level. I was blogging and podcasting on mobile marketing, which was an area that I had expertise in for about a decade and had trouble growing. That business flatlined. I had a skillset in marketing automation for using it for myself and I validated the idea to see if I could get people to pay me to do it for them.

It validated very quickly, way faster than anything else I had done. That happened in September of 2015. And now we’re recording here in May of 2016 and we’re at a team of seven with 23 recurring clients.

I remember it was a quick pivot and a quick ascension on how things were and you felt like you were finally getting some traction there and like things were starting to click and move forward.

I know that we’ve chatted over the years. I was trying to remember when we did lunch and I happened to be in Denver for a gig and we hung out. I think it was right around that time when things started to really click and go forward for you.

So what kind of speaking have you been doing as well? Because you’ve done a little bit of speaking at some different conferences, like in the online business entrepreneurial space, but then you’ve also just done some speaking when you were doing some of the mobile marketing. What kind of speaking were you doing?

Yeah, I mean in, when I was focused on mobile in 2014 I spoke at 15 events, social media, marketing world, podcast movement, those sorts of events, new media expos, where people that were creating content online were going, and that’s how I got at least my name out there and really put mobile on, in this world, the map a little bit.

I leveraged that experience to get me into these events because it was a topic that was being talked about, but no speakers were really talking about it. So I was able to go into these events and say, “you’re talking about every aspect of marketing except mobile. Let me come in and cover that. I can take care of it.” And just that as a value prop was really what got me into a lot of these events.

I’m curious about that because I think one of the challenges as speakers is: I have this subject or topic that I’m interested in talking about. I don’t necessarily see anybody else talking about it. And in some cases that’s like in your situation, that may have been a good thing. In other situations nobody’s talking about it because there’s not a market for it and you shouldn’t be talking about it.

So how did you differentiate and just determine in your own mind if nobody’s talking about it but they should be, versus nobody’s talking about it because nobody cares.

Yeah. I think for me, I was lucky in that. It was being talked about on blogs and big brands were talking about it and all of the big agencies, the industry marketing reports. They were all talking about it, but unlike a smaller business, online business perspective, there weren’t really any experts in it, or at least people that were, talking about it at that level.

So I leveraged the fact that they knew that it was something that needed to be talked about. They addressed it. In some cases, they came to me after I had already gained a little bit of traction and gained a few speaking gigs. But I was also speaking a lot on podcasts about it too.

The people whose podcasts I was on, like the Pat Flynns, Amy Porterfield’s of the world, they spoke at these events too. So I would go to the organizer, I approached Mike Stelzner, Social Media Marketing World. I could say, “I’ve been on Pat’s show, Internet Business Mastery, Amy’s show, and people are digging the content.

You don’t have anything like this at Social Media Marketing World, like I would love to be able to speak there.” And he says “how about you come on my show first.” So then I got invited on his show and then literally after recording that show, he invited me to come and speak on this.

Up until the event, I was like writing some guest posts on their site and really just establishing myself there and prepping myself to be at their event.

So it’s rather more than just sticking your finger in the air and saying “I think there’s a market for this.”

It’s like a lot of these subtle little things, getting some of that validation from podcast audience, from peers, from other people that are in the industry who are saying nobody’s talking about it and yes, we need to know about this.

Sounds like that felt like the green light for you.

That year that you did 15 events, like what was the point of speaking for you? Because I think there’s plenty of people who listened to the show who want to be full-time speakers, who want to do something similar to maybe what I’ve done in the past in my speaking career, where that’s primary gig, but you had a full-time gig going in terms of your business.

So what was the point of speaking? Like why were you doing those various gigs?

Yeah, so I can tell you that in hindsight, I was doing it for all of the wrong reasons. So I was speaking at events that were interested in hearing about mobile, but didn’t have anyone that would really ever become my customer. I wasn’t able to monetize being there really in any way.

Every once in a while I got interest for some consulting and stuff like that, but it was never big enough of a deal where I could say, “I’m going to this event and it’s going to turn into customers” because there weren’t any customers there. I did speak at some events that were more retail focused, where it was the right audience. And that did turn into some customers.

So I think early on I was subconsciously just doing it to learn more and get better at speaking and really build relationships with the people that I wanted to build relationships with. Even we met at a conference.

Now I look back and why Systemly was able to gain so much momentum so quickly is because I had spent two years going to these events, struggling with this mobile business, but all the while making these amazing relationships. I really had no way to serve any of the people that I was building these relationships with because they weren’t interested in mobile.

I gave them my feedback. I was there as a friend and built very solid friendships. Then when Systemly came about, They were like, “we have this pain, now we can finally work together.”

And it turned into a snowball.

A lot of the conferences where you and I have been at together or have hung out together, the big reasons that a lot of times we go to those conferences is for the networking and the relationships.

The reason that you and I are good buddies today is because it’s one thing if we’re exchanging some emails or exchanging a text or a call from time to time, it’s something totally different when you meet in person, whether it’s at a conference or like when I happened to be in town and we met up. It just changes the dynamic of the relationship.

So I know that for you and I, speaking has been extremely valuable for building our networks and just for connecting with other people.

So you run Systemly now. Systemly again, you and your big fancy lingo there, you talk about how it’s creating these funnels, creating these systems, creating this backend stuff. So let’s walk through like how that actually happened. We’ve talked a little bit on the show about list building.

We’ve talked with Brian Harris about that. We’ve talked with Tim Page about that. But let’s talk just briefly, because you’ve done a little bit about this with mobile and how this kind of leads in, about this idea of getting people to text a word to some number, and then they get something and somehow I’m getting their email. Talk us through like how that works and how valuable that may be.

Even from stage, you’ll be at a conference and you’ll be speaking and you’ll see that some people have their laptops out and many don’t. And so by being able to have a call to action that is able to be capitalized on just from someone’s phone, texting a few numbers, you have a greater chance of capturing people that obviously don’t have their computer out or not willing to type in a URL.

So I think it’s more about understanding and meeting people where they’re at, giving them the best way to engage with you. So that’s why I think the text messaging part of it works. A lot of it does go into the question of, why would anyone want to text in the first place?

You could have the greatest follow up and automation on the back end, but if there’s really no reason for them to opt in it probably is not going to be as effective.

When you asked “what did you get out of being there?”, I think if you’re speaking, you should have an agenda to figure out what would make sense to this audience outside of my presentation, but how can I take my presentation and use that to create a conversation that will align with something that I have down the line?

The presentation is there to deliver tons of value and give myself a chance to start having that conversation from the stage because now they know and trust you most likely, and you can really kick that off.

One of the most difficult challenges with a speaker is that even if you are phenomenal at what you do, that an hour later, the next day, a couple days later the audience will remember very little of what it is that you actually said. As a speaking guy, I don’t know that I should be saying this, but in some ways the whole medium of speaking can be somewhat ineffective because you just retain so little of what you hear.

Think about some of the best presenters that you’ve ever heard, a week later, a day later, at lunch, after the gig, you can’t remember what they said. You remember a couple key things, but beyond that, you retain so little of it. Speaking shouldn’t be viewed as an endgame. I spoke, thats the end of this transaction.

I’m in front of these people that I’ve built rapport and connection with, I’ve built that knowledge and trust. Now, rather than ending the conversation, I’m actually starting the conversation with them and one of the best ways to do that is through email.

So again, this is the only time that we are all in this place together at this conference or this event. So now how do we continue this conversation? One way is through email, so you could get them to text in something. Talk us through like how does that logistically work?

Yeah, so depending on the software that you’re using, in most cases they’ll text in a word which is called a keyword to a short code, which is a five or six digit number, and they’ll get a reply back that says, “reply with your email address”, and they reply with their email address.

And that essentially then enters them into your marketing automation tool, your email tool, whether that be, MailChimp, AWeber, Infusionsoft, Active Campaign, whatever you’re using. A lot of them, there are plenty of integrations. LeadPages has their own solution called Lead Digits. So you could be using something like that.

Maybe you want to deliver the slides, but it also depends on who you want to be talking to. Because really there’s going to be plenty of people in that room who you wouldn’t want to be your customer. What I like to do is on the backend have something initially that allows me to segment them to weed out the people that could actually be prospects, versus the people who just want to consume some content, or they just opted in because they felt bad, or they just wanted the slides.

Deliver the slides and then create an opportunity for an engagement where the people that are right for you are going to engage, and if the others don’t, great. You’ve whittled them out, you still delivered the value.

So whether they text in or it could just be. You’re sending them to a direct link where they’re going to put in their email address or even just an old fashioned hand in your business card or write in your name or something, or whatever it is, somehow you’re getting their email address.

So from there, that’s when, again, not when the conversation ends, but when the conversation begins. If we’re going to be building our email list at some of these events, then part of what we need to be thinking through is “What are the next steps that I want someone to take as a result of this talk or of this message?

Hopefully you’re doing a lot of the similar types of talks, so you’re not having to create lots of new emails, but it’s the type of thing where you’re funneling everybody to the one or two key places where they would go from there.

So what does that look like on the backend, whether someone texts in their email or someone hand you their business card and they want to be added, what do I need to be thinking through of what I should then send them?

A lot of this gets over complicated by people who don’t know how the technology works. You need to approach it the same as you do any lead magnet. Obviously you’ve talked about these before on the show. Your lead magnet is just happening from a stage.

So the biggest thing that you need to be asking yourself is, when you pitch that call to action, does the intent that you’re creating have in some way, shape, or form, have the same intent of the purchase decision? This is where I find people go wrong a lot by having a lead magnet for every single blog post or just text in and get the slides, and then the conversation ends.

It’s great, what are you going to do with those leads? I’ve texted in so many times and I don’t get any follow up almost ever, only a few people ever actually follow up with me after they give me the slides.

For example, at Icon I spoke and I gave this whole presentation and I talked a little bit about productivity, but also how we leverage automation in our service business. And when people opted in to get the slides I asked them “are you currently using Infusionsoft?” That was one of the first questions. If they clicked yes, they started getting emails that really led to talking about how we’re reiterating how we’re using it and going more in depth, and then saying, “if you want to learn how you could be doing this in your business, let’s schedule a quick consultation call.”

So my call to action was that I know that right now we’re best able to serve people and close deals over the phone. So they opted in from the stage, we gave them the lead magnet. They told me that they use Infusionsoft, ak, they’re potentially a prospect for us. I started sending a couple emails. I think there are about three or four that talked about “now that you’re back, are you implementing some of these things? Let me take you a little bit deeper.”

I think I shared a wire frame of our onboarding process to say “if you schedule a consultation, you’re going to go through this. If you buy from us, you’re going to go through this. You could have this in your business if this is something that interests you.

Let’s schedule a consultation” and then they click the link to schedule, they come to a schedule page. That was my plan to see if I could get consultations. Which I got a handful.

Going into it you know what your goal is so that once they opt in, in whatever format, that first email or the second email is driving people ultimately to schedule a call or to get on the phone in some way. And then a lot of it just depends on the context of who you’re speaking to.

So again, the unique thing about speaking is that people do use it in a lot of different ways, so some people may be speaking to an audience to generate actual business.

And I’m wanting this to lead to sales in some ways. There’s going to be some speakers that we’ve all heard that are more inspirational, motivational, key, feel good type of messages, and they’re not necessarily trying to get you to become a client or a customer in some way.

You’re just interested in what they’re doing and so you want to keep up with them in some way. Or maybe they, instead of some type of coaching or consulting thing, have a book and they want to tell you about the book, or something like that. So that follow up sequence can look a lot of different ways.

But just figuring out what it is that you want to take people. Where do you want to lead them next? In that situation for you, did you have just one email? Are there a couple emails? How do you lead to getting people to schedule a call with you?

So in that scenario, when they opted in they got an email with a link to the slides and I had a couple extra resources that I had shared on screen that I said I would provide to them. So it linked to a Dropbox folder that I had created beforehand where they could get it. So a couple things happened from there in that email.

There were actually three links. There was the link to download the slides, the link to get the resources and then a link saying “do you or do you not use Infusionsoft?” If they clicked on the link for the resources, I gave them the resources.

But then I did have one email that came about 14 days later, just to check in and see if it was helpful. I was curious if they were using these templates that I was providing. Has it added value? So that was more of just a check-in. That’s, I think, just a good business practice to follow up. So that was the end of that.

But if they mentioned that they use Infusionsoft, there were three emails and I talked about how a key part of our process is scheduling consultations and then our onboarding process. And we’ve eliminated a lot of manual steps by leveraging automation. I broke down what those were and I said “if you’re in a service-based business or you’re doing coaching and you have any sort of high touch process, you might want to have something like this in your business.”

It was three emails and the last one, they got to schedule a call.

So what happens from then on? So if I’m listening to this going “okay, so I go speak, I’m collecting email addresses, I’m thinking through what I want, like where I want the conversation to go.”
Maybe that’s a buying decision on some type of product or tool or resource or coaching or consulting or something.

Or maybe it’s just continuing to nurture the relationship and continue to talk to them and learn about them and provide value in some other way. Where do you go from there?

After you go through those three emails, how do you continue to email them? How do you continue to stay top of mind? Because you don’t. It’s that thing that you don’t want to become, I saw this speaker a year ago or so, and they’re really good and I got a couple emails and I haven’t heard from them since and I was really interested in what they had to say, but now I don’t even remember their name. So how do you continue to engage them through email long term?

To the point earlier, you have to have an end goal in mind. So my ideal scenario was that they use Infusionsoft and they schedule the consultation and I have a whole scheduled consultation Funnel that nurtures them up until we get on the phone and talk.

And if they buy, then they go into the onboarding. If they don’t, they actually just go into kind of our master email list and they’ll continue to receive emails on a weekly basis of just the content that we’re sharing, our blog posts, just keeping in touch with them.

So I say that because unfortunately, there’s probably going to be more people that don’t take the action that you want. So you need to have an exit plan. If they don’t take the ideal path, what might have they done? In my scenario, if they don’t use Infusionsoft, then what am I going to do with them?

So I could just add them to my master newsletter right there. Ideally I would have something for them, but at this stage of the game in my business, I didn’t. And we’re just focused on Infusionsoft people. But the content that I’m creating on our site isn’t necessarily always specific to Infusionsoft. So in that case, we just added them to our master newsletter.

They got a welcome email just saying “you can expect to get some really good content that can help you streamline your business and add automation”. So now they’re just in the quote unquote master list, receiving our updates on blog posts and content.Then the same if they did use Infusionsoft and they never scheduled a consultation. I’m adding them to the master list as well.

Probably what I should have done, as I’m saying this, if they didn’t schedule and they’re getting content, there should at least be an email in there 30 days later than the event just to check in.
That could have been something I said in there. As I’m saying it, I could have.

My ideal end result is they schedule a consultation so you have content that drives them to that end goal, but not everyone’s going to take that path. You have to have off-ramps, so to speak, to say, “if they choose not to schedule a consultation, what would I like to do with them?” Most people will just leave them by the wayside. A lot of them don’t even add them to the master list, so now they just go cold and stale. They were interested in something.

This is why I like the option of having some sort of early on email, even if it’s in the first one, that segments them in some way. For me, that was, “do you use Infusionsoft? Yes or no?” I didn’t have much of a conversation to have with people that didn’t at that point, so I just gave them more content.

A couple things that you touched on there is that this is always like a work in progress. I think it’s intimidating sometimes to listen to some of this and think, “crap, now I gotta figure out all these systems and I gotta get all this stuff in place and I gotta write all these emails. I gotta figure out what I’m supposed to say. I gotta figure out where this is leading.”

Even as we’re talking, you’re going, “you know what? I should probably add this other email over here and I should probably tweak this.” It’s always this evolving work in progress.

Once you have that, going back and listening to episodes 28 and 58 with Brian Harris and with Tim Page, and you’re figuring out some ways to collect emails. Then just figuring out what the first email is. Don’t worry about the whole sequence. Just figure out what the first email is, even if it’s just a welcome email.

“You just opted in after seeing me speak. I just wanted to say thanks. Here’s a quick article or a post or freebie that I thought you might like.” Just something there to start the ball rolling rather than just feeling overwhelmed and intimidated.

Let’s talk real quick on email systems. You’ve alluded to Infusionsoft. It’s kinda the main thing that you work with. It’s pretty sophisticated, high end. It’s probably beyond what most people listening to this might need.

So what do you recommend early on in getting started at this stage of the game?

If you’re just getting started, I would 100% recommend Active Campaign. I actually use it on my personal blog. It’s super powerful. I’d say probably the closest thing that offers as much power as Infusionsoft, minus some of the stuff many speakers probably don’t need. And it’s way affordable.

As you get a larger list, it actually becomes quite comparable to Infusionsoft and in some cases more expensive. But, when you’re getting started it can give you everything you need. Super affordable. It’s very intuitive and, just like Infusionsoft, there’s actually a marketplace now where you can import campaigns that are pretty much pre-built and you just gotta write your copy and stuff like that.

So I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a campaign in a marketplace that was exactly what we’re talking about: text in and send three emails over the course of seven days. And that’s probably something that you could download into your application, from their marketplace.

We’re actually in the process of moving over to Active Campaign. There’s definitely a lot of great ones out there, whether it’s Convert Kit or MailChimp, AWeber, Drip is another great one.
There’s a lot of good options that exist out there.

Hey Greg. If people want to find out more about you, I know that you have a couple different blog posts, a couple different resources that if people want to check out more on just building some of these email sequences and nurturing people beyond the stage, where can we go to find those?

Yeah, I would say anything marking automation, you can find that at our And then I’m on Twitter, but I’d say I’m actually now most active on Snapchat.

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