October 31, 2018

Get the right people in the right roles

I’m currently working on the next version of my book The Marketing Nurture System. Most of the following section was in the original manuscript, but is critically important…

No real magic can ever happen doing everything on your own

Self-awareness dictates what you say NO to. And you do have to say no to things. If you were to take all of the advice in this book and implement it all yourself you would very quickly run out of time and energy.

Creating a complete evolving multi-channel Customer Nurture System all by yourself is impossible. The full process I am proposing in this book is only manageable as a team game. The thing you must determine is where exactly you sit in that team, and who else is going to fulfil which roles.

There are four roles that need to be filled:

1. Product expert

The product expert is the person with the most knowledge about whatever it is you sell. This person will have deep industry experience, and be intimately familiar with the benefits and features of your products.

Often the product expert will be the business owner or founder, although it may also be a product manager. Sometimes there will be different product managers for different products.

The product expert’s chief responsibility is to provide a steady stream of information, stories, industry insights and commentary.

I love working with true product experts. A true product expert will start by telling you that all their stories are ‘boring’, and that they ‘don’t really have anything interesting to say’. But with a few well-targeted questions the floodgates explode! Ninety minutes later you’re still sitting there scribbling notes. And take notes you must, because as soon as a product expert has finished talking he or she will have no idea what they have just told you.

My real role in life is to follow product experts around, bottle up what they tell me, then sift and sort it for gold. But I am getting ahead of myself.

2. Systems expert

The systems expert is the person with a deep understanding of your marketing systems. My core marketing system is Infusionsoft, and I am the systems expert in my business.

The systems expert is the person who actually builds out and manages your automation flows. He or she is the person who knows when a contact is in the training phase, and knows when to trigger the Harley Davidson offer.

The systems and flows you put in place are not a ‘set and forget’ deal. They will evolve as your message changes, and you need someone to stay on top of that evolution. This person should have a good understanding of your objectives, and an ability to get the most out of your chosen technology.

The systems manager should be a good project manager (i.e. probably not me). The systems manager should be able to think through flow-charts and think in IF/THEN logic. IF a contact has bought nurture product A, offer them training product B. IF a contact has had nurture sequence A and C, start sequence B, IF certain tags are present.

If what I just described has made your brain hurt, then you probably aren’t the systems manager.

Systems managers are flowchart people. In my experience systems managers are generally not great orators or writers, but they have the ability to think through and model your entire customer journey.

For a true systems manager one whiteboard is never enough. A true systems manager will wake up in the middle of the night, dreaming of four side-by-side whiteboards. Imagine the possibilities! Imagine the space!

If you use one of the more complicated CRM systems to deliver your emails you need someone who knows what it can do and knows how to get the most out of it. In the Infusionsoft world we joke about ‘Infusionsoft donors’. An ‘Infusionsoft donor’ is a person who pays their Infusionsoft bill each month without any real plan or resolve to get better results from it.

Email marketing is actually extremely expensive. The software isn’t particularly expensive, and the per-email cost is negligible, but the opportunity cost is huge. To calculate the true cost you have to factor in all of the money you would havemade if you had a competent systems expert on board.

Remember, your email marketing strategy never operates in glorious isolation; your email marketing strategy is one component in a wider customer nurture plan. The systems expert is the person in charge of getting their head around the technicalities of that plan. Your systems expert is the person who will manage your database and allow you to make the right offers to the right people at the right time.

Your systems expert cannot simply have a good understanding of Infusionsoft, Hubspot or whatever system you use. Your systems expert has to also understand you. He or she must be talking to you regularly, and must completely understand what your business is trying to do. He or she really ought to have read this book.

You might actually have a few systems experts employed at your business. In the context of our customer nurture system, you’ll need somebody to manage your CRM or marketing automation system. But potentially you’ll also need systems experts to manage Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and whatever other lead generation systems you use. These people all need to work well together, and all need an overall understanding of what you are trying to achieve.

I mostly find that people who understand the intricacies of pay per click tend to write terrible ads, which creates the need for the third role…

3. Copywriter

The third role to be fulfilled is the copywriter. The copywriter is the person who actually spends the time at the keyboard to write the emails, direct mail letters, web pages, remarketing ads, and whatever else you decide to communicate with.

Most people believe they are either ‘good at writing’, or ‘bad at writing’. I believe this is an overly simplistic approach, and actually a damaged outcome of our wonderful education system.

Nobody is born with ‘native’ writing ability. You cannot intrinsically be a good writer. All that matters is whether you enjoy to write, and whether doing the writing is actually a good use of your time.

Unless you are operating at a very high level, doing your own writing in-house is probably a good use of your resources. Copywriting is a high value skill. Most people try to outsource copywriting while still tidying their own office and taking out their own bins.

I didn’t say that you personally have to spend hours per day at the keyboard. But it might make sense for someone in your marketing team to take on the responsibility.

The big advantage of doing your copywriting in-house is the writing authentically reflects your voice.

Most of the prospects on your list do not want to read beautiful prose. They want to hear from you. Your opinion and perspective is always more interesting than some random ‘content’ a hired copywriter has cobbled together.

A copywriter’s chief responsibility is to follow the product expert around, converting the things the product expert has to say into interesting content. The copywriter is not necessarily the ideas person. The copywriter is an assembler of ideas.

It is not enough for the copywriter to simply know about copywriting. The copywriter must also possess a deep understanding of your business. You cannot just hire someone you found on Elance and expect them a magically fulfil your copywriting requirements.

Most people approach hiring a copywriter like they are buying a pizza. Instead of ordering an extra-large pepperoni with a side of potato wedges, they order seven autoresponder emails and a ‘lead magnet’.

For the nurture model I am proposing in this book to work you need to be working closely with your copywriter. They may not necessarily be on your payroll (although you could consider that), but they should be an integral part of your team. Your copywriter should buy into and be excited by your vision.

I have a relatively unusual perspective as a copywriter. I actually hate the transactional way the copywriting market currently works, because I don’t think it is good for business owners or for copywriters.

Rather than taking on lots of ‘projects’ in a temporary hired-gun arrangement, my goal as a copywriter is to work with just one, or possibly two clients at a time. I want to work with clients who are doing something I am interested in and excited about. I want to become an extension of their mission.

I believe this is the direction the copywriting market will eventually take.

Rather than working on ten projects, a forward-thinking copywriter will work with one ideal client who has big goals and an interesting message. A savvy copywriter in this arrangement may agree an equity stake, or a profit sharing arrangement. And why not? If your copywriter is systematically churning out the words needed to grow your business then why not offer a share of the spoils.

You must get the right person into the copywriting role. The copywriter can be an internal member of staff who is dedicated to writing and has taken on some appropriate training. Or it can be an external copywriter who buys in to your mission and is viewed as an integral part of the team.

Those are the only two viable options.

If you view hiring copywriters as a transactional arrangement where your hired-gun copywriter is going to sit in his cave and pull the necessary copy out of thin air, you are suffering from magical thinking.

If the copywriter is anyone other than you, you need to be talking to him or her on a regular basis.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.

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