There’s a lot of hype around automated content… because it’s an incredible time-saver, especially before you have a support team.

But the current global pandemic brings light to the reality that – you can’t automate EVERYTHING, all the time!

Think about the pre-scheduled social media posts you’ve seen lately… the ones talking about vacations and how to advertise live events. 

Those no longer make sense, right? And the fact that they were pre-scheduled is glaringly obvious now. 

Especially when something major happens (like COVID-19), you have to actually show up for your audience. 

Now’s the time to actually connect with people – and you can’t rely on pre-scheduled posts that ignore our current reality.

(You know this! But we could all use a quick reminder, I think.) 

In this episode, I’m breaking down the ways my company incorporates BOTH pre-scheduled content and personal, customized content (in marketing + delivery of our product).

I’ll share some personal examples + leave you with two questions to consider!

Listen in, and then share your thoughts over one Instagram (@emilyhirsh).

If you want support with your marketing right now, we’re offering free strategy calls to help you shift your marketing through this global pandemic. (And now’s the time to take your paid marketing seriously – because we’re seeing some of the lowest ad costs in 5+ years!)

Key Points:
[4:19] There’s a lot of hype around “automation,” right?
[6:56] But when something major happens, you have to actually show up…
[9:12] Consider how Racehl Hollis shows up on Instagram
[10:45] Here’s how we BOTH automate our onboarding + provide customized, personal emails to new clients
[13:05] Here’s the problem with automated tracking (of ads, specifically)
[16:25] Right now, consider these 2 ways automation might not work…

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Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. How are you all doing? How is your week? Are you all surviving and doing well with COVID and this different world? I recently, so I had a week where I was doing okay, and it was so busy, and we jumped in and we did all these things… the podcast series and the weekly Hirsh Marketing Report we’re putting out… and then it kind of hit me on the weekend, and I was like, “This is not going to be over for a little while.” And what I had to do was just accept that this, there’s a new normal, and that has helped me a lot, of shifting my perspective from, “Okay, I can’t wait until this is ‘over.’ Do you think it’ll be better next week or in a month, or whatever?”

There’s such an unknown about when this is going to be “over”, but also, I think that our normal is going to be different forever after this. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I think that there will be a lot of positives that come out of it, in terms of companies and schools going online and realizing the power of the online world. It’s really cool. I’ve seen, my son’s in preschool, and they’ve shifted everything to send you some things to do at home, and doing Zoom story time, and just solutions that never had to be found before. And so I think that it’s going to change what we, as a society, perceive as normal, forever. And I kind of had to accept, “Okay for now, having no house help and a newborn and my kids home all day and then having to run my company, I have to adjust,” because I was so used to my routine and my schedule with the house help that I had…

My kids had nannies, my son was in preschool. And I say that… I feel very, I’m very privileged to have that help, but also that’s how I run my life, and that’s how I’m able to show up at work and take care of myself. And I have a newborn, and then added all this on top of it. And it just felt like so much, it was just, I was just waiting for it to change, and I had to kind of accept, “Okay, it’s not going to change for a while at least. This is the new normal. So what are we going to do to adapt?” And I made a whole schedule for my family and got some preschool activities and a bunch of sensory play activities for my kids, so that I could keep them busy, and my husband had stuff to do with them so that I could work. And it felt a lot better after I got to that place.

So if you’re struggling right now with this, I would just really encourage you to, to do that, to realize this is the new normal, and to shift that perspective. So today’s episode we’re going to dive into why you can’t automate everything. So what am I talking about? There’s a lot of hype out there, there always has been, about automation. There’s people who specialize in it, and everything that you can automate, to save time and be efficient. And I’m talking about in your marketing, automating triggers and emails that are sent, and touching base with people, and having everything so that it’s all automated, prescheduled, pre-done feels really good. Then it’s also in delivery a lot of times. So someone buys something from you or signs up as a client, as much as you can automate as possible the better, is kind of the overall gist of things.

But I think it’s important to look at why you can’t automate everything. And this came to me during this kind of crisis, because here is what did not feel good… when a company had an automated post or an automated email or an automated, I don’t know, really. It’s mostly what I saw is social media posts and emails, I guess ads, but they’re not really automated, they’re still running. Anything that looked like business as usual, it just didn’t fit in the feed, because below and above it, you’ve got all these posts about what’s happening in the world, and what people are dealing with, and it just like, even if it’s just a little tweak, it just felt weird. Especially emails, too. One example is, I know someone who was going… and I’m not at all saying this, shaming any entrepreneurs. I think this is just a good reminder.

Everybody, again, is navigating a new normal. So if you did this… I probably could’ve improved on this, too, and that’s why I had this thought. So one entrepreneur had an event, and the event got canceled the day before, and so people had flown there and gone there and then the event got canceled, and they had to fly back, and a lot of people were really mad about it. I was not personally going to the event, but I know people who were. And then what had happened was, the day before that, an automated email went out to all those attendees saying, basically just an automated event email details about the event, not even mentioning COVID or anything that’s going on, which made the attendees feel uneasy, because it was, “Well are we even going to acknowledge that this is a danger, and we’re still having the event or not?”

And so that email was probably scheduled weeks in advance, and when that happened I was like, “Oh I better go check on my event emails, because we have automated ones, and I need to change those.” But this is a reminder that when something major happens like this… well there’s two ways I’m going to go with this. One, when something major happens, you have to be able to kind of take away the automation and create some custom connection and acknowledgement of what’s going on, and really just connect with your audience in that way and acknowledge what’s happening, so that you don’t look like business as usual and you’re just kind of ignoring the elephant in the room, and going about your day and your business normally. Because it will feel off, energetically to people it’ll feel like a disconnect from you as an entrepreneur or an influencer.

So that means taking a look at your regular weekly emails that you send out. It doesn’t mean obsess over it. I don’t mean, write emails only about COVID, because I do think that people want a break from it, too. But your content can’t not make sense. For example, if right now, you know during COVID people can’t have live events. If you’re running ads and you’re sending out emails about how to fill your live event, that would be really strange. Or, if you are talking about how you can’t wait for this vacation, because it was an automated thing that you had set up, but then obviously you had to cancel your vacation. People will be like, “This is so weird,” and they would question the level of connection and time and value you put in your content, even if you still put a ton of that in, it will just create this kind of disconnect feeling if you’re not paying attention to those things.

So when something big happens, you have to at least acknowledge it and make sure your content still makes sense given what’s happening in the world right now. So that means your automated social media posts, your emails, your ads, any way that you’re communicating with your audience or your customers, you need to look at and make sure it’s still relevant. This is really important, because we are running a business where we want to preschedule, and we want to be ahead, and we want to automate everything, because a lot of times we don’t have huge teams doing it, and plus we don’t want to be inefficient, but we have to be able to pivot, to still stay relevant and still connect with our audience and not create an issue there. Now I’m not just talking about this when there’s a crisis, I’m also talking about, you can’t automate everything ongoing.

And here’s what I mean by that. This is especially true in delivery, but also it is true in marketing. So think about people’s social media feeds, and you can usually tell the people who are really pre-scheduling all their social media feeds without thinking about what’s relevant in their life, and the ones who are. So I’ll give you an example. Rachel Hollis, I feel like does an amazing job. I know for a fact that she has things prescheduled and she’s got a whole content team and they automate things. But she does an amazing job at incorporating in things that are happening in her everyday life, what she’s struggling with with her current situation into that automation. And so it flows really smoothly, and their process will work, okay. Whereas somebody who pre-scheduled out a month of social media, and they’re very, you can just feel it when you read them.

They’re, they’re prescheduled, they’re not relevant to what that person is doing. So let’s say you watch their stories, and it’s totally different from their posts, because it was prescheduled. So you have to find that medium and that balance where you are automating things and you’re scheduling things, but you’re not doing so to the point where you’re just disconnecting and becoming a robot to your audience. Now this is also true with your customers, and let’s say you onboard somebody or they buy a product, it goes a long way to sometimes have personal, customized check-ins or personal things. So I’ll give you an example of, in our company. We have a whole automated onboarding sequence. So a whole email series, it takes them through the steps of onboarding. There’s a lot we need, we need login access, we need Facebook ad access, we need an intake form filled out.

Our onboarding is dense. We’re constantly improving it. Any onboarding of a client is going to be very dense, because there’s so much information transfer that has to happen, and everyone almost could improve their onboarding. Literally, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve redone ours, we’re constantly improving it. Even right now we’re working on improving a piece of it, because it’s, it constantly needs that revision. But I can’t automate every part of it. It would feel very strange to somebody if I automated every part. There has to be human touch still. So in a client strategy call, they go through a customized strategy, right? So we’re taking their business, their historical data, their products, their offers, and we’re creating a custom strategy. So beforehand I can’t really create a checklist or a templated funnel map that we’re going to give this client, that we know, “Okay after the strategy call we deliver this and this checklist,” I can’t do it, because the strategy call has to happen first.

So our strategist has to go in and create a custom checklist for them based on what we need. So some people it’s, “We need you to record some videos for ads or we need you to make these tweaks to your funnel or build this funnel or add this email sequence.” It’s different for every person. And so there we need a specialized touch. We cannot automate that piece. It has to be a unique, every case is different and special, and not templated, not a cookie cutter, not templated. So in our onboarding we have parts that are automated, and then we have parts that are my team going in and doing something specific for that client, based on what they need. And that is so important. And I think it’s one of the things that makes us different as an agency is, people often will have cookie cutter strategies, so their client will come in and it’ll be like, “Well, all we do is webinars strategies,” or, “All we do is high ticket application and so here’s your strategy.

We don’t differ from it, we don’t change it,” and that’s such a disservice, because every business is different, every audience that someone’s trying to target is different, and every offer is different, price, different pain points. All of that has to be taken into consideration. So you have to be able to customize that. The other place that I think this is so, so important, and some people are going to disagree with me here, especially some ads people, because I know a lot of people do this, but here’s been my philosophy since day one.

So we have daily and weekly tracking for our team, and they fill it out for clients, and clients have access to a daily report of what’s happening in their account. We fill in all the major metrics, cost per click, cost per lead, cost per landing page conversion. Well, some of those are calculated, but the ads manager is pulling in the cost per click, cost per lead, the ad spend, purchases, leads, and then some things are calculated based on that. Every single day, into a spreadsheet, and on Monday, they go back and do it for Saturday and Sunday. So every day that’s filled in, and that populates weekly reports in this really cool spreadsheet that we’ve literally spent years revising, and so many people have said to me, even my data person, “Emily, we could get a software that automatically pulls all of these numbers for you. And so the ads managers don’t have to do anything.”

Sounds great in theory, right? It would save, I think my ads managers probably spent an hour to an hour and a half a day filling out daily tracking. Here’s the problem with that. If I automate that, and have all those numbers populated for them, the brain is automatically not going to register on the same level that something is off or not converting or not hitting our metrics, as it will if they have to go pull it and fill it in. And so I believe very strongly that if I was to automate that… and then second of all, most of those reports, you can’t customize. So it’s if you get AdEspresso or whatever, you can’t customize them. And so they, it’s like, “This is the report, this is how we pull our data.” And so you just have to kind of deal with it and work with their reporting.

But I want ours customized. I have a specific way that I want it, so that you can see the entire flow of the funnel. You can compare the metrics to the goal. You can see if you’re on track or not. I’ve literally spent a year, over a year, going back and forth, working with my spreadsheet girl, working with Alex Charfen’s helped me, so much input on these spreadsheets, and it’s very customized. But if I just somehow connected Facebook and was like, “Here, fill this all in automatically for me,” there wouldn’t be that register for my ads managers of, “Oh this cost per click is too high or this cost per lead is,” there might be, but it wouldn’t be the same level, because your brain automatically is just going to scan it, and be “Okay, the numbers are filled in,” and maybe look at it less frequently and look at it on the weekly report or something.

And so I think there’s a lot of value in having my team do that one piece manually, that I could automate and I could save time, right? And maybe then they could take an extra client, and it would save my company money, but I think our clients would get less results, because it wouldn’t, they wouldn’t be registering daily if something is off. And so that’s an example that I’ve never automated despite many people requesting it. I mean our ads managers sometimes request that, especially when they first come on, because if they’ve worked at a previous agency that does that… and you might think, it sounds silly hearing me say that they manually fill out spreadsheets, but I truly believe that by automating that piece I would lose people’s awareness to what’s happening in these ad accounts. And so what I’m saying with this episode is to look at your, look at two things.

One, your social media, your emails, any marketing to your audience, and make sure, yes you can automate it… but make sure it still has that connection. It still connects to what’s happening in your everyday life, and you’re able to deliver that message of lessons or content or relevant information to the times, to your audience, and not make it feel robotic. Same with automatic nurturing sequences. Of course, I have a ton of automatic nurturing sequences. You sign up for the funnel, and you’re going to get a series of emails, okay. But those nurturing sequences are looked at frequently to make sure they’re still relevant. To make sure that they don’t feel robotic, to make sure they still connect with my audience.

And same with my social media. We don’t plan social media a quarter in advance for a reason. Because we have to be able to have what’s relevant and actually going on in my world, in our social media, because I’m an influencer and people look to me for what’s happening in my life and lessons. And so it would have been weird if we had very scheduled pre-written posts going out when I just had a baby and we were not acknowledging that I just had a baby, for example. That would have been very weird and off. And we also have to have room for there’re times where I’m like, “We got to get a social media posts up this week for this topic.”

Coronavirus is an example. We shifted all of our content on social media to speak to what’s happening and not be the pre-templated content, because it would have felt weird. So your social media, it matters what you post. Your ads, obviously you let ads run longer, but it’s important that, if a crisis happens… If something happens, you’re at least acknowledging and shifting messaging where needed… it doesn’t mean redo everything and turn everything off. I’m not saying that, but stay relevant. Don’t be robotic, because it will tank your results. And then for your customers, if you have a team, where are points where you need to have human contact, and it needs to be personalized and customized, and then where are points where you can automate it, and go through the process. If it’s onboarding or delivering a product, go through that process, and make sure it doesn’t feel robotic, that it feels customized.

You can put scheduled emails that encourage people to respond to them in your series, and it feels like a connection and not automated, but it still is automated. So you can still automate it, but you have to also make sure there’s that connection. So we have an email that actually asks people, do you need help with your marketing still? And if somebody responds to that, then we have a custom response, somebody is monitoring that email and is sending them a relevant response, based on their response. I can’t automate that, because every response is going to be different. And so that’s a piece in my nurturing series, in a lot of mine where I asked that question, it’s an open ended question, and we get tons of different responses, and somebody on my team responds a personalized custom response to every single email that we get back about that. Same thing, we have if they didn’t buy Ignite, they go through my automated sequence, we ask them why they didn’t buy.

We’re going to get all sorts of different answers, and we’re going to respond a custom answer to that. So I can’t automate that piece. So make sure that you are automating what you can, but what you automate has connection in it still. And then you still leave room for some things that are not automated. You don’t want your business experience or you’re marketing to your audience to feel robotic, to feel disconnected from who you really are. For me, I want, if somebody meets me in person, I want them to feel like they know me, because my content was me. It’s how I show up every day in my life. It’s how I show up for my audience, for my family, for my team. I am the same person for all of those things, and I want my content to feel that way, so that people really know me and connect with me. And that should be your goal with your marketing, with your delivery, with any way that you’re connecting with your audience or your customers.

All right guys, thanks so much for tuning in. If you want support with your marketing right now, we are offering free strategy calls that we’ve pivoted… our normal strategy calls just normally look at, here’s your business, here’s what you need, here’s where you’re at. We’re specifically looking at what you need to do right now in your company to adapt to this new normal, to shift your marketing. And here’s the cool part. We’re seeing the lowest ad costs in over four years. I’ve never seen ads of this cheap, because of how many people are on social media. So if you’ve considered really taking your paid marketing seriously, now is the time, because we’ve got webinar registrations half the cost, some even less, than they were before. It’s really exciting to see that, and good for us in this industry. So you can go to helpmystrategy.com and apply for that free strategy call with our team, and I will see you all in the next episode.