How to use Campaign Builder for your Infusionsoft Newsletter

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One of the most basic forms of follow up based marketing is the monthly newsletter. This is probably not new to many of you, but I am willing to bet very few of you actually do a newsletter. There could be may reasons for this, but one that is easily solved with Infusionsoft is having a system to help remind, organize, and track your newsletters success.

In this first edition of Tactical Tuesday, Bret Martineau teaches us how to set up a newsletter campaign in Infusionsoft. After the setup we go into why it is important to have the newsletter set up this way, and all of the added benefits of having your newsletter in campaign builder vs. using the broadcast functionality.

3 Reasons Why You Should have a Infusionsoft Newsletter

If you are struggling to convince yourself that a newsletter is worth it, let me help by telling you of three ways our UNWIRED newsletter has helped grow codeBOX.

1. Newsletters Keep Customers Around.

When we started codeBOX a few years back we realized that we need to do something different to market to our customers. So we started a paper newsletter called UNWIRED.

UNWIRED goes out monthly and talks very little about web development. It is mainly focused on our experience of building a company and cool things we are learning. The ethos of the publication is that you need to GET OFFLINE (hence the name) and experience life. We tell everyone to let the delivery of UNWIRED to their mailbox be a monthly reminder to get offline. This has created a very deep bond with our customer base, and has keep them around (and it also keeps up top-of-mind -> which leads to more $$$)

2. Newsletters Create Relationships

In Last Month’s UNWIRED we released a announcement of our upcoming merger with Badgett Media. The article focused very little on the business, but showcased our new parter, Chris Badgett and gave readers a insight into who he is and what he is all about. Chris is a crazy man, and we showcased his craziness in the article (the guy has lived on glaciers, and trained hundreds of sled dogs) which helped create a relationship between our customer base and our new partner.

3. Newsletters (Digital or Print) help increase the success of product launches.

If you constantly add value with your newsletter you will train your customers to learn to love to hear from you. They will be excited to read what you have to say next (This is true for me with Steve Gordon’s daily newsletter). They will be more likely to buy when you have something to sell to them, because the value to sales pitch ration is heavily slanted toward value (most people have this slanted in the opposite direction).

Have you had success with your newsletter, or maybe you still have some reservations. I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

[transcript height=”200px”]

Joshua Millage: Hey, everyone. It’s Joshua. I’m here in Ko Lanta, Thailand, finishing up a wonderful two-week holiday. Haven’t taken a vacation in a while. I’ve taken two weeks off and I feel great, but I’m getting back on the grid just to enter this new episode that we’re doing on Tuesdays called “Tactical Tuesdays.”

Recently I polled the Infusioncast audience and asked them what I could do to make the show better, and half of you said you loved the success stories and the interviews that we’ve been doing, so we’re not going to stop that. We’re going to push those to Thursday and continue to do that every single week.

Half of you said, “Hey, Joshua, I’d like to get a little bit more tactical with the episodes,” so I reached out to a good friend of mine, Brett Martineau, and asked him if he would co-host a segment called “Tactical Tuesdays “where he will actually screen-cast building something.

This week it’s real fundamental; it’s real basic. It’s how to use Campaign Builder to syndicate your newsletters, which is actually really, really useful and really cool, and you’re going to see why, because after the screen cast we go into a little conversational banter. It’s kind of fun. A little bit different format. Hope you guys enjoy it.

If you’re on your iPod or you’re listening to this on some sort of android device, just know that this is video now. Tuesdays are video, so you will be able to go to Infusioncast.co. You’ll be able to see the interview … not the interview … the show, and you’ll be able to see Bret getting into it. It’s going to be really, really fun.

The way that things are going to work is you’re going to get me intro-ing it. You’re going to see Bret’s little screen-cast, and then we’re going to drop you right into mid-conversation about Bret and I talking about the importance of this, whatever the tactic is, and how it can change your business. I hope you enjoy it.

If you have any questions or you want us to get tactical about anything in particular, feel free to reach out to me at Questions@fusioncast.co.

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

Bret Martineau: Hey, what’s up? We’re going to talk about something that everybody should have in their Infusionsoft setup and that most of you probably don’t, and it’s a newsletter. I’m going to show you a quick and easy way to set up a newsletter inside Infusionsoft, something that can be recurring, and then you guys can go from there and we’ll chat about it in a bit.

First thing we’re going to do is jump into the Campaign Builder. We want to go into the menu. We’ll go to Campaign Builder, and then we want to add a new campaign, which is going to be our newsletter campaign.

Now, the way that we’re going to set this up is we’re going to create a housing place for our newsletter content, because we actually want this to … We’re going to write all of our content in advance. We can talk for hours about how people procrastinate and all this kind of stuff happens, but what you should do is you should write all of your content at least a month in advance.

Say, you say two emails per month, write the emails the month before for the next month and stick them into a campaign here, and then that content will automatically get sent out.

What we’re going to do is we’re going to set up a really easy tag goal at the beginning, which is going to kick it off. You can apply this tag from anywhere, and then you’re going to set up a newsletter sequence. The sequence itself is going to be the newsletter.

Then inside this sequence here, you’re just going to add all of your content. You’re going to use date timers. You’re going to say on such-and-such a date at such-and-such time I want to send such-and-such email. You’ll write the email. Again, you’re writing this a month in advance. You’ll just copy this and hit Control and copy it over like so and add more content. Every month you’re just adding additional content to this sequence.

Now, you can either continue to add to this sequence itself or maybe you could break up the sequences by month or by quarter. Maybe this is Q1 of, say, 2015. You’ll write enough emails in here that will last you the first quarter of 2015, and then you’ll come back to the campaign. Once you get ready to start writing your content for the second quarter, you’ll just add another sequence, just like this.

Then you’ll move down along the line and keep adding sequences. This will just become your campaign canvass that handles all of your newsletter actions.

Then, what I always like to do is add a goal at the end, another tag goal, for stopping this process. Now, this is a tag you can apply when someone clicks a link. You can apply it when someone fills out a form, when somebody opts out, whatever it is you want to do, or you can apply it manually. It’s just an easy, quick way to opt somebody out of the newsletter. I like to set it up this way just so that you get the chance to write the content out in advance.

Now, the other way you can do this is by using regular email broadcasts. We’re going to jump into the broadcast, and I want to show you how this works. We’re going to use the old way. Set up an email. We’re going to continue with what we had before. We have a list of people next, and we’re going to draft the email to look something like this. I’m not actually going to send this, but we’ll do, go to the next step. Then what we can do, once we’ve checked these boxes here, we can check the “Send after” checkbox, and we can schedule the emails to go at a particular date and time.

Now, I don’t really like this one as much because it’s a little bit more difficult to get and change that email if you need to if something happens in the news or whatever and you want to go change that. I prefer to use the Campaign Builder approach. It’s just a little bit more organized, plus you’re doing everything in Campaign Builder anyway, so it can be kind of confusing to have a bunch of stuff in Campaign Builder and then this one thing you’re doing out this way.

Some of you have been using email broadcasts for long enough to where that’s more comfortable for you. If you want to do it this way, that’s totally fine.

The point of this, you should have a newsletter set up in your system, however you’re doing it, and my honest recommendation for all of you is that you write the content in advance, at least a month in advance. Preferably, I would say write the content a quarter in advance. At the end of January, February, March you’re going to write the content for April, May, June and so on and so on and so on. That’s basically how you’re going to set that up.

Joshua Millage: Hey, everyone, there you go. That’s how you set it up. Pretty easy; right?

Well, let’s get into why it’s important to do a newsletter and why it’s important to follow up. Right now I’m going to drop you smack dab in the middle of the conversation Bret and I were having about the importance of long-term follow-up. It’s a side-by-side conversation. We get into some kind of different ideas about the importance of this and why everyone, every single business, needs to have a monthly newsletter or weekly newsletter.

I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions, again, hit me up at Questions@infusioncast.co.

There’s two things that I really liked about your video that you put together. One is the idea that, the fact of the matter is being organized with your newsletters. By setting up the newsletter in a campaign does something completely different for me mentally, and from a productivity standpoint is I can see what’s coming.

I don’t know. “Oh, I’ve got this monthly newsletter. I do it monthly.” It’s so out there. You can put it in a project management system. You can put it on your whiteboard, but seeing it in a campaign, there’s something different about that.

Bret Martineau: Yeah.

Joshua Millage: I think we know as Infusionsoft users, when something is in a campaign, that means it’s going to go out to somebody. There’s like a little mindset shift there.

Bret Martineau: Sure.

Joshua Millage: It’s like something is going to happen. It’s ready to go. The triggers are set. Boom, boom, boom. I like that. I like having it organized into chunks, whether you do that by month, by year, however you want to organize it, but I really like the visual.

I think the other thing too, and this more of a question of is there anything additionally that you think, well, I kind of know, semi-know the answer, but let’s say you’re using PlusThis in this campaign. What could you do to enhance what your regular newsletter has?

Bret Martineau: That’s a good question. Oh, my goodness, there are so many things you could do.

Joshua Millage: Right. That’s what I’m saying. The other aspect of it is … Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you’re just doing broadcast newsletters, you can’t really add in each CTP post. You couldn’t run other automation actions out of your just regular newsletters.

Bret Martineau: Right. That’s true. Well, that’s kind of true. You can still schedule other actions to run.

Joshua Millage: Okay.

Bret Martineau: But it’s over-complicating it for no reason.

Joshua Millage: Right. Thank you.

Bret Martineau: There are a lot of things. The first thing, and for the first little while, I think I’m going to have to preface everything that I say with, “If you aren’t doing the basic version …” I’m going to look dead in the camera. If you aren’t doing the basic version, what I’m about to say, you are not allowed to listen to; okay? Basic first; then you can talk about the fun stuff; all right?

Joshua Millage: Got it.

Bret Martineau: Basically, if you think you need a content management system or if you need a project management system and you haven’t tried using a piece of paper and a pen, forget about paying 20 bucks a month for Basecamp. I will rave day and night about Basecamp, but a piece of paper is inevitably, it’s going to be infinitely better to start with.

There’s all kinds of cool stuff that you can do from the PlusThis side. You can send out your newsletter with one bucket of content and then use smart links to split out where people go. If you have different buckets of people, like, for example, when I worked with Sixth Division, we had elite members, we had premiere members, then we had just our basic members. Basic members, we didn’t call them that. That’s what I called them, which probably wasn’t a good thing.

Anyway, those were people that had just come out for makeover and they needed access to the jam sessions and to just our forum thing that we had, so they were basic members, and they had access to certain stuff.

Then we had our premiere members, which were paying for continued access to that stuff. They’d come out for a makeover six months ago or whatever. Then our elite members were getting one-on-one time with some of the consultants and they’re getting the extra type of content.

We could send the same newsletter out to everybody, and then the link that they click would send them to … The elite members would get a really awesome cool thing with a cool tidbit, some more information, some more tips and tricks and stuff they could be doing in their system. The premiere members could be getting a page that talks about, “Oh, that’s really cool. This is the kind of thing we’re talking about here. Here’s some additional information than the basic members are getting,” something a little bit different.

The beauty of it is then we can send that same exact newsletter, the same content, to all of our prospects as well, and when they click the link, they don’t get any of the membership content. They just get maybe a video where Brad’s explaining the content or something like that.

Joshua Millage: Yeah, a call to action or something.

Bret Martineau: Yeah. There’s all kinds of cool stuff you can do there.

Even to the point of, there was one guy that we worked with where we would switch out the PS line. It was kind of the same idea of, the bulk of the content is the same for everybody. Then there’s just one little piece that’s specific to where you are. We would use, there’s a feature in PlusThis where you can update the value in a custom field. You can also just do it using a legacy action, but we would change out PS lines or little chunks of content in the newsletter that would be specific to where the person was.

This guy was sending out an email basically every day to his list, and so instead of putting people into a bunch of different campaigns, we needed to be able to put them in a campaign but not really.

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: I’m sending out this one letter email to my entire list every day. Then what changes, depending on where you are in my funnel, is the PS line.

Joshua Millage: Got it.

Bret Martineau: Then we had one other one, where we would update custom field values. This one was a little bit tricky in advance but it was really cool. We would update the banner image and the link that it clicked to.

Joshua Millage: Oh, wow.

Bret Martineau: Based on where you were in the process. Initially, what we were trying to do with that, and again, I’m going to refer everybody who just joined, if they can skip over to my earlier comment about not even thinking about this until you’ve got the basics down.

But it was really cool because what we were trying to do is get a baseline of what types of content people were interested in. He ran an MMA Gym, so it was all about different techniques. We wanted to see whether text articles, videos, technique instruction versus him just talking versus other cool random stuff.

We wanted to see what type of content was the most effective in getting attention and getting people to click, so we were just going to cycle through, and then whatever one they clicked on, we would just track and see what type of content they got more. Then we could narrow down. If they click on the certain amount of content enough times, then from then on they go into a sequence which just cycles through that type of content.

Joshua Millage: Got it.

Bret Martineau: So that type of banner gets added.

The answer to your question is, yes, absolutely, a thousand times yes, as a way more cool things we can do. The reason why we can do those things is because we have the content. The basics are done.

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: You have the basics in place and you have the campaign schedule and plan and it’s ready to go. Then you can get into the fun stuff of, all right, so what other crazy things can we do with this newsletter to make it awesome.

Joshua Millage: Right. Right. The basics are?

Bret Martineau: The basics are, you need to write the email.

Joshua Millage: Wow.

Bret Martineau: That’s the first one. I know, crazy; right?

Joshua Millage: It’s actually kind of hard sometimes, though.

Bret Martineau: That’s hard enough; right?

Joshua Millage: Right, it can be.

Bret Martineau: That’s why I say, don’t look past the mark until you’ve got that down.

Joshua Millage: I’ve got these cool banners. Well, what goes in the email?

Bret Martineau: “I don’t have any idea. I don’t know.”

The second piece, which is even more important than writing the email is writing the email in advance. Everybody thinks, “Oh, I’m going to send out a newsletter. I’m going to write it the day of. I want to be current with what’s happening in the news or what’s happening in the industry. I don’t want to write the emails in advance because …” blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.

Take that little piece of head trash and I want you to crumple it up and throw it in the trash bin where it belongs. Until you have a newsletter you can’t make decisions on being picky about what type of content and stuff. You need to write it, and you can just write it like a month in advance. Maybe just on the 24th of every month you write up some content for the next month. You maybe do two emails a week or one email a week or you do it per quarter; right?

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: Once a quarter; that’s a good place to start. Once a quarter. You’re writing four emails. Three emails. You’re going to send them out once a month. I’ve got to figure out how the quarter system worth, whether it’s three months.

Anyway, you’ll write emails for that quarter and you get them plugged in and then they’re ready to set to go. Then you don’t have to worry … I think I just hit my microphone.

Then you don’t have to worry about, is the content ready to go. You can focus on a billion other things. If you have your sales stuff taken care of and you’ve got your marketing message taken care of and you’ve got your staff trained and you’ve got all these other stuff and you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs, that’s where you go in and you say, all right, let’s add some sweet rotating banner images in these emails, and then move on from there.

Joshua Millage: Right. I think it’s brilliant. That’s half the battle. I’m convicted right now because I’m not doing a good job of consistently hitting up my list every month or week or whatever the cadence may be. I think part of that is that I don’t have the system built, in a way. Even I think starting back in some of the basics, one of the things I would want to add is, get your template set up for whatever your newsletter is supposed to look like too.

Bret Martineau: Yeah.

Joshua Millage: Because that was the first few months of Infusionsoft when I jumped on two years ago. I’d jump into the broadcast things and like, “Oh …”

Bret Martineau: “I got to delete the green that’s totally stolen from Freakonomics orange and Apple thing that they yanked from there, and I got to go change out the article thing and put in a paragraph, and I got to send …” No, you’re absolutely right.

Joshua Millage: It was frustrating. Then someone told me about templates, and I was like, “Wow.” It’s these little wins, these little wins.

Bret Martineau: Sure.

Joshua Millage: The first Infusioncast interview I ever did with Charles Gaudet. He said something that still has stuck with me, which is that you need to look at … and I think he got it from the Strategic Coach guy, but he’s like, “You need to look at all these little activities as bubbles in a pot of boiling water.” You get all these little bubbles, and the bubbles start to get larger and larger. Then all of a sudden you have a boiling pot of water.

The idea is, focus on all the little things, because, like the saying goes, “Little hinges swing big doors.” If you have that, that you front-load for an hour getting that template set up, now that’s done; you never have to touch that again. You set up your campaign for, you set it up in a half hour, hour, then you write all the content however long that takes, and you set it; it’s done for the rest of the year, the rest of the month, the rest of whatever.

Those are huge, because you can let that process in your mind shut off and then focus on the next thing and chunk down a little bit further and focus more on something else.

I think a lot of it, in the first phase, I think of any business, is just doing things consistently.

Bret Martineau: Yeah.

Joshua Millage: It’s not rocket science. It’s just getting things up consistently, and if you have Infusionsoft, there’s no better way to do that. It makes the consistent action so much easier and also the advanced actions. Again, we’re not there yet. Let’s get those first things first and that foundation built and then move on.

Bret Martineau: Absolutely, yes. I think something … Actually, quickly, I want to highlight something you said. You said spend that hour or so to get the template set the first time, so anybody else who spent more than an hour trying to get their template set up, let me tell you something. You’re thinking about it too hard.

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: Template … Literally, this is what you should start with. The simple background, find the simple whatever, thing that you’ve got, simple, left adjusted, 12-point font, no images. That’s it. You’re done. That took you 12 seconds; right? Then you build from there. If your customers want the banner image, like the logo on the top, which most of them don’t …

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: But if you’re convinced that your customers want it, then you can add it in later. But you start with something totally simple, something totally easy, and then go from there. There’s no need for you to spend three hours trying to build the perfect email template.

Joshua Millage: Yeah. Yeah. I want to highlight something that you just said. We’re just having a highlighting war here. That’s exactly the first template they should set up. Black and white, 12-point font, simple, simple email.

I heard …

Bret Martineau: Get rid of the headers and the pre-headers.

Joshua Millage: That’s right.

Bret Martineau: Leave the footer. Leave the footer because the little opt-out unsubscribe thingy will look weird and it will be too big, so leave the footer but get rid of the header and that pre-header exactly. Black and white, left-adjusted, 12-point black and white.

Joshua Millage: What’s the guy who wrote the Google Plus for Business, Chris … Oh, man. He’s a blogger guy.

Bret Martineau: I don’t know.

Joshua Millage: I saw him at a conference, and he said something that I thought was really interesting. Everyone was like, “Well, what should people be thinking about …” This was like two years ago, three years ago … “What should people be thinking about when it comes to marketing and emails and …” blah-blah-blah. He said, “Think about this. Everyone in the next few years is going to be consuming email on their mobile device. They can’t look at your crazy, funky little spinny things and headers and whatever. They want plain text that can potentially, in a perfect world, respond to mobile, but if it can’t, just as simple as possible. Make it easy for them to read.”

That really stuck with me. I would encourage anyone who doesn’t believe this to actually just run a test, run a split test or something, and see if your click rates increase with a really simple, really, really simple black and white 12-point font email versus your crazy stylized one. For me, to be honest, Bret, I just straight up delete those things anyway.

Bret Martineau: Yeah.

Joshua Millage: I don’t have time to navigate through what needs to be said. Now, if you start off with, “Dear Joshua …” compelling first few sentences. Okay, you’ve got me. I’ll read down to whatever it is. I’ll probably click to check it out. Then once you’re on the website, that’s a whole other … to keep me [crosstalk 00:20:14] there is a different thing.

Bret Martineau: Absolutely. Here’s another thing that I want to bring up, and this is a great place for us to go for this. We’ve got this paradigm set of 12-point font, black and white, very simple, no crazy images. Here’s another thing that I think is very important. About two years ago I did a very informal study and discovered that there are some pretty interesting trends when it comes to how much text you write into the emails. This is super informal, but so far it’s been right on the money every time I’ve tested it.

The first thing is, in the place where I’m reading the email, a paragraph inside an email can be no more than three and a half lines long, and I mean that half perfectly. If it’s on a browser or if I’m looking at it on my computer, it can be longer, but it can only be three lines. Then I have a half a line. If I go over that, it’s too long, I won’t read it, and nobody else will either.

Joshua Millage: Got it.

Bret Martineau: You just gloss over it. You don’t see it.

Joshua Millage: This is good to know.

Bret Martineau: The whole email can be no longer than two and a half paragraphs, three and a half paragraphs. It’s that three and a half that keeps in line. If I look at the email and the email is longer than three and a half paragraphs, I’m not going to read it. Think about it. Pull up your phone, and everybody thinks like this.

Joshua Millage: Yeah.

Bret Martineau: Right? You pull up your phone. You look at the email. You open it up and you go, swipe, swipe, and if you have to swipe that third time …

Joshua Millage: You’re done. That’s a great point.

Bret Martineau: Archived. Not going to read it.

Joshua Millage: Three and a half sentence paragraphs with three and a half paragraphs.

Bret Martineau: Three and a half lines. It’s not about sentences. It’s about lines. Three and a half paragraphs and each paragraph can be no longer than three and a half lines.

Joshua Millage: That’s the max; right?

Bret Martineau: Yeah, max.

Joshua Millage: [Crosstalk 00:22:01] than that you’re okay.

Bret Martineau: It’s dependent on where they’re reading it. If most of your users are going to be reading it on their mobile device, that’s not three and a half lines as you’re typing it.

Joshua Millage: How do we find that data out?

Bret Martineau: Just send yourself a test.

Joshua Millage: No. I mean if they’re reading it on mobile or if they’re reading it on browser. [Inaudible 00:22:18] to that?

Bret Martineau: Oh, that’s a good question. Well, there’s a lot of different tools you can use to … The simplest and the most straightforward is just to ask your customers how they’re reading your content. There’s some more technical ways that you can do it with sending different bits of information in the email, and then how it loads on the browser will tell you whether it was loaded from a mobile …

Joshua Millage: Can you get some Google Analytics type data?

Bret Martineau: You can use some Google. Google Analytics itself I don’t think is going to work as well. Actually, you might be able to. It’s the same sort of technology …

Joshua Millage: [Crosstalk 00:22:54] campaign …

Bret Martineau: … as Infusionsoft uses. You just put a little image, load it. Then depending on where it comes from.

Joshua Millage: Got it.

Bret Martineau: You can trust when we say most of your users are reading their emails on their phones.

Joshua Millage: Yeah, and I totally agree.

Bret Martineau: Yeah. That’s something that’s important, I think, just to keep in mind and to remember is that they got to be short, they got to be quick, and one of the most powerful ways that you can get more engagement is to just write less content and then make a video.

Joshua Millage: Yeah. Because [crosstalk 00:23:27] is huge, and boom.

Bret Martineau: Oh, yeah.

Joshua Millage: That’s the approach to take.

Bret Martineau: Introduce it just a little bit, a tiny little bit of content. Here’s a video; click.

Joshua Millage: Click, yep. That’s what you want to train people to do anyway, click to the site.

Bret Martineau: Right, training them to click.

Joshua Millage: There’s a whole other episode I’m sure that I can lean into on what happens after that clicks and the importance of mobile responsiveness. There’s a lot of other things down the line, but today is all about email. I love the Campaign Builder aspect of sending newsletters.

Honestly, it’s these little things that really surprise me. I think we all have been so inundated with all these crazy gizmo engines, and they’re rad. They’re all awesome. I love seeing what some people can do on the high end of Infusionsoft, but I really think the magic starts when you just start the basics well.

Bret Martineau: Yeah.

Joshua Millage: Yeah, I think it’s a pretty powerful way of looking at newsletters to get out of the broadcasts, so …

Bret Martineau: Yeah. I’ve talked to several of these people fairly recently. There’s a lot of these people that cling to the broadcast because it seems to reflect more directly what they think they’re doing. I send out broadcasts. It’s not a campaign. It’s a newsletter, right, so I use the broadcast feature. It seems cumbersome and awkward to use the campaign to send out a newsletter because it’s not intuitive in the way that I think about it.

Well, here’s the response to that: You need to change the way you think about it. Because it’s not just an email broadcast that you’re sending out. It is part of a campaign because you shouldn’t send anything that doesn’t have a goal; right?

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: You’re trying to get people to do things, so it is a campaign. Everything you do is a campaign.

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: And before even any of that, the most important thing is that if you set it up as a campaign, it’s easier for you to build it in advance and then just let it go.

Joshua Millage: Well, that actually then begs the question, when do you use the broadcast? When is an appropriate time, or do we ever? Are you saying …?

Bret Martineau: I’ll tell you how I use it. We used broadcasts only for unscheduled, send out this email right now to these people announcements. It’s like, “Hey, we …”

Joshua Millage: I got what you’re saying.

Bret Martineau: We want to push this … “We have this new feature,” or “Hey, we’ve changed the way we’re doing our support” or something that’s … like, press release style stuff, where it’s like, we need to send this out. In that instance it’s quicker. It makes more sense just to send out a broadcast in that way. When it comes to newsletters, right, all that stuff …

Joshua Millage: Stuff that’s more planned should be in a broadcast … I’m sorry … a campaign, but for the stuff that’s more to the moment …

Bret Martineau: Honestly, too, if your business is a little bit more forethought … Is that a word? If you think more ahead and you plan what you’re going to be releasing, when you’re going to be releasing a little bit more. We plan what we’re going to build, but we don’t plan abut anything around when we’re releasing it and how … It’s like, we built it. Okay, released.

Joshua Millage: Yeah.

Bret Martineau: We don’t make a big to-do about releasing it except just, “Okay, Facebook users, PlusThis users, we’ve just released this new feature.” It’s not like we make a big publicity thing about it. Not that that’s a bad thing. I think I framed that as though it was a bad thing for you to do that. If that’s the way that you do, you release your features, you release your products or whatever you’re doing more planned, definitely that stuff should be built into the Campaign Builder.

Ideally, everything is planned and thought out in advance, and you’re a month ahead …

Joshua Millage: That’s exactly what I was going to say.

Bret Martineau: … and stuff gets rolling you talked about and discussed last month.

Joshua Millage: Right. As we build out our new WordPress plug-in, Lifter LMS, that’s constantly how we’re looking. We’ve got a couple guys who came in bringing a lot of really cool development strategy, bringing in …

We’ve been in Agile Development Shop, but the two guys we brought in are insanely better at it, and they forced us … They go, “We’re going to do two-week sprints, and we’re going to plan these sprints out a quarter in advance,” which has then forced me as someone who’s heading up our marketing to go, “Okay, what am I doing at that time? How do I link it up?” I think that’s something that small businesses, if they want to run better, they need to start doing that.

I’ll tell everyone who’s listening, it feels like pushing a boulder up a hill the first couple months. It feels kind of hard, because you’re transitioning out of these bad habits into these planning ones, and so you’re going to have this kind of doubling up because you’re reactive through one month and you’re trying to also forecast what you’re going to do in the next month.

Bret Martineau: Right.

Joshua Millage: It feels a little hard, but I’ll just say, if you do choose to make the switch and go down that path, that when the boulder gets to the top of the hill and you push it over, there’s something to be said about thinking proactively about things opposed to reactively about things. That switch is, it’s worth so much money because you’re thinking more clear about things that are really important to your business.

Every touch that you have with your customer should be thought out. It shouldn’t be just like, “Oh, I got to go … “ Boom. I worked, back in my old company, my marketing consulting company. I had a client who had so much potential and so much value that he would give the world, but it was all done very reactionally and unstructured.

What happened is no one really engaged because it didn’t make sense. It didn’t build on each other, and it’s unfortunate. That could have all been done by hitting the pause button. Even if he took a month off and just didn’t market for a month just so that he could set up to be more consistent, I think that would have paid huge dividends.

Bret Martineau: This actually is good. You say a lot that you’ve, we talk about stuff and you feel sort of called to repentance a little bit. Actually, on this I think I feel a little called to repentance, because I think this … I’m very in the moment, definitely reactionary just like, “All right, we’ve got this thing. Let’s throw it live.” I think part of that is, it’s the non-politician in me; right?

Joshua Millage: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bret Martineau: By the way, I know that a lot of you are, you’ll relate to what I’m about to say but what I am saying; right? You don’t want to be the corporate, making a big deal out of the things that we’re doing, and you want to just be real and in the moment and live with people and push things out.

I think there is something to be said. There’s definitely something to be said for having a consistent rhythm of messaging to where your customers understand, okay, there’s a rhythm here; right? He’s going to send me this email and there’s going to be this involved in it. Like it’s all going to kind of come together.

But I think even more than that, I’m just envisioning myself doing it this way. Even our releases for PlusThis, what we’re doing, releases what we’re doing and even planning our development strategy around a release schedule, a release cycle. Now suddenly I don’t have to worry about newsletter on one half of my brain and release schedule on one half and support on another half because it’s all one thing; right?

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: I’m sending a newsletter out in two weeks. It’s going to include the release notes for the release cycle that we just did. It’s going to include these features, because we talked about those features last month in our product meeting.

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: They were built this month. We’re going that way, and we know for the next three weeks our support issues are going to be X, Y, Z because of Y, Z, X kind of thing.

Joshua Millage: Yeah.

Bret Martineau: I think that’s very powerful. I think that’s huge to go back to the drawing board and keep everything. In terms of messaging, everything comes to the forefront. All of our little different departments aren’t siloed in their notifications and their messaging out. It all comes out of one …

Joshua Millage: Right. You could just call it the communications, the September 2014 communications campaign and kind of involves all of these things.

I love it. I want to say, I guess we can switch into the mindset moment …

Bret Martineau: Ba-ba-dah.

Joshua Millage: Da-da-da-dah.

Bret Martineau: We need to have like a (sound effect).

Joshua Millage: We’ll figure something out. That was pretty good. That was like a spontaneous sound effect.

Bret Martineau: Some dorkus, (sound effect).

Joshua Millage: Anyway, this is the part of the show where Bret and I want to talk about some mindset shifts, but you spurred one on when you were saying that, and it’s the idea planning, the idea of being proactive, and the idea of not becoming corporate with it. This is awesome that you bring it up because I’ve just started working this out in my own life and in my business, and that is planning.

I have an MBA, and basically what that means is I was downloaded this dogma from the last 150 years of industrialized business into my brain, and now I’ve got to take this kind of rather old-school way of thinking and apply it today and go, what the heck do I do with it?

Now, in that world it was like what’s your three-year plan, what’s your year plan, three-year, five-year. They had like these classic milestones. I had this … I don’t know … this internal struggle with feeling really reckless because I didn’t have that, but it’s like, what the heck, man? The web changes so fast, I can’t have a stinking three- to five-year plan.

What I’ve learned is I’ve had to shrink that down, given the pace of my industry, and I do a really good job of a three-month and a six-month plan. The six-month plan, I don’t take much time. I don’t dwell on it too much, because generally things happen so fast that those metrics or whatever I’m going for shifts significantly, but the quarterlies are huge.

Then the thing is, that to me is really important to dial in. Like, what are you going to do in the next three months? Check up on it. Decompress it. Move into the next three months.

What starts to happen is you actually start to become a small business instead of a start-up, because here’s the thing. No one wants to be starting up forever. That’s beat, man. I don’t want to be in start-up mode for five years. I know it’s sexy to be a start-up, but people always, they’ll introduce me to networking here in Santa Cruz. They’re like, “Josh’s start-up, Codebox.” I’m like, “Listen, we’re making money. There’s nothing start-up here. We’re good to go,” you know?

Bret Martineau: Right.

Joshua Millage: I have a small business now. I’m not a start-up.

In the start-up phase it is important to be kind of quick and dirty and not reactionary, but throwing a lot of things out there to see what sticks, but once you see something that sticks, optimize it, automate it, outsource it. Dial it in. That takes a lot of maturity to have the intuition to go, okay, this is now working. Now I can structure it. Now I can actually start to plan it. It all kind of ties together.

Bret Martineau: Yeah.

Joshua Millage: That has made such a difference for me. I think part of it was my ego was like, but I want to be called a start-up. I want to be in tech crunch. I want to do this, and I want to do that. It’s like, actually what I want is to have a company that makes a good amount of money, that, for me, personally, gives me the lifestyle that I want to live. I don’t care about having an IPO, and if people do, that’s awesome, but for me, and I think …

I don’t want to be so bold as to speak on the entire Infusionsoft community, but I feel like more of us are interested in having solid awesome businesses that function that give us the lifestyle we want, less about the Wall Street IPO, and maybe there’s some of them in the group, and that’s awesome, but I think the key is get out of freaking start-up mode. Start to plan. Start to structure. Start to build systems.

My weekend, I’m going to Thailand in about a week. It’s going to be great. Taking a little vay-kay and doing some, working remotely, because that’s something that I value, and I have spent the last 48 hours systemizing the heck out of some things that I have been avoiding systemizing. In the process of that, I’ve been like, dude, this is what matters. This is $1,000 an hour work. It’s not fun. It’s not sexy. It doesn’t feel that great when I’m doing it. Like, “This is how you post a blogpost.” I shouldn’t be doing that. I shouldn’t be spending an hour here and there posting the blogpost.

Bret Martineau: Right.

Joshua Millage: I should be writing it. Personally, I think I should be writing it, but the linking and the social stuff, dah-dah-dah-dah-dah. That stuff just sucks up time. I outsourced this first post and it came back, and I just felt like such a relief. Such a relief, like, wow. I paid Gwen, who’s amazing; she lives in the Philippines, eight bucks an hour. She’s stoked. That’s really good pay for her. She’s thanking me for the work, which Americans, listen up, thank people who hire you for the work. It goes a really long way.

Bret Martineau: Right.

Joshua Millage: Yeah, it’s an amazing experience. She loves it. I love it because I’m focusing on other things. I don’t know. That’s kind of a rant.

Bret Martineau: No, I think it’s awesome.

Joshua Millage: The question kind of goes back to you, though, man. What do you think about that? PlusThis, do you guys, “We’re a start-up.” At what point do you get out of start-up phase, you know?

Bret Martineau: I’m so glad you brought this up, because I think the outsourcing … We got an intern a couple weeks ago. Interns, by the way, I would, from the rooftops shout, “Every business should have at least two interns,” and I’ll tell you why. This is the dirty little secret about interns. They will work for free. They want to work for free. Right?

Find your local community college. Find the business school and say, “Hey, I got this business. People want experience in a real business doing real business stuff, and they want a great letter of recommendation.” Three months out of the year you get six of them and they rotate through. The planning is very important because you’ve got to know what they’re going to end up doing.

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: If you know what your plan is, where you’re going, I think that’s beautiful. On the PlusThis side, you say, are we still a start-up. I’d say we’re probably bridging, we’re probably straddling start-up and small business mode.

Joshua Millage: Perfect. So this is what are you doing in that mode, because I think there are a lot of people listening [inaudible 00:37:38] same thing.

Bret Martineau: Right. What happens is, we’re trying to make the decision, the determination of do we continue to develop this set of products, these add-ons that we’ve got, and do we continue to ride that wave out and continue just to make smaller things that in all reality are fairly simple but are very helpful and take a lot of time out of other people’s days.

Or do we set that aside and move into and build bigger products and bigger things that we can do, and now we have not just a library of add-ons that we … We feel like we’re just sort of dinking around with.

To any PlusThis customers that are hearing this, you have to understand, we’re absolutely supremely confident in our products. I’m not saying this to say, oh, we don’t really like the library. We love what we have. From our standpoint, that’s where we’re at. We’re trying to figure out, okay, do we move in this direction? Do we move in a different direction? We’re still definitely in start-up mode when it comes to our development cycle, like I mentioned before, and our release cycle and those kind of things. We just decide to build a thing because somebody said, hey, this would be cool, and then we build it.

Joshua Millage: It’s hugely useful.

Bret Martineau: Obviously, there is a little bit of review that has to go into it.

Joshua Millage: Yeah.

Bret Martineau: Not everything gets developed. Not everything gets built, but we like to be pretty quick. We like to be pretty nimble and light on our feet, but at the same time, there’s only so far … We’re starting to realize there’s only so far we can go with that before we have to expand and build real software that’s going to be more effective.

Joshua Millage: I will say this to back you up on the PlusThis stuff, it is the absolute first thing that you should buy, and I would even venture to say for beginners, immediately after you buy your Fusionsoft app. It’s that crucial. It’s been that crucial for me to build the things I’ve built, because, frankly, there’s just certain things that Infusionsoft doesn’t do or doesn’t do well that PlusThis simplifies.

I saw the true power of it. I had Chris Brisson on a couple weeks back or last week, and he let me peak inside of Killer Campaigns. I was, hey, man, I’m really, really, really, really honest. I don’t like to promote BS stuff, and I’d love to say that Killer Campaign, it rocks, but I got to see inside it. He was generous enough to give me a log-in, let me poke around, view some training videos, and I was really impressed.

By the way, if anyone is looking for some cool campaign stuff, go check out Killer Campaigns, because it is definitely awesome. He constantly talks about PlusThis, and he’s, “You’ve got to have PlusThis.” It’s required for you to build pretty much, I think, almost everything in there. I didn’t get through all the training, but I know the Dropbox one needed it. The go-to webinar stuff needed it. You start to see, oh, my gosh, to do this without PlusThis would pretty much be impossible.

Bret Martineau: Right.

Joshua Millage: The cool thing too is then of course as I looked at what Chris was doing, looking at your training videos and some of the how-tos, I just start to ideate and my marketing mind starts to go crazy and I think of new and cool things.

But get the basics right. I’m not a basic user. I’m a little farther down the road, so I can start doing some cool things. I really want to start using the cycler. That’s my …

Bret Martineau: Cycler is good stuff.

First of all, thanks … I’ll pay you later. Chris is already on the payroll. No, I’m just kidding. It’s very kind of you to say that. We are super-proud of what we’ve been able to do and excited for some of the fun stuff that we’ve been able to see.

We just had somebody post in our User’s Forum today. Oh, I was on cloud nine. She was doing a community event. She runs a gymnastics gym and she was doing a community event with a bunch of families, and they use our new check-in feature. She just went on and on and told about how it helped and it was awesome. She was able to focus on the families because she wasn’t worried about making sure people were checking in, and it was easy to train.

For me, and this sounds like broken record … This is what politicians say to pander, but this is the deadpan truth. For me, that makes it all worth it. Everything that we have to go through, all the stuff that we have to deal with, all of the pains of development and dealing with other APIs and other problems, everything. Seeing that what we’re doing is making the difference in somebody else’s life is awesome.

But yeah, I think with PlusThis, what we’ve done, and I had some other things I wanted to say about what you were talking about earlier, and they seem to have escaped me. I’m just going to blab for a bit and see if they come back into my mind.

The PlusThis, we definitely find ourselves straddling those two worlds, and I think that a big part of that is just because we … This is what I wanted to talk about. There’s like this fear of going from, I want to use the word, “reactionary,” because, let’s be honest, that’s what it is.

Joshua Millage: Yeah.

Bret Martineau: This moving from this reactionary to this plan, because it’s like I don’t want to get locked into a quarter marketing and development cycle that’s going to become outdated halfway through; right? I want to be able to break the plan, break from the plan, and go with the market if it shifts halfway through my quarterly marketing whatever.

Joshua Millage: Right.

Bret Martineau: I think the important takeaway from this is that there is, first of all, a little bit of savvy that’s required. You can’t really just come into this business and have money and you want to pay a developer to make a thing and then you want to pay a marketer to market the thing and then you want to X, Y, Z, because it does take a little bit of savvy and some training and some understanding, and really you have to do some homework to know how the market shifts and how things work.

There can be some fear around committing to a particular message or a particular development cycle or a particular product for a certain amount of time because you want to be nimble, but you have to be able to develop the intuition and the savvy to know what you’re going to be doing for that quarter or whatever period of time, and you have to stay on message. You have to stick with it. You have to push those things through. Because you’re going to hit a cycle where you’re going to be behind.

Joshua Millage: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bret Martineau: Whatever; right? You’ve got to move forward to the next cycle and try and get ahead of the cycle the next time and continue to move forward.

Honestly, one of the things, and I’ve fallen victim to this myself both with PlusThis and with the non-profit that I work with, where you think, oh, my goodness, my e

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