Episode 241

How To Do Marketing Automation, CRM, and More Directly From Your WordPress Website with Groundhogg Founder Adrian Tobey

Learn about how to do marketing automation, CRM, and more directly from your WordPress website with Groundhogg founder Adrian Tobey in this episode of LMScast hosted by Chris Badgett of LifterLMS.

Groundhogg is a CRM tool for WordPress that allows you to run your email marketing through the back-end of your website. In this episode Adrian lays out a demonstration of Groundhogg and some use cases it can be especially helpful for. It serves as a great way to simplify, consolidate, and automate your sales and marketing.

How to do marketing automation, CRM, and more directly from your WordPress website with Groundhogg founder Adrian Tobey

Adrian started working with a marketing agency in Toronto seven years ago, and he would work with clients to design the customer journey that leads someone from an initial contact point to eventually the end result of purchasing their products or services.

One of the pitfalls of many CRM options out there such as Infusionsoft, GetResponse, HubSpot, and MailChimp is that they only provide a portion of the solution, rather than the whole thing. As a marketing manager for your business, you have to manage the relationship and integration between many tools that track and interact with customers along the buyer’s journey. Groundhogg brings all of that functionality into the back end of WordPress.

Validating your product is a large part of creating a successful online course business, and many course creators do not focus enough on that aspect. Often times course creators and membership site owners will get invested in the nitty gritty details of what individual tools can do for their sites before putting up a minimum viable product to see if anyone indicates interest in what they have to offer. Adrian and Chris discuss the fundamental importance of validation and how Groundhogg can help you with that.

Once you have the details ironed out of who you serve and how you serve them, you can create a lead management funnel and start to drive traffic into that funnel via marketing methods such as content marketing, Facebook ads, offering a free ebook, or checklist.

To learn more about Adrian Tobey and the exciting new developments at Groundhogg be sure to check out Groundhogg.io. You can also find Adrian on Facebook and Twitter at @groundhoggwp, or you can reach out to Adrian by email.

At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes hereSubscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.

Chris Badgett: Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and we’re joined by a special guest, Adrian Tobey. He’s here from Groundhogg.io. That’s Groundhogg with two Gs. It’s a way to simplify, consolidate, and automate your sales and marketing. When we talk about marketing automation, I think it’s important to go back to the roots, at least the roots where I came from, that I also share with Adrian here, which is the Infusionsoft community. Welcome to the show, Adrian.

Adrian Tobey: Hi, Chris. Thanks for having me. Super excited to be on the show. Yes, you and I both have Infusionsoft, the original marketing automation tool, in our past quite prolifically.

Chris Badgett: Yeah. I used to do a lot of client work there. Some of our clients were actually the very first use cases and users who are doing courses and training based memberships that we built LifterLMS for. Our very first users were clients we had that hired us not just to build a website, and not just to build a course membership site platform and some custom tooling on top of that, but also to develop marketing automation and really deeply integrate Infusionsoft into their WordPress website.

Chris Badgett: Tell us a little bit about your background with Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft’s campaign builder, and just their concepts around marketing automation really opened up a whole market. Coming back into the geekiness of my history in Infusionsoft, I remember, I think I’m saying his name right Jermaine Griggs course. He had a course on marketing automation where he was teaching all these concepts that are now, we see a lot more people teaching this kind of if this then that logic and all this stuff. But Infusionsoft really lead the way in all this. What was your history with Infusionsoft?

Adrian Tobey: I started with Infusionsoft six, or I guess seven years ago now. So, seven years ago, I became a certified partner and I worked in a marketing agency here where I’m based in Toronto. My responsibility was to take what our clients came in. They said, we want to get to X amount of customers or X amount of sales per month. What we would do is we would design the customer journey that lead someone from an initial contact point with their customer, whether it was [inaudible] or landing page, their website, contact form, whatever it was to the point where they actually handed over some credit card information to this business.

Adrian Tobey: One of the original things that marketing automation really provided was a way for businesses to visually be able to create a customer journey. Now, if you don’t know what marketing automation is, or you’ve never heard that terminology before, it really is just a fancy way of saying an automated customer journey. Generally in the your typical sales process, you have a salesperson and their responsibility is to follow up with the client say, “Hey, listen, are you ready to move forward with buying X amount of product?” That generally how sales used to work.

Adrian Tobey: Now, with this automated journey system, what we can do is we can automate all of the follow up or all of the engagements and track with analytics the entire process of someone moving from an initial contact to handing over some credit card information. I did that for about seven years, I created a plugin for WordPress called FormLift, which allowed people who used WordPress that didn’t want to invest tons of money in custom integrations or Imperium for example or you guys at Lifter, and didn’t want to go through that super huge process. They could instead just install FormLift, which was a form builder, which provided your bare minimum amount of integration. Which is you have a web form, or your website and it goes into Infusionsoft. That’s what I did for a while until starting Groundhogg.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. The longer I spend in the technology space, I noticed how things get more approachable or easier. In my opinion, these are the best times ever to start a business, especially an online business or website based business, technology business, because the tools just become more integrated, more simplified, easy to use.

Chris Badgett: I know with Infusionsoft, I remember back in the day, you got to get a web form to get a lead in the system. They would be like, all right, press this button, and then you get this code to give to your developer. Over time, we’ve seen the rise of things like Leadpages or OptinMonster. There’s all these tools that try to simplify that process. Eventually, what happens, which is really cool to see what you’re doing here with Groundhogg is there’s the all in one WordPress option.

Adrian Tobey: One of the pitfalls of many of the options out there, Infusionsoft get response, HubSpot, MailChimp, you name it, all of them suffer from they don’t provide the entire solution, they provide a portion of the solution. What you as a business owner or as a developer or the CMO, you have to go purchase all of the different tools and then connect them together. That can be both a time consuming, a frustrating and expensive proposition in a lot of cases. If you’re using premium zaps, from Zapier, or you’re paying for WP Fusion or all of these tools, and you’re trying to mash them all together, it can get unwieldy.

Adrian Tobey: What we’re trying to do with Groundhogg is instead of connecting all of the tools, we just provide all of them in WordPress. Everything is pre-integrated and you don’t have to spend that time or that financial investment connecting all of the tools together.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. I like to say at LifterLMS, I talk about Lifter as an all in one solution. Its got the Ecommerce, the LMS, the course building, the membership functionality, the engagement, it’s all built in. But there’s this case sometimes for when does it make sense to go out for some piece that’s best in breed, some hyper focused app or whatever?

Chris Badgett: But the reality is another thing that’s awesome about Groundhogg as I look at it, as somebody who would use it is, start with all in one. When you’re just validating … Here’s an example from my side. People get really into landing page software or page builders, plugins for WordPress and stuff like that, which I love and enjoy too. But to validate your course idea and to see if people will buy it or indicate interest in it, that’s not really predicated on having some separate thing. Having all in one is a good place to be, especially if you’re trying to get going with this few tools made by as few companies as possible. I just want to acknowledge that other use case there.

Adrian Tobey: Yeah, one of the big things that we have with course creators that are our clients is they spend a lot of time focusing on the nitty gritty details, like what software’s do I use, or should I go Sash, or go WordPress, what page builders do I use? They spend a lot of time focused on the technology. But honestly, when you’re starting out, and it’s a new concept, and nobody’s actually given you any money for it yet, what you should be focusing on is the content that you want to provide that will actually help people. Then use as bare minimum amount of tools, invest as bare minimum amount of investment as you possibly can into providing your contents that will help people, and getting them to pay for it. Then you can then fund that money back in and you will either grow with the tools that you’re using, or you’ll switch later, which is totally acceptable.

Chris Badgett: You mentioned the customer journey. I don’t want to overlook that. At a case somebody’s new to the idea, in general, if you were just to describe a customer journey that’s generic, what would that look like?

Adrian Tobey: Well, the easiest example that I would think of is your basic lead magnet funnel. If you’re not familiar with the funnel terminology. Essentially, a bunch of people go into example of an oil funnel that you’d use to put oil in your car. A bunch of people go in and then a few people come out, and those people are the vetted clients that have actually given you money. Then you have in the top funnel region or the tire kickers mixed in with everybody else. You use your funnel to essentially filter out all the tire kickers and get the people that will become your clients.

Adrian Tobey: A lead magnet funnel would be something as you get a whole bunch of people to sign up for a download a PDF file. A webinar is a very, very popular one as we were talking about earlier. Essentially, when they would sign up for that, you send them an email that says confirm your email address so you make sure that it’s not just spam signing up for your thing. You filter out all of those people. Everybody that confirmed your email, you then send the reminder emails to download whatever product that you’re providing. Whether it’s the Evergreen webinar, or the PDF download, or a video or whatever it is that you’re providing.

Adrian Tobey: They consume that and then after you give them ample time to consume that, you send them another automated email that says, “How did you find it? Get in touch with either our sales person or here’s your 10% discount code to purchase x product, and here’s the link to that product.” Then a certain number of people will take action on that. Then those people are the people who come out at the bottom of the funnel. Those are the people who will become your clients. Then you can put those clients into another funnel to further filter down the people who will become your champions.

Adrian Tobey: That is the most basic example of a sales funnel. Of course, they can get so much more deep and automated … I don’t want to use the word complex because it’s not necessarily a complex thing to do. But you can just do so much more, and it’s so flexible, that you can design really any kind of funnel with any number of responses in order to be able to filter contacts appropriately through it.

Chris Badgett: It’s super valuable. What I noticed, especially with beginners is they’ll get super focused at one stage like, I just need more leads, or I just need more conversions right down here at this point where the offer is made and the Buy Now button is. Or I need to better onboard my people once they buy. But when you look at the full funnel, or the whole picture, it’s magical. It’s worth looking at. It’s worth mapping out even if you think it’s obvious or whatever. Because as a course creator, your customer, or your prospective customer and their experience all the way through from not even being aware that they have this problem that you help them identify, to them being I’m just thinking super bottom, outside the funnel of being your biggest affiliate or promoter or whatever. There’s a lot of things that happen along that journey that your website can really help them with.

Adrian Tobey: Absolutely. One of the things that we’re trying to do is to make it not complicated in order to be able to set those things up. That’s what Groundhogg does. What we pride is a set of marketing and sales tools that essentially allows you to build visually, and in relatively short order this series of steps that will guide someone from requesting a lead magnet to providing it to them, to following up with them and collecting all of the analytics in between so that you can see where the holes are and where you need to focus your energy.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. We’re going to look at, if you’re listening to this on your podcast, on your earbuds or whatever, I’d invite you to just look at LifterLMS YouTube, do a search for that, we’re going to have the episode over there. Look for the episode with Adrian Tobey. You can also type Groundhogg LMScast and you’ll find it.

Chris Badgett: But before we get into it, I wanted to ask you, I really appreciate it when someone has the depth of knowledge that you have around the whole business and then bringing in technology intelligently and also with a minimalist touch of feature richness all in one, but it’s like the essentials are there. I can see the DNA of a product that’s well thought out, that solves a very specific set of problems, that is designed to be helpful, not just another tool you got to strap on. What were some of your influences as an entrepreneur, as a technologist? I’m just curious, I’d like to find out from people who’s inspired them. What other bodies of work have inspired you?

Adrian Tobey: One of the big the big reasons that I actually took on this project in the first place was I was working in a digital marketing agency as of this time last year. I had been doing so for about five years up until that point. One of the things that I was doing as an Infusionsoft certified partner is I would implement them, I would take their vision, I would translate it, I build the campaigns, I’d write the emails, I’d attach it to the landing pages, and I’d do all the things. Then we’d do a handoff. We’d hand it off and we’d say, okay, this is what you need to do in order to maintain it. This what you need to do in order to keep creating content. This is how Infusionsoft works.

Adrian Tobey: We’d train them. Then about a week later, we get a call that says, how do I do this? How do I do this? How do I do this? Why isn’t this working? The fact that they had to keep going in between different tools. They had to go in between WordPress, they had to go in between Infusionsoft, Zapier, AppointmentCore, you name it. They had so many tools that they need to take care of that they couldn’t wrap around wrangling all these software to work for them. It was just too much for them because not only are they now the CMO and the CEO and the CTO, they have to work in their business, they have to make the sales calls and do all that stuff. They are supposed to be automated, why am I doing so much work?

Adrian Tobey: This is what this was supposed to replace, I now feel like I have more work because now I have to manage all of these tools and keep them updated. That was the inspiration behind creating Groundhogg is, since you can keep all of your information in WordPress in one place, it becomes significantly simpler in order to do the small things that you do indeed have to do when using marketing automation. You have to update your emails, you have to manage your content, you have to look at the analytics. Not everything can be fully automated, there is a certain amount of effort that you as a business owner or the CMO or the CTO or whatever it is that you do and your company put in in order to get the results that you want back out of it.

Adrian Tobey: That was the big inspiration was making that portion of it as simple as possible, as easy as possible, removing as much time and frustration from that process as possible. By putting it all in WordPress, we removed so many of those hiccups.

Chris Badgett: What other people or business leaders inspire you, or helped you develop solid thinking around funnels, customer journeys, WordPress?

Adrian Tobey: I’m not sure, are you familiar with Russell Brunson and the whole ClickFunnels group?

Chris Badgett: I am. Yeah.

Adrian Tobey: That would be a big … I use ClickFunnels for about a year. I paid the monthly donations to it. I never really got the value back out of it. But I did learn a lot about the whole sales funnel process. I read the books, and I went to the ClickFunnels conference, Funnel Hacker, which was a great rah rah of a the time. That was awesome. I saw Tony Robbins.

Adrian Tobey: I learned so much just about general customer journey. The step one, the step two, the step three, the step four. I translated that into a combination of your typical the Infusionsoft campaign builder map where you have to pull in items and you have to connect them with arrows and eventually you get this giant spider thing and you don’t know where everything is unless you’re a brilliant genius.

Adrian Tobey: A lot of other ones use that like HubSpot to get response or ConvertKit, for example, use that same methodology. The way that ClickFunnels works is that it was very linear in fashion. It was step one, step two, step three. They could only go through those series of steps, which I thought was really, really interesting, because by going through this linear fashion-

Chris Badgett: It forces you to focus right?

Adrian Tobey: It forces you to focus-

Chris Badgett: What’s the best option.

Adrian Tobey: Exactly. Because what happens is a lot of people can get lost in software with how good it is or how much you can do. They lose focus of what their initial intention was. By giving it a linear format, you’re able to stay focused on how do they get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time possible with as many minimal variations of that journey as possible.

Adrian Tobey: That’s what I really took away from ClickFunnels, and I took away the automation aspects away from Infusionsoft or ConvertKit, or any of those platforms. I’ve combined them into the two, by providing a linear process in a marketing automation. So, the backend and the follow up portion of it. That’s what I’d really base … It’s a hybrid of the two.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. We’re going to do some screen sharing. If you’re washing the dishes or alpha run, I hear you It’s fine. We’re going to describe things in a way that you’ll still get a ton of value about what we’re getting ready to go through. But let’s take a look at that. I just also want to acknowledge for the listener out there that I’ve personally rebuilt my “funnel” three times, four times, major rebuilds in both Infusionsoft and then I’m an Active Campaign now.

Chris Badgett: But it’s only natural. Don’t feel bad if you’ve made something that was complex and you lost your way a little bit. I think it’s just part of the process to simplify. What you’re saying here about, before you get into all this, if this then that logic and this giant tag structure automation thing, think about one path, not well, what if they want to turn left? What if they want to turn right? What if they want to turn left from here and right from here-

Adrian Tobey: Those will come naturally. You’ll see those paths emerge as your customers go through. But when you’re starting out, just think of the one path. Some people will go through, but some people will not. But then if those people don’t, then you can take care of that manually. Then you can build out those alternating paths. But those will appear naturally. There’s no way that as a business owner, you’re going to be able to think of all of the possible things that could ever possibly happen, and the design structures around those. If you do that, the only thing a guarantee is that you’ll never launch.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. I love the idea. I’ve been really digging on this lately that when you do the one path, there are holes, you’re going to lose people at certain parts of the path, and that’s okay. You can optimize … That’s where you’re going to do for the years on forward. But let’s just focus on what is the optimal path for the-

Adrian Tobey: For the optimal customer.

Chris Badgett: Exactly. Well, let’s look at it. Take us on a tour of-

Adrian Tobey: Let’s do that. We’ve been talking a lot about marketing automation. I’m going to be sharing the [French] up front, which is our funnel builder. I’m just going to make sure that I have … There you go, perfect. I have these massive two screens. So, I got to make sure that everything is laid out. We have our funnel builder. One of the big things that we took it upon ourselves was to templatize as much as we could in order to remove as much learning curve as possible and get people as soon as they install Groundhogg, to the point of being able to put an optin form or send an email in less than a day.

Adrian Tobey: That was one of the big things that we did. In that vein, we have a bunch of funnel templates in our funnel builder. So, our campaign builder or whatever it is that you want to call it, and that you can choose from and start building and modifying those funnels according to your business’s needs.

Adrian Tobey: For example, we have a webinar registration funnel, if you want to do a webinar, or a lead magnet download the funnel that we talked about earlier. You can start from scratch or if you have an LMS, or you’re running a course, you can have a login abandonment funnel, which follows up with people who haven’t logged in in a while. Lots of good stuff in that vein.

Adrian Tobey: Essentially, all we have to do in order to start off with one of those is click on it. So, let’s just do our lead magnet download funnel. We’re going to click on start building, and it’s going to bring up our Course Builder. We were talking about how linearization allows people to stay focused. All of our funnel is completely linear in nature.

Adrian Tobey: What happens is we have someone who fills out a web form. This is our top benchmark here or goal trigger, goes by many names. You can call it what you want. In the particular software that we’re using today, it’s called benchmarks, but it’s similar to any other platform that’s out there that has triggers that is basically the if then. This is the if. If someone fills out this web form, that we’re going to go ahead and we’re going to send them a couple of emails, which we can edit, we have timers. So, we’re going to wait one day until we send them another email.

Adrian Tobey: Once they’ve confirmed their email, which we’re talking about, that’s the way we filter out spam or tire kickers or people who just want to leave an email with us for whatever reason or not, actually take any action. We get their email confirmed, and then we can actually send the product to the people that have done so. We send them the email. Then we use a tracking link to track when they’ve actually gone ahead and downloaded or consumed whatever content that we sent them.

Adrian Tobey: Once they’ve actually consumed that content, then we can move on and send them a follow up. What did you think of our eBook, did you like it? If you liked that, then you might also like this trip wire product, this paid product. Then you can take on the funnel from there, it can go into another funnel or you can just extend the funnel that we’re looking at.

Adrian Tobey: We have all of these tools to be able to customize this journey as well. It’s not all set in stone here. You can drag things around on top of each other. I want this time to come first, or I want this email to come first. I can drag in new emails, I can drag in text messages. I can drag in tags. Tags are our version of lists. If you’re familiar with MailChimp, or lots of other tools also use tags. Infusionsoft uses tags, get response uses tags, I believe. There’s lots of them that use tags. Since many people use those, we don’t want to go too far from that terminologies and stuff they understand. There’s just lots of ways that you can modify this funnel to suit whatever your business’s needs are.

Adrian Tobey: You can again, modify this in any way that you see fit. Extend it, add more emails, add less emails. But always remember what we were talking about earlier is that the simplest customer journey often yields best results. So, don’t get too carried away with it. Because the way that it’s designed is the way that is implemented on our site and so many other companies sites that actually gets us customers. So, just keep that in mind.

Adrian Tobey: There’s lots of other cool stuff that you can do actually, while we’re just on this screen that I might as well go over. You can view all of the reporting that’s associated with this funnel, I just created it. So there is none. But you can see how many people have gone through a particular set of steps in any given time range. How many people are currently waiting. You can see the conversion rates of your optin forms, the open rates and click through rates of your emails, and lots of good stuff.

Adrian Tobey: In this view, it can really allow you to see where the holes in your funnel are. If you’re seeing that six people filled out the form for your lead magnet request, but zero people confirmed their email, then obviously there’s a problem. Either the confirmation link is broken or it’s not in there or your landing page copy isn’t conducive to what you’re actually trying to offer in the email, and allows you to fix those holes.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, we’re looking at marketing automation and a lead magnet funnel, which some course creators should totally do to build your email list. But ideally, before you’ve even started working on creating the course, you can have some people to sell to, and have that lead magnet be related to the topic of your course. Groundhogg helps with marketing automation like these lead magnet deliveries. What are some of the email marketing features?

Adrian Tobey: When we want to send an email, we have a custom email builder built within it. You can send email in a variety of different ways. You can send it from your server, or you can send it using an SMTP service. You can even send it using our API powered service. But all we got to do is when we’re in our funnel, or you can edit emails directly from the database.

Chris Badgett: Can you do a broadcast email to just all the people that got your lead magnet? Let’s say they have a tag, you emailed that tag.

Adrian Tobey: Absolutely. If someone were to request the lead magnet, so actually in the funnel, if we scroll down to after they actually go ahead and click the link and we track that action, we want to apply a tag that says, I’m going to type in lead magnet download or whatever you want to call it. We can add that tag there, and now we know that anybody that actually consumed the content that we wanted to provide, they’ll be able to get that tag, we can go to our broadcasts and can schedule a new one. We just select the tag, lead magnet download, and now we can send an email to anybody who’s currently marketable, and who also has that tag.

Chris Badgett: For those of you that are listening, we’re doing all this in WordPress, we’re not in another tool. We’re in the backend of WordPress. We can send the email, you’ve got the SMS broadcast is an option as well. That’s pretty sweet.

Adrian Tobey: Yeah. Another feature that was also super important to us, was making sure it’s totally accessible to wherever anybody is in the world. What time zones they’re in, what languages they’re in. It’s supporting a bunch of different languages. But when we’re sending email, we can choose to send it in any contact’s local time zone. If you do business globally, as we do, since we have customers in six different time zones, just here in Canada, three, I guess, but all the different time zones here in Canada, or if they’re over in Europe, or Australia, or New Zealand or the Philippines, we are able to send an email at a specified time in their time zone.

Chris Badgett: I just want to say how awesome that is because I have a pretty big email list, which means with my email marketing tool, I’m paying hundreds of dollars a month for the that tool. I still have to pay even more to get this sent to everybody at the same time in their time zone feature. I’m just not doing it based on principle, because I’ve already given them enough money, but I really want that feature, and you’ve got it right here, right inside WordPress, which is awesome.

Adrian Tobey: Yeah, well, it’s not exactly complicated. Because whenever someone signs up on your website, we’re able to collect their IP address, and we can geo locate that IP address using free tools that exist out there. We use that IP address to get their time zone. We send it based on their time zone, do a little bit of math. There you go. So, we decided to just ship that with there because one of our core values, or at least our main guiding principle core value is that we believe marketing and sales tool should be provided for equal access to all businesses around the world, regardless of budget size, or any of those factors. We want to make sure that businesses have the tools that they need in order to be succeed.

Adrian Tobey: All of that good stuff is shipped, package in there, and it’s not even dependent on the broadcast tool. The same feature, the send to a local time zone is available in the funnel builder as well.

Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Can you explain what a pipeline is, and how that’s different from a marketing automation?

Adrian Tobey: A pipeline, if you’re familiar with a relative SAS tool called Pipedrive, it’s like the sales equivalent. If you actually have a sales team, and you have people responsible for doing the actual manual follow up process. When marketing automation doesn’t cut it, for example, you have big ticket items or you’re selling products that are thousands of dollars, not hundreds or 10s of dollars, then sometimes the personal touch is absolutely necessary in order to be able to go ahead and actually sell those products to your customers.

Chris Badgett: I just want to add for course builders and membership site builders out there, when you’re selling over $1,000, often a phone call, at least a phone call is required for someone to make the decision to invest. If you’re talking like throwing in a high end mastermind at some resort somewhere, and now we have $20,000, $30,000 package, they’re going to want to talk to somebody before they open up the wallet on that one.

Adrian Tobey: Absolutely. That’s one of the things that we actually … There’s an opening video in the guided setup of our tool that explains that Groundhog is actually a tool, not a solution. A lot of products are marketed as the solution to all of your problems. You can replace your whole sales team and all that of that. That’s not necessarily true in all cases. We really market ourselves as a tool that will allow you to do a whole lot of things that you wouldn’t otherwise able to. But sending phone calls or manual responses and actually being part of the business is something that can never be replaced. That’s super important.

Adrian Tobey: But to answer your original question, a pipeline is the manual equivalent of a sales funnel. What you do is you set up your stages, and there’s software to do this, or you can just do it on a whiteboard and sticky notes. You define your stages. For example, new lead proposal closing and one would be some stages, and then your last stage. Then you do all of your forecasting based on assigning values to each particular lead.

Adrian Tobey: If you have 10 people worth $100 in your new lead course or your new lead stage sorry. You know that you had a 10% closing rate based on that stage, then you’d be able to Gander that you have $100 available in Q3 from now as to what the recording equivalent will be able to do for that. We actually have a tool in Groundhogg, if I can add on, that allows you to add this pipeline feature as a tool where you can drag and drop your cards or your deals or your leads in between stages for your sales team, if you have your sales team as users in WordPress. Actual new user roles that we add. You can add your sales so they don’t actually are able to modify contact records or break things or edit options, stuff like that. You just drag your card through different stages and those can trigger points in your funnel.

Adrian Tobey: If you move a person from, let’s say, new lead to proposal, then you could trigger automation. Automatically say, “Hey, listen, new lead, we have found that you want a new proposal. We’re currently working on it. It’ll be available in two to three days. Stay tuned. I, insert salesperson name here, will be in touch shortly.” They don’t actually have to go and send that email, but the phone call is probably still a good idea.

Chris Badgett: Wow, that’s really cool. You touched on something that’s important to me, which is we offer a tool at LifterLMS, but we always said, you can’t automate everything. It’s all about scaling the human touch with robotics. That’s something we’ve been saying for years. There’s still a human around, and you’re using the automation and the pipelines and the tech to maybe qualify the leads before they can get to a human so that when you do get engaged manually, there’s a high likelihood of being a good fit for each other.

Chris Badgett: But that’s totally different from just automating everything. There’s full funnels or sales cycles that you can automate, but there’s definitely still a place for the human in the business. I love that you made that distinction around tools versus solutions. That’s really cool.

Adrian Tobey: Well, we like to say is that we’re not the solution, you are.

Chris Badgett: That’s a really good insight, because a lot of these tools, they often shine the light on this tool is the solution to the problems, whereas you’re saying, we’re going to help you solve your problem better.

Adrian Tobey: Absolutely. That’s how we like to look at it. We are merely a means to an end. You know what the solution is or what it is that you have to implement it. We’re just simply providing the hammer and the nails that are going to allow you to build it.

Chris Badgett: For somebody coming into Groundhogg, where do you recommend they start? Let’s say they’re a course builder. They’ve got a course site up, and they’ve got, let’s say a free course and they’ve got a paid course and then they have a course plus private coaching upsell going on. How would that person approach this tool? Let’s say they have a lead magnet-

Adrian Tobey: With pen and paper, for sure. That’s also one of the things that once you install Groundhogg, there’s a video with a guy that says, before you do anything, let’s get a pen and paper out and actually map what your goal is. What’s point A when someone meets you, and what’s point B, what do you want them to do? Then draw out what the steps in between are and that’ll make it significantly easier to actually translate into building with our tools.

Adrian Tobey: Then once they actually get started is they find the relevant template that’s currently available in our default templates or in our store, or if they are able to find one online because all of our templates or all of our funnels and everything in Groundhogg is exportable and importable so you can share it between a bunch of different websites. You can import your funnel or just use one of our templates or you can start from scratch. They can actually start going about building that.

Adrian Tobey: If it were me personally, what I would do is I just build whatever my first stage is, and make sure that that works before I go on and start building my upsell and then my profit maximizer, to use the terminology from the ClickFunnels side of things. But that’s absolutely what I would start doing. Is just define what my core product offering is, probably put a lead magnet in front of that and then build those two out. If those succeed, then I would start investing time into some higher tier products, but not before I am aware or I have verified that there is indeed a market for the tools that I want to produce.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Well, is there anything else you want to show us while we have the screen up, before we-

Adrian Tobey: Yeah, absolutely. Groundhogg isn’t all just about marketing automation and sending emails. There is an entire CRM component to this so that you can view all of your contact information, you can create super long intake forms if you really feel like that’s necessary. There’s tags and lists and lots of things that you can do. So, I’ll just jump into the CRM portion of this relatively quickly.

Adrian Tobey: There’s lots of things that you can do in here. For example, we automatically scrape the internet for any profile pictures that are associated with the email address that was given to you so you can get a sense of what they look like. If you’re planning an in-person meeting or you’re getting on the phone and you don’t want to be caught off guard. We can manage anybody’s address information. Again, we do geolocation. Oftentimes, if you have a new subscriber, this information here will be all filled out so you can see where they’re calling.

Adrian Tobey: If you’re getting on the phone, you can see what their local time zone is. So, you don’t call them at 3:00 AM in the morning, like I have done on several occasions. Someone really really ticked off. Don’t do that. That’s why we have this in the top right here. It says local time. Again, if you’re listening just on your ear pods or whatever, we have the local time displayed based on their IP address. We have all the custom fields.

Adrian Tobey: If you want to collect just random information about a contact, you can do all of that from this screen. We can see what page they signed up on originally, what source they came from. If they came from Facebook, Twitter, all that good stuff, we can see what tags that they have. We can collect notes about a person. If we did a sales call, and this person in no way wants us to call them again, then we can add a note that says, do not call.

Adrian Tobey: We have a whole file uploads feature. Each contact has their own personal uploads folder where you can upload a whole bunch of files and you can actually merge links to those files in emails or anything like that.

Chris Badgett: What would an example be of that, the file?

Adrian Tobey: If you wanted to automate your HR process, for example, then what you do is you’d have a form on your website, submit your resume here. Then link with the resume gets sent to whatever HR person and then they would go ahead and follow up with that person at that point.

Chris Badgett: Very cool.

Adrian Tobey: We can see all of the activity that a person has ever been through. Any of the emails that they’ve ever received, any of the events or funnels that they’ve ever been through, what they clicked, when they clicked on it, if they opened an email. If they say, “I didn’t open that email.” “Yes, you did. It shows here, the stats don’t lie.” All of this is also extended with our various add-ons that exist out in the world so that you can essentially design the ultimate CRM that you need in order to be able to do all your contact management.

Adrian Tobey: The last thing I think that’s of note before we transition out of the screen share is our dashboard, but I’m going to show you the actual company dashboard, because that’s way more impressive than the zero stats local site. Here we have our dashboard, and I can show you the last 30 days. Here’s our dashboard. We can see a whole bunch of generic reports that allow us to identify holes in our sales process, or see something’s may be a little off whack, maybe my website has some downtime because there haven’t been any new contacts in a while.

Adrian Tobey: But for example, we have a new contact report. So, you can see when we have surges in new contacts, or when we have relatively slow days, we can see our overall email activity report, so we can see what our average click through rate is, what our average open rate is, how many emails we’ve sent so we can decide, maybe I need to upgrade my email tier of whatever SMTP service that I’m using.

Adrian Tobey: We can see our overall optin status report, so we can see how many contacts we can email, how many we can’t, how many I should probably delete. We have a funnel breakdown widget. If you have a particular funnel that you just want to save to your dashboard, then you can use that, which is essentially just mirrors that are reporting that’s in the funnel builder.

Adrian Tobey: We have lots of other good stuff. We have the lead scoring add-on. You can see the relative scores of your lists. So, how many people are really, really cold? How many people are warm, how many people will probably give you money if you asked for it on a rainy day, and lots of other reports that you can choose from; social media, source page, form activity, UTM reports, geographic reports. There’s just lots of stuff that enables you in order to better decide where to focus your efforts and your money in your marketing.

Chris Badgett: That is amazing. Just speaking from experience, if you’re trying to generate these kind of reports across multiple tools, it gets infinitely harder. We’re right here in the WordPress dashboard with one reporting interface, and all the data is coming from the same place.

Adrian Tobey: The nice thing is, this is actually just the regular WP admin dashboard. If you have Ecommerce tools or anything that adds reports to this interface, then all of those can be mixed in together. You can have your executive dashboard and view all of the tools or all the statistics that you need at a glance, which is really, really, really nice.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that is awesome. I can’t stress the importance of these kind of data and reports. When you log into WordPress one morning, and you’re like, oh, look at that spike that happened last week. Then you trace it back to a new funnel you launched, or some broadcast email you sent. Instead of shooting from the hip and taking from the gut, you’re starting to make data informed decisions. Like oh, I better do more of that, or I need to focus more on that. Things start working out a lot better when you can actually see what’s working and what’s not.

Adrian Tobey: Absolutely. For example, if I’m looking at my email activity report, if last month, my average open rate was 40%, but this month, my average open rate is 20%, then obviously either I’m not sending enough email or my subject lines seriously need some work? That’s a something that … Basic reporting analytics right there.

Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Well, if you want to stop sharing your screen as we’re about to close out. There’s people who listen to this show that build sites for other people or they do the tech part of somebody’s online course business. What message do you have for those people related to-

Adrian Tobey: We’re talking about the freelancers of the world, right?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, freelancers, agency owners, people whose partner or parent or friend has convinced them to do the website part and the marketing, what message do you have for them?

Adrian Tobey: Well, setting expectations as someone who’s formerly worked in an agency is probably the most important. But before taking on any new work, there’s a strategy that I brought from the agency, working there that we always imparted on to our clients before starting any new project. That was the principle of ready, fire, aim, is what they’d like to call it.

Adrian Tobey: Essentially, it’s let’s take what we have and we’ll get something that’s essentially pretty crude and could obviously be optimized more, but get it out there as quickly as possible because if there is interest and this can be sold, then we’ll do it with that super crude unoptimized funnel and then we can make the tweaks that we need to along the way.

Adrian Tobey: If you’re a perfectionist and you decide that everything has to be perfect before you share it with the public, I promise you that you will never launch or you will take a significantly longer amount of time to actually get your product or your solution or your service out there to the world. Getting it out as quickly as possible and validating that people can use it is by far way more useful than spending hours countlessly tinkering with margins, or tweaking email contents. Just getting it out there, even if you don’t have any follow up or any marketing automation, just setting up a landing page with a contact form, seven form that sends a one off response. Getting it out there is just so important as quickly as possible.

Chris Badgett: Yeah and if you do these types of client sites where you help not just build the website but build the marketing automation and the pipeline development all that, if you focus on the little wins and validation, you have a client for life.

Adrian Tobey: Absolutely.

Chris Badgett: Then you get known for somebody who not just does the work, but does the work that works. Which is what people really want. Cool groundhogg.io, you can find Adrian over there. How else can a good people connect with you, and do you have any other final words for the course building community?

Adrian Tobey: Yeah, absolutely. They can find me on Facebook. We are @Groundhoggwp on Facebook and Twitter. There is a Facebook page someone is generally on there at least not 24/7, but 18/7 [inaudible] tons of day. They can reach out to me personally, they’ll just ask for Adrian, if you’re messaging the Facebook page. We have that same little chat icon at the bottom right hand of the website, which you can also just ask for me personally. My email address is [email protected] You can reach out to me through any of those channels.

Adrian Tobey: As far as final words, go, launch. Just with however much content that you have at the moment, if you have one video, if you have three videos, just get it out there and start sharing the knowledge that you have to share with the world because the world would be a better place for it.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, that’s Groundhogg with two G’s, folks. Adrian, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Adrian Tobey: Thank you, Chris. That’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling and protecting engaging online courses to help you get more revenue, freedom and impact in your life. Head on over to Lifterlms.com and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging results getting courses on the internet.

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