// PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Active Campaign with Ernie Santeralli Transcript

Greg Wilkes (00:01):

The construction industry can be a tough business to crack from cashflow problems, struggling to find skilled labor and not making enough money for your efforts leaves many business owners feeling frustrated and burnt out. But when you get the business strategy right, it’s an industry that can be highly satisfying and financially rewarding. I’m here to give you the resources to be able to create a construction business that gives you more time, more freedom, and more money. This is the Develop Your Construction Business podcast, and I’m your host, Greg Wilkes.


Greg Wilkes (00:36):

Really excited to welcome everyone back to the podcast. And if you’re watching this on YouTube as well, we’re going to pop it on there. So I’ve got a host, well virtually traveled all the way from Chicago today, which is a nice experience for us all. We’ve got Ernie Santeralli on the line with us, so great to have you here, Ernie.


Ernie Santeralli (00:55):

Thank you very much for having me. It’s good to be here.


Greg Wilkes (00:57):

Yes, great. So Ernie hosts the Growth Decoded Show and he helps ActiveCampaign with explaining exactly what ActiveCampaign is as a product and how you can get the best use of your marketing. So, lots of experience from Ernie and we’re looking forward to how we can help your business grow by potentially using a software like ActiveCampaign. So if anyone doesn’t know quite what Active Campaign is, I can do a bit of introduction, but I think probably Ernie, you might have a better introduction, a nice succinct one. How would you explain ActiveCampaign in a few sentences?


Ernie Santeralli (01:30):

Sure. So ActiveCampaign is what we call a customer experience automation software platform. And basically what that means is that we would be the tool that you would use to manage your customer relationships from the very first time that they experience your business online all the way through the entire customer lifecycle. So I’ve heard it described, and I kind of like this analogy, is sort of like the belly of an octopus where you’ve got all of your different tentacles out, whether that’s your website, your social media, your email, your text messaging, whatever the channels might be that you’re using, and all that information is kind of coming back into active campaign and you get to take that and decide how else you want to use that, whether that’s segmenting your customers by what they’re interested in, the conversations you’ve had with them, if they know who you are, if they’re a customer, and then kind of figuring out exactly what messaging you want to put back out and which channel you want to put that back out into.


Greg Wilkes (02:23):

Fantastic. Alright, well that sounds really good. So for some of my listeners out there as construction companies, you might have a little bit of a mind blow on some of this and think, right, well how am I going to input this in my business? But what we’re going to try and do today is break it down, make it nice and straightforward and simple so we can understand why it’s something you seriously need to be considering to use as a marketing tool and as a sales tool. Really it’s an absolute essential as you want to scale. So first of all, Ernie, maybe you could let us know why would someone even consider using a CRM system? And when we say CRM, just for our listeners, we’re talking about a customer or a client relationship management system. So why would a company be wanting to use that, first of all?


Ernie Santeralli (03:07):

I think the first, and maybe the most obvious is, or maybe not the most obvious, but one of the biggest problems that happens soonest once you start your business starts picking up steam, you start managing all these different relationships, whether they’re different leads or customers and all that stuff. Maybe you’re writing it down on a piece of paper, maybe you’re keeping it in a Google Doc, maybe you’re keeping it in a bunch of different places and you’re trying to figure out, have I talked to this person before? What have we talked about? How many times have we talked, have I sent them emails? All the details that you might have with a various person, you want to have all that in one place that’s easily searchable, it’s easily organized. And so that’s really what a CRM is going to do for you right away.


(03:48)
It’s going to get all of your relationships into one place. You’ll easily be able to put notes in there. I’ve heard it described as getting an extra employee without having an extra person on the payroll because it’s basically a tool that’s going to help you organize all of the different conversations, relationships, whatever the case may be there into one single place. And so I think that’s one of the biggest benefits, especially for businesses that are sort of getting to that point where it’s like, okay, the way I’ve been doing this, I probably should have some tools to help me out here. I know that they exist, but where are they? What are they? How can I use them? And so the second thing I think that a CRM is really going to do for you is not only have all that information in one place, but then tell you what to do with it.


(04:32)
And so what you’re able to do with a CRM, like ActiveCampaign or any number of other CRMs that are out there on the market, there are hundreds if not thousands of them. But what ActiveCampaign is great for is the visualization aspect of it. And so what we have set up is we have stages that you get to pre-populate with however your process works. And so whether that’s first call, the first information, whether the job has started, what phase of the job that you’re in, what kind of job that it’s in, you get to write down exactly how it works for your business. So it’s super customizable in terms of you get in there and you feel like it’s a tool that is literally made for you because you’re actually the one who’s kind of making it for yourself. And then you’re able to just drag and drop those different deals, those different contacts, the different touchpoints as things are happening.


(05:18)
So when you look at it exactly, oh, this person is in this stage, I’ve had these conversations with this person, this job is going according to plan, I need to follow up with this person. It is sort of that visual aspect and also that data hub. And then I mean you can combine automation with all of that kind of stuff. And I mean we might get into that in a little bit, but it can go as far as you want to take it. And I think that those two pieces, the organization and the visualization, just keeping everything centralized and having it reflect the processes that you have are two of the biggest benefits you’re going to see right off the bat.


Greg Wilkes (05:55):

Fantastic. Yes, so I really like that. So just diving in a little bit, first of all, for the organization, so probably at the moment a lot of my listeners out there, they might be doing exactly as you said, so they might be putting it down in the diary. It might be if they’re a little bit better on a spreadsheet. But then there’s other things like you might be texting a client, so there might be SMS messaging going on, there might be emails going on. What sort of things would the CRM be able to track? Can it track texts? Would it track any messaging or is it purely for email? What sort of communication entry ways will it be able to tackle?


Ernie Santeralli (06:33):

It can cover everything. So again, it sort of depends on how far you want to take that and what channels that you’re using. Right. So what’s great about ActiveCampaign CRM is that it’s tied to the email marketing and the email automation side of the tool. So whenever you send an email through your email address, whether it’s your work email address, your personal email address, excuse me, whatever you’re using, if you have that plugged into ActiveCampaign, super easy to plug it in. But every time you send an email, it’s going to show up automatically in that contact profile.


(07:03)
Same with text messaging. So we do have the ability for you to send SMS through the platform, but you can also enter stuff in manually. So right, if you’re having a phone call and it’s just a phone call like you’ve got with your smartphone, you just give them a call, you can write down the notes of that store that in the contact profile log that call. Then the same thing goes for your website. If you have a website, you can tie in site tracking, it sounds scary, super easy to do, just a little bit of code, you throw that in the footer and then you can see where people are going on your website and that’ll show up in the CRM if you have social media channels, you can see if they’re interacting with you on social media, whether they’ve liked the page or not, where they’re coming from. Yes, so I mean any of the different channels that you have as far as if you want to see that, it’s as simple as just plugging that in and integrating that with ActiveCampaign and then boom, it’s right there in front of you.


Greg Wilkes (07:56):

That’s absolutely fantastic, isn’t it? So obviously one of the concerns with, I know I’ve used different CRM systems in the past and years ago it was always a challenge because you felt like you had to input everything manually, whereas it’s great if your emails were automatically going there and other methods. That’s absolutely brilliant. So that’s a real plus. You also mentioned the visualization, which was a good one. It’s a nice and easy to visualize your process. I guess all of us have a specific way of working and the way we like to work. And one of the frustrations I had with CRMs in the past was that you are very confined to exactly how they want it listed out or how they work. So that sounds really good too. So with what you’re saying with the visualization is you can move your workflows around, can you just suit how you work?


Ernie Santeralli (08:43):

Yes, absolutely. So the way that we have it set up, there’s a couple of different views that you can use within ActiveCampaign depending on your preferences. Maybe you’re a list person, that’s fine, we’ve got you covered there and maybe you are that with the different columns, what we call stages in a given pipeline. So as I said, you can click that and just drag it to the next stage if that is where that contact should be. You could skip stages, you can move them back depending on your process, depending on what’s happening in real time with that deal. It’s super easy, it’s very interactive and I mean the interface is so clean to your point. I mean I’ve used CRMs in the past too, where it’s just like pulling teeth. You’re trying to figure out where this information lives if the information is even in there.


(09:26)
But with ActiveCampaign, it’s set up in a beautiful way that it’s just very simple and the things that you’re looking for are where you would be looking for them. We’ll say that. And one thing too that I think is great about CRMs in general, but specifically the ActiveCampaign CRM is the ability and the ease of which it helps you save time. And so we’re talking about the visualization and organization of moving these deals through these different pipelines, but what’s great about it is that it’s so simple to set up tasks to remind yourself to follow up with the person. So that’s where the automation piece comes in. And it sounds scary. Automation might be a word that some people hear and it’s like, oh geez, that’s way over my head. It doesn’t have to be, it’s super simple. It’s as simple as saying when a deal moves from this stage to this stage, set a task for myself to call them in a day. And then you don’t have to remind yourself and you don’t have to let that deal fall through the cracks because you’ve got 14 other people to call that day. The system will literally say, “Hey, call this person today.” And then you do.


Greg Wilkes (10:29):

That’s brilliant. And that’s absolutely crucial. I mean, the amount of times I’ve run businesses and been involved in sales all my life and the amount of times you forget, you get an absolutely hot prospect and you’re just so busy with life and whatever else you think, I can’t believe I promised, I’ll call them back or I didn’t follow that one up. So that’s absolutely crucial, isn’t it? The amount of deals that slip through your fingers because you’ve just forgotten to set yourself a task. So that…


Ernie Santeralli (10:52):

Sure. And not only that too, this isn’t something that’s only going to exist on your desktop, which is great. You might hear it, software, it’s got to be on my computer. That’s not the case really anymore. An ActiveCampaign, we have a mobile app, so I mean a lot of your audience I’m sure is on the go all the time. They’re on job sites, they’re moving, they’re buying materials, they’re talking with different people to source materials for jobs, whatever. If they’re texting you, ActiveCampaign has a mobile app and you’ve got that CRM with you wherever you go. So it’s not something that’s like, oh yeah, I got to go back home and log onto the computer and figure this thing out and update the CRM. No, it’s right there with you the whole time. So I mean as far as mobility goes, the visualization, I’m sure it’s going to look different on a computer and a screen. That’s not to say it looks worse, it’s just like it’s going to be different because the display is different, but you’ll have the ability to take your CRM with you and your system with you wherever you are.


Greg Wilkes (11:43):

Brilliant. Yes, that’s really key, isn’t it, Ernie? So thanks for that. So one of the, I guess what would the word be something that might hold people back from getting a CRM system or getting involved in the email marketing side is some people say that email marketing’s dead nowadays and that it just doesn’t work anymore. What’s your thoughts on that?


Ernie Santeralli (12:06):

I mean, it’s 9:16 in the morning where I’m at, and I’ve checked my email probably five different times already. So I actually purchased something already this morning from my email. So as far as I’m concerned, email marketing is very much alive and well.


(12:21)
I think email is an older communication model, and maybe that’s something that people look at and say, oh, it’s been around for however many years, the rate of change, no, it’s good. It’s sticking around. We still make phone calls. The phone has been around since 1900 or whatever. So I don’t think that email is at all dead in any case. I think the way that you might be approaching email is probably outdated. I think if you’re doing it the way you were doing it 10 or maybe even five years ago, you’re probably annoying your contacts because the way that we buy, the way that we use email has changed, but everybody still uses email. So it’s not necessarily like, oh, it’s dead. Just the way that you’re using it is dead. You need to be more personalized. You need to think about the expectations of the medium is kind of a way that I like to think about this.


(13:10)
So if it’s my grandma’s birthday, I’m not going to send her an Instagram message. My grandma is on Instagram, by the way, which is kind of cool, but I’m not going to send her an Instagram message. I’m going to give her a call because that’s what she expects, especially that’s what she expects from me on her birthday. So, what do your customers expect from you via email? Do they expect a casual message? Do they expect a more formal message? What is the situation that you’re currently in? So you have to take all these things into account because people don’t have time for mismatched or mismanaged expectations. So if you’re going to send a message that has nothing to do with that person or it has nothing to do with where they’re at in the customer life cycle, whether they just heard about you and they don’t know you from anyone else and you’re sort of talking to them as if you’ve known them for years or vice versa, if they have known you for years and you’re talking to them like you just met them, they’re going to dismiss that.


(14:05)
And so email marketing is really, you just have to change your approach to it. You have to really think about the different scenarios and situations in which the customer is actually in and how can you play into that situation and talk to them like a person, I’m talking to you right now. You don’t go up to, if I’ve heard someone say, if you go up to everyone at a party, and it doesn’t matter if you know them, you’ve been friends with them or you’re just meeting them for the first time, if you walk in and you give them the same greeting and you say the same thing to them one by one by one, by one by one, everyone in there is going to be like, this guy’s weird. What is going on with this? The same thing with email marketing. You have to talk to people, people buy from humans. And so email marketing, I mean it’s the same thing. You just have to apply it to that mode of communication.


Greg Wilkes (14:53):

Yes, that’s fantastic. And I know from my coaching, I’m heavily involved in email marketing, I know it does work. I just wanted to get your opinion on it on why construction companies should be using it. So that’s fantastic. So just to delve into it a little bit more, the email marketing side, which I know ActiveCampaign is probably one of its strongest features, isn’t it? The email marketing. So just run us through a bit of an overview on how does the email marketing work? Are there automations you can set up, that sort of thing. What sort of campaign would someone potentially be setting up as a construction company?


Ernie Santeralli (15:27):

So the email side of ActiveCampaign is very similar to the CRM side in the sense that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. And you can start simple and just kind of let it grow with you, let it grow with your comfortability of using the tool, let it grow with the way that your business is growing and scale that way. And then you can kind of build out the different communications or situations in which you might want to send an email to somebody. So when we’re thinking about email, there’s two different or two ways that ActiveCampaign really sends emails to multiple people at once. The first would be a campaign, and that’s what we refer to as any one-off email send. So that could be, you might be saying Happy New Year at the beginning, we’re kind of coming up on the end of the year.


(16:11)
You might want to say, keep yourself top of mind during the holiday season. Hey, happy new year, we hope you’re all doing well. If there’s anything that you’re looking to do in the new year, you know where to find us. Then there’s the automation piece. And the automation piece is sort of something happens that triggers an email. So somebody, you have a phone call with somebody, you log that in the CRM, you fire a thanks for talking to me on the phone. If you have any questions, you can get me here. And so that’s just going to run, and that might only send to one person at a time, that might send to six people in a day depending on what you are doing, what your actions are doing. And so the automation piece again, can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, right? It can be as simple as somebody visits my website or somebody has a phone call with me. I log that, send an email, or it can be somebody has looked at my website two times on this specific page and is also doing something over here and is also doing something over here. And then you can send a message to that specific situation and scenario to that person.


(17:13)
And they get it and it’s like, oh my God, did this, did they write this? And I mean, you did write it at one point, but the way that you set up the automations, that’s really where what we were talking about with the email marketing being more personalized and trying to figure out what is the situation that makes sense to send an email. That’s where automation is really going to take over for you because it’s like what are the repeatable steps or the situations in which you have a lot of people that go through these different things. Everybody has to go through this certain process. What are the communications, what are the things that they would need to know at that point in time? If you build that into an automation, you don’t have to send that email anymore. It just gets sent. So that’s, I mean there’s tons, there’s limitless variations within the automation piece as you can probably imagine, but that’s really where the email marketing piece is going to kind of come into ActiveCampaign.


Greg Wilkes (18:06):

That’s fantastic. Yes, so I am always on the lookout for good automation emails in my inbox just for examples. And I received one the other day. So I purchased some chickens and I bought a chicken coop and it was fantastic. So I purchased the chicken coop. Now nothing frustrates you more than when you make a purchase. And then there’s just silence from the other end radio silence, think has the payment gone through, when’s my chicken coop coming? Is it being built? What’s going on? But what was great about this company, as soon as the purchase was made, there was obviously an automated email that come out, but it sounded very personalized and it was, Greg, thanks for purchasing the chicken coop. Here’s what we’re doing. And they told me about exactly how they were building the chicken coop, how long it was going to take to come.


(18:49)
And then what they did then was they said, over the next three or four days, we are going to send you some guidelines on how to look after chickens. So day one, it was right, this is what food you want to buy for your chickens. Day two was here’s how to clean out your chicken coop. Day three was something else. And it was absolutely fantastic because the automation not only made me, it was actually a bit of an upsell because they were trying to sell me some other stuff. It didn’t feel like that. It was just a really helpful email keeping me advised on exactly when my chicken coop was coming. And so I looked at that and I thought, well, actually, as a construction company, that’s fantastic. There’s big frustrations in the construction industry when a builder will go out to price some work, he’ll meet the client, he’ll measure up, measure everything up, go away, and then there’s radio silence. The customer doesn’t know if he’s preparing the quote, is he ever going to send it? Whereas the email automation could be put in that scenario, couldn’t it, to just keep the customer just those touch points to the customer to let them know your email is being done, but it’s all automated. The builder doesn’t have to do anything.


Ernie Santeralli (19:52):

Absolutely. And that’s like to your point, I mean one that automation with the chicken coop and the questions that you might have. So that’s really one of the biggest pieces is that as businesses, people buy solutions to problems that they have. So you had a problem, you didn’t have any chickens and you didn’t have any chicken coop and you wanted one, so then you bought it, and then it was sort of like, okay, well what are the next questions or the next things that Greg might need to know being a new chicken and chicken coop owner? Well, here you go. So to your point, it’s like what are the things that the potential client might want to know as soon as the person leaves to price out the work? Okay, hey, we’re working on this. You can expect your quote in three to five days if you don’t get it from them, something like that. Or here are some questions about whatever the problems or the questions that they might have.


Ernie Santeralli (20:45):

If you get in front of that, then one, not only are they going to say, oh, this is pretty helpful. I don’t mind getting emails from this person, but they’re also going to start looking to you as an authority because you are ahead of the curve, you’re ahead of where they’re at, and you’re already handling the objections or the questions or the problems that they might have that would logically follow wherever they’re at in the process. So yes, that’s absolutely it.


Greg Wilkes (21:08):

Yes, fantastic. So that’s a real key point to the listeners. Just note that down. So if you are thinking of problems and you’ve got solutions for them, that’s a great email strategy to put through to your potential clients, and I guess it establishes you as your authority, doesn’t it, as you’re trying to build up that trust before someone makes a purchase. So that’s a really good point there, Ernie. Thanks for that. So thinking about essential campaigns that a construction company might put into place. So I guess you’ve touched on some of these, but just to make them crystal clear for our listeners, I guess when someone makes initial contact and they speak to you on the phone, you could potentially put an automation campaign, it’s great to talk to you, would you like to book in a consultation, a home visit or something like that? You could have something like that. Are there any other essentials that you think potentially could go in there for a construction company specifically?


Ernie Santeralli (21:58):

Absolutely. I think one of the biggest ones is going to be the follow-up when a job is done. And that may be when the job is done, but also, I mean, any other point in time where a follow-up would make sense because people want to your point with the chicken coop, again, sometimes you just get radio silence and you just want to know that whatever conversation you just had, whatever action you just took has been received. And whether it’s like, okay, there needs to be an action that comes from the company, or I just want to know that they’re considering the thing that just happened. That’s really the follow-up is so key. And I think specifically at the end of a job or at the end of a purchase or at the end of whatever that buying cycle might be a simple follow up. Hey, thank you for your business, thank you for working with us.


(22:51)
And then if you can ask for a referral, maybe not outright, but find some way to sort of weave that in if you want to leave a review because reviews are so incredibly important in the way that we buy today. I mean, if you go on Amazon or if you go on, I don’t know, I was buying something from a kind of boutique e-commerce store the other day online, and I was like, all right, I’ve never heard of this store before. Is it even real? So then I googled reviews and I read reviews because it’s like you want to know that what the person you’re about to give your money to is going to reciprocate and give you something that’s quality. I mean, granted, that’s an online store, it’s not a construction company, but I would imagine that the process is the same. I would imagine that a lot of people, people that are listening to this are getting a significant percentage of their business from word of mouth or from referrals.


(23:37)
So what can you do using email to boost the number of referrals and reviews and word of mouth that you get? So I think providing that customer experience that we’ve talked about, just like with the follow-up, getting ahead of questions, that’s going to give them a positive experience. You always want to tell people about your positive experiences. We’re humans, that’s just what we do. But then if you do finish that job and you just say, Hey, would you mind taking five seconds to leave a review? Or would you mind taking five seconds to tell us how it is? How do you like it? And to that point, follow up three months, six months, a year after, and just ask them the work that we did. How is it holding up? Do you like it? Do you have anything to say about it? Anything like that, you can use that as your marketing material.


(24:25)
I was listening to one of our partners at ActiveCampaign, he’s an author, he just wrote a new book and one of the lines he gave in this webinar that I was at yesterday was “The Ultimate Marketing Engine is a happy and successful customer.” So if you’re looking to get new business, if you’re looking to expand your leads to expand your word of mouth, you have to make your customers happy. They’re going to be better and more effective at marketing and sales for your company than you could ever be because people trust them more than they trust you. People trust reviews and recommendations, something like 96% from Complete Strangers online. So if you can do anything to get those higher, to get more of those and to use them, that’s really going to set you apart and get you off to the races. So I think that as far as email campaigns go, the follow-up is absolutely critical.


Greg Wilkes (25:13):

Yeah, that’s really key. So thanks for highlighting that, Ernie. And I think that’s the thing. I mean, I know a lot of our listeners here, they’re probably delivering some fantastic projects for people, but sometimes they just appear invisible online. People just don’t know how good they are. So those reviews are absolutely key, and it’s nice and easy to drop a link in a link to your review page or Google Page or whatever it is on an email, and someone can just click on that and leave a review for you. So I’m glad you’ve highlighted that. That’s key. What about thinking about other campaigns for the business owner rather than the customer? Obviously one of the big frustrations is when you’re pricing up a lot of work and then you don’t hear back from the client, they give you a bit of radio silence and you think, what’s going on? Have I won this project or not? Sometimes that can go on for weeks or months even. Could campaigns be put into use then, or automation be put into use if you’re not hearing back from people? And if yes, why would that be a benefit?


Ernie Santeralli (26:10):

I think certainly, so we talked about automations being used for sending emails, but also automations being used to remind you of different touchpoints that you should reach out or different actions that you should take within the CRM. So I think that automation could certainly be used that it’s like, I don’t know, three, five days. Five days or a week goes by and you don’t hear it back. Maybe it’s time to give them a phone call if you want to be more personal, or you could create an automation that is once I send out the pricing, the quote, wait for five days, and if I don’t receive a response from them in five days, then you could send another email that’s just following up, Hey, how’s everything looking? And that way you don’t have to sift through every single person that you’ve priced out that try to remember the specifics of the situation, what’s going on here?


(27:00)
It’s kind of done for you. It’s sort of again, that extra employee that’s basically just following you around, reminding you of all the details that you need to know and when you need to know them. So I think that, yeah, I would use automation for that because I think that the situations are going to be so different and at different times, whereas a campaign is sort of just like everyone all at once or everyone on a certain list or that fits a certain criteria all at once. So the automation is going to be that more specific going to be received by one person at a time because of exactly where they are in that cycle.


Greg Wilkes (27:34):

Yes, that’s great. That’s fantastic. And I know again, from me as we’re all buyers as well, aren’t we? And I know in my inbox every now and again, I guess I’m on their long-term email automation list and every month I might get an email from say a window manufacturer or something like that that I’ve never used before. And only the other day an email popped in and they’ve been sending emails for, I don’t know, probably like a year of these emails coming through every now and again, it might just be some useful information about their windows. And just at the time I was about to buy some windows or I was about to source quotes, their email landed in my inbox and it was automated. Clearly it must’ve been automated, but I thought that’s fantastic. It just shows you the benefits of sometimes not giving up on people and just dropping an email in, whether it’s a newsletter or just something going out every month just to keep it in people’s inboxes so they know you’re still there even if you haven’t purchased from them yet, that purchase might come later on. Cool.


Ernie Santeralli (28:32):

Yes, a hundred percent. And I think one thing, again to sort of take that reminder, that elongated reminder to the next level is going to be you want to have a reason to follow up or at least have something in that email that’s more than just like, Hey, how’s it going? Are you doing anything now you want to answer a question that they might have let them know about a sale that you might be having. Let them know about an additional service that you might be offering now that you didn’t the last time that you talked to them or that just might be coming around that’s new in your business or whatever the case may be. I think that there’s nothing that annoys people more than just kind of a “Hey, what are you working on now? Can I be the person that works on that?” You want to have more of a reason to send an email, and I think that that is perfect. Don’t give up on people, but also you have to continue to give them reasons to do business with you. And that’s just one thing that I would add to.


Greg Wilkes (29:26):

That’s a really good point. So moving onto a different subject then, as a business owner, you want to have, I guess as much data as you can understand what’s working and what’s not. Does ActiveCampaign have reports or anything or dashboards that it’s nice and easy for a business owner to have a snapshot view of what’s going on and what’s working in their marketing?


Ernie Santeralli (29:48):

Yes, absolutely. There are reports for a whole host of the features that we have. So you’ve got campaign performance reports where you can see how many of them are going out, how many of them are being opened with iOS, 15 pieces of that information is a bit skewed now because of Apple’s mail, privacy protection update. But we will give you the open rates for what we can reliably track, and then you can have click-through rates. Those haven’t gone away at all as far as automation reports, you can see how many people have gone into and come out of automation successfully. So depending on how many automations you have, whatever the goal of those automations are, you might be able to see 20 people went in and 15 people came out the other end, whereas five dropped out somewhere in the middle of it. We have contact trend reports, so you can see when people are opening your emails, you can see on what device they’re opening your emails on.


(30:41)
There’s all kinds of different reports, and I mean you could take that further into our custom reporting, which gets very technical, and you can sort of build out custom dashboards depending on what you have plugged into ActiveCampaign. We’ve talked about social media and your website and the various different other software tools you might be using. So there’s tons of different reporting capabilities, but I think that those automation and campaign performance reports as well as the contact trend reports are going to be available to everybody and they’re done for you. So we automatically create those. That data just lives in your account and it’s just up to you to take a look at it and do it with that information, what you will.


Greg Wilkes (31:16):

That’s fantastic. Yes, I know one of the reports that I was, I mean, those email reports are actually clear, aren’t they? And why you need them. One of the reports that I was big on was your lead sources on where your leads are coming in from. Are they coming in from Google, they’re coming in from recommendations wherever else, and it gives you such a clear picture of exactly what should I be focusing my marketing on? I presume ActiveCampaign will be able to capture that sort of data or that could be inputted on a custom field, could it?


Ernie Santeralli (31:46):

Yes, absolutely. And to your point, that’s exactly why you would want to know that what channels are working for me, what channels aren’t working for me, where should I double down and invest more into this thing that’s already working? And then what’s happening with these channels that I’m putting money and time into that just aren’t converting the way that I want them to be? And to that point, that just might be an indication that it’s like maybe this isn’t where my audience lives. Maybe they only really come from over here. So yeah, I mean that’s just one of the many benefits of looking at those reports. But yes, we definitely have a lead source report.


Greg Wilkes (32:17):

That’s fantastic. Yeah. Brilliant. Okay, so we mentioned earlier there’s obviously a lot of CRMs out there. Obviously they’ve been around for a while now, and competitive market, obviously ActiveCampaign is one of the leaders out there for the CRM systems. So what features would you say makes ActiveCampaign stand out amongst the others? Why particularly would someone consider choosing ActiveCampaign?


Ernie Santeralli (32:40):

I think one of the biggest features, and people might not even think about this as a feature, is simply the ease of use and the user interface. I think the way that ActiveCampaign is set up, how visual it is, how the information that you’re looking for is in the place that you’re looking for it and it’s clean, it’s interactive. You can drag and drop, you can click and edit and it’s very easy to set up and it’s very easy to understand what you’re looking at. So I think that that is a very big piece of why you might want to use ActiveCampaign simply because it’s like right there in front of you and you know what you’re looking at. You don’t have to click through and try to find some backdoor way to get to whatever you’re looking for. It’s right there in front of you.


(33:23)
The second thing I would say is the fact that the CRM is inherently tied to your email marketing piece and your other communication channels. So again, it’s powered by automation and so those automated emails that are going out or just the campaigns that are going out, the different phone calls that you’re having, whatever you have plugged into it is going to be displayed immediately and automatically. And the ability to then on your actions or on their actions, depending on what they’re doing, if they submit a form, if they send you an email back with pieces of information, the automation piece is going to move them through. So as far as a time saver goes, all that information is automatically stored and then also actions are taken on the back end of that. So I think that the fact that it’s all very visual, it’s all right there in front of you and if you set up the rules, it’s going to take care of most of the manual tasks and the manual, the time intensive stuff that you hate doing that you don’t have to do anymore.


Greg Wilkes (34:23):

Yes, so that’s really important. I guess taking that a step further because I mean I always seem to think of CRMs as stopping once you’ve won a sales order, but I guess in construction there are always going to be tasks automated that you’ve then got to follow up on. So I guess when an invoice needs to be raised when you’ve reached a certain stage on a project or certain material needs to be ordered when you’ve reached a certain stage, I guess if it’s a custom built thing that’s going to send you reminders, you could actually use the CRM right the way through a project to lead you to take further actions.


Ernie Santeralli (34:57):

A hundred percent. You could use the CRM and I’ve seen different use cases for the CRM where it’s not even for customer communication, it’s strictly for internal and operations automation. So to your point, this thing moves from this stage to this stage. Maybe you’ve got a couple of different employees and this employee handles the contracts, this employee handles whatever the case may be. If you plug them all in active campaign, you move the deal and then ActiveCampaign notifies the correct person that they have a task waiting for them. So as far as that goes, that’s a fantastic point. It doesn’t have to just be for you to follow up with your customers. It could be for you to check the box and sure that you are not letting these things kind of fall by the wayside and you’re getting them done on time, you’re getting them done in the right way and it’s all internal.


Greg Wilkes (35:46):

That’s brilliant. Yes, that’s absolutely fantastic. So if we were summarizing, if you were going to try and convince someone why they should be using ActiveCampaign in their business and why it’s going to make their business a lot easier, what would you say to them? What’s a quick summary of why they should be using ActiveCampaign?


Ernie Santeralli (36:05):

It’s agile, it is customizable, it’s on the go with you, right? It’s not just on your computer, it’s in your pocket all the time. It’s going to save you time and you’re going to get out of it. What you put into it, I think it’s clean, it’s smooth. A lot of these older CRMs that might exist are like they’re kind of clunky. They look like they were made in the early nineties. You want to look at something that’s clean. You want to like working with the tool that you’re working with, right? This thing is going to be very important for your business. And so you have to actually enjoy and not hate every second that you’re in it. And I think that ActiveCampaign does a great job of that. It’s bright, it’s smooth, it’s clear, it’s not clunky and it’s very powerful. I mean from time saving, from organization, from ease of use, all of those things wrapped into one.


(36:57)
And again, it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. We’re here to scale with you. We have tons of different employee resources, employee, I’m sorry, customer education materials, whether that’s our Learn site or the various onboarding webinars that we have that are completely free to you. If you want to learn how to use the platform, we are here to show you how to do that. We want you to be successful, right? We’re not successful unless you’re successful. So if you’re looking for a tool that can grow with you that’s going to save you time and actually do the things that they tell you it’s going to do, ActiveCampaign is definitely on that list.


Greg Wilkes (37:30):

That’s fantastic. And I guess just to that point there about, it can scale with you. I know we don’t have to go into all the pricing, but there are tiered pricing. It’s actually very affordable for a one man band all the way up to if you add 50 employees, isn’t it?


Ernie Santeralli (37:46):

Oh, absolutely. I mean, to give you a sense, ActiveCampaign uses ActiveCampaign and we have offices across the globe and we have about a thousand employees now. So it’s absolutely able to go from, like you said, a one man band all the way through to a big organization like that. And to your point, there’s different pricing tiers. So you’ve got different service levels, we’ll call different plans. There’s four of them. And so each time if you get to a point where you’re like, oh, I would really like to have this feature or this capability, we have the ability for you to do that. So it’s not just like a one size fits all pricing. We have plans that are there for whatever your needs are, and if your needs grow and you have new needs and you have new things that you want, we’ve got those too.


Greg Wilkes (38:36):

That’s fantastic. Yes. Brilliant. Well, Ernie, look, I really appreciate your time today. Clearly you’re full of knowledge and wisdom on marketing and ActiveCampaign use, so we appreciate you helping us with that. If my the listeners wanted to know a little bit more Ernie, about potentially marketing and potentially more about ActiveCampaign, where would they go to learn a bit more?


Ernie Santeralli (39:01):

Sure. www.activecampaign.com. We believe our product is so effective and powerful that we will give it to you for free for two weeks. So you could start a free trial, no credit card necessary, get in there, start to see what’s what, see the stuff that I’ve been talking about, see what it looks like. You’ve got 14 days to get your contacts in there to start building out different pipelines in the CRM and really seeing what happens for you. And then if you’re interested in just learning more about various different marketing concepts or different topics of the customer experience and what you can do to improve them. As you had mentioned, I host a show for ActiveCampaign called Growth Decoded. And so if you just give that a Google Active Campaign Growth Decoded, we should be all over that search engine results page.


Greg Wilkes (39:51):

That’s fantastic. Yes. Well, Ernie, look, I really appreciate your time today in running through that. That’s going to be really useful for my listeners. So appreciate it. Thanks a lot and look after yourself.


Ernie Santeralli (40:02):

Absolutely. You as well. It was a pleasure. Thank you again.


Greg Wilkes (40:09):

If you’d like to work with me to fast track your construction business growth, then reach out on www.developcoaching.co.uk.

Greg Wilkes (00:01):

The construction industry can be a tough business to crack from cashflow problems, struggling to find skilled labor and not making enough money for your efforts leaves many business owners feeling frustrated and burnt out. But when you get the business strategy right, it’s an industry that can be highly satisfying and financially rewarding. I’m here to give you the resources to be able to create a construction business that gives you more time, more freedom, and more money. This is the Develop Your Construction Business podcast, and I’m your host, Greg Wilkes.


Greg Wilkes (00:36):

Really excited to welcome everyone back to the podcast. And if you’re watching this on YouTube as well, we’re going to pop it on there. So I’ve got a host, well virtually traveled all the way from Chicago today, which is a nice experience for us all. We’ve got Ernie Santeralli on the line with us, so great to have you here, Ernie.


Ernie Santeralli (00:55):

Thank you very much for having me. It’s good to be here.


Greg Wilkes (00:57):

Yes, great. So Ernie hosts the Growth Decoded Show and he helps ActiveCampaign with explaining exactly what ActiveCampaign is as a product and how you can get the best use of your marketing. So, lots of experience from Ernie and we’re looking forward to how we can help your business grow by potentially using a software like ActiveCampaign. So if anyone doesn’t know quite what Active Campaign is, I can do a bit of introduction, but I think probably Ernie, you might have a better introduction, a nice succinct one. How would you explain ActiveCampaign in a few sentences?


Ernie Santeralli (01:30):

Sure. So ActiveCampaign is what we call a customer experience automation software platform. And basically what that means is that we would be the tool that you would use to manage your customer relationships from the very first time that they experience your business online all the way through the entire customer lifecycle. So I’ve heard it described, and I kind of like this analogy, is sort of like the belly of an octopus where you’ve got all of your different tentacles out, whether that’s your website, your social media, your email, your text messaging, whatever the channels might be that you’re using, and all that information is kind of coming back into active campaign and you get to take that and decide how else you want to use that, whether that’s segmenting your customers by what they’re interested in, the conversations you’ve had with them, if they know who you are, if they’re a customer, and then kind of figuring out exactly what messaging you want to put back out and which channel you want to put that back out into.


Greg Wilkes (02:23):

Fantastic. Alright, well that sounds really good. So for some of my listeners out there as construction companies, you might have a little bit of a mind blow on some of this and think, right, well how am I going to input this in my business? But what we’re going to try and do today is break it down, make it nice and straightforward and simple so we can understand why it’s something you seriously need to be considering to use as a marketing tool and as a sales tool. Really it’s an absolute essential as you want to scale. So first of all, Ernie, maybe you could let us know why would someone even consider using a CRM system? And when we say CRM, just for our listeners, we’re talking about a customer or a client relationship management system. So why would a company be wanting to use that, first of all?


Ernie Santeralli (03:07):

I think the first, and maybe the most obvious is, or maybe not the most obvious, but one of the biggest problems that happens soonest once you start your business starts picking up steam, you start managing all these different relationships, whether they’re different leads or customers and all that stuff. Maybe you’re writing it down on a piece of paper, maybe you’re keeping it in a Google Doc, maybe you’re keeping it in a bunch of different places and you’re trying to figure out, have I talked to this person before? What have we talked about? How many times have we talked, have I sent them emails? All the details that you might have with a various person, you want to have all that in one place that’s easily searchable, it’s easily organized. And so that’s really what a CRM is going to do for you right away.


(03:48)
It’s going to get all of your relationships into one place. You’ll easily be able to put notes in there. I’ve heard it described as getting an extra employee without having an extra person on the payroll because it’s basically a tool that’s going to help you organize all of the different conversations, relationships, whatever the case may be there into one single place. And so I think that’s one of the biggest benefits, especially for businesses that are sort of getting to that point where it’s like, okay, the way I’ve been doing this, I probably should have some tools to help me out here. I know that they exist, but where are they? What are they? How can I use them? And so the second thing I think that a CRM is really going to do for you is not only have all that information in one place, but then tell you what to do with it.


(04:32)
And so what you’re able to do with a CRM, like ActiveCampaign or any number of other CRMs that are out there on the market, there are hundreds if not thousands of them. But what ActiveCampaign is great for is the visualization aspect of it. And so what we have set up is we have stages that you get to pre-populate with however your process works. And so whether that’s first call, the first information, whether the job has started, what phase of the job that you’re in, what kind of job that it’s in, you get to write down exactly how it works for your business. So it’s super customizable in terms of you get in there and you feel like it’s a tool that is literally made for you because you’re actually the one who’s kind of making it for yourself. And then you’re able to just drag and drop those different deals, those different contacts, the different touchpoints as things are happening.


(05:18)
So when you look at it exactly, oh, this person is in this stage, I’ve had these conversations with this person, this job is going according to plan, I need to follow up with this person. It is sort of that visual aspect and also that data hub. And then I mean you can combine automation with all of that kind of stuff. And I mean we might get into that in a little bit, but it can go as far as you want to take it. And I think that those two pieces, the organization and the visualization, just keeping everything centralized and having it reflect the processes that you have are two of the biggest benefits you’re going to see right off the bat.


Greg Wilkes (05:55):

Fantastic. Yes, so I really like that. So just diving in a little bit, first of all, for the organization, so probably at the moment a lot of my listeners out there, they might be doing exactly as you said, so they might be putting it down in the diary. It might be if they’re a little bit better on a spreadsheet. But then there’s other things like you might be texting a client, so there might be SMS messaging going on, there might be emails going on. What sort of things would the CRM be able to track? Can it track texts? Would it track any messaging or is it purely for email? What sort of communication entry ways will it be able to tackle?


Ernie Santeralli (06:33):

It can cover everything. So again, it sort of depends on how far you want to take that and what channels that you’re using. Right. So what’s great about ActiveCampaign CRM is that it’s tied to the email marketing and the email automation side of the tool. So whenever you send an email through your email address, whether it’s your work email address, your personal email address, excuse me, whatever you’re using, if you have that plugged into ActiveCampaign, super easy to plug it in. But every time you send an email, it’s going to show up automatically in that contact profile.


(07:03)
Same with text messaging. So we do have the ability for you to send SMS through the platform, but you can also enter stuff in manually. So right, if you’re having a phone call and it’s just a phone call like you’ve got with your smartphone, you just give them a call, you can write down the notes of that store that in the contact profile log that call. Then the same thing goes for your website. If you have a website, you can tie in site tracking, it sounds scary, super easy to do, just a little bit of code, you throw that in the footer and then you can see where people are going on your website and that’ll show up in the CRM if you have social media channels, you can see if they’re interacting with you on social media, whether they’ve liked the page or not, where they’re coming from. Yes, so I mean any of the different channels that you have as far as if you want to see that, it’s as simple as just plugging that in and integrating that with ActiveCampaign and then boom, it’s right there in front of you.


Greg Wilkes (07:56):

That’s absolutely fantastic, isn’t it? So obviously one of the concerns with, I know I’ve used different CRM systems in the past and years ago it was always a challenge because you felt like you had to input everything manually, whereas it’s great if your emails were automatically going there and other methods. That’s absolutely brilliant. So that’s a real plus. You also mentioned the visualization, which was a good one. It’s a nice and easy to visualize your process. I guess all of us have a specific way of working and the way we like to work. And one of the frustrations I had with CRMs in the past was that you are very confined to exactly how they want it listed out or how they work. So that sounds really good too. So with what you’re saying with the visualization is you can move your workflows around, can you just suit how you work?


Ernie Santeralli (08:43):

Yes, absolutely. So the way that we have it set up, there’s a couple of different views that you can use within ActiveCampaign depending on your preferences. Maybe you’re a list person, that’s fine, we’ve got you covered there and maybe you are that with the different columns, what we call stages in a given pipeline. So as I said, you can click that and just drag it to the next stage if that is where that contact should be. You could skip stages, you can move them back depending on your process, depending on what’s happening in real time with that deal. It’s super easy, it’s very interactive and I mean the interface is so clean to your point. I mean I’ve used CRMs in the past too, where it’s just like pulling teeth. You’re trying to figure out where this information lives if the information is even in there.


(09:26)
But with ActiveCampaign, it’s set up in a beautiful way that it’s just very simple and the things that you’re looking for are where you would be looking for them. We’ll say that. And one thing too that I think is great about CRMs in general, but specifically the ActiveCampaign CRM is the ability and the ease of which it helps you save time. And so we’re talking about the visualization and organization of moving these deals through these different pipelines, but what’s great about it is that it’s so simple to set up tasks to remind yourself to follow up with the person. So that’s where the automation piece comes in. And it sounds scary. Automation might be a word that some people hear and it’s like, oh geez, that’s way over my head. It doesn’t have to be, it’s super simple. It’s as simple as saying when a deal moves from this stage to this stage, set a task for myself to call them in a day. And then you don’t have to remind yourself and you don’t have to let that deal fall through the cracks because you’ve got 14 other people to call that day. The system will literally say, “Hey, call this person today.” And then you do.


Greg Wilkes (10:29):

That’s brilliant. And that’s absolutely crucial. I mean, the amount of times I’ve run businesses and been involved in sales all my life and the amount of times you forget, you get an absolutely hot prospect and you’re just so busy with life and whatever else you think, I can’t believe I promised, I’ll call them back or I didn’t follow that one up. So that’s absolutely crucial, isn’t it? The amount of deals that slip through your fingers because you’ve just forgotten to set yourself a task. So that…


Ernie Santeralli (10:52):

Sure. And not only that too, this isn’t something that’s only going to exist on your desktop, which is great. You might hear it, software, it’s got to be on my computer. That’s not the case really anymore. An ActiveCampaign, we have a mobile app, so I mean a lot of your audience I’m sure is on the go all the time. They’re on job sites, they’re moving, they’re buying materials, they’re talking with different people to source materials for jobs, whatever. If they’re texting you, ActiveCampaign has a mobile app and you’ve got that CRM with you wherever you go. So it’s not something that’s like, oh yeah, I got to go back home and log onto the computer and figure this thing out and update the CRM. No, it’s right there with you the whole time. So I mean as far as mobility goes, the visualization, I’m sure it’s going to look different on a computer and a screen. That’s not to say it looks worse, it’s just like it’s going to be different because the display is different, but you’ll have the ability to take your CRM with you and your system with you wherever you are.


Greg Wilkes (11:43):

Brilliant. Yes, that’s really key, isn’t it, Ernie? So thanks for that. So one of the, I guess what would the word be something that might hold people back from getting a CRM system or getting involved in the email marketing side is some people say that email marketing’s dead nowadays and that it just doesn’t work anymore. What’s your thoughts on that?


Ernie Santeralli (12:06):

I mean, it’s 9:16 in the morning where I’m at, and I’ve checked my email probably five different times already. So I actually purchased something already this morning from my email. So as far as I’m concerned, email marketing is very much alive and well.


(12:21)
I think email is an older communication model, and maybe that’s something that people look at and say, oh, it’s been around for however many years, the rate of change, no, it’s good. It’s sticking around. We still make phone calls. The phone has been around since 1900 or whatever. So I don’t think that email is at all dead in any case. I think the way that you might be approaching email is probably outdated. I think if you’re doing it the way you were doing it 10 or maybe even five years ago, you’re probably annoying your contacts because the way that we buy, the way that we use email has changed, but everybody still uses email. So it’s not necessarily like, oh, it’s dead. Just the way that you’re using it is dead. You need to be more personalized. You need to think about the expectations of the medium is kind of a way that I like to think about this.


(13:10)
So if it’s my grandma’s birthday, I’m not going to send her an Instagram message. My grandma is on Instagram, by the way, which is kind of cool, but I’m not going to send her an Instagram message. I’m going to give her a call because that’s what she expects, especially that’s what she expects from me on her birthday. So, what do your customers expect from you via email? Do they expect a casual message? Do they expect a more formal message? What is the situation that you’re currently in? So you have to take all these things into account because people don’t have time for mismatched or mismanaged expectations. So if you’re going to send a message that has nothing to do with that person or it has nothing to do with where they’re at in the customer life cycle, whether they just heard about you and they don’t know you from anyone else and you’re sort of talking to them as if you’ve known them for years or vice versa, if they have known you for years and you’re talking to them like you just met them, they’re going to dismiss that.


(14:05)
And so email marketing is really, you just have to change your approach to it. You have to really think about the different scenarios and situations in which the customer is actually in and how can you play into that situation and talk to them like a person, I’m talking to you right now. You don’t go up to, if I’ve heard someone say, if you go up to everyone at a party, and it doesn’t matter if you know them, you’ve been friends with them or you’re just meeting them for the first time, if you walk in and you give them the same greeting and you say the same thing to them one by one by one, by one by one, everyone in there is going to be like, this guy’s weird. What is going on with this? The same thing with email marketing. You have to talk to people, people buy from humans. And so email marketing, I mean it’s the same thing. You just have to apply it to that mode of communication.


Greg Wilkes (14:53):

Yes, that’s fantastic. And I know from my coaching, I’m heavily involved in email marketing, I know it does work. I just wanted to get your opinion on it on why construction companies should be using it. So that’s fantastic. So just to delve into it a little bit more, the email marketing side, which I know ActiveCampaign is probably one of its strongest features, isn’t it? The email marketing. So just run us through a bit of an overview on how does the email marketing work? Are there automations you can set up, that sort of thing. What sort of campaign would someone potentially be setting up as a construction company?


Ernie Santeralli (15:27):

So the email side of ActiveCampaign is very similar to the CRM side in the sense that it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. And you can start simple and just kind of let it grow with you, let it grow with your comfortability of using the tool, let it grow with the way that your business is growing and scale that way. And then you can kind of build out the different communications or situations in which you might want to send an email to somebody. So when we’re thinking about email, there’s two different or two ways that ActiveCampaign really sends emails to multiple people at once. The first would be a campaign, and that’s what we refer to as any one-off email send. So that could be, you might be saying Happy New Year at the beginning, we’re kind of coming up on the end of the year.


(16:11)
You might want to say, keep yourself top of mind during the holiday season. Hey, happy new year, we hope you’re all doing well. If there’s anything that you’re looking to do in the new year, you know where to find us. Then there’s the automation piece. And the automation piece is sort of something happens that triggers an email. So somebody, you have a phone call with somebody, you log that in the CRM, you fire a thanks for talking to me on the phone. If you have any questions, you can get me here. And so that’s just going to run, and that might only send to one person at a time, that might send to six people in a day depending on what you are doing, what your actions are doing. And so the automation piece again, can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, right? It can be as simple as somebody visits my website or somebody has a phone call with me. I log that, send an email, or it can be somebody has looked at my website two times on this specific page and is also doing something over here and is also doing something over here. And then you can send a message to that specific situation and scenario to that person.


(17:13)
And they get it and it’s like, oh my God, did this, did they write this? And I mean, you did write it at one point, but the way that you set up the automations, that’s really where what we were talking about with the email marketing being more personalized and trying to figure out what is the situation that makes sense to send an email. That’s where automation is really going to take over for you because it’s like what are the repeatable steps or the situations in which you have a lot of people that go through these different things. Everybody has to go through this certain process. What are the communications, what are the things that they would need to know at that point in time? If you build that into an automation, you don’t have to send that email anymore. It just gets sent. So that’s, I mean there’s tons, there’s limitless variations within the automation piece as you can probably imagine, but that’s really where the email marketing piece is going to kind of come into ActiveCampaign.


Greg Wilkes (18:06):

That’s fantastic. Yes, so I am always on the lookout for good automation emails in my inbox just for examples. And I received one the other day. So I purchased some chickens and I bought a chicken coop and it was fantastic. So I purchased the chicken coop. Now nothing frustrates you more than when you make a purchase. And then there’s just silence from the other end radio silence, think has the payment gone through, when’s my chicken coop coming? Is it being built? What’s going on? But what was great about this company, as soon as the purchase was made, there was obviously an automated email that come out, but it sounded very personalized and it was, Greg, thanks for purchasing the chicken coop. Here’s what we’re doing. And they told me about exactly how they were building the chicken coop, how long it was going to take to come.


(18:49)
And then what they did then was they said, over the next three or four days, we are going to send you some guidelines on how to look after chickens. So day one, it was right, this is what food you want to buy for your chickens. Day two was here’s how to clean out your chicken coop. Day three was something else. And it was absolutely fantastic because the automation not only made me, it was actually a bit of an upsell because they were trying to sell me some other stuff. It didn’t feel like that. It was just a really helpful email keeping me advised on exactly when my chicken coop was coming. And so I looked at that and I thought, well, actually, as a construction company, that’s fantastic. There’s big frustrations in the construction industry when a builder will go out to price some work, he’ll meet the client, he’ll measure up, measure everything up, go away, and then there’s radio silence. The customer doesn’t know if he’s preparing the quote, is he ever going to send it? Whereas the email automation could be put in that scenario, couldn’t it, to just keep the customer just those touch points to the customer to let them know your email is being done, but it’s all automated. The builder doesn’t have to do anything.


Ernie Santeralli (19:52):

Absolutely. And that’s like to your point, I mean one that automation with the chicken coop and the questions that you might have. So that’s really one of the biggest pieces is that as businesses, people buy solutions to problems that they have. So you had a problem, you didn’t have any chickens and you didn’t have any chicken coop and you wanted one, so then you bought it, and then it was sort of like, okay, well what are the next questions or the next things that Greg might need to know being a new chicken and chicken coop owner? Well, here you go. So to your point, it’s like what are the things that the potential client might want to know as soon as the person leaves to price out the work? Okay, hey, we’re working on this. You can expect your quote in three to five days if you don’t get it from them, something like that. Or here are some questions about whatever the problems or the questions that they might have.


Ernie Santeralli (20:45):

If you get in front of that, then one, not only are they going to say, oh, this is pretty helpful. I don’t mind getting emails from this person, but they’re also going to start looking to you as an authority because you are ahead of the curve, you’re ahead of where they’re at, and you’re already handling the objections or the questions or the problems that they might have that would logically follow wherever they’re at in the process. So yes, that’s absolutely it.


Greg Wilkes (21:08):

Yes, fantastic. So that’s a real key point to the listeners. Just note that down. So if you are thinking of problems and you’ve got solutions for them, that’s a great email strategy to put through to your potential clients, and I guess it establishes you as your authority, doesn’t it, as you’re trying to build up that trust before someone makes a purchase. So that’s a really good point there, Ernie. Thanks for that. So thinking about essential campaigns that a construction company might put into place. So I guess you’ve touched on some of these, but just to make them crystal clear for our listeners, I guess when someone makes initial contact and they speak to you on the phone, you could potentially put an automation campaign, it’s great to talk to you, would you like to book in a consultation, a home visit or something like that? You could have something like that. Are there any other essentials that you think potentially could go in there for a construction company specifically?


Ernie Santeralli (21:58):

Absolutely. I think one of the biggest ones is going to be the follow-up when a job is done. And that may be when the job is done, but also, I mean, any other point in time where a follow-up would make sense because people want to your point with the chicken coop, again, sometimes you just get radio silence and you just want to know that whatever conversation you just had, whatever action you just took has been received. And whether it’s like, okay, there needs to be an action that comes from the company, or I just want to know that they’re considering the thing that just happened. That’s really the follow-up is so key. And I think specifically at the end of a job or at the end of a purchase or at the end of whatever that buying cycle might be a simple follow up. Hey, thank you for your business, thank you for working with us.


(22:51)
And then if you can ask for a referral, maybe not outright, but find some way to sort of weave that in if you want to leave a review because reviews are so incredibly important in the way that we buy today. I mean, if you go on Amazon or if you go on, I don’t know, I was buying something from a kind of boutique e-commerce store the other day online, and I was like, all right, I’ve never heard of this store before. Is it even real? So then I googled reviews and I read reviews because it’s like you want to know that what the person you’re about to give your money to is going to reciprocate and give you something that’s quality. I mean, granted, that’s an online store, it’s not a construction company, but I would imagine that the process is the same. I would imagine that a lot of people, people that are listening to this are getting a significant percentage of their business from word of mouth or from referrals.


(23:37)
So what can you do using email to boost the number of referrals and reviews and word of mouth that you get? So I think providing that customer experience that we’ve talked about, just like with the follow-up, getting ahead of questions, that’s going to give them a positive experience. You always want to tell people about your positive experiences. We’re humans, that’s just what we do. But then if you do finish that job and you just say, Hey, would you mind taking five seconds to leave a review? Or would you mind taking five seconds to tell us how it is? How do you like it? And to that point, follow up three months, six months, a year after, and just ask them the work that we did. How is it holding up? Do you like it? Do you have anything to say about it? Anything like that, you can use that as your marketing material.


(24:25)
I was listening to one of our partners at ActiveCampaign, he’s an author, he just wrote a new book and one of the lines he gave in this webinar that I was at yesterday was “The Ultimate Marketing Engine is a happy and successful customer.” So if you’re looking to get new business, if you’re looking to expand your leads to expand your word of mouth, you have to make your customers happy. They’re going to be better and more effective at marketing and sales for your company than you could ever be because people trust them more than they trust you. People trust reviews and recommendations, something like 96% from Complete Strangers online. So if you can do anything to get those higher, to get more of those and to use them, that’s really going to set you apart and get you off to the races. So I think that as far as email campaigns go, the follow-up is absolutely critical.


Greg Wilkes (25:13):

Yeah, that’s really key. So thanks for highlighting that, Ernie. And I think that’s the thing. I mean, I know a lot of our listeners here, they’re probably delivering some fantastic projects for people, but sometimes they just appear invisible online. People just don’t know how good they are. So those reviews are absolutely key, and it’s nice and easy to drop a link in a link to your review page or Google Page or whatever it is on an email, and someone can just click on that and leave a review for you. So I’m glad you’ve highlighted that. That’s key. What about thinking about other campaigns for the business owner rather than the customer? Obviously one of the big frustrations is when you’re pricing up a lot of work and then you don’t hear back from the client, they give you a bit of radio silence and you think, what’s going on? Have I won this project or not? Sometimes that can go on for weeks or months even. Could campaigns be put into use then, or automation be put into use if you’re not hearing back from people? And if yes, why would that be a benefit?


Ernie Santeralli (26:10):

I think certainly, so we talked about automations being used for sending emails, but also automations being used to remind you of different touchpoints that you should reach out or different actions that you should take within the CRM. So I think that automation could certainly be used that it’s like, I don’t know, three, five days. Five days or a week goes by and you don’t hear it back. Maybe it’s time to give them a phone call if you want to be more personal, or you could create an automation that is once I send out the pricing, the quote, wait for five days, and if I don’t receive a response from them in five days, then you could send another email that’s just following up, Hey, how’s everything looking? And that way you don’t have to sift through every single person that you’ve priced out that try to remember the specifics of the situation, what’s going on here?


(27:00)
It’s kind of done for you. It’s sort of again, that extra employee that’s basically just following you around, reminding you of all the details that you need to know and when you need to know them. So I think that, yeah, I would use automation for that because I think that the situations are going to be so different and at different times, whereas a campaign is sort of just like everyone all at once or everyone on a certain list or that fits a certain criteria all at once. So the automation is going to be that more specific going to be received by one person at a time because of exactly where they are in that cycle.


Greg Wilkes (27:34):

Yes, that’s great. That’s fantastic. And I know again, from me as we’re all buyers as well, aren’t we? And I know in my inbox every now and again, I guess I’m on their long-term email automation list and every month I might get an email from say a window manufacturer or something like that that I’ve never used before. And only the other day an email popped in and they’ve been sending emails for, I don’t know, probably like a year of these emails coming through every now and again, it might just be some useful information about their windows. And just at the time I was about to buy some windows or I was about to source quotes, their email landed in my inbox and it was automated. Clearly it must’ve been automated, but I thought that’s fantastic. It just shows you the benefits of sometimes not giving up on people and just dropping an email in, whether it’s a newsletter or just something going out every month just to keep it in people’s inboxes so they know you’re still there even if you haven’t purchased from them yet, that purchase might come later on. Cool.


Ernie Santeralli (28:32):

Yes, a hundred percent. And I think one thing, again to sort of take that reminder, that elongated reminder to the next level is going to be you want to have a reason to follow up or at least have something in that email that’s more than just like, Hey, how’s it going? Are you doing anything now you want to answer a question that they might have let them know about a sale that you might be having. Let them know about an additional service that you might be offering now that you didn’t the last time that you talked to them or that just might be coming around that’s new in your business or whatever the case may be. I think that there’s nothing that annoys people more than just kind of a “Hey, what are you working on now? Can I be the person that works on that?” You want to have more of a reason to send an email, and I think that that is perfect. Don’t give up on people, but also you have to continue to give them reasons to do business with you. And that’s just one thing that I would add to.


Greg Wilkes (29:26):

That’s a really good point. So moving onto a different subject then, as a business owner, you want to have, I guess as much data as you can understand what’s working and what’s not. Does ActiveCampaign have reports or anything or dashboards that it’s nice and easy for a business owner to have a snapshot view of what’s going on and what’s working in their marketing?


Ernie Santeralli (29:48):

Yes, absolutely. There are reports for a whole host of the features that we have. So you’ve got campaign performance reports where you can see how many of them are going out, how many of them are being opened with iOS, 15 pieces of that information is a bit skewed now because of Apple’s mail, privacy protection update. But we will give you the open rates for what we can reliably track, and then you can have click-through rates. Those haven’t gone away at all as far as automation reports, you can see how many people have gone into and come out of automation successfully. So depending on how many automations you have, whatever the goal of those automations are, you might be able to see 20 people went in and 15 people came out the other end, whereas five dropped out somewhere in the middle of it. We have contact trend reports, so you can see when people are opening your emails, you can see on what device they’re opening your emails on.


(30:41)
There’s all kinds of different reports, and I mean you could take that further into our custom reporting, which gets very technical, and you can sort of build out custom dashboards depending on what you have plugged into ActiveCampaign. We’ve talked about social media and your website and the various different other software tools you might be using. So there’s tons of different reporting capabilities, but I think that those automation and campaign performance reports as well as the contact trend reports are going to be available to everybody and they’re done for you. So we automatically create those. That data just lives in your account and it’s just up to you to take a look at it and do it with that information, what you will.


Greg Wilkes (31:16):

That’s fantastic. Yes, I know one of the reports that I was, I mean, those email reports are actually clear, aren’t they? And why you need them. One of the reports that I was big on was your lead sources on where your leads are coming in from. Are they coming in from Google, they’re coming in from recommendations wherever else, and it gives you such a clear picture of exactly what should I be focusing my marketing on? I presume ActiveCampaign will be able to capture that sort of data or that could be inputted on a custom field, could it?


Ernie Santeralli (31:46):

Yes, absolutely. And to your point, that’s exactly why you would want to know that what channels are working for me, what channels aren’t working for me, where should I double down and invest more into this thing that’s already working? And then what’s happening with these channels that I’m putting money and time into that just aren’t converting the way that I want them to be? And to that point, that just might be an indication that it’s like maybe this isn’t where my audience lives. Maybe they only really come from over here. So yeah, I mean that’s just one of the many benefits of looking at those reports. But yes, we definitely have a lead source report.


Greg Wilkes (32:17):

That’s fantastic. Yeah. Brilliant. Okay, so we mentioned earlier there’s obviously a lot of CRMs out there. Obviously they’ve been around for a while now, and competitive market, obviously ActiveCampaign is one of the leaders out there for the CRM systems. So what features would you say makes ActiveCampaign stand out amongst the others? Why particularly would someone consider choosing ActiveCampaign?


Ernie Santeralli (32:40):

I think one of the biggest features, and people might not even think about this as a feature, is simply the ease of use and the user interface. I think the way that ActiveCampaign is set up, how visual it is, how the information that you’re looking for is in the place that you’re looking for it and it’s clean, it’s interactive. You can drag and drop, you can click and edit and it’s very easy to set up and it’s very easy to understand what you’re looking at. So I think that that is a very big piece of why you might want to use ActiveCampaign simply because it’s like right there in front of you and you know what you’re looking at. You don’t have to click through and try to find some backdoor way to get to whatever you’re looking for. It’s right there in front of you.


(33:23)
The second thing I would say is the fact that the CRM is inherently tied to your email marketing piece and your other communication channels. So again, it’s powered by automation and so those automated emails that are going out or just the campaigns that are going out, the different phone calls that you’re having, whatever you have plugged into it is going to be displayed immediately and automatically. And the ability to then on your actions or on their actions, depending on what they’re doing, if they submit a form, if they send you an email back with pieces of information, the automation piece is going to move them through. So as far as a time saver goes, all that information is automatically stored and then also actions are taken on the back end of that. So I think that the fact that it’s all very visual, it’s all right there in front of you and if you set up the rules, it’s going to take care of most of the manual tasks and the manual, the time intensive stuff that you hate doing that you don’t have to do anymore.


Greg Wilkes (34:23):

Yes, so that’s really important. I guess taking that a step further because I mean I always seem to think of CRMs as stopping once you’ve won a sales order, but I guess in construction there are always going to be tasks automated that you’ve then got to follow up on. So I guess when an invoice needs to be raised when you’ve reached a certain stage on a project or certain material needs to be ordered when you’ve reached a certain stage, I guess if it’s a custom built thing that’s going to send you reminders, you could actually use the CRM right the way through a project to lead you to take further actions.


Ernie Santeralli (34:57):

A hundred percent. You could use the CRM and I’ve seen different use cases for the CRM where it’s not even for customer communication, it’s strictly for internal and operations automation. So to your point, this thing moves from this stage to this stage. Maybe you’ve got a couple of different employees and this employee handles the contracts, this employee handles whatever the case may be. If you plug them all in active campaign, you move the deal and then ActiveCampaign notifies the correct person that they have a task waiting for them. So as far as that goes, that’s a fantastic point. It doesn’t have to just be for you to follow up with your customers. It could be for you to check the box and sure that you are not letting these things kind of fall by the wayside and you’re getting them done on time, you’re getting them done in the right way and it’s all internal.


Greg Wilkes (35:46):

That’s brilliant. Yes, that’s absolutely fantastic. So if we were summarizing, if you were going to try and convince someone why they should be using ActiveCampaign in their business and why it’s going to make their business a lot easier, what would you say to them? What’s a quick summary of why they should be using ActiveCampaign?


Ernie Santeralli (36:05):

It’s agile, it is customizable, it’s on the go with you, right? It’s not just on your computer, it’s in your pocket all the time. It’s going to save you time and you’re going to get out of it. What you put into it, I think it’s clean, it’s smooth. A lot of these older CRMs that might exist are like they’re kind of clunky. They look like they were made in the early nineties. You want to look at something that’s clean. You want to like working with the tool that you’re working with, right? This thing is going to be very important for your business. And so you have to actually enjoy and not hate every second that you’re in it. And I think that ActiveCampaign does a great job of that. It’s bright, it’s smooth, it’s clear, it’s not clunky and it’s very powerful. I mean from time saving, from organization, from ease of use, all of those things wrapped into one.


(36:57)
And again, it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. We’re here to scale with you. We have tons of different employee resources, employee, I’m sorry, customer education materials, whether that’s our Learn site or the various onboarding webinars that we have that are completely free to you. If you want to learn how to use the platform, we are here to show you how to do that. We want you to be successful, right? We’re not successful unless you’re successful. So if you’re looking for a tool that can grow with you that’s going to save you time and actually do the things that they tell you it’s going to do, ActiveCampaign is definitely on that list.


Greg Wilkes (37:30):

That’s fantastic. And I guess just to that point there about, it can scale with you. I know we don’t have to go into all the pricing, but there are tiered pricing. It’s actually very affordable for a one man band all the way up to if you add 50 employees, isn’t it?


Ernie Santeralli (37:46):

Oh, absolutely. I mean, to give you a sense, ActiveCampaign uses ActiveCampaign and we have offices across the globe and we have about a thousand employees now. So it’s absolutely able to go from, like you said, a one man band all the way through to a big organization like that. And to your point, there’s different pricing tiers. So you’ve got different service levels, we’ll call different plans. There’s four of them. And so each time if you get to a point where you’re like, oh, I would really like to have this feature or this capability, we have the ability for you to do that. So it’s not just like a one size fits all pricing. We have plans that are there for whatever your needs are, and if your needs grow and you have new needs and you have new things that you want, we’ve got those too.


Greg Wilkes (38:36):

That’s fantastic. Yes. Brilliant. Well, Ernie, look, I really appreciate your time today. Clearly you’re full of knowledge and wisdom on marketing and ActiveCampaign use, so we appreciate you helping us with that. If my the listeners wanted to know a little bit more Ernie, about potentially marketing and potentially more about ActiveCampaign, where would they go to learn a bit more?


Ernie Santeralli (39:01):

Sure. www.activecampaign.com. We believe our product is so effective and powerful that we will give it to you for free for two weeks. So you could start a free trial, no credit card necessary, get in there, start to see what’s what, see the stuff that I’ve been talking about, see what it looks like. You’ve got 14 days to get your contacts in there to start building out different pipelines in the CRM and really seeing what happens for you. And then if you’re interested in just learning more about various different marketing concepts or different topics of the customer experience and what you can do to improve them. As you had mentioned, I host a show for ActiveCampaign called Growth Decoded. And so if you just give that a Google Active Campaign Growth Decoded, we should be all over that search engine results page.


Greg Wilkes (39:51):

That’s fantastic. Yes. Well, Ernie, look, I really appreciate your time today in running through that. That’s going to be really useful for my listeners. So appreciate it. Thanks a lot and look after yourself.


Ernie Santeralli (40:02):

Absolutely. You as well. It was a pleasure. Thank you again.


Greg Wilkes (40:09):

If you’d like to work with me to fast track your construction business growth, then reach out on www.developcoaching.co.uk.