Automated Email Marketing Funnels

The secret is out: Teaching = Marketing. Follow the step by step guide to automate the entire process with Mailchimp.

Imagine if you could wake up every morning to iPhone messages from happy customers that have placed orders overnight while you were sleeping.

Automated email marketing funnels can make this a reality for you, super quick. Collecting emails and adding them to your list over time is one of the best ways to boost your business.

Bonus Materials
Quick start checklist, videos, and more: Download all of the bonus materials for this guide now.


Here’s the thing:

Most people just starting out don’t even collect emails from their website until way later.

One of the BIGGEST mistakes is not starting your email list right away.

Question for you:

Why don’t they bother, even though it’s common knowledge? Because it can be really stressful and overwhelming to get everything working properly. It’s easy to just keep putting this off forever.

"It's weird how intimidating setting up a list can be. " - Mary Collings, Write Hacks

But you aren’t going to fall into that trap. You’ve got an excellent guide to make it super easy and avoid any overwhelm.

If you follow this step-by-step guide you will learn how to:

  1. Keep all of your customer email addresses in one place.
  2. Set up your first email list in 15 minutes without spending a dime
  3. Get more subscribers with opt-in forms on your website
  4. Create your first drip campaign to get more customers and get more sales

Before you begin…

You’ll need to have a website that you can update as needed. The most common website / blog platform is WordPress. Getting all of that setup is outside of the scope of this how-to guide.

Bonus Materials
Want to get started quickly and avoid beginner mistakes? Download the step-by-step checklist now.

STEP 1: Create your Mailchimp account to keep your email subscribers in one place (5 minutes)

Mailchimp is an email service provider and they are experts at doing two critical tasks for your business: keep your email subscribers organized and send your emails

This is a trickier than it sounds and that’s why you want someone to take care of it for you.

If you’re just getting started, just use Mailchimp. It’s free to get started and costs just $9/month for advanced functionality. Don’t over think this step. Just create the Mailchimp account and move on to Step 2.

  1. Head over to and click the “sign up free” button
  2. Fill out all of the information required (name, email, address, industry, etc.)
  3. Check your email for the confirmation message and log into your account

I created a 2 minute video walk through so you can see exactly how this is done.


Bonus Video: Step by step instructions to create your Mailchimp account


STEP 2: Get ready to send out that first educational email (3 minutes)

If you have some emails to add already, here’s where you will add them in. If you don’t, that’s okay too. Mailchimp lets you create a bunch of different lists to help you reach different subscribers. For example, you might have one list for monthly newsletter subscribers only and another list for people that have bought something recent.

For now, just follow these steps to create your first list in Mailchimp.

First, login into Mailchimp and click on the “Links” section in the navigation menu

Next, click “Create List” and then “Create List” again. There are some advanced options that you can ignore for now.

Last step: fill out the required information and click “Save”

Bonus Video: Step by step instructions to create your first Mailchimp list
Bonus Video: Step by step instructions to create your first Mailchimp list

STEP 3: Install SumoMe to collect email addresses from your website for free.

SumoMe is a WordPress plugin that creates all of the opt-in forms for you. It’s a free tool that’s easy to use. It’s got extra features if you need them in the future. There are also other opt-in plugins like OptinMonster, LeadPages, etc. that I’m not covering here. If you don’t use WordPress, then you can skip this step and check with your host for more info.

For now, just follow these steps to install SumoMe and create your first opt-in form

Step 1: Log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins > Add new
Step 2: Search for SumoMe in the search bar
Step 3: Follow the instructions to create a free SumoMe account
Step 4: Install the ListBuilder app and connect it to your Mailchimp account.


Step 4: Automate everything so that subscribers BEG for your next email


Create the Workflow Automation

Quick explanation:

You should focus on teaching for your first email marketing funnel because it’s a quick way to deliver tons of value to your subscribers without taking up a lot of your time.

Mailchimp makes it really easy to send out emails to your subscribers over a few days. This is a great way to teach your customers something new and get them to know more about you, trust what you have to say, and eventually buy something from you. Some people call this a drip campaign or an email course or a mini-course.

Bottom line: Give them a personal lesson through email and they will be asking for more. It’s perfect!

Step 1: Think of a few topics you are interested in and your subscribers would likely be interested in learning more about. (More on this below)
Step 2: Create a new Mailchimp Automation sequence to teach your subscribers something interesting over a few days

The best part is that everything is delivered right to their email inbox.

Not sure what you can teach? Use this super easy technique to get your creative juices flowing in 5 minutes or less.

The good news is that someone has already figured out EXACTLY what your readers want to know about. You can figure this out by using the TOC Technique.

Here’s how the “TOC Technique” works:

Step 1: Go to Amazon and type in a general idea related to your topic. You don’t have to over think this step. For example, if you specialize in health and fitness coaching for multiple sclerosis sufferers, you simply type in “multiple sclerosis nutrition” into Amazon. Select the first book that fits best for you.

Get tons of ideas by looking at best-selling books on your topic
Get tons of ideas by looking at best-selling books on your topic

Step 2: Click the “Look Inside” button at the top of the book image to view samples and excerpts from the book and check out the Table of Contents to see all the major topics covered in this book.

Use the TOC Technique to generate tons of ideas
Use the TOC Technique to generate tons of ideas

Step 3: Write down each of those topics on a piece of paper.

Optional: Follow the same process for the first few books on Amazon to get more ideas.

Why the “TOC Technique” works:

Best-selling books on Amazon have lots of high ratings from lots of customers. The quickest way to come up with topics to teach your email list is by looking at highly rated books on Amazon.

Each topic becomes an individual email for your subscribers.

Be sure to add in your own personal content to help teach them about that topic (don’t just copy/paste!)

For example, this first topic from the best-selling book on “multiple sclerosis nutrition” is “The Real Cause of Multiple Sclerosis”. Now you can take that topic and add your own insights to create an awesome email that teaches your audience what causes MS.

Quick recap of what we have so far:

A nice 4 part email mini-course that your subscribers are sure to love!

  1. Welcome email: 1-2 paragraphs about you, your experience, and the topic outline you’ve put together. Be sure to include any testimonials, expertise, credentials, or other qualifications to boost your credibility.
  2. Causes of Multiple Sclerosis: 1-2 paragraphs about what causes MS. You don’t need to go crazy with every detail in your email. Think of it more as a conversation starter and not a college lecture.
  3. Solutions for Healing MS: 1-2 paragraphs about how to cope with MS symptoms.
  4. Treatment Plans for MS: Include a step by step email that your readers can go through to develop their own plan with doctors and loved ones.
  5. Wrap-up: Include a recap of the mini-email course, highlighting what they’ve learned links to previous emails and maybe even a link to buy something from you if appropriate.

You can get even more advanced over time by adding in extra emails like recipes, meal plans, lists of foods to eat or avoid, etc.

One thing you shouldn’t forget:

You are using your email automation funnel to teach your readers something new and let them know that you are an authority on your topic. Over time, your credibility will skyrocket and you’ll be the first person your subscribers reach out to if they need something related to what you’ve taught them.

Bonus Materials
Some people can get caught up and overwhelmed with the details. Take action today and download all of the bonus materials for this guide now.

Create your First Facebook Ad in 15 minutes

I’m a big fan of the outdoors and a few years ago, I wanted to take my hiking to the next level. So, I decided to try a super challenging winter hike up Mt. Washington in New Hampshire.

However, winter hiking is MUCH different than hiking during the other three seasons. I had to learn a lot of information in a short of time. I had to have the right gear. I had to be in good enough shape to hike quickly before freezing to death (just kidding, kind of).

I found tons of information online but really, I just needed someone to show me how the entire thing worked: what advice, tips, and gear was actually required to accomplish my goal.

Recently a friend reached out to me because she wanted to take her business to the next level. Since she was already familiar with boosting posts on Facebook, she wanted to promote her website with Facebook Ads.

Here’s the deal:

Facebook Ads can be daunting at first, just like a climb up 6,000 feet during the freezing cold. Fortunately, you can follow the step-by-step instructions below to create your first Facebook Ad in about 15 minutes. Once you learn the basics, you’ll be able to customize as needed.

What you will learn in this guide

  1. Mistakes to avoid before creating your first Facebook Ad Campaign
  2. How Facebook makes it easy for you to save time with optimized defaults
  3. How to create an ad that gets attention (bonus material download)

Read More

7 Giveaway Contest Case Studies

How to Run a Giveaway Contest

Everyone loves winning prizes. Especially when they are awesome prizes and they barely have to do anything to take part..

If you’ve seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you’ll know that people will do just about anything to win a contest if the prize is good enough. In that movie you see people lying, cheating, and stealing — practically clawing over each other — just to get the chance to tour the greatest chocolate factory in the world.

Willy Wonka knew what he was doing. He had everything planned out.

It wasn’t about selling more candy bars or getting more from his loyal fans — it was about giving an opportunity to one lucky person that would inherit his chocolatey fortune. There was one major flaw with Mr. Wonka’s plan, however.

Normal, everyday people lied, cheated, and stole just to increase their chances of winning! Think about it. He had folks buying up every Wonka Bar in the country and workers unwrapping them 24 hours per day, just to make sure that nobody else would win.

Too bad Willy Wonka didn’t get to read this guide. He would have been able to pick any one of the “Golden Ticket” winners to take over his empire. Fortunately, you don’t have to make the same mistake. You can attract hundreds of new people (or thousands, depending on how much effort you want to put in…) to your website with giveaway contests. The best part is (thanks to some new tools I’m going to show you), your visitors will share the contest with their friends and family.

Talk about a “Golden Ticket” opportunity…

What you will learn in this guide

  1. The exact details of 7 successful giveaway contests
    I get into the nitty-gritty details for seven different giveaway contests (using 3 different tools) to show best practice recommendations to boost your website traffic
  2. Step-by-step instructions to create your contest in less than 1 hour, without spending a dime
    You can spend weeks reading about giveaway contests, but I have a cheat sheet ready for you with clear, step-by-step instructions with everything laid out to get your first one up and running in less than 1 hour. The best part is that you won’t make sure that to spend a dime!
  3. Three techniques to guarantee 100+ people enter your giveaway contest
    It’s one thing to create something awesome. But just like Willy Wonka, you want as many people as possible to enter your contest. Ideally they will all be perfect candidates to take over your chocolate factory :)
Bonus Materials

Read More

Use the Pirate Framework to Find the Right Metric, Right Now.

Pirate Framework Guide to Business Metrics
Pirate Framework Guide to Business Metrics

Here’s the thing:

You know it’s important to pick the best possible metrics to quickly and accurately determine the health of your business. It’s easy to make mistakes at any stage of your business. Fortunately, there are a bunch of smart people that have put together easy to use frameworks and checklists for you. The best marketing and measurement frameworks are useful at any stage of your business. The “Pirate Framework” can even be used on new marketing initiatives to make sure things stay on track and are always moving in the right direction. The framework and the name was developed several years ago by Dave McClure, a venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and founding partner of 500 startups. There are 5 steps to the framework and the first letter of each step spell out “AARRR” like a pirate.

Use the five step Pirate Framework to understand the health of your business at any stage.

  1. Acquisition. Let everyone and anyone know about what you are up to. Get attention through conventional and unconventional means. Create a blog, Facebook page, YouTube videos, etc. You can also meet people in local small business groups in your community. Ultimately, you will want people to visit your website where they can learn everything that you have to offer.
  2. Activation. Get those website visitors to engage with you. If you have a compelling offer (something that your visitors actually want) and call-to-action (they know how to find that thing on your website), your visitors will want to get plugged in with you by signing up for your newsletter, liking your Facebook page, or even making a purchase!
  3. Retention. Now you have to turn one-time visitors into recurring visitors. What kind of value are you able to consistently deliver? Give them a reason to come back to your website or Facebook page on a regular basis.
  4. Revenue. Get paid! In this step of the framework, your visitors are engaged and returning regularly to see what you have to offer and have already generated business results. In some instances, this isn’t even necessarily actual money (although that’s certainly the best kind of business result). Maybe it’s high customer satisfaction scores, ad clicks, or using your product.
  5. Referral. Now your customers have become your biggest fans. You don’t have to spend so much time ACQUIRING new prospects, because your current customers are acquiring them for you. There are a few ways to generate and track referrals, but the most common is just word of mouth feedback. Retweets and Facebook shares are other types.


This may all seem totally overwhelming and confusing…and that’s okay! Because all you need to do is think about which step of the framework your business is currently at and then focus on one metric that will quickly and accurately tell you the health of your business over time.



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10 Data Analysis Mistakes to Avoid (#7 is most common for beginners)

10 Data Analysis Mistakes to Avoid
10 Data Analysis Mistakes to Avoid

Data about your business can be extremely powerful, when analyzed correctly. Once you get familiar with the tools, the power and understanding can become addictive. But most business decisions are based on past experiences and “gut feel”. That definitely makes sense some of the times and in some situations. Applying your wisdom and experience, rather than massive spreadsheets and dashboard certainly helps make quick decisions throughout the day. Running A/B tests to determine the perfect shade of carpet for your office is a sure fire way to make sure it never gets replaced.

10 data analysis mistakes to avoid

  1. Not cleaning up messy data. Always assume the data you are working with is inaccurate at first. Once you get familiar with it, you will start to “feel” when something is not quite right. Take a first glance using pivot tables or quick analytical tools to look for duplicate records or inconsistent spelling to clean up your data first.
  2. Not normalizing the data. Say you’re trying to build a dashboard or report to determine you best employees spread out through out the country. Well, you might think that doing some simple counts on client contacts or phone calls would do. Well, what if you have a sales rep that has been with the company for years and has exhausted all of their opportunities with their current client list. Be sure you have a level playing field (as much as possible, anyways…) or you may end up penalizing or crediting some people incorrectly.
  3. Ignoring outliers. Often times a quick glance at some trended data, like number of visits to your website each day or leads coming through various campaign channels. It’s common for most folks to ignore the extremes (either a huge spike or drop in website visitors, or lead volume) because they are most likely just flukes. But outliers in data can also indicate that something is wrong. Either a process is broken or some web form isn’t working properly. Investigate these outliers in the data to make sure nothing is seriously wrong.
  4. Fixating on outliers. Okay, so you shouldn’t ignore the outliers as I mentioned in the last point. But you can’t focus on those and ignore everything else either. For example, you probably wouldn’t want to build an entire product line around a 1 day spike in traffic from a popular guest post (unless you have other data points that confirm what your audience wants, of course!)
  5. Not adjusting for seasonality. Holidays, summer months, and other times of the year can mess up your data. Even a 3 month trend can be explained away because of busy tax season or back-to-school time. Make sure you are considering any seasonality in your data…even days of the week or times of the day!
  6. Not watching metrics in context. When you’re just getting started, it can be tempting to get focus on small wins. While it’s definitely important and a great morale booster, make sure it’s not distracting from other metrics you should be more focused on (like sales, customer satisfaction, etc.)
  7. Data overload and chart junk. Too. Many. Metrics. Sometimes less is more. Especially when building a dashboard or even just a simple analysis. Make sure that everything on the screen or the page has a clear purpose and there’s no extra stuff to distract.
  8. Using meaningless metrics. Be sure that you are measuring and responding to stuff that actually matters for your business. If you pick things that don’t matter early on (like web page response time) then you will probably end up ignoring the metric anyways along with a few others that actually do matter to the health of your business.
  9. “Where did that come from?” Most of your data will come through a collection of systems in your business. For example, your email list is managed by one provider, website visits are in your web analytics tool, and your customer list is spread across 3 other systems. When you collect and combine the data, you need to make sure you haven’t made any mistakes along the way. You may end up drawing the wrong conclusions from the end result.
  10. Missing the signals through the noise. Spotting trends is hardwired into our brains. Sometimes we see patterns emerge where this is none. Be sure you don’t have an analysis that is feeding you information based on your “need” to see signals where there’s actually just noise.


Data analysis doesn’t have to be a huge chore that must be performed before getting anything done. Rather, data analysis can be used to identify trends you would have otherwise never seen. It’s important to stay informed about the health of your business and tracking key metrics is a great way to do that. It’s important to keep the big picture in mind when drilling into your data but ignoring all together is not the answer either. Decisions should be be informed by your business data, not driven by it.